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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Leopard geckos?

After researching many different lizards, I've decided that a leopard gecko might be the best choice for me. However, I'm still confused on some things as info in books and on websites tend to contradict one another.

First of all, I want an animal that I can interact with and handle. Are geckos hard to tame? Some websites say they like to climb on you and be stroked but others say not to handle them.

Secondly, I'm confused about what kind of lighting I should use. They're all saying different things. I've never had a reptile before so I don't know what I'm doing, lol.

Third, what kind of substrate do you recommend? Is ReptiBark ok? Or should I use newspaper? Also, can paper towels be used? I figured they'd be thicker and more absorbent then just newspaper alone.

Fourth, where should I get the gecko? There aren't any for adoption and there aren't any breeders around here. Is it ok to buy from a petstore?


If I get a gecko it won't be until October/November-ish time. I want to do more reasearch first and watch the ones in petstores. For those of you who have kept leopard geckos before...what kinds of experiences did you have?




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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 08:29 PM
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Another good first lizard is a bearded dragon. Since you are not in a rush, and still in research mode, check them out too.

I got bored with Leopards, but I never tired of my beardies.

I let those here who are more enthusiastic about Leopards answer your questions.



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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 08:44 PM
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I'm a newbie at keeping leos, but I'll try to answer your questions..
Quote:
First of all, I want an animal that I can interact with and handle. Are geckos hard to tame? Some websites say they like to climb on you and be stroked but others say not to handle them.
Lizards in general are not really the cuddly, playful animal... but some tolerate holding more than others. Some lizards you can hold, others are mostly watch, but not touch. Leos are the kind that you can hold. Cleo likes to sit on the puter for a while and climb up to my shoulder and sit on my shoulder. She came to me pretty much tame. From what I've heard, hatchlings and very young ones are a bit more jumpy, but if you keep holding them a bit every day, they settle down and are quite tame and easy to handle.

Quote:
Secondly, I'm confused about what kind of lighting I should use. They're all saying different things. I've never had a reptile before so I don't know what I'm doing, lol.
Leopard geckos don't need UV lightning cause they are nocturnal. Most lizards do need UV to digest their food, but leos being nocturnal don't get much sunlight in their natural environment, which is the one that provide the UV rays, so they don't really need it in captivity. The lightning you need is mostly for photoperiod purposes. You need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of night for your leo to be happy. A normal house bulb can provide this lightning. Make sure that you put it in a room that is dark for 12 hours, though. Another thing bulbs are used for is heating. You need to keep the temperatures right on your leo's warm and cool side (you need termometers on either side to measure it). You could choose to do so using a heatlamp, a undertank heater, or a ceramic heat emitter. I suggest that you get the tank and heating you will be using before the leo, and set it all up, and monitor the temps, and play with it (bulbs of different watts, at different distances, ect.) The colder your house is, the more heat you'll need.
Quote:
Third, what kind of substrate do you recommend? Is ReptiBark ok? Or should I use newspaper? Also, can paper towels be used? I figured they'd be thicker and more absorbent then just newspaper alone.
I have tiles with paper towels in her corner. A cool thing about leos is that they pick a corner and always go pooping in it, so you can pretty much use anything else on the rest of the tank and it will stay pretty clean... (you still need to clean it, though, crickets poo everywhere).. You can use paper towels also no problem, the only think I don't like about it is that crickets get under it, and you have to take it all out every feeding to get out the leftover crix (you don't want to leave them in cause they can bite your leo). I'm not sure about what reptibark is, but granular substrates are not recomended cause leo's tend to lick the floor, swallowing the substrate, and that causes impactation.
Quote:
Fourth, where should I get the gecko? There aren't any for adoption and there aren't any breeders around here. Is it ok to buy from a petstore?
I got mine from a pet store, it was the only way I could. I've seen some breeders on the internet that ship (reptiles are legal to ship, and they do so by shipping overnigt I think... not sure... anyway... for some extra $$$ you could get a more interesting morph that what you would get at a pet store... here is a site http://www.crestedgecko.com/crestedg...d%20Geckos.htm Their leo prices ranges from the $60 up and shipping is $40 per box (they can ship more than 1 animal in a box). Check the blizzards! They have some beautiful midnight blizzards there, I wish I had some money for one of them 8(
In this other site they have some more affordable leos, but not quite as pretty, plus they have some that are cheaper cause they have regrown tails... I would go for the ones that don't. http://lllreptile.com/store/catalog/animals/geckos/ (you have to scroll down a bit to get to the leos, cause they have all the geckos listed together) Also, check that they say CB (captive bred). Their shipping is about $30
Do a search on leopard gecko breeders, you might find the your leo that way. 8)
Here is a good caresheet for you: http://www.herpcenter.com/showthread.php?t=2731

