Authors: (Julia Mueller, Anna Wilkinson, Geoffrey Hall, Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria, and others)
Abstract: Spatial cognition is considered an essential survival tool for almost all species as it allows an animal to navigate through complex natural environments. This skill is necessary to efficiently access food, water and shelter. While comparably little is known about the processes underlying navigational behavior in reptiles, the cognitive processes underlying orientation in mammals and birds are relatively well understood. This chapter reviews the available literature on spatial cognition in a range of reptile species. It attempts to link research from both laboratory and field settings and interprets the evidence in terms of the behavioural ecology and evolutionary history of the specific species. Finally we discuss the brain processes which underlie spatial navigation in reptiles in light of what is known about this ability in mammals and birds.