Today is Gecko Day! This is a perfect time to turn the spotlight on one of the most popular pet geckos: the Leopard gecko. These cute lizards are great for beginners, as they’re small(ish), gentle, and don’t need much room. They’re also really cute! A Las Vegas, NV vet discusses the Leopard gecko below.
The Leopard gecko’s full name is Eublepharis macularius, but he is also known as the Panther gecko, Desert fat-tailed gecko, Spotted fat-tailed gecko, or sometimes, just a fat-tailed gecko. They originated in deserts and other dry areas throughout India, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They typically live in rocks, and wear pretty camouflage to help evade predators. Today, they are available in many different colors and patterns.
An interesting note: Leopard geckos don’t have adhesive lamellae. These are the microscopic hooks some lizards have on their feet. This allows them to climb surfaces.
As with other reptiles, a proper tank setup is half the battle. Make sure you have plenty of room for your lizard! Adults should have at least 5 square feet of floor space. Ask your vet for tips on setup, including heat, lighting, substrate, and accessories.
Leopard geckos are insectivores; their diets should consist of bugs, such as Dubia roaches, waxworms, mealworms, crickets, and superworms. Stick with store-bought ones: wild insects can carry diseases or parasites. You can also breed the bugs yourself, if you like. You’ll need to dust the creepy-crawlies with nutritional powder before feeding them to your pet. Juveniles should eat daily: adults only need to eat every other day. Like any other animal, your gecko will need fresh water available at all times.
Some common issues with Leopard geckos include shedding problems; metabolic bone disease, a debilitating condition that’s generally caused by malnutrition and/or poor lighting; egg retention; parasites; and wounds. Watch for warning signs! These include tank climbing; difficulty moving or walking; incomplete sheds; anorexia; irregular breathing; open mouth; lumps, bumps, or lesions; discharge; and weight loss.
These guys are quite timid, but often do get used to their owners. Just let your Leopard gecko get settled before you try to hold or pet him. Never hold your tiny dinosaur by the tail: he may get scared and drop his tail!
Do you want more information on Leopard gecko care? Contact us, your Las Vegas, NV animal clinic, today!