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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Leopard Geckos?

i have a few questions about them. my friend is planning on getting them, and in exchange for me helping her with it, i get to play with it and take care of it when she's out of town!! anyway, she already has a 10 gallon tank, but should she get a 20 gallon instead? we're not REALLY on a budget, so we want something cheap, but not ghetto-looking, you know? and if we absolutely have to buy something more expensive, we will. so, do you think we should get a 20 gallon? if so, long, breeder, or regular? do we need uvb lamps? should we have a undertank heater and a incandescent bulb? or is just a light enough to provide heat? if so, what wattage? and how exactly to you "gutload" the live food? what kind of stuff do you feed them? do petstores sell live food that is already gutloaded? if we use a 20 gallon, would it be better to have more than one gecko? are geckos sociable(as in do they like companions, not will they get along with humans)? which do you prefer, male or female? is sand ok as a substrate? one site i read recommended repterra, but i can't find it anywhere, and i really like the look of sand. i also read at a different site that only juveniles can't be housed on sand. is this true? should we just not take chances? we really want to avoid vet visits as much as possible, unless you have to take them for checkups(do you?). is reptibark ok?
i think that's all. sorry for all the questions. thanks in advance. oh yeah, we're not really planning on getting one anytime soon, so we have plenty of time to figure everything out.

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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oh yeah, could you post pics of your leo setups? thanks.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2004, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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haha, sorry for all the posts, but i'm too late for editing by the time i think of another question. can leo's bite? do they even have teeth, or just sharp jaws like turtles? i saw a pic of padfoot holding his/her newly-bought leo(old thread), so i was wondering if they bite that much, and if they really warm up that easily to humans. my hamster is still really shy, and by christmas eve, i would've had him for 3 months already.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2004, 12:49 AM
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anyway, she already has a 10 gallon tank, but should she get a 20 gallon instead?

A ten gallon tank is the absolute minimum for 1 leo. But, as with most animals, bigger is better. When I got Cleo, what I lacked in was space, so she's in a ten gallon.

so, do you think we should get a 20 gallon? if so, long, breeder, or regular?
If you decide on getting the 20g, go for the long. Leos are terrestrial so need more floorspace thant space up. I don't really know how much floorspace a breeder tank has, but if it has more floorspace than the long, then go for that.

do we need uvb lamps?
Leos are nocturnal, so they don't need UV lamps

should we have a undertank heater and a incandescent bulb? or is just a light enough to provide heat? if so, what wattage?
Leos are from the desert, so they need a pretty warm, dry tank. You need to have a temperature gradient, one side of the tank should be around 85-95 (the warm side) and the other side should be at 70-77 (degrees F) during the day and at night it should be at around 68-74 degrees. To achieve this temps. you'll probably need a UTH and a heat bulb (normal bulb will do). check the temp with the UTH and regulate the heat you need with the bulb. To regulate it you should test with bulbs of different watts and at different distances from the tank. You need a termometer in each side of the tank for it.

and how exactly to you "gutload" the live food? what kind of stuff do you feed them? do petstores sell live food that is already gutloaded?
Petstores usually don't feed them gut-loaded. There is a "cricket dust" that is supposed to be complete nutrition for the crickets. Remember that you need healthy crickets to have a healthy leo. I don't really know if the dust is really any good for it, and since it can't be found in any pet store here, I just don't use it. Crickets are ovnivores, and they eat everything that's edible (and some things that are not edible too..) I feed them a variety of things. Potato, carrot, hamster/gerbil food, mice/rat food, fish food, apple (and apple cores), dog food, rolled oats... I'm supposed to feed it dark greens, but I can figure out what are the things that they suggest me to (LOL). Be creative...

if we use a 20 gallon, would it be better to have more than one gecko? are geckos sociable(as in do they like companions, not will they get along with humans)?
Leos are not exactly social creatures, you can have one alone and it's perfectly fine. It's up to you if you want (and have the money to get) 2 of them. Now, there are a few rules if you want 2. THey have to be both females. 2 males would fight to the death and 1 male 1 female would be dangerous for the female, cause leos are harem breeders and the male would stress the female too much by trying to breed with her constantly. The other rule is that both have to be of the same size. If one is bigger than the other, it will bully the smaller around and can end up in the bigger on eating the smaller one

which do you prefer, male or female?
I don't really have the experience to decide if I like males or females better, since Cleo is my first leo. Now, you will most likely find females around (or at least temperature bred for females) since they can be kept in groups.

is sand ok as a substrate? one site i read recommended repterra, but i can't find it anywhere, and i really like the look of sand. i also read at a different site that only juveniles can't be housed on sand. is this true? should we just not take chances? we really want to avoid vet visits as much as possible, unless you have to take them for checkups(do you?). is reptibark ok?

