Popular Exotic Pets – GeckosPetmania Pet Care Advisor
Choosing a Exotic Pet: What You Need to Know About Geckos
Geckos are fantastic pets, but there are many different things to consider when finding the newest member to your family, so how do you know that a Gecko is right for yours? Like any pet, a Gecko will require lots of love and care to help keep them healthy and well, so in this blog we are taking a look at Geckos, and what you can expect if you were to have a one as a pet.
Geckos make popular pet reptiles because of their small size, docile personality; and the fact that they are easily tamed. Because they are nocturnal, they have no special lighting requirements which are common for other lizards.
Types of Gecko
There are numerous breeds of Gecko which can be kept as pet but the Leopard Gecko tends to be the most popular breed to keep as a pet. Other breeds include:
- Standing Day Gecko
- Striped Fat Tail Gecko
- Tokay Gecko
- Chested Gecko
- Blizzard Gecko
- Golden Gecko
- Giant Day Gecko
Geckos have longevity compared to some reptiles. On average you can expect it to live for 6 to 10 years; although many males live 10 to 20 years so you need to be prepared for a long-term care commitment if you are going to get a gecko.
Company for Geckos
Male Geckos are instinctively very territorial; so you can only have one male per enclosure. Females can be territorial as well, but it isn’t as common as in males. If you plan to house multiple Geckos, it is recommended to keep multiple females. However, if you intend on breeding, multiple females and one male.
Where Geckos Like to Live
The best vivarium for your Gecko is one which is long and shallow. Geckos must be housed in glass vivarium for their safety and to prevent them from escaping.
Items that you put in your vivarium will help to make the environment as natural as possible. Things like rocks and logs will create a natural living space; as well as provide the Gecko with places to climb and exercise on.
Hiding areas consist of hide boxes, overlapping rocks, and sections of curved bark. Any other shelter that supplies your gecko with a place to sleep and conceal itself is helpful. There should be at least two hiding areas; and the more geckos you house together, the more hiding spots you will need.
Like all reptiles, the temperature of your Gecko’s habitat will need to be controlled. Therefore, specialist lighting will be needed to offer UVA and UVB; which is essential to maintaining your lizard’s health and well-being. See our section on Light and Heat for Reptiles to find out more.
It will take your Gecko some time to get used to its new home; so patience is required before you can begin to handle them. Typically, until your Gecko is more than 6 inches long; it will not like to be handled at all.
Once it is old enough however, you can being to tame your Gecko with regular contact. Get it to become accustomed to your touch by sitting on the floor, and allowing it to crawl through loose fingers; and hand-over-hand for 10 to 15 minutes per day.
Note: Never grab or hold the geckos tail, as it might shorten.
Diet & Nutrition
Geckos are insectivores, and they feed on insect larvae, like meal-worms, and other insects. Crickets are the most common food source to give them as they can hunt them in their enclosure; the way they would in their natural environment.
Like other reptiles, your Gecko will need a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement. If your lizard is lacking D3 and calcium it can get metabolic bone disease which can be fatal. Breeding females, babies, and juveniles will need supplements more frequently.
Health & Hygiene
A healthy, happy Gecko will be bright and active; but there are few things that you need to be aware of to your pet’s ongoing health.
Shedding is normal for a Gecko and they will shed a lot of skin while they are growing; stabilising when they reach adulthood to once a month. Once shed, skin should be removed from your Gecko’s habitat daily.
However, if you notice discolouration or paleness in your Gecko’s skin; it may indicate insufficient calcium or vitamin D3 in its diet.
Geckos are fragile creatures, and as a method of defense and distraction when threatened or frightened; they will lose their tail. This is a sign of severe stress, and while your Gecko’s tail will re-grow [this takes up to four months]; you need to try and prevent it from happening. Always handle your Gecko with care and if you notice signs of distress; try to calm them by separating him from other Geckos, or removing the culprit.
Impactation & Constipation
Vomiting, loss of appetite or a ‘lumpy’ stomach, are all indications that your Gecko is suffering from impactation. This can lead to severe health problems. Caused by a number of different reasons; poor diet, lack of calcium, dehydration or over feeding. If you notice any of these symptoms; a change in diet or care routine may be what is necessary. Although, medical attention may also be recommended. However, if you have any questions or concerns about your Gecko’s health, speak with your Petmania Pet Care Advisor. We can help you determine the best course of action for your lizard.
Cleaning the Habitat
Like any pet, regular cleaning of your pet’s home will be required to maintain its ongoing health. Establishing a regular routine will help you to keep your Gecko’s vivarium clean and disease free.
- Remove waste, debris, dead feeder insects, and shed skin from the vivarium
- Change water, then provide clean fresh water
- Remove and clean any objects that have faecal matter on them
- Clean and disinfect enclosure thoroughly
- Also clean and disinfect interior items such as decorations, feeding and watering items
- Replace soiled substrate.
As Leopard Geckos are nocturnal, the best time to clean the enclosure is at dusk or during the early hours of the morning. This will prevent you from disturbing their natural sleep cycles and causing unnecessary stress.
Hand washing is very important when owning any reptile. Washing your hands before and after handling your Gecko will help keep you and your pet healthy. If you wash your hands before handling you reduce the risk of passing anything on to your Gecko.
As with all reptiles, Geckos have the potential to carry pathogens such as salmonella; so children under five should not handle them, and hands should be thoroughly washed before and after handling.
Take Me Home Checklist
Before you take your Gecko home, it is important that you have a habitat set up for them to move straight into. This list will help you identify what you need, and if you have any questions, our Pet Care Advisors in-store will be only to happy to assist
- A Suitably Sized Glass Vivarium
- Heat Mat
- Bedding & Substrate
- Water Dish
- Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements