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  • It has been known that sand can get stuck in the Gecko’s gut when feeding on the Substrate, this mainly applies to young geckos and should avoid housing baby Geckos on Substrates such as Calci-Sand, Play Sand, Astroturf and Building Sand
  • The main problem that proves to be by far the most catastrophic is a Gut-Impaction, this occurs when a Leopard Gecko consumes large amounts of Sand, Gravel or Other loose Substrates

    • by JamesGrant
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      Why Choose a Leopard Gecko?

      Leopard Geckos are one of hardiest of reptiles and are quite easy to care for with the help of the right equipment. This Care Sheet will guide you through the requirements and basic information that is needed to properly care for a Leopard Gecko.

      Choosing a Leopard Gecko

      Over the years Leopard Geckos have become more and more popular with reptile keepers earning them the place of being one of the most well known pet reptiles. Since the increase of popularity for these reptiles the amount of pet shops that now stock Leopard Geckos are now relatively high.

      When choosing a Leopard Gecko ask before purchasing if you can have a close and thorough look at the Gecko, look to see if there are any signs of weak bones or broken bones or any cuts, bumps and bruises on the Gecko if so there is a fairly low chance that the Gecko will make a full recovery; DON’T JUST BUY THE GECKO BECAUSE YOU FEEL SORRY FOR IT!!!. A healthy Gecko should be alert at all times and should have an inquisitive nature.

      Housing

      Leopard Geckos can be kept on a variety of different tanks, cages, ventilated boxes and aquariums; although a standard 30×30x30cm Terrarium (tank that houses reptiles) will do fine for two newborn hatchings but will need replacing by a slightly larger Terrarium when Leopard Gecko reach a larger size.

      It is well known that two adult male Leopard Geckos cannot be houses together due to the behavioural instinct of dominance in the male Leopard Gecko, a male can be housed with two females but it is advised that only one female is kept with one male. Leopard Geckos will live happily by themselves; in fact there is a better chance that a single Gecko will live a longer live than two that are housed together.

      Since Leopard Geckos inhabit warm, dry deserts the Geckos should be housed in warm dry conditions (high humidity levels could kill them). The type of Terrarium decor is your choice; there are a wide range of realistic looking fake rocks and plants available on the market as well as reptile hiding caves, and backgrounds. When stacking rocks make sure the structure is 100% secure an inquisitive Gecko may be able to dislodge one the rocks by simply digging beneath it causing a major cave in.

      The Substrate used to cover the floor of the Terrarium


      is usually Desert Sand available at pet shops. It has been known that sand can get stuck in the Gecko’s gut when feeding on the Substrate, this mainly applies to young geckos and should avoid housing baby Geckos on Substrates such as Calci-Sand, Play Sand, Astroturf and Building Sand. Instead use Substrates such as Chipsi-Bark, Repti-Bark and Reptile Carpet.

      When housing a Leopard Gecko you may think about installing a full spectrum light to allow a clear vision for you to see your gecko. This is only for your benefit, being nocturnal means that the Leopard Gecko has a poor sense of vision in a bright lighted room, in fact Leopard Geckos can se up too

      Heating

      One of the most important things required for keeping a Leopard Gecko is a source of heat. Leopard Geckos, like all reptiles like to bask in a warm place. A wide variety of heat sources can be used, some better than others. The most suitable source of heat for a Leopard Gecko is an under tank Substrate Heater (these must be used with a substrate to prevent the reptile from burning itself); these provide a good source of heat and don’t use much electricity despite the fact of 24 hour use. Another source of heat is Heat Rocks although it is strongly advised that you test the maximum temperature of this product before placing it in the Terrarium. Ceramic Lamps are also an option, but these give off an immense amount of heat so should only be used in a large Terrarium to prevent the build up of humidity (see Housing).

      The Temperatures of the deserts in which the Leopard Gecko inhabits can reach immensely high temperatures, though captive bred geckos are use to temperatures of 70-85 F, though slight temperature drops are harmless. Remember to always keep a close check on the Terrariums temperature; this can be achieved by buying a Thermometer, digital and non-digital Thermometers are available specially designed for reptiles.