Most of what I've read about sand is negative. Calci-sand is a big NO-NO.. don't even think about it!! Now, about playsand, I've read combined stuff. One thing everybody seems to say is that Juvies can't be housed in sand cause of the high risk of impactation. Some websites say that sand is OK for an adult. Impactation is the blockage of the digestive tract. The thing is that there are 2 types of impactition; chronic and acute. Acute impactation is when the reptile swallows large quantities of sand and gets completely blocked. It can cause the death. Chronic impactation is when the leo swallows sand (or any granular substrate) slowly through a long period of time. Usually goes unnoticed and the life of the reptile is cut short cause of it.. and when found it's usually too late. Now, the problem is that leos like to lick the substrate, so they usually eat a bit of it whenever they do it. Honestly, I didn't took the chance and have been using paper towels and tiles as substrate, just to be on the safe side.

can leo's bite? do they even have teeth, or just sharp jaws like turtles?
I'm not really sure if they have teeth or not.. they bite, but from what I've heard, they don't bite hard. Cleo hasn't bit me yet, she did hissed/snapped a me whenever I spray her moist hide with her inside (hehehe). They are pretty easy going when you hold it. Cleo likes to climb to my shoulders or get on top of the puter (laptop) when I take her out. I think they are one of the most easy going reptiles out there.

Here is a pic of my enclosure:



It has changed a bit till I took the pic, but I don't want to take another one till I get it finished. 8)

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2004, 12:49 AM
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Ah, I forgot.. here is a nice caresheet for Leos. 8)

http://www.herpcenter.com/article.php?a=24

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2004, 05:24 PM Thread Starter
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oh wow, thanks a lot. that was really informative. ok, will tiles do, then? i would like it to look natural. what kind of tiles? could i use linoleum? like, you roll out a sheet and cut it to size? that seems the most convenient. which is easier to clean? also, could i use a regular plastic container for the hideboxes and stuff and then cover it in something to make it look more natural? like wood or stones? natural is really what i'm going for, but not too expensive. could i use a regular dish for the water, or does it have to be that fountain-y thingy?
also, could i attach the UTH to something else and then put it underneath the tank. i don't want to attach the UTH to the actual tank because once you do it, that's it. you can't put it on a different tank. would a tile do? or maybe a piece of linoleum? is there a size of UTH that only covers half a 10 gallon tank?
oh yeah, i forgot. do you need 2 hidespots, one dry and one moist? or is one moist enough?

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Last edited by HamterDudette; 12-10-2004 at 05:30 PM.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2004, 09:14 PM
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You're welcome. 8)

ok, will tiles do, then? i would like it to look natural. what kind of tiles? could i use linoleum? like, you roll out a sheet and cut it to size? that seems the most convenient. which is easier to clean?

Both tiles and linoleum will do. 8) I've been waiting to go to home depot to get some mosaic tiles, that's what I was thinking of using... I al also trying to go for a natural look, slowly. Honestly, I wasn't completely prepared when I got her. I had all the important things I needed, but I wanted to decorate them to look natural before I got her, but the oportunity came to get her way cheaper than I was going to so, I decide to buy her before I was finished doing what I had planned. Cleaning a leo tank is really really easy 8) They poop in a corner! so you just have to either wipe that corner every other day or put PT there and change them every other day.. then every couple of months rinse the tank completely.. and that's it!

also, could i use a regular plastic container for the hideboxes and stuff and then cover it in something to make it look more natural? like wood or stones? natural is really what i'm going for, but not too expensive.

Yeah, I made those hides out of butter tubs, but I'm changing them to rectangular plastic containers decorated with rocks 8) I already have the containers, and cut the hole on them. They were transparent, so I painted them brown so if there's some space that the stones don't cover, it gets camouflaged by the brown paint. 8) I have been taking pictures of the steps, so later I can show them to you, the work I have so far (I don't have them here).

could i use a regular dish for the water, or does it have to be that fountain-y thingy?
It can be a regular water dish. I bought that cause it was cheaper than the regular ones.. but you may bet a cheaper regular in your pet store.. I, like you, was going for cheap things that worked well. 8)

also, could i attach the UTH to something else and then put it underneath the tank. i don't want to attach the UTH to the actual tank because once you do it, that's it. you can't put it on a different tank. would a tile do? or maybe a piece of linoleum?
I really don't know about that...

is there a size of UTH that only covers half a 10 gallon tank?
UTH come in different sizes, just get one for a 10g tank.
oh yeah, i forgot. do you need 2 hidespots, one dry and one moist? or is one moist enough?
one dry and one moist is ok, but the ideal is to have 1 dry and 1 moist on each side of the tank, so the leo can decide in which part she want's to be and properly regulate her temperature. I have 1 of each on each side of the tank, and Cleo spends most of her time in the moist hide on the warm side, but she sometimes moves to other areas.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2004, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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so the moist hide is on the warm side, and the regular is on the other side? also, for the substrate, would i just lay the tile down and leave it, or attach it somehow? i read that leo's can have difficulty walking on slippery surfaces. should i use tiles with scratchy surfaces? ok, well, thanks for all the help you have given me. it seems that you're the only one who is answering me. *glares at other members*

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2004, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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oh yeah, for the moist hide, can you put a sponge in there? is that the equivalent of spagmum(sp?) moss?

