Leopard Geckos the Perfect Pets
Published 20th February 2007
Are you looking for a unique and gentle pet? Geckos make wonderful pets that you and your family are sure to enjoy. The leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius), is the most common gecko to be kept as a pet. It is a very gentle animal that is, in a lot of different ways, a perfect pet.
Geckos have gained in popularity and become very popular as pets in recent years. Who among us has not seen the famous automobile insurance company mascot in television advertisements with the English accent? Perhaps these commercials have brought the gecko to the attention of many people who had never seen one of these beautiful lizards.
The leopard gecko is a native of Pakistan, southern Asia, India, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Today, nearly all Leopard geckos sold as pets in the United States are hatched and raised in captivity. This eliminates the hardships and stress suffered by the animals from being captured in the wild and then shipped for long distances.
The leopard gecko will grow to about 10 to 12 inches in total length and can be quite happy living in a 10 to 15 gallon or larger aquarium. Remember that smaller spaces will cause the gecko to be stressed. You want your gecko to be happy and to have a comfortable home so try to give it at least a 15 gallon aquarium. Perhaps you might start with a smaller one if you get a very young gecko and then move it to a larger habitat later.
Leopard geckos are very easy to care for. They are amazingly clean animals. They will pick out a specific area of their living space to use for litter which makes them much easier to clean up after. You may even place a paper towel or similar material in the spot they choose so that clean up is quick and easy.
In their natural habitat leopard geckos live on land. They do not tend to climb trees so it is important that they are provided with housing that provides maximum surface area. The bottom of the aquarium should be covered with some sort of artificial turf, paper towels, or even newspapers. Sand is not recommended as there is a risk that the gecko will ingest too much of it when it captures it's meal.
Geckos are insectivores and like to eat live food such as butterworms, cockroaches, crickets, mealworms or waxworms. Many gecko owners choose to raise crickets or mealworms specifically for feeding their pets. If you feed your gecko crickets it is a good idea to place a rock in the center of the water dish to provide the crickets an easy way to get out of the water should they fall in. This will prevent them from fouling up the water.
For many different reasons a gecko can be the perfect pet for you. After reading this you will probably want to go out and look at a live gecko at your local pet shop. The choice to obtain a gecko should not be an 'impulse' decision. They have a very long life span as far as pets go so if you get one be sure that you are willing to make the commitment to take care of it for a long time to come. Leopard geckos may live 20 years or longer. According to one gecko owner, who wrote a letter to the editor of Reptiles Magazine, their gecko lived for nearly thirty years!