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Old 05-26-2012, 05:49 PM
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skittledoo skittledoo is offline
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Default Leopard Geckos

I know we have a few on the forum. Tell me about them. I didn't think I would venture further into the reptile world than snakes, but I met a couple leopard Geckos recently and I'll admit they had me smitten. Right now I'm merely curious about them.

What are they like to own? Life expectancy? Any major health issues? On average how much do they tend to cost a month to take care of? My snakes cost me between $5-10 a month on average and that's only because my hatchling is eating double pinks right now since we are following the munson plan. When he was eating single pinkies we averaged closer to $5 a month.

Leopard Geckos look like they require a bit more maitenance and expenses than snakes? Do they eat anything in addition to mealworms and crickets? Also, do they do better with ground heating, light heating or both?

Most importantly to those of you who have experience with leopard geckos, what are your favorite things about owning them?
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:29 PM
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I have one, I've had her for about 8 years, her name is Tammy. I've been doing it VERY wrong for the majority of her life, and yet she's hanging on, so they are hardy. But now I know what I'm doing, so I'm happy to share what I know so no one else makes my mistakes.

When I was keeping her improperly I found her incredibly boring, all she did was sleep. Now that she's getting proper care she's out a lot, comes running out when I approach the tank (looking for food of course lol), and is just much more animated. They are easy to handle, not grumpy. I barely handle Tammy at all and yet she is still tame on the occasions when I must get shed off of her toes or something.

They need belly heat to digest their food, so a UTH. It should take up about 1/3 of the floor space and be kept to one side so there is a warm and cool side. The floor temperature must be monitored, not the air temp, so you'll need a thermometer with a probe or a temperature gun. Floor temp should be high 80's to low 90's. To achieve this you'll likely need a thermostat. Poor heating was my biggest issue (I had a teeny tiny UTH) and upgrading made a huge change.

Food wise I've always done mainly meal worms with crickets as a treat. I'd love to feed more crickets as she LOVES hunting them but caring for the crickets is a pain and they stink. A lot of people are now using Dubia Roaches and they seem to be the ultimate food item, much more nutritional than mealies for sure. I'd feed them if I could get over the whole cockroach thing. Make sure to gut load their food (feed it before feeding it to the Leo).

Leopard Geckos are crepuscular, meaning most active at dawn and dusk, so they don't like lights and don't generally bask.

Like most reptiles/amphibians there is a high initial cost but a low upkeep cost. The only money I spend on her regularly is for mealies and I don't even think that's a monthly buy (she eats less than most Leos though, she's a bit dwarfed which I assume is due to her less than ideal upbringing). They also need supplements on their food, but this is another less frequent purchase. You need to dust their food with a vitamin supplement and a calcium w/ D3 supplement as well as leave a bowl of pure calcium in the tank at all times.

I have not heard of a lot of health issues. The only thing I've had happen is stuck shed, which can cause trouble as it will cut off circulation to toes, Tammy has lost several toes this way. You must have a moist hide in the tank so that they are able to loosen their skin. A moist hide is simply an enclosed hide with damp paper towels, moss, or coconut fiber (like eco earth). I also ran into a lot of shed problems when I didn't have a thermostat and the temps got too high. The other big thing is impactions from eating sand. Leos must never be kept on loose substrate as they may eat is and become obstructed, so no sand. People usually like to keep them on textured tiles, shelf liner, or even paper towel. Tiles are definitely the most attractive. Mine is currently on thin foam sheets, ones used for crafts. People told me it might not be safe, but so far so good.

They need 3 hides, one on the cool side, one on the warm side, and one moist hide. Oh and they always go to the bathroom in the same spot.

They are capable of living into their 20s. They can drop their tails if it's grabbed, it will grow back but is usually comes back a bit abnormal.

I will likely not own Leos again, I prefer more interactive pets. Not that she couldn't be more interactive, as I said she's very easy to handle, but I always feel bad handling non-mammals. I love feeding time though, she gets so excited, absolutely pumped. When she gets crickets her tail does the same wagging as a cat's and she stalks like one too, it's great to watch.

This is Tammy's setup, almost current except now I have a thermostat. Left side is warm side, the big rocks in the center form a cave that's her warm hide, the wooden hide on the platform is the cool hide with a piece of rock covering the entrance a bit, the left front corner is the moist hide (tupperware with hunks of brick attached). You can see the wire from her thermometer probe over on the left.


and the happy girl


She's a normal color, they come in a wide variety or patterns, some are very cool. They change a lot from babies to adults, Tammy had stripes when I bought her.

This forum is good, though i wish they had better stickys and the people can be a bit harsh, they have good info though:
http://geckoforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=122

Hope that helps! They are cool little animals, I love Tammy.
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