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2004, 11:31 PM
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so the moist hide is on the warm side, and the regular is on the other side?
No... there's 1 moist on the warm side, 1 moist on the cool side, one dry on the warm side and 1 dry hide on the cool side. 4 hides total.

also, for the substrate, would i just lay the tile down and leave it, or attach it somehow?
I think just lay it down, so you can take them out and wipe them every now and then.. it makes for easier cleaning. (I just got my tiles today!!! they really look like sand! I'm really excited and will post you a pic later)

i read that leo's can have difficulty walking on slippery surfaces. should i use tiles with scratchy surfaces?
Yup, it should be scratchy.. Someone on another forum gave me the idea of sanding linoleum to make it scratchy... so you can use cheap linoleum and make it safe for the leo to walk on.

oh yeah, for the moist hide, can you put a sponge in there? is that the equivalent of spagmum(sp?) moss?
I think you need something in there that the leo can dig in.. plus from what I read, sponge is not really good for them, cause bateria and other yuckies can easily get in, and to avoid this, many companies add chemicals to their sponges... A bag of spagnum moss at Home Depot costs you about $6.00-$7.00 and with just one leo, it lasts and eternity!

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2004, 12:20 AM
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Here are the tiles I got for Cleo. They are mosaic tiles for bathroom, have a feel like stone or slate. They costed me $2.69 each sq. ft. you can cut them down and arrange them to fit the bottom. I'll paste them in a piece of plastic or cardboard to make bigger tiles for easier handling. I'm in love with these tiles, can't wait to change everything in the tank! LOL

Here is the picture:


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2004, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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ooh, that's really pretty! i'd really like an inexpensive, natural look. if i wanted to use rocks and stones from outside, do i wash and then bake, or is that only for wood? i think i'd like to use wood, actually. so if i take wood from outside, do i wash and then bake? if so, at what temperature? could i cover plastic containers in something to make them more natural? and since the tiles are in a sq.ft., should i cut them to size to fit to a 10 gallon aquarium, or are there tiles that come in 10x10, because that's the size of my tank. and should i put more than one layer of tiles? would the heatpad go through it? and i also read somewhere that heat pads aren't very good and you can't control the heat very well. the caresheet said that spotlights work better, and you can use a colored light at night so you can view the leo but not disturb it, but also provide heat. that would work really well for me because i'm afriad of the dark. so, thanks for your help so far. i really appreciate it. i thought there was more than one person who had leopard geckos here....

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2004, 07:50 PM
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ooh, that's really pretty! i'd really like an inexpensive, natural look. if i wanted to use rocks and stones from outside, do i wash and then bake, or is that only for wood? i think i'd like to use wood, actually. so if i take wood from outside, do i wash and then bake? if so, at what temperature?
Yup, I think you should bake it all. I don't remember the temp cause I've never done it, but I'll ask a friend of mine that does and I'll tell you later.

could i cover plastic containers in something to make them more natural?
yup, as long as you use a safe paste, like silicone. (and let it dry for 24-48 hours)

and since the tiles are in a sq.ft., should i cut them to size to fit to a 10 gallon aquarium, or are there tiles that come in 10x10, because that's the size of my tank.
yup, that's what I'll do, cut them. Since they have a crack betweet tiles, where dirt can get in and the leo can stick it's toes in, I'll seal that crack with tile crack. I cut a piece of carboard the same size as the tank floor and I'll paste them there using silicone and seal the cracks with tile caulk.

and should i put more than one layer of tiles?
No, I think that 1 layer is enough.
would the heatpad go through it?
yup, in fact, you should check the temperature on the tiles right on top of the UTH to make sure that it's not too hot (the leo might burn it's belly) and if it's too hot, put a couple of layers of paper towels or playsand.

and i also read somewhere that heat pads aren't very good and you can't control the heat very well.
as I told you, you can buffer the temperature by making a thicker or thiner layer of substrate or using a thermostat.

the caresheet said that spotlights work better, and you can use a colored light at night so you can view the leo but not disturb it, but also provide heat. that would work really well for me because i'm afriad of the dark.
what you use is up to you, as long as you get the desired temperatures. I use only a UTH, while my friend uses both the UTH plus bulb to get the right temps. Just make sure that the black light/red light/blue light you use for your leo is specifically made for reptiles, not the blacklights used to see phosphorent stuff..

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-12-2004, 10:34 PM
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Okies for baking things 250 degrees for 30 minutes will do the job. if you have alot of stuff to bake you can put it in one load but bump the time to 45 minutes.

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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-13-2004, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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thanks a lot. that's too bad, though. i was hoping i wouldn't have to do much work...well, my friend will do it then! ahaha, i get all the benefits of pet ownership. so, i'll tell my friend about all this.

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