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-23-2005, 09:41 PM
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i was always told to not handle my leo unless i had to. so i dont do it. but when i have to hold him he just sets there and doesnt try to run away. in my opinion leos are very tame. i use newspaper in my cage, and papertowles in his poddy corner. leos dont need lighting but i have a 60 watt light on mine for the added warmth in the day. i hope you dont get a leo as picky as mine! mine is so picky the ONLY and i mean ONLY thing he will eat is supersworms (there not good for them, but not as bad if the leo is grown) padfoot basically told you all you need to know. good job padfoot! any more questions just ask


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, everyone! Beardies always seemed interesting but I was under the impression that they're difficult to care for and they need a really big tank (I don't have that much space). I might be wrong, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padfoot
I'm a newbie at keeping leos, but I'll try to answer your questions..
Lizards in general are not really the cuddly, playful animal... but some tolerate holding more than others. Some lizards you can hold, others are mostly watch, but not touch. Leos are the kind that you can hold. Cleo likes to sit on the puter for a while and climb up to my shoulder and sit on my shoulder. She came to me pretty much tame. From what I've heard, hatchlings and very young ones are a bit more jumpy, but if you keep holding them a bit every day, they settle down and are quite tame and easy to handle.

Leopard geckos don't need UV lightning cause they are nocturnal. Most lizards do need UV to digest their food, but leos being nocturnal don't get much sunlight in their natural environment, which is the one that provide the UV rays, so they don't really need it in captivity. The lightning you need is mostly for photoperiod purposes. You need 12 hours of light and 12 hours of night for your leo to be happy. A normal house bulb can provide this lightning. Make sure that you put it in a room that is dark for 12 hours, though. Another thing bulbs are used for is heating. You need to keep the temperatures right on your leo's warm and cool side (you need termometers on either side to measure it). You could choose to do so using a heatlamp, a undertank heater, or a ceramic heat emitter. I suggest that you get the tank and heating you will be using before the leo, and set it all up, and monitor the temps, and play with it (bulbs of different watts, at different distances, ect.) The colder your house is, the more heat you'll need.
I have tiles with paper towels in her corner. A cool thing about leos is that they pick a corner and always go pooping in it, so you can pretty much use anything else on the rest of the tank and it will stay pretty clean... (you still need to clean it, though, crickets poo everywhere).. You can use paper towels also no problem, the only think I don't like about it is that crickets get under it, and you have to take it all out every feeding to get out the leftover crix (you don't want to leave them in cause they can bite your leo). I'm not sure about what reptibark is, but granular substrates are not recomended cause leo's tend to lick the floor, swallowing the substrate, and that causes impactation.
I got mine from a pet store, it was the only way I could. I've seen some breeders on the internet that ship (reptiles are legal to ship, and they do so by shipping overnigt I think... not sure... anyway... for some extra $$$ you could get a more interesting morph that what you would get at a pet store... here is a site http://www.crestedgecko.com/crestedg...d%20Geckos.htm Their leo prices ranges from the $60 up and shipping is $40 per box (they can ship more than 1 animal in a box). Check the blizzards! They have some beautiful midnight blizzards there, I wish I had some money for one of them 8(
In this other site they have some more affordable leos, but not quite as pretty, plus they have some that are cheaper cause they have regrown tails... I would go for the ones that don't. http://lllreptile.com/store/catalog/animals/geckos/ (you have to scroll down a bit to get to the leos, cause they have all the geckos listed together) Also, check that they say CB (captive bred). Their shipping is about $30
Do a search on leopard gecko breeders, you might find the your leo that way. 8)
Here is a good caresheet for you: http://www.herpcenter.com/showthread.php?t=2731
Those are some pretty geckos. I don't really have enough money though. I don't like the idea of shipping animals anyway =/. We do have a very good petstore around here that specializes in reptiles and exotics. They have some cool-looking leopard geckos. I like those "ghost" ones . And by the way, this is the description for reptibark: "100% natural product made from the ground bark of fir trees. Goes through a 3-stage cleaning process to rid the bark of large sticks and all powdery dust and dirt. Smaller size prevents crickets from hiding in substrate." They have a few different kinds. I knew about the sand and impaction so I thought this would be better .

Also, as I'm not completely sure I'm getting a leopard gecko I was wondering how difficult the Tokay geckos are. I'm quite interested in them but they look difficult. I love Day geckos as well but was told they don't make good starter lizards...?




