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Profile: Leopard Gecko Mark 2

Posted 18 March 2005 - 02:47 PM (#1) User is offline   Burf 

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Well, its been about a year since I wrote my first profile HERE, so i thought i should update it and enter it into the profiles competition. Click the photos for a larger pic.


Eublepharis macularius

Leopard gecko.


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Male normal leopard gecko
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Female hypotangerine leopard gecko


Description

The leopard gecko grows to between 8 to 10 inches. The normal colour morph has a white belly and a yellow body with black spots. These geckos are also covered in little "warts". Unlike most geckos, this species lacks the lamellae on its toes and therefore can't climb smooth surfaces, but is still very agile. Leopard geckos have a long, fat tail used to store fat. Care must be taken when handling as they can drop their tails if threatened. The tails will grow back, but will look deformed.

Housing

A 24"x12"x12" vivarium would be suitable to house a pair of leopard geckos. If you do decide to house more than one specimen in the same enclosure care must be taken in ensuring that you haven't got more than one male. There is no chance that two adult males would get along in the same viv. They would constantly be fighting until one or both get so stressed they stop eating and well, you can guess the rest!

You shouldn’t have any problems in introducing a female to a male, they might squabble a little but no harm will be caused and they will settle down very quickly. When I introduced my female to my male, I only had problems for the first couple of hours. This was because the male really wanted to mate with the female and she wasn't having any of it! Once he realised he couldn’t get his own way all the time they settled down.

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A setup I've used in the past


For young geckos you MUST paper towels or something similar as the substrate. This is because it is easy to see when it is soiled but most importantly it removes the risk of impaction. When the gecko is fully grown (in around 9 months) you should ideally continue to use paper towels or repti-carpet. Because these substrates don’t look very good, you may wish to use an alternative. I use a sand with a very fine particle size. Whatever you use you must make sure the particles are small enough to pass through the gecko without causing impaction or big enough for it not to be able to fit it in its mouth. It is also a good idea to clean the sand in the same way as you would before adding it to a fish tank. This will remove a lot of the dust and ensure it is nice and clean!

For a humid hide, use a plastic container with something that will hold moisture will in the bottom. I use paper towels but you could use vermiculite or moss. Then cut a hole in the top of the tub. This will create a humid place for the gecko to go when shedding its skin. Without this humidity it will have problems shedding properly and could end up with old skin left on its toes, nose or the tip of its tail. You must make sure that there is at least one humid hide per gecko in the vivarium.

The other essentials to have in the tank will be a source of fresh water, a dish containing calcium powder. It is also nice to include places for the gecko to climb on and hide under.

The enclosure should be heated to around 88oF and allowed to drop down to 68oF at night. For heating, I recommend using a heat lamp/ceramic bulb as the main source rather than a mat. This is because it is much easier to control a constant temperature and is a more natural source of heat. You could use a mat if you wanted though. Just put it under the substrate. What ever method you decide to use, make sure you have a good thermostat and monitor the temperature regularly. UV lights aren't necessary for this species. Heat rocks should be avoided at all costs as they can develop hot spots, which will burn your gecko.

Feeding

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Adult eating a locust

Leopard geckos will usually eat anything that will fit in their mouths, and a wide variety of insects is recommended to ensure the proper balance of nutrition. Foods should include crickets, mealworms, waxworms, cockroaches, locusts and other such insects. However, I should give a warning about waxworms. I would only offer them one per week as the worms are very fatty and "addictive". It has been know for Leo’s who are frequently fed waxies to stop eating anything else other than the worms. This can cause problems as they contain very little nutrients. Waxworms shouldn’t be used more than once a week and are good for fattening up underweight specimens.

You must make sure all food is well gut-loaded and dusted. Gutloading is feeding the food items well before feeding them to the gecko. This ensures that the food is full of all the necessary vitamins and minerals, which the gecko then digests. You can buy "bug grub" which is an insect food containing lots of "healthy stuff". If you cant get hold of this, look round the internet and find a recipe. they are simple to make and are simply a cereal with a few other bits and bobs. If you don’t want to bother with a bug-grub, just feed them on plenty of fresh fruit and veg, but avoid citrus fruit. Dusting is coating the food in calcium powder before feeding. Calcium is essential in reptiles and a deficiently can cause many problems including rickets and females having problems producing eggs.


