Leopard Geckos: Caring For Your New Pet (Reptile Care Guides)
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Unfortunately, however, even with the best care in the world, some geckos can develop particular health problems that you will need to watch out for. A common problem for geckos, and indeed all lizards, is a condition called stomatitis, also known as mouth rot. If you see this problem developing, your gecko will need to be brought to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.
You will also need to keep an eye on your gecko to watch for any wheezing or drooling. These are signs of a respiratory infection. Additionally, geckos are prone to parasitic infections of the skin. Geckos can also suffer from internal parasites. These are harder to diagnose, but common signs include sluggishness, loss of appetite and unusual droppings. These are all signs of gecko health problems that you must not ignore. Be sure to locate a veterinarian who has a lot of experience dealing with reptiles to take care of your gecko if it develops any of these health problems.
All of these gecko health problems are treatable if caught in time. The key is to keep a close eye on the behavior of your pet gecko so that you will know if anything changes and can catch it in time. One big reason for the popularity of geckos as pets is their temperament. These lizards are far more docile and good-natured than some other reptiles.
With that being said, there are certain aspects of gecko behavior that you will need to be aware of if you plan on keeping a gecko as a pet. One of the main issues inexperienced owners find with geckos is that these lizards are nocturnal. This means they are most active at night when most humans are trying to sleep. But bear in mind that geckos are not especially comfortable with being handled by humans. If you handle your gecko too much, especially before it has become familiar with you, you may cause stress which can lead to other health problems.
Geckos are generally not very aggressive lizards, but if they feel threatened they may bite. Tokay geckos, in particular, are known for having a painful bite. If you do need to handle your gecko, try to hold it gently but firmly behind the head so that it cannot get its mouth to your hands. It is not recommended to keep two male geckos in the same tank. In the wild, geckos will fight over mates, and in captivity, they display the same behavior. If you intend to keep multiple geckos as pets, it is a good idea to keep any males in separate tanks from one another, although males and females can share a tank quite happily.
Never grab a gecko by its tail. Like other lizards, geckos have the ability to shed their tail, and they will do this if you grab them by it. This could cause your gecko to escape. Losing their tails does not harm geckos, and the tail will eventually grow back. While your gecko is regrowing its tail though, you may want to consider giving it some extra food and separating it from any other geckos that share its tank.
Sometimes, a tail that has been regrown will look different to the one that fell off, either in color or in shape. When choosing your new gecko, make sure you get a gecko from a reputable breeder. You should aim to get a gecko that was born and bred in captivity.
The reason for this is that geckos caught in the wild could be harboring diseases or parasites which may not be immediately apparent. Captive bread geckos are far more likely to be in perfect health. Many breeders recommend getting a baby gecko so that the animal will bond more fully with his human owner. Baby geckos are certainly cute and charming pets. But when feeding your baby gecko, you will want to consider its smaller size and perhaps feed it smaller insects. Baby geckos can be offered small crickets and mealworms every day.
Try to only feed as many insects as the gecko can eat in a single sitting, and if any insects are left in the tank over an hour after eating, make sure to remove them. Also, make sure that your baby gecko is getting enough water.
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You can do this by placing fresh water in a small dish in the coolest part of the tank. Replace the water daily. As well as drinking, geckos will often bathe in the shallow dishes of water, and it is important to keep this water as clean as possible.
However, baby geckos can be skittish, and it is best to avoid handling them as much as possible for the first two weeks after they come into your home. Give your gecko some time to acclimatize itself to its new environment. Handling it at this time can cause stress, which will lead to other health problems. It is also better to avoid handling your baby gecko until it is at least 3 inches or 7.
Below this size, geckos are quite frail, and it is very easy to hurt them by handling them too much. Once this waiting period is over, you may want to handle your gecko to get it used to being held. You can do this for 5 to 15 minutes per day. Also, you will want to wash your hands again after you have handled your gecko.
2. Heat, light and humidity are key!
One recommended method of holding a baby gecko is to have it sit in your open palm, and offer your other palm in front of the hand that the lizard is in so that the gecko can climb onto that hand. When they turn 6 months old, they start travelling and exploring the area, so you can relocate them into a bigger house.
It means you can keep them in terrariums with an open lid if the walls are high enough so that the animal does not get out.
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However, do not forget that air tends to stagnate in tall tanks so you need to take care of additional ground-level ventilation. Twigs, branches, hollow stones, and shelves will serve this purpose.
If possible, you can put plant pots to help maintain the necessary microclimate inside the tank. Scindapsus, dwarf creeping ficus, philodendrons, and white-veined arrowroot are suitable for gardening. Make sure that the gecko has several hiding spots throughout the terrarium, in the cold and warn end alike. Half a coconut or small clay pots have proven to be inexpensive, practical, and environmentally friendly shelters.
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It is always placed in the basking spot. These hides should have a consistent humid environment provided by moist moss or wet paper towels. The best option to provide the necessary temperature is bottom heating. You can use either heated mats or floor heating cables spanning across about a quarter of a tank. If you have gecko babies under the age of three months, it is best to leave the heating on permanently.
Even though leopard geckos live in semi-deserts in the wild, their terrariums should be sufficiently humid. The soil should be slightly moist. Given the humidity, it is necessary to provide good ventilation. A regular W incandescent lamp can be suitable for both lighting and heating. Additionally, you may need a UV lamp since ultraviolet radiation stimulates the synthesis of vitamin D. There are plenty of UV lamps for reptiles on the market.
Turn it minutes a day to prevent rickets, a skeletal disorder caused by a lack of vitamin D. However, if you provide your lizard with all the necessary minerals and vitamins, you can go without a UV lamp. Please keep in mind that geckos eat only live insects.
Why Leopard Geckos Make Great Pets — Reptilian Arts
They feed on cockroaches, flies, all kinds of worms, crickets, locusts, small spiders, etc. Before serving insects to your pet, you can give them special food for lizards or vegetables to make them more nutritious. During the breeding, you can try to give newborn mice to females. A newborn leopard gecko may not eat food for a few days. First, it will suck his umbilical cord; then it will eat the skin after the first shedding.
Only after that, you can begin to feed it.
Worst Starter Pet Lizards
Leopard geckos enjoy drinking clean still water unlike chameleons, which need a drinking fountain. They tongue-lap it like kittens. If you sprinkle the enclosure daily, there is no need in a drinker. However, it will come in handy in case you forget to spray. Do not worry if the skin of your reptile pet begins to peel off, crack, and whiten, it is just a moulting. Adult lizards shed once every one or two months while adolescents renew their skin every two weeks. Normally, the skin peels off almost like a stocking.
However, if it is too thin, it may get torn when removed. If you noticed any dead skin remaining, moisten it with warm water and remove with a cotton swab.