How to Handle Your Dragon: Does Handling Duration Affect the Behaviour of Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps)?
2. Materials and Methods
2.2. Handling and Carriage Procedure
- Condition 1: Carriage OnlyLizards in this condition were handled for the minimum amount of time possible to allow removal from their home enclosure and transport to a test arena in the adjacent room. This took no more than one minute.
- Condition 2: Five minutes of handlingLizards in this condition were handled for five minutes. Handling style remained consistent throughout and involved gentle restraint only as necessary to prevent escape, with free movement allowed around the experimenter’s hands and lower arms. No sudden movements, stroking or talking were undertaken, the lizards were held by the same experienced handler throughout and the handler remained still while handling the animals. They also experienced the same carriage time as mentioned in Condition 1.
- Condition 3: Fifteen minutes of handlingLizards in this condition were handled for fifteen minutes. Handling took place in the same way as described for Condition 2 and the lizards experienced the same carriage time as mentioned in Condition 1.
2.3. Anxiety Testing
- Novel environment testEach subject was observed from the moment it was placed in the test arena for a total of five minutes. The number of air-flicks and tongue-touches were counted and combined, as well as recording the time spent in locomotion and latency to move.
- Novel object testThe novel object test began immediately after the novel environment test finished. The object (one of three different shapes made out of Mega Bloks® (Fisher-Price, Montreal, Canada)) was placed in the test enclosure at 20 cm from the position of each lizard (approximately one lizard length). The object was chosen to be ecologically irrelevant  and was cleaned with disinfectant before each trial to reduce potential olfactory cues. The number of air flicks and tongue touches were counted and combined, and latency to move towards the object, latency to reach 5 cm away from the object (within reach of the lizard upon head extension) and time spent within 5 cm of the object were measured during the 5 min trial.
2.4. Statistical Analysis
3.1. Novel Environment Test
3.2. Novel Object Test
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|Tongue flicking||F2,19 = 4.54 (p = 0.024)|
|Time in locomotion (s)||F2,19 = 0.72 (p = 0.499)|
|Latency to move (s)||F2,19 = 0.91 (p = 0.418)|
|Tongue flicking||F2,18 = 0.36 (p = 0.701)|
|Latency to move (s)||F2,18 = 0.39 (p = 0.682)|
|Latency to reach 5 cm||F2,18 = 0.20 (p = 0.820)|
|Time within 5 cm||F2,15 = 4.00 (p = 0.041)|
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Stockley, V.R.; Wilkinson, A.; Burman, O.H.P. How to Handle Your Dragon: Does Handling Duration Affect the Behaviour of Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps)? Animals 2020, 10, 2116. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112116
Stockley VR, Wilkinson A, Burman OHP. How to Handle Your Dragon: Does Handling Duration Affect the Behaviour of Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps)? Animals. 2020; 10(11):2116. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112116Chicago/Turabian Style
Stockley, Victoria R., Anna Wilkinson, and Oliver H.P. Burman. 2020. "How to Handle Your Dragon: Does Handling Duration Affect the Behaviour of Bearded Dragons (Pogona Vitticeps)?" Animals 10, no. 11: 2116. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112116