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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 06:49 PM
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Tokay's are easy to keep.
Coupla things though..

Serious climbers, they'll live on the glass or up high, kinda shy. Good eaters, keep them humid and warm.

They bite. And when I say they bite, I mean they BITE!!! They have incredibly strong jaws, be very very careful if you handle them. Use gloves. I'm serious, I thought one had taken my finger off through a heavy pair of cotton gloves.



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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-24-2005, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mygala
Tokay's are easy to keep.
Coupla things though..

Serious climbers, they'll live on the glass or up high, kinda shy. Good eaters, keep them humid and warm.

They bite. And when I say they bite, I mean they BITE!!! They have incredibly strong jaws, be very very careful if you handle them. Use gloves. I'm serious, I thought one had taken my finger off through a heavy pair of cotton gloves.
Oh my. I had no idea. I don't really want a lizard that's going to cause me serious damage.




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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 12:32 AM
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We researched both Leo's and Beardies for my (then) 5 yr old when she wanted a lizard.
The things that sent us towards the Beardie were:
1. Beardies are diurnal, giving her more chances to interact with him.
2. They are very pliable and friendly for a lizard. The way it was described to us.....Leo's are the cats of the reptile world...will -tolerate- being handled for short periods while Beardies are the dogs of the reptile world..they can actually get to the point where they look forward to and demand attention.

Beardies require a larger cage, they get larger than the Leo's and a bit more care and expense than a Leo as well. A 40 gal Breeder is the minimum size recommended for a Beardie (36"L x 18"W x 16"H) and of course, the more handling you can give them the tamer they get.
Downside that no one warned us about --- They are -bottomless- pits as youngsters. Some will eat as many as 75-100 appropriately sized crickets a day. We prefer to feed silkworms for the better nutritional content and the fact that coccidia has been linked to crickets as carriers. Nasty bugs..ugh. They also arent as difficult to capture for feedings as crickets. (They dont smell even half as bad!!)

Either way you go in the end....keep in mind that 90% of the substrates sold for Reptiles are deadly!! Impaction abounds and the companies are not required to have truth in advertising.
We currently keep our Dragon on non-adhesive shelf liner. Once he reaches a year old, we will consider switching him to washed and sifted playsand since he isnt fed anything he has to chase in his terrarium.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 06:59 AM
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I kept my dragons on rabbit pellets. The pellets broke down when wet, and acted like clumping cat litter, so were easy to spot clean. The REAL up side as far as I was concerned was that if the dragon ingested some.. it was good for them.



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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys . I did research on Beardies and they seem awesome but I don't think I could afford such a large tank. One website said that I needed a tank that was at least 55 gallons! I don't know where I would put it, anyway. See, the lizard is going to be in my room and I have limited space. I'll see, though. Any other lizards that you reccomend, Mygala? Have you ever kept Chinese Water Dragons? I saw them in a petstore in December and really liked them but I can't find any good info =/. Sorry about all these questions, I'm new to the reptile world .




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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 06:59 PM
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According to this caresheet: http://www.herpcenter.com/showthread.php?t=2732 , Chinese water dragon males are around 3 feet long, while females are around 2 feet long (tail included). They need an enclosure that is 6 feet long, 2-3 feet deep and 4-6 feet high. Kinda like you need for a green iguana.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 07:53 PM
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You may wanna check out the crested gecko too, IMO they are more "tame" than leos. Mine is at least, especially if you offer their favorite flavored babyfood outside of teh cage. I'm not going to write an essay on care, so heres the link to my caresheet you can check out if your interested:
http://www.reptilerooms.com/Sections...94-page-1.html

Leo's are cool, and can be handled. They need a thermal gradiant, 88-92*F on the warm end, 75*F ish on the cool. This can be accomplished with a UTH or heat bulb. I would not use any particle substrate, just non adhesive shelf liner, paper towel, or reptile carpet. Rabbit pellets can get fungi/mold, not too good. You *can* use washed and screened playsand if the leo is over 40 grams and past 7" in length. At this point it is safer because teh internal organs are more spaced out rather than crammed together. However, if you use sand monitor the BM's, keep a calcium dish in there, and feed in a dish. The caclium dish you should have in there anyway.

