Pets are a wonderful addition to a home, especially when there are children involved. Dogs and cats are of course the most popular pets in the USA but there is one class of animals that is rapidly becoming more so. Currently number 4 in the list of US pets by households, reptiles are finding more fans than ever before. In particular easy to keep, small and charming lizards such as the leopard gecko which is also one of the most spectacular in terms of markings.
What is it about leopard geckos that makes them popular, and are they a good pet for a family? That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this article so, if you’re thinking of getting a gecko, read on! We’ll begin with a few facts about these fascinating creatures.
Facts About Leopard Geckos
Here are some facts about leopard geckos that you may not already know:
- The leopard gecko is found in the wild in India and Pakistan, as well as Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
- It is so called because of its spectacular markings that provide camouflage in the rocky desert scrublands where it lives.
- Thy store fat in their tails that allows them to remain still for very long periods of time to evade predators.
- In the wild they are a nocturnal creature.
- Their tail can be broken off and a new one grown in the face of a threat.
- Leopard geckos make a loud chirping or barking sound when threatened or excited.
- They are a social animal and can be kept in groups.
As they are a desert creature you will need to create the environment for them in a vivarium using heat lamps, but this is not an expensive thing to do, and they don’t need a large tank. Adult males can reach 11 inches, with females a maximum of 9 inches in length. Do they make good pets? Let’s have a look!
Do Geckos Make Good Pets?
It should be remembered that geckos need special care and may require a basking light and UV lights to replicate the sunlight that they would be subject to in the wild. However, this is affordable equipment that is readily available from a pet or reptile store.
As a starter lizard the gecko is a great choice. It is placid and not aggressive, small and will also take to being handled if introduced slowly at a few minutes per day. They are interesting to watch especially at feeding time when a few crickets introduced into the tank will be readily hunted down! All in all, an interesting and educational pet that will introduce youngsters the often-weird world of reptiles.
Caring for Leopard Geckos
A leopard gecko will need care and maintenance, but it is really not time consuming. They eat solely insects – crickets, mealworms and other types of worms – that are readily available in pet stores. The gecko will require calcium supplements that can be dusted onto the food before it is introduced to the tank.
They will need a tank heated at one end to around 90F and at the other to around 75F, which replicates the hot and cooler parts of their desert habitat. A basking light giving a soft white glow will be appreciated.
In conclusion, the leopard gecko is the ideal introduction to reptile keeping as it is a simple to care for pet and one that children can feed in safety. Be aware, however, that a cared for gecko can live up to 20 years, so you are in this for the long run!