Coast To Coast Exotics
Coast to Coast Exotics - Established in 1993 - Been keeping reptiles from 1975.
Lizard care sheets > Leopard Geckos. Fat tail Geckos. Wonder...
Leopard Geckos. Fat tail Geckos. Wonder Geckos and other similar species
By Kevin Stevens, Coast to Coast Exotics, Darlington

This care sheet is designed and used at the time of purchase. It may be copied and reused by other shops as long as credit is given to Coast to Coast Exotics.

 

The care of Leopard Geckos. Fat tail Geckos. Wonder Geckos and other related species

 

Shopping list;

 

Coast to Coast Exotics Leopard gecko starter kit - Medium Exo-terra Faunarium, 6xll Heat mat, T-rex Bone aid Calcium sand, orchid bark, cork bark, small water bowl, Nutrobal, Calypso cricket dust, Kricket Keeper for crickets, Bug grub, Water bites, T-rex Bio-clean reptile disinfectant, AVS Leopard gecko manual or similar. Crickets, waxworms etc.

Options; Habistat  Matstat.

 

Leopard geckos are by far the most suitable pet lizard species for beginners. Fat tail geckos are similar, and species such as Big head geckos and Wonder geckos are relatively easy to keep but tend not to tame as well as Leopards or Fat tails. In the wild Leopard geckos occur in dry arid areas around Pakistan and surrounding areas.

 

Hatchlings are best kept in small plastic containers such as Exo-terra Faunarium, the medium size is best for youngsters. They will happily live for three to four months in this size. After this move them to the Large size Faunarium  for a further three or four months. The final stage for adults is to house them in a wooden vivarium, an ideal size is 24"x15"x15". A 30'x15"x15" vivarium will be fine for a small group, say two or three. It is best to be careful when moving up sizes of vivariums, geckos can be stressed out by moving them into large vivaria to quickly. If unsure seek our advice - remember we do like to see our babies from time to time anyway!

 

Place a heat mat under one half of the Faunarium. A 6"xll" heat mat is ideal for both sizes of Faunarium. Once housing your gecko in an adult wooden vivarium the mat will need to be larger, a 11x11" is suitable. The use of a Habistat Matstat is recommended, though many keepers find that this kind of system runs fine without a thermostat. Lighting is not required for this species, they have no requirements for UVB and providing a bright light for nocturnal species such as these could be detrimental to them.

 

Use calcium substrate for flooring material. It is important to use calcium sand only, normal reptile sand is no good. Beech chip can be used for Fat tails as they tend not to eat the substrate. Place a shallow water bowl in the cool end of the vivarium. These kinds of lizards are best provided with a wet box in the warm end. The easiest way to cater for this is by using a margarine tub, leave the lid on and cut a small hole in the side - make sure the hole is just big enough for the gecko to squeeze in (too big and the gecko might not use the wet box). Position the hole an inch from the bottom. Do not use a clear cricket tub. Put an inch of orchid bark in the bottom and keep this very wet. Without this skin shedding problems occur, in extreme cases this can lead to loss of toes. Another hide should be provided, a piece of cork bark is ideal.

 

Feeding is in the form of live food - insects. Crickets will form the bulk of the diet, remember there are two types of crickets, quiet and black and it is a good idea to mix both into the diet. Looking after your livefood is vitally important, this makes sure your gecko is amply catered for with the correct multi-vitamins he needs and also saves you money. A Kricket Keeper is ideal for keeping your crickets in, they are well ventilated and have a small hatch at the top to stop escapes. Best to move your crickets from the box they come in to the Kricket Keeper outdoors - if the odd one escapes it isn't a problem. Place newspaper on the bottom of the tank. with some scrumpled newspaper on top. Make sure the paper stays dry. If there is the odd dead cricket take them out, dead crickets-cause wetness and this will kilt the crickets. Provide two small bowls, one with Bug Grub and the other with Water Bites. The Bug Grub is a bran based multivitamin product that not only keeps your crickets alive longer but also "gut loads" the crickets with all the goodness the gecko needs. The Water Bites allows the crickets to drink without drowning and keeps the crickets from getting wet. The Water Bites now come in a granular form that need adding to one litre of water. Once stored in a jar with a tight fitting lid it should last for sometime. Keep your crickets at room temperature, too warm makes them die more quickly and too cold kills them. Some books say to cool crickets before offering them to the gecko, this really is not advisable - your gecko is not designed for eating cold things! Other foods to offer can be termed "treat foods" - do not offer to many too often as they are often too fattening. These include waxworms and Giant Mealworms. We do not recommend the use of mealworms other than Giants. To feed and gut load waxworms correctly mix bug grub with glycerine and honey to form a firm ball. Giant mealworms can just be placed in Bug grub, with perhaps a slice

of apple or potato for moisture.          

