Im a New at this...
Yesterday (December 12th 2008) my neighbor came over and said he cant keep his gecko anymore.he left me with a 30 gal-long tank full of fine sand substrate with the bottom of a cereal box as shelter, an under-tank heater, and a nice gecko water dish. He was in such a rush he didnt take the time to educate me about this little guy, or even what kind it was!
So right away I started researching, I discovered it is a indeed a Leopard Gecko. I imdediatly went to Petco and bought a large wooden cave as a shelter, I also purchased some small rocks and realistic tree stumps for a more natural desert environment, as well as 12 of the smallest crickets they had. The wooden shelter is on the left side of the tank where it should represent the heated section of the tank, however when my neighbor setup his terrarium he put the heater in the direct center of the tank, underneath, and against the back wall. As for the opposite "cooler" area i have the water dish, and a small cardboard box that I lined with damp paper towels to help this little guys shedding process.
For lighting I have a Red-Light in an adjustable desk lamp, this is on the left side of the tank for the hotter section. After much research and a little bit of studying my Gecko, I understand that he never had a stable environment. I feel that what he has now is much more adequate. As soon as I placed the damp shelter on the right-side he quickly became aware and ventured into the box where I assume he finds compfortably humid.
My Gecko is very, very active. I fed him 2 crickets yesterday throughout the day because i wasnt sure how much he had to eat before he was turned over to my care. I put one in his tank this morning (December 13th) that he hunted in a about 10-15 minutes.
I understand that the sand substrate is hazardous as it can cause impaction. This gecko is large, I would estimate its about 5-6 inches from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. And some info says that adults typically dont eat the fine sand, but if so these larger adult geckos can better digest and pass it than smaller younger geckos. He is missing his front left hand, that is now a little nub, he seems to have no trouble walking on it. I understand this is due to not having a damp enough shelter in which to shed. hopefully his new cardboard box and moist papertowels will aid the shed process.
As I am a "Newbie" Leopard Gecko owner I am open to as much hints, tips, and information as possible. Within this first 48 hours my Gecko seems much more compfortable than his old cereal box. Earlier he climbed into my hand where he let me very gently remove a large portion of shedding skin that I placed down on a rock as they like to eat thier sheddings for more nutrients.
Im not sure if I will be able to remove the under-tank heater all the way to the left side but am not typicaly worried about it right now.
Once again I am open to all suggestions and critisism as I would like this guy to live a long and happy life.