Previous: Chinchillas Get New Climbing Walls!
Next: Our Hardest Working Animals | Beetles, Millipedes, and More!



View count:54,386
Last sync:2023-01-02 23:00
It might seem impossible to train reptiles, but it's not! Jessi and Loki show us that with understanding and patience (and snacks!), you really can train any animal.

Our Video Sponsors:

David Richards
Thomas V Lohmeier
Matt Horrell
m easton
Ville Jäppinen
Sara Lauter
James Pellosma
Donald Eckels
Lucka Kelbl
Riley Oosting
Christina Thompson
Eileen Stone
Clear Eclair
Mengfei Liu
Theresa Kolodziej
Eric Galowitsch
William Drain
Eric Wenocur_Kim Keller
Melanie Reif
Nicole Hands
Erin Radcliffe
Alana McVey
Lauren Clement
Allison Reinheimer Moore

Thank you so much for helping make these videos possible!

If you'd like your name here or featured at the end of an episode, you can become a sponsor at
Looking for more awesome animal stuff?
Subscribe to Animal Wonders Montana to see all of our videos!

Other places to find us:
Amazon Wishlist:

Photos from
Hello and welcome back to Animal Wonders!

I’m Jessi and this is Loki the Chinese water dragon. Some people think it’s impossible  to train reptiles, but I disagree!

It’s absolutely possible to train them   and to demonstrate that I’d like to  share what I’m training Loki to do. [ ♪ Intro ]. Alright, I need to give you some background  information before we get into the training. Reptiles are different from most  animals that are commonly kept as pets because they don’t form the same kinds of social  bonds with their human caretakers that, say,   a dog, cat, or bird might.

But reptiles can benefit from  positive reinforcement training   just like any other animal can! Loki is an animal ambassador, which means  that he has an important job helping to give educational presentations to  audiences virtually and in-person. When we’re preparing to travel  to a local presentation,   we usually reach in, pick him up, and set  him into a travel carrier, and we’re off.

But instead of just picking him up, I would like to  give him the choice to come out if he wants to. Since I can’t speak water dragon, I can’t  just ask him if he wants to come out. So I need to teach him what  I’m trying to communicate.

That’s the premise behind training,   it’s like creating a language that  connects two different species. So my plan is to teach Loki that when  I put my hand out flat like this, he can choose to climb onto my  hand if he wants to come out. To do this I’m going to use positive reinforcement   to increase the chances he’ll  respond the way I’m hoping he does.

I’ll present my hand, and then offer a  reward, which is a tasty mealworm. If he steps onto my hand, he gets the reward. Now, this is also called baiting because I’m  showing him the reward to entice his behavior, but sometimes baiting is a tool  that can be useful in training.

I’m hoping that once he pairs getting  a reward with coming onto my hand,  . I can present my hand without  showing him the mealworm first and he’ll choose to climb on and  then I can give him his treat. So, let’s see how this goes!

Alright. Hey, Bubbas! You see that?

You wanna come on over here? Good boy. Nice job!

Let's get another little treat for you. Nice. He is very cooperative and happy about this.

You see he is not showing any resistance to coming onto my hand. It's comfortable for him. Come all the way out now.

All the way on. Good job! He is fully on my hand now!

Yay! This is so exciting! Well done!

Good job, Buddy! Yeah. You comfy?

I'll give you one more for just chillin' out. Here you go, you can have it. Oh no, we dropped it!

That was a good try, though. Get one. Get it, there you go.

Good job. Alright. I'm going to turn around and let him go back off my hand.

Or I'm going to just set him back on there. There you go. Good job!

Alright, we're going to try this again and see if he wants to do it again, because that was great. Alright, I'm trying a little bit harder now. I'm putting it further out to see if we can reduce the steps.

Look at his little tongue! Come and get it! There you go.

Rewarded for stepping onto my hand. Nice job. Making sure my hand is nice and steady.

He's kind of pushed my fingers apart, I'm worried that he might feel unstable. So I'm going to try to adjust my hand as he comes farther onto it. There we go.

There we go. And he is fully on my hand this time- I'm going to pick him up. Just a little bit.

Hi, Buddys. You did great! Yes, you did!

You looking around now? Here you go. Yes, such a good dragon!

He's so good! Hi, Bud. Yes.

You're a good boy, you wanna go back down? Here you go. That was awesome!

So, we’re still in the very beginning stages  of our training journey with Loki. I might introduce a target stick at some point,   or see if he'll climb on something besides my hand in the future. I’m excited to see what comes next and  I’ll definitely share updates on our progress!

If you’ve ever trained an animal and  would like to share what you've accomplished, please share your training experience  in the comments, I’d love to hear them. Now, Loki is just one of the many animal  rescues that we have at Animal Wonders. He came from a neglectful home and sustained  permanent damage to the front of his mouth.

We’re happy he’s doing so well now, and  we’re passionate about providing him and all the animals in our care with everything  they need to live happy and healthy lives. If you’d like to help us care for these  amazing animals and continue to share them, please join our community on Patreon, by going  to, I've put the link is below. Your support will not only  get you exclusive perks,   but you’ll be helping to ensure Loki  and his friends have great care!

Thanks for watching and if you’d like to  continue going on animal adventures with us,   be sure to subscribe and we’ll see you soon! Bye! [ ♪ Outro ].