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inunsure's avatar

Do reptiles have memories?

Asked by inunsure (423points) January 20th, 2012

If so it it like ours, if not how do our memories differ?

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10 Answers

marinelife's avatar

All animals have memories. If they are hurt because of an action, they will shy away from repeating that action.

Coloma's avatar

Well, I don’t really know for sure, but..I have geese, and birds are all evolved from reptiles.
I can say that my geese have great memories. They get very upset if the other goes into “their” stall in the goose barn. They have amazing memories of being medicated and I have to hide the syringes when approaching them to be medicated.

They know and retain at least a dozen words, phrases, and locations.
I can tell them to ” go up to where it’s so nice” lol, key phrase for my yard on the hill and many other statements that they have memorized.
Just the other night my female went into the left stall leaving the gander to go to the right stall which has a barrier between them.
My gander managed to jump over the divider and they were both in the same stall the next morning. He HAS to have the left side of the barn. lol

I’d say certain breeds of reptiles certainly can have memories and make associations dependent on their conditioning like most animals.

dabbler's avatar

Ah, two questions:
“Do reptiles have memories?”
Certainly, any animal will learn to respond to hazards and resources.

“If so it it like ours, if not how do our memories differ?”
It’s not certain but probably most animals don’t have the same kind of awareness / consciousness as humans do, they are likely to have memories that correspond to their consciousness.

thorninmud's avatar

Yes. There is the memory involved in learning by conditioning (what @marinelife referred to), and there is also evidence that they have very good spacial memory, so that they carry an internal map of their surroundings. What they probably don’t have is episodic memory, the recollection of past events. In other words, they probably lack any sense of a past (which is how we end to experience memory), but instead they have a internal representation of how things are that has been shaped by their past experiences, even if they don’t recall those experiences. That is a form of memory.

mattbrowne's avatar

The Hebbian learning of “fire together wire together” applies to reptiles as well. But reptiles don’t have a limbic system and no cortex.

Moegitto's avatar

Funny thing, I was bored one day and turned on a reptile show on Netflix. That show showed a guy training a Komodo Dragon. The Komodo Dragon learned his name, different tricks, I preferred food, and different people in the aquarium/herbivorium. It was acting exactly like a dog, the doctor that took his blood samples he would hide from, the guy that trained him the most he would come out and stay by his side. The guy was petting him, lol. They tried to do the same experiment with some other types of desert lizard, and they failed so bad they almost ran into the needles, lol. They compared the intelligence to that of a second grader.

I think SOME lizards have strong cognitive senses. But just like with humans, there’s smart ones and then there’s those one’s you think need some “assistance” (We all know the people that try to push a pull door).

Moegitto's avatar

There’s a paragraph down below:

“A variety of different behaviors have been observed from captive specimens. Most individuals are relatively tame within a short period of time, and are capable of recognizing individual humans and discriminating between more familiar keepers. Komodo dragons have also been observed to engage in play with a variety of objects, including shovels, cans, plastic rings, and shoes. This behavior does not seem to be “food-motivated predatory behavior.”

The more I watch and read about them, the more I want one for a pet, lol

PhiNotPi's avatar

Their memory would be geared towards remembering what a lizard might need to remember.

Their memory would probably be less accurate involving the details of life that humans are used to remembering. Remembering miscellaneous noises would be pretty useless for a lizard. Lizards are not very good at remembering the faces of people without spending a lot of time with that person, since there is no real survival need.

Likewise, a lizard will be good at remembering things that do matter to the survival of the lizard. This includes feeding spots, where they sleep, etc.

HungryGuy's avatar

All animals have memories. I saw a video demonstration once of goldfish (who were once believed, among all animals, the least likely to have any memories longer than a second or two) learning and remembering to navigate an underwater maze.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, variants in all animals, including us.
I have had several cats that mastered the cat door in one day and others that took up to 6 months to finally figure it out. Duh! lol

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