Beardies are great, the most tame herp i own is my 8 month old beardie. But I do not feel they are great for begginers. They require at least 6 square feet of floorspace, which is generally 65+ gallons. A 40 gallon BR (36" x 18" ) is okay, however you need to give teh dragon outside time. They need movement and excercise to build muscle

Beardies are cool. I get mine out all the time and he loves it. They like soft things, so if you were to get one you should get a baby recieving blanket. Mine sleeps in his every night and he snuggles in another outside the cage to fall asleep (sometimes with me ). He watch TV with me, and I take him all over the place.

The only downside as said is the 0-6 months old are black holes. They eat you outa house and home. Give 2-4 insect feedings a day, each feeding as many as tehy can eat in 10-15 minutes. With a salad in the morning. After 6 months you can cut back some on insect feeding, and once they are odler than 10 months its beneficial to feed 90% of the diet salad, with only about 15-25 insects a Week. This is more healthy, and it greatly kills the chances the fatty liver disease, the greatest problem in adult dragons.

Silk worms are great, best feeder IMO. However its still being decided whether they are good staple. They have a high fat content, and in adults this inreases your fattyl liver disease risk. But I still think they are great.

Twin oaks has the best cage prices, you can get the acrylic terrariums for abouta buck a gallon, and they will ship them.
http://glasscages.com

-Jeff Howell

1.0 Bearded Dragon ( Charlie )
1.0 Crested Gecko ( Spike )
1.0 Leopard Gecko ( Leo )

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-25-2005, 10:35 PM
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I've never owned a Water Dragon, but a good friend of mine has two. They are probably more than you want from what you have described. Like Padfoot said, they get pretty big. I've not seen much in the way of personality in them either.

Sasami, I've owned a lot of different kind of lizards, snakes, spiders, scorpions, etc. What I look for in an animal has changed over the years. Think about long term, what will you look for after the "newness" wears off?

My personal preference for herps now is not based on whether I can handle it or not. Handling gets old IMO. What's more, unless the animal enjoys it, it's really just a selfishness on our part.

Of the ones I've owned and handled regularly, I think my Beardies occasionally liked to get out. I had an Indigo snake that I think liked being held, and I had a Russian and Sulcata tortoise that each really seemed to like interacting with people. Other than those, I think most herps tolerate handling more than like it.

What impresses me is someone who can take an animal, and make an attractive, realistic, functional (as far as easy to clean and maintain) exhibit out of it. A well done terrarium is a work of art. Live plants, water, places to hide.. It makes your animals comfortable, and it makes you feel good about what you are doing for them.

A Bearded Dragon in sterile aquarium, with a hide, a bowl, a rock and a newspaper floor just doesn't feel good to me anymore. I can see how they'd want out.

Sasami, your smart and thorough in your research. How about a natural 20gal terrarium with a few house geckos, or anoles, or some other tropical herp. I think you should look at all your options, you could do something more adventurous than just a lizard you can handle.

Just something to think about...



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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2005, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mygala
Sasami, your smart and thorough in your research. How about a natural 20gal terrarium with a few house geckos, or anoles, or some other tropical herp. I think you should look at all your options, you could do something more adventurous than just a lizard you can handle.

Just something to think about...
I guess that it just feels weird to me to have an animal that you can't really interact with. I see that as being an animal I take care of, rather then a pet. I figured it would also be better to have a lizard that was ok with being handled because it'd make cleaning the tank and getting it to the vet easier. I had heard that leo's enjoyed being handled from several people and because they also don't need a lot of room and are easy to care for I thought it would be a good lizard for me (plus, they're nocturnal which is good because during the day I'm busy...I usually interact with my pets more towards the evening).

I'm just really nervous with everything because I've never had a lizard before. In fact, this will be my first non-furry pet...well, besides my fish, lol. I wanted something that had pretty simple care to start out with and I thought if I did well and enjoyed it then in the future I could own Chinese Water Dragons, Day geckos, and Chameleons (three of my favorites).

As far as Beardies go...I've become very interested in them. If I can find a place to put a tank then I might just get one, lol.

Oh, and Jeffreh, I was considering Crested geckos. I don't know if we can get them around here but I think I know of a store that carries them (I mean, they have every other kind of gecko--leopards, day geckos, tokay geckos, etc.). I had actually heard that they were skittish and tended to bite which was what led me away from them. I'll read that caresheet of yours .




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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-26-2005, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sasami
I guess that it just feels weird to me to have an animal that you can't really interact with. I see that as being an animal I take care of, rather then a pet.
That's very perceptive. My feeling has always been that "if it won't come when you call it, it ain't really a pet", it's an animal I take care of. But, Hey, thats okay. My tarantulas don't like when I mess with them or their enclosure, but that's not necessary for my enjoyment of their beauty. I like them anyway!



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