In the time I have had my gecko, I have encountered two problems. One was that it stopped eating for a few weeks and lost quite a bit of weight. The only way that I could get it to eat again was to hold a cricket in tweezers and dip it in water. Then i touched the geckos nose and made the nose wet. The wet nose seemed to irritate it and it would lick the water off. If i held the cricket there while it was licking, it would eventually lap up the cricket and eat it. I repeated this every day for about a week until it regained its strength and it started eating properly again.

The other problem I had was it decided to shed its skin outside the humid hide and there was skin left on its nose and toes. If this happens, you should leave it alone for a couple of days to see whether it would come off on its own. If it doesn’t, use a damp cotton bud And gently stroked the old skin and after a while it should come off.

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Gecko shedding out of the humid hide


Sexing

It is nearly impossible to sex an immature leopard gecko but it is fairly easy when they are fully grown. Males will tend to be longer and have broader heads. Males will also have very distinct pre-anal pores and two "balls" behind the cloaca.

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Underside of a male


Breeding

The first stage of mating involves the male noticing the other gecko and finding out what sex this is. This is done by violently vibrating its tail. If the other gecko is a female, it’ll either stand still or run away. If it is a male, it will vibrate its tail back. The two will then start to fight. If the other gecko is a female, and she doesn’t run away, mating will begin. The male will start a slow, juddery walk towards her. When they meet, he will bite the bottom of her back, and gradually nibble his way up to the back of her neck. She will then lift her tail and they mate as in the picture below.

Soon after the mating, you will be able to see two eggs starting to develop inside the female, and after two to three weeks she will lay. This is usually done in the humid hide.

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Pair of geckos mating


When you find the eggs, the first thing you should do is mark the tops with a soft pencil. This is because the embryo will float to the surface of the eggs and attach to the shell at the top, in a small air bubble. It is important not to rotate the eggs as the air bubble will move to the “new” top off the egg and the embryo will drown in the yolk.

You now need an incubator. You can either buy one or make one yourself. To make one, go to your LFS or fishmongers and ask for an empty polystyrene box. Place a heatmat connected to a thermostat in there and fill with vermiculite. The incubator will now be well insulated. Place the eggs in a small tub filled with damp, but not wet moss. Place this tub into the incubator.

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Leopard gecko eggs


LINK
This is a good website for further breeding information. It includes incubation temperatures and the best sexing pics I’ve seen on the internet.

All text and photos in this care sheet are my own. I will happily let anyone use them, along as they seek permission from me first.

This post has been edited by Burf: 21 March 2005 - 11:18 AM

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 09:47 PM (#2) User is offline   pamonster 

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Very well done! Excellent job. :bowdown:
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Posted 20 March 2005 - 01:05 PM (#3) User is offline    

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:blink: Nice!
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Posted 20 March 2005 - 01:16 PM (#4) User is offline   Death in #'s 

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 :rasp: wow this profile is really amazing
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Posted 20 March 2005 - 02:40 PM (#5) User is offline   StuartDanger 

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WINNER!!!

My Gallery *** My Around The World Travel Diary *** DIY Piranha Food
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 nitrofish said:

I'm hoping to get big enough to intimidate others. I don't want people to ask If I work out, I want them to know I do just by looking at me.

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:10 AM (#6) User is offline   TheCableGuy 

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One word.......WOW!! :thumbup:

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 09:56 AM (#7) User is offline    

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;) wow :drool:

Posted 04 March 2006 - 02:02 PM (#8) User is offline   psychofish 

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Very Nice


Thanx
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Posted 07 March 2006 - 10:08 PM (#9) User is offline    

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awsome, i cant wait to get mine!!!!1  :laugh:

Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:07 PM (#10) User is offline    

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You now have me contemplating acquiring a several leopard geckos. Thanks so much!

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