What are Leopard Gecko's?
Leopard geckos (Eublepharis Macularis) are from the the primitive eublepharidae family of geckos, which is where they have inherited some of their interesting characteristics. Unlike most other gecko family's they have toes without extended tow tips and fully functioning, well developed eyelids. Like other geckos they also have a break off point near the base of the tail. As leopard geckos are nocturnal and have vertical elliptical pupils which expand fully at night to aid night vision. They have a large head and are heavily bodied, they generally grow to 9 inches but have been know to reach up to 12 inches. In captivity leopard geckos can live for between 15 and 22 years.
In the wild leopard geckos are native to Central Asia, particularly Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, in dry desert or semi-arid areas. During they day they hide away from the heat under rocks, in burrows they dig or even in other animals abandoned burrows.
As mentioned above the the leopard gecko's tail has some vertebrae near the base of the tail which contain fracture planes. When the tail is under stress these fracture planes break and cause the the tail to break free from the rest of the leopard gecko. It is used as a defense mechanism so the gecko can escape predators, but at the loss of it's tail. This is not life threatening to the gecko, the blood vessels in this section of the tail seal automatically once the tail breaks to prevent infection and therefore only a small amount of bleeding occurs. A new tail will regenerate pretty quickly and should return within a few weeks, however a regenerated tail may grow back slightly malformed and with a slight loss of colour and pattern. The tail also gets used in hunting, leopard geckos tend to curl their tail to the side or upwards and wag it slightly, this behavior has not been understood fully although it is thought it may be to distract prey or other predators.