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Live (Then Dead) Lizards As Shock Props On Reality TV

Why does James Marsden chop the head off this lizard in Running Wild with Bear Grylls?

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What is up with the use of live lizards as props on reality TV? The latest reality show featuring a lizard, in this case, a chuckwalla, is NBC’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls. This episode stars movie star James Marsden, who, according to reviews of the show, catches a lizard and then, upon Bear Grylls’ prodding, proceeds to chop the lizard’s head off, and then says:

“Poor guy, he didn’t do anything to deserve that.” 


After Marsden chops the head off the lizard, Grylls puts the head in his mouth and starts chewing it. The duo then proceed to cook the lizard and Marsden starts chewing on the legs. . . and you get the picture. Now I haven’t watched a single episode of this show, including this one, but I’ve seen the previews, and the previews alone would get me to watch, so why would they have to kill a lizard? Isn’t rappelling down mountain or jumping out of an airplane, or flying in a scary contraption enough to get someone interested? Or do reality shows have to be like MTV’s Wildboys?

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Chuckwallas (Sauromalus obesus) are of the family Iguanidae and range from the southwestern United States to northwestern Mexico. Thy are vegetarians and obtain nearly all their water requirements from the desert plant material that they eat. 

John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata