Many people consider reptiles to be their thing as opposed to the more common pets like cats, dogs, birds and fish. I believe it sure is. Sure, many of us do squirm at reptiles and cannot imagine keeping them as pets but, trust me, some do. Geckos are, more often than not, a boy’s pet. Outlandish, eccentric and downright creepy, I mean, what are the odds of not getting a gecko!
Now before you go on to adopt one of these, it is important to know something about them. Geckos are usually kept as pets, and the most popular of these is definitely the Leopard Gecko, which, I believe is a wonderful starter reptile, and is quite popular with experienced reptile- owners. Contrary to the way they look, Leopard Geckos are actually extremely submissive creatures, and are rather easy to tame and look after.
Leopard geckos look dazzling with black spots in their otherwise yellow and white skin. There are however, variations in their colour, which is, as a matter of fact, a mechanism of self- defense. In fact, the hatchling are more stripped than an adult, and gradually lose their spotted appearance as they grow up. Reaching approximately up to nine inches in length, they live up to twenty or more years.
They are the ideal pocket pets. Their small size allows you to take them places without others noticing. Also, there is a certain pride involved in owning an exotic animal which gecko owners cannot possibly deny.
Leopard geckos are usually nocturnal. Unlike owls, they do not really sleep during the entire them, but let us suffice to say that they prefer the nightlife!
Among the geckos, the ground dwelling ones have eyelids, and are more complaint and relatively easier to tame. To use the urban dictionary, we might as well say that the ground dwelling ones are more grounded!
Housing is nonpareil. It is always better to keep more than one gecko because, more often than not, they tend to get really lonely. If , say, you intend to keep two or three geckos together, a tank of 15 -20 gallon would be good enough for your reptile pals. However, you should never keep more than one male per tank as they tend to fight. Keeping a male in the vicinity with other females is also not a very good idea unless you want to deal with offspring, that is. The best thing to do is to keep females together. You might also want to be a tad bit creative and place some half logs or cardboard boxes inside the tank which can provide your geckos with hiding and climbing spaces. You might also want to keep a damp hide box that is commercially available, with shedding, which is, in simple words, a plastic container with a hole in the lid, with moist earth or moss inside it.
If you are interested in offspring, you must keep in mind that they require special care and attention. You must never keep the young ones on sand, as there is a high possibility that they might ingest it, and suffer an intestinal blockage. Remember that young leopard geckos are extremely delicate creatures, and are vulnerable to almost everything around them. For that matter, you should be really exacting about the choice of substrate for your young pals. Wood shavings are a bad option, as they tend to do the same damage to the young ones. The best option is definitely paper, being absorbent and easy to change. However, if you want to use carpets or such, I would not advise you against it. Just whatever you decide to use, make sure it is not something that the young ones can ingest along with its meals.
You also need to give lighting a thought. Remember that geckos are nocturnal creatures, and thus require no UV lighting. That does not mean than it does not care for regular lighting. In fact, you can place a regular incandescent bulb to provide a basking spot, but I would advise you to go for something dimmer. Leopard geckos are no good with strong lighting, and more often than not, it does them more harm than good. A red bulb or a ceramic heating element to provide a temperature gradient is probably the best thing to do. You can also go for under tank heaters that comes with a light attached to it. While inserting a temperature gradient, you must keep in mind that ideal temperature for the basking spot at daytime would be around 88F with a gradient to about 75 F. The night temperature should be so adjusted to drop to around 70-75 F.
Feeding is one of the chief concerns for any pet owner, and for gecko owners, it is no different. Now, as a potential gecko owner, you should keep in mind that Leopard geckos are insectivores, and you can normally feed them a variety of crickets, waxworms, and even meal worms, though in moderation. Now, do not be dismayed at the thought of hunting these down for your pet gecko! Most pets shops store these as a part of the gecko diet. As a treat, you might also want to feed an occasional rodent if you come across any in your household. This, however, is safe only for adults. Feeding is actually the most exacting part of keeping a gecko as pet. You must remember that insects that are supposed to be fed to your reptile pal have to be gut loaded at least a say prior to feeding, and coated with a calcium or vitamin D3 supplement.
Leopard geckos are charming reptiles. Once you befriend them and win their trust, they really do look forward to spending them with you. If reptiles are really your thing, then I am sure you will find rewarding company with these golden pals.