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Gecko Care 101

September 1, 2021

It’s World Gecko Day! These cute little lizards are becoming quite popular pets, and it isn’t hard to see why. Geckos come in many colors and patterns, and are typically quite gentle and easy to care for. They also don’t need training, don’t make very much noise, and are great animal companions for anyone with allergies. Did we mention the fact that they’re adorable? A local vet offers some advice on gecko care below.


Basics

Picking the right gecko is very important. Although there are over 1500 kinds of geckos, only a dozen or so are commonly sold as pets.The Leopard gecko is probably the most popular. In second and third place, we have the Crested gecko and African Fat-tailed gecko. Also on the list of suitable pet geckos are the Chinese Cave gecko, Gold Dust Day gecko, Frog-Eyed gecko, Giant Day gecko, Gargoyle gecko, and Madagascar Ground gecko. They all have very similar basic needs, but there are some variations between them. Do some research before choosing one. One thing you’ll want to look at is longevity. Some geckos can live up to 20 years!


Habitat

Geckos need specific heat and light conditions to thrive. You’ll need to get some special equipment, including good thermometers to help you track the conditions. For substrate, you can use reptile carpet, butcher paper, or even paper towels. You can add stone or ceramic tiles on top of these. Do not use sand, especially with juveniles: your pet dinosaur could get very sick if he were to ingest it! Your little lizard will also need hide boxes and branches or rocks for climbing. You may want to add plants to make the terrarium look nice. Ask your vet for specific advice, including tips on proper habitat setup.


Handling

Geckos are quite tame and gentle. However, you’ll need to handle your tiny pet regularly to keep him docile and friendly. Just take care to never pick your little dinosaur up by the tail. Geckos’ tails can detach when they are held this way, which helps them escape predators. While they do grow new ones, the replacement tail often looks a bit odd. And, needless to say, losing an appendage isn’t exactly pleasant for your pet.


Diet

This is one area where geckos suddenly lose their appeal for a lot of people. Like many other reptiles, most geckos eat live insects, which must be dusted with nutritional powder before becoming lunch. You’ll need to regularly bring home things like crickets, waxworms, and Dubia roaches … while they are still moving. If the very thought of buying these creepy-crawlies turns your stomach, a gecko may not be a great option for you.


Do you have questions about gecko care? Contact us today!

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