      Feeding

      Leopard Geckos are insectivores; this means they feed entirely on insects unlike the Bearded Dragon that will also eat fruit and vegetables. A staple diet of Crickets should be fed to Leopard Geckos. Locusts, Fruit flies, Mealworms and Waxworms can also be fed. Some breeders feed Pinkies (Hairless Baby Mice) to boost up the Gecko’s energy levels. All food should be given to your ...


      • Gecko live so that the Gecko can get all it’s sources of nutrients, for this the Crickets must be Gut-loaded (Stuffed with food such as lettuce and carrot until they double in size.

        An Important rule to follow when feeding Crickets to your Gecko is size matters! A Leopard Gecko should only be given a Cricket the same size as the space between its eyes, although some Geckos will take on food larger than themselves smaller food should be provided. It is not unknown for live food such as Mealworms to “eat there way out” of the Gecko’s stomach, this can only happen if the Mealworm is too big for the Gecko to eat or too many Mealworms have been fed preventing the Gecko from properly digesting their food. As a precaution Mealworms and Waxworms shouldn’t be fed too often.

        The Crickets should be dusted with an ultra fine vitamin supplement in the form of powder such as Nutrobal® three days a week; this gives your Gecko the source of nutrients that aren’t always provided by the Crickets. The easiest way of dusting crickets is to place them in a small clear bag (be sure to check for any holes first), then sprinkle a small amount of the vitamin supplement and combine with a couple of Crickets, seal the bag tightly and gently shake the bag until all Crickets are covered with the powder.

        A source of clean water should be in the Terrarium at all times. Some Geckos may refuse to drink from a Water Bowl, if this is the case than simply drip small water droplets onto the Gecko’s nose using a pipit or a clean syringe (this must be new or any reminisce of chemicals left in it could poison the Gecko) as soon as the water touches the Geckos nose it will clean its nose with it’s tongue; drinking the water.

        Handling

        Although your Gecko may appear jumpy to start with, your Leopard Gecko will eventually grow to enjoy your company. The main precaution to take when handling a Leopard Gecko is to avoid grasping their tails; which with will break off the moment the Gecko feels scared or threatened. This may seem a tragic event but causes the Gecko no harm; it is merely a defence mechanism to protect itself from predators catching it by its tail. After a while a new tail will grow back, but this one

        will lack colours or will appear bloated and stubby unlike the original tail the regenerated one will never be the same.

        You should pick up your Gecko by using these three simple steps;

        1. Grasp the Gecko using your thumb and middle finger around its waist.

        2. Hold The Gecko Firmly preventing it from wriggling out of your grip.

        3. Place the Gecko on the palm of your hand and allow it to crawl up your body.

        Most Leopard Geckos will become quite fond of handling but must not be handled whilst they are trying to rest, depriving them of their sleep can cause stress which will eventually kill the Gecko. After handling place the Gecko back into its Terrarium.

        Health

        Unlike captive specimens there is little that can go wrong with Leopard Geckos. If properly cared for Leopard Geckos are known to live for over 20 years, though 8-12 is more likely.

        The main problem that proves to be by far the most catastrophic is a Gut-Impaction, this occurs when a Leopard Gecko consumes large amounts of Sand, Gravel or Other loose Substrates. This usually happens in two ways; either when the Gecko has a lack of calcium and eats the Sand (usually only Calci-Sand) or when the Gecko constantly eats sand along with its food. The Impaction is a blockage in the Gecko’s gut preventing it from being able to digest its food properly. Since Leopard Geckos have a wet gut Sand can easily stick to the gut and build up, the final result of this is death. You can tell if your Leopard Gecko has become impacted because it will be generally less active, will not sleep and will instead roam its cage restlessly and will refuse to eat or drink. As soon you think your Gecko has become impacted seek a Vet’s assistance AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! This may be the only chance you will have to help your Gecko.

        Another concern is Shedding, all reptiles shed; this enables them too grow, but can sometimes become a hazard if a 100% successful shed is not achieved. If the skin around places such as the Gecko’s toes or the tip of the tail is not removed it can attract bacteria and fungus eventually making the toe or tail tip drop off .Shedding can assisted by using products that help loosen the skin allowing an easier shed.




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