I would say that most herpetologists may not be too concerned about whether or not their reptile likes them. They usually have quite a collection of snakes, lizards, turtles and even frogs. They may appear to be well cared for on a physical level and neglected on a personal level. Reptiles are also known as "exotic pets." The reptile trade is appalling and many people including myself do not support this trade. Around ninety five percent of animals will die being poorly transported and insufficiently cared for on their journey to and from different countries.
Like children, animals are a reflection of their home life, and their happiness and contentment will depend largely on the quality time you are prepared to give them. Reptiles are very ancient creatures they go back a very long way in history. All reptiles are ectothermic's therefore they display affection a little differently than a cat or a dog. In the wild they can almost stop their heart from beating. They have the ability to slow down their metabolism in winter to hibernate, this is also known as brumation.
I have had a pet lizard since he was only two weeks old, he is a happy and contented naughty twelve year old. He behaves similar to a dog in slow motion. He has been domesticated, for example when I call him he will normally respond by turning his body around and looking in the direction of my voice. I need to call his name several times before he comes ambling over to me. Reptiles do not require to be fed daily. They can go for weeks on end without food especially if they are in hibernation mode. How do you know your reptile likes you?
They will feel comfortable around you. If you have built up a truly successful bond they will allow you to feed them by hand without biting you. This is the strongest indication that they have accepted you as their trusted friend.
When my pet wants attention he will stick his head out of his enclosure indicating that he wants to come out for a run around. He has now decided that he wants to eat his mashed veggies from a plastic spoon once a week. This unusual habit occurred after he underwent a belly operation two years ago to remove a fatty tumour. He looks forward to being spoon fed and he know's when I am preparing his food. One would think he was almost psychic.
My snake "Tilly" used to pull my glasses off when she wanted my attention smooching my face similar to what a cat does. She would always pick the most awkward time to do this. I never shunned her away. I loved their cold blooded affection and I felt honoured that my pet's had allowed me to become so bonded to them. Not many reptile handler's can say they have been this close to a reptile. Building a trusted bond between you and your reptile takes time, patience and consistency especially with reptiles. These cold blooded beauties have fascinated me for many years. I have watched their antics in the wild marvelling at their uncanny ability to change colour so quickly and often due to their moods and differing temperature's of the day. They are very diverse animals and well adapted for survival in the wild. As a reptile handler I have learned that you can never own them, You share your time and enthusiastic passion you have with them. I have a wonderful bond with my pet lizard Abbott.