The smartest lizard is the monitor lizard.
Monitor lizards are lizards in the genus Varanus, the only extant genus in the family Varanidae.
They are native to Africa, Asia, and Oceania, and one species is also found in the Americas as an invasive species.
About 80 species of monitor lizards are recognized.
Monitor lizards will generally run away from people.
The monitor lizard does not prey on humans but will defend themselves if threatened.
Monitor lizards also can make an intimidating hissing noise and often lash with their tail to protect themselves.
Their claws and teeth can also inflict nasty injuries, which are prone to infection.
The common name Monitor is from the Latin verb 'monere' meaning 'to warn'.
This was given to these lizards because of their habit of standing up on their hind legs, as though they are monitoring their surroundings. So the scientific name simply means 'many-colored lizard'.
Monitor lizards can make an excellent pet for the right person, but they are a much different experience than owning a pet like a dog or a cat.
Keeping a monitor lizard takes patience, learning new skills, and adequately caring for them daily.
Young lizards that are well trained grow up to be gentle-tempered adults that enjoy being held.
Monitor lizards are also intelligent and engage with their owners in ways that remind you of dogs or cats.
Lizards are an extremely large and diverse group of highly successful reptiles found throughout much of the world, and as with chelonians and other reptiles, have evolved and developed intelligence and high cognitive abilities to be able to quickly and successfully upon hatching or birth.
A more controversial emotion in reptiles is the concept of pleasure, or even love.
Many feel that they have not developed this emotion, as it does not naturally benefit them.
However, most reptiles do seem to recognize people who frequently handle and feed them.