But on this subject of love and emotion.
I used to have a young female shingleback, called lizzie. She died a while back now, but she left behind her best mate, nippy, who I still have.
Within in days of her death, Nippy changed from being a happy skink, a good eater and full of life, to pining himself almost to death! He used to follow lizzie everywhere! Be in her tail, so close that when she stopped walking, he'd literally walk right into her behind! He follow her all day, regardless of her apparent indifference, then sleep on her, under her or beside her, at night.
When she died, it was like part of him died, too, like his soul had been ripped out and he had no will to keep going.
Countless trips to the vet, vitamin injections, antibiotics, syringe feeding ... But he continued to be listless, almost lifeless. His weight went from just shy of a kilo, to under 350g! He was essentially dying, yet the vet had no explanation, there really seemed nothing at all wrong with him.
Then one day, in a sort of desperation, I guess, I put him in with my late little Estrella, an eastern who had failed to thrive her whole life and remained a teeny, fragile skink for her age. She seemed a willing companion, and although she spent most her life walking around with her eyes shut, seeming not to care who she shared with, Nippy perked up within days! He started to take interest in his surrounding, eat food and surprisingly, follow Estrella everywhere! It looked like he found his purpose again!
The story goes on, as he tried to do the same thing all over when she died, but thankfully, I had a whole pile of shinglebacks that he readily became mates with and his pining didn't last.
It's hard to believe that this would be just instinct. Having witnessed such an event, I could not attribute his behaviours to anything other than devotion, adoration and a simple kind of love, for his girl, lizzie.
We are all different,people argue, kiss, make up, fall out, gossip, love, hate and adore at all different levels. My cats do adore me, not just for the food! They curl up on me at night ... Oh and that isn't just for the heated blanket! They love cuddles and being picked up and fussed over. I'm certain this isn't born from instinct alone. Their suspicion of strangers and the way they run to stand being me for cover, shows their trust in my care and love for them.
Maybe we just can't understand the how of the way skinks and other lizards show each other emotion, because their understanding and interpretation of life is so different to ours to begin with. Their anatomy, physiology, their ground level eye view of the world. There is little comparison with the hows of how humans and skinks live, so interpreting their emotions and feelings is something we can suppose and only wonder at.
Shinglebacks - Nippy, Lava, Suunto, Lutea, and Hermione
Easterns - Kiah and Jade