Saurian sadomasochism

Sometimes, writes Dalrymple, the lizards on the terrace of his house towards the south of France

appear to fight. In these contests, the larger lizard always has the upper hand, or rather leg. It wraps itself around the smaller and seems to crush it; it bites the smaller with every appearance of viciousness. It is possible, I suppose, that what I take to be a fight is actually copulation, with sadomasochistic undertones, and the chasing that precedes it a kind of foreplay. If so, in the lizard world at least, no most definitely does not mean, or is not taken by males to mean, no.

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