Gaping

All -or at least most- reptiles, fish, birds and mammals without sweat glands use their tongue and suchlike mucous membranes to regulate their own body temperature.  Dogs pant, Jacky Dragons sit in the sun, mouth open, eyes closed, waiting for Godot, or at least food or sex.

 

Waving

 

Jacky Dragons have a curious habit of stylized waving one front claw at something in the distance. For lack of decent academic opinion, we conclude that it is not a display of dominance or submission. It does seem to be some kind of territorial or at least advertorial display. Advertorial rather than adversarial. It seems to be complimentary to Bobbing, described in its own section. It is not gender dependent, as bobbers also have an element of waving in their display, although the waving motion seems to be easily disrupted by the bob, which takes preference in terms of urgency. The wave is a languid, freeze-frame type motion, and when the Jacky gets into a repeated display, the feet tend to alternate. It hardly ever goes beyond two waves in one activity, though. The Freeze-frame quality of the movement, on the other side, can make it difficult to decide whether you are observing one erratic show, or a few half-hearted attempts at perfection. Jackies really are inscrutable. 

 

Bobbing

 

Jacky Dragons have a most serious looking ritual called Head Bobbing. One can elicit a response from a Jacky by aping this movement. The head, serious and intent, is pointed somewhere, usually high, while staring at the object of bobbification. Now dip the head as low as possible, then jerk it back up, and come to perfect rest in exactly, perfectly, the starting position. Glare at your target (opponent, sexual interest, possible friend, food bowl??) for a fraction of a second. Suddenly and blindingly fast, dip the head to the lowest, raises it even faster to a point just where you started, dip it quicker to just higher than the previous dip, raise quicker to the top, execute in rapid secession with increasingly decreased motions until the head jerks to a sudden halt, eyes pinned on the original target, head in exactly the same position as where it started, only now it wears a magnificent crown, and your worthless eyeballs are smoking pits before the glory of the Great Dragon. Females do this too.

 

 Flattening

 

Flattening the body is a common response of the Jacky Dragon. We have observed this behaviour in different circumstances. At first, it appeared to be a response to the threat of a hand reaching into the glass jail to fetch it off to the other jail. Familiarity, and the acquired knowledge that the other jails entails sunshine and fresh air, green plants and live insects, made picking the Dragons up easier, but the flattening remained as a sort of rebuke. In the free-ish, however, they often do this as a basking aid. They like to flatten themselves on the first warm rock of the late morning, exactly so the sun drenches them at its bestest. On miserable days, a few late afternoon rays may be collected hungrily this way.

 

Bristling

 

Sometimes, a Jacky Dragon may stiffen its scales to present a rather impressive coat of armour. A Jacky upset with having to go inside, or one surprised and disturbed by a grabbing hand, may suddenly puff up and then the cute little spikes around the head become weapons worthy of the toothless. It will not tear the skin off you, but do not be surprised to find yourself bleeding. They tend to wait for you to touch before they suddenly squirm like a fish on land. It burns like a paper cut, but unless you missed all the information sessions about personal hygiene and handwashing, you should be fine.  

 

Bearding 

 

Bearded Dragons and Jacky Dragons differ in many obvious ways, but around here, we buy Jacky Dragons as Beardies.

 

  1. The lower jowl is inflated, much like a skinny frog. The pin-like scales turn dark, even black. This seems to be a display of pure bravado. An attempt to look bigger, maybe avoid personal confrontation.

  2. The lower jowl is enlarged, but not bloated. The result is a flap of spiky skin, with changing darkness, that can be lifted, sort of pointed and waggled at some target not yet understood. As this was only observed in the full frontal, the observer may be the target/threat/reason for the  attack/submission/courtship or whatever.

  3. The lower jowl inflates, deflates, and then opens up in a display of colour. Even very dull Jackies can present surprisingly bright yellows, browns, oranges and reds in their beards. This is most surely mating displays?

 

Skin Colours

Jacky Dragons are rather dull grey lizards, with the odd specimen looking especially colourful under good lighting. Again, yellow and orange are the colours to expect, but usually only as highlights. During a normal day, though, the most common Jacky can present with the most interesting colour patterns. The basic pattern of the Dragon, visible at any time as light grey with darker grey detailing, can suddenly become white with dark brown details, or yellow scales and pitch black markings. Jackies are not chameleons, by all means, but a healthy Dragon changes colour as the weather, the light, the temperatue or the mood takes it.