why lizards do push-ups

Why Lizards Do Push-ups? It’s Not Their Workout Routine

You go to the gym and see guys working out, when they go out in public, they put on sweatshirts that show off their biceps, what do you think is the reason for this? Some guys just want to keep fit but most guys want the ladies to notice them. But why lizards do push-ups?

When it comes to trying to attract the opposite sex, humans may have similarities with animals. Like lizards, humans tend to show off some of their attributes.

Why do lizards do push ups? At first, when we see them doing it, they look ridiculous and funny, but we often wonder why they do it in the first place. Unlike humans, lizards doing push-ups is not part of a workout routine, instead it is a means of communication.

Why Are Lizards Doing Pushups?

Animals that are territorial by nature display different types of behavior that help scare off potential threats. Visual displays, vocal displays, or fighting is employed. However, fighting comes at a cost as animals could get seriously injured or may even die. This is why many animals display non-aggressive movements before resorting to physical fights with their rivals.

Some animals that display these non-aggressive movements are crabs, frogs or toads, stags, and birds. Birds communicate with one another through visual and auditory signals. They mostly use dominance to show breeding conditions, or to make threatening displays; their most elaborate display occurring during courtship.

Being non-vocalizing species, lizards communicate visually. These visual communications include body postures and inflation, bright colors, mouth gaping, tail wagging, and push ups.


The mating season is one of the most crucial parts of life preservation. Male animals tend to display some attributes that would help them attract a mate. Bird sounds, dance, displays of strength, beauty, or fighting abilities are used to attract females.

One of the reasons why you would see lizards doing push ups is to get attention from a female. A lot of male lizards include the push ups as a part of their strategy to woo a female. This is a way of showing their strength to a female. It can be a “hey, I’m strong. I can take care of you”.

Some lizards, for example the blue bellied lizards (their stomachs have blue colorations) their colored stomachs flash while they are doing push ups; this impresses and attracts females.

Why do lizards do push ups? They do push ups for the same reason a peacock shows its colored feathers to attract the female’s attention.

Marking their Territory

Just like coyotes and other animals, they defend their territory by fighting those they consider as threats, some leave scents by spraying urine or dropping scent glands around the borders of their territories. When intruders ignore warning sounds or scents, the two animals threaten each other with visual displays.

A man who goes to the gym regularly would prove intimidating to any potential threat. This is also seen in the lizard’s behavior. Lizards doing push ups also mean that they are challenging other lizards who try to intrude in their territory.

Lizards are very protective of their territories. They do not like other species coming close. They are seen as solitary reptiles. When it is time to mate, they only come in contact with other lizards

The male lizard uses the push up movement to show his strength to another male, telling it that a fight would ensue if he does not leave its territory.

An intruding lizard when intimidated would just go away. Otherwise, it will fight if it’s not intimidated by any show of strength. Bad injuries or even death may result in this fighting.

Do Only Male Lizards Do Push-ups?

The reasons why lizards do push ups ranges from seeking attention to showing strength, however, do only male lizards do push ups? After discussing why male lizards like to do push ups, it’s only natural to wonder about the female lizards as well. Do the females do same?

Male lizards are more aggressive than they females, and they tend to show off physically more than the females. It is less common to see a female lizard doing push ups than a male lizard.

Female lizards also do push-ups, however, but not as pronounced or as aggressive as a male would do it. They can move up and down in response to a male’s public display of strength during mating season. The female makes a gesture when impressed. She bobs her head slightly to accept the male as her partner and they mate. It is similar to when a man asks a woman out and she agrees.

Females also fight with other females who trespass in their territory. Do only male lizards do push ups? The real question should be do only male lizards fight? No, both male and female lizards fight with each other for the same reasons, boundaries.


You might have a pet lizard or you just pass by a fence or you go for a run in the woods and you come across a lizard bobbing its body up and down and you begin to wonder, why do lizards do push ups? Now you don’t have to wonder why anymore.

Humans also communicate sometimes without talking. You can be in a party with family and you want to get the attention of the people around the table; tapping glasses or standing up is a way to gain attention without talking.

When you’re trying to board a taxi, you also use body movements to stop them. You wave them down. Whistling to stop a taxi is also one way. Dancing is another way to communicate without talking.

There are many ways body movements help to gain attention from people. Male and female lizards do push ups when communicating with one another.

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