 

Babies need to be fed twice daily. Best to keep in the habit of feeding on the morning and evening. After around four to six months they can be put onto their adult diet of once daily. Each individual varies but, offer around eight food items per sitting as a rule, some take more others less. Remember that babies will need small crickets and as they grow they will need large food items. Do not use large crickets for baby geckos if the small crickets grow, they will become too big for the babies!!! Do not allow over feeding. Before feeding the food will need to be powdered with Nutrobal (multi-vitamins and calcium) and Calypso cricket dust (extra calcium). This is best done by keeping an empty cricket tub, put a 50/50 mix (say, a teaspoon of each) of both powders and the livefood in, and give it a shake. Any powders remaining can be left in the tub and used next time. Introduce the livefood to the gecko one at a time, do not be tempted to put them in all at once. Let him pick one off, then once finished put in another - continue until the last one is ignored. Remember if you put them in altogether that the powders will have come off before being eaten and the gecko will not feed as well if there is food constantly in the vivarium.  Put powders on the. food five days out of seven (miss the weekends) for babies and only three or four times a week for adults. Use crickets everyday and "treat foods" three or four times a week. Never have livefood wandering around the vivarium, take any uneaten out soon after being ignored.

 

As a youngster your gecko will shed its skin about every four weeks. Adults are less frequent, usually three or four times a year. Leopard geckos are the most noticeable, they usually turn a white colour beforehand. The skin is usually eaten, but a piece may be found afterwards.

 

Hygiene is very important. A daily spot clean is essential- this means changing the water and cleaning any mess away every day. Leopard geckos in particular tend to use one area as their toilet and are very easy to keep clean. Replace the orchid bark in the wet box once a week. If a good daily spot clean is kept up, a full clean out is necessary about every four to six weeks. Replace the sand with fresh and disinfect all furnishings and the vivarium. Always use reptile disinfectant, never household cleaners they can be toxic to reptiles. Personal hygiene for the keeper is important too. There is a small risk of catching salmonella from reptiles, so always keep them very clean and always wash your hands after handling with a hand wash designed for reptile use.          .

 

Probably the most important aspect of reptile keeping is not to over handle - especially for youngsters. They are easily frightened and can be stressed enough to become ill and refuse to feed. The best policy is not to handle them at all for the first few weeks, and then slowly introduce yourself to him and take things carefully. Adults can be handled a little more, perhaps 10 minutes at a time, say up to six times a week. Leopard and Fat tail geckos are the best handling species - Wonder geckos are the worst as they have skin that is very delicate.

 

It is vitally important that you have considered the following points

1. Geckos often live for around 20 years.

2. You will need to keep live insects for feeding, they can and often do escape.

3.It is unfair not to appreciate other family members fears of reptiles.        .

4. They are escape artists - there are no easy solutions to finding an escaped gecko - don't lose them in the first place!

5. All geckos can bite. Although harmless with no venom, it can be a shock if it should happen.

6. These species of geckos remain small at a maximum of around 8 inches. Ask to see an adult if unsure.

7. We can help with boarding and hospitalisation.

 

About Coast to Coast. the advice you have been given and our legal obligations

Coast to Coast is owned and staffed by herpetologists and hobbyists like yourself. Although the staff have varying degrees of experience they are all trained to the same standards. The advice you have been given is based upon years of hands on experience, both with captive animals and in the field. All advice given is of our opinion and is given in good faith. We cannot accept liability for any damages, however they may have been caused. Likewise we cannot pass comment on other advice you may have been given by other animal dealers, other than we agree or disagree that it is correct.

 

We guarantee all animals purchased are healthy and feeding (all snakes come complete with feeding records) unless noted at the time of sale. As we cannot be held responsible for their husbandry requirements once they have left us, we only continue this guarantee for 24 hours after purchase. This is in line with all other exotic animal dealers. To deter impulse buying we will not give full refunds / exchanges for animals returned for non-health related problems. We reserve the right to charge up to 50% of the purchase price as a handling fee. Please note; this does not mean we will leave you high and dry! We will do our best to help whatever the circumstances.  May we also remind you that legal ownership belongs to Coast to Coast Exotics until payment is made in full.

 

Due to licensing laws we are obliged to make a record of your name and address. We may also contact you from time to time with news and special offers. Please tick this box if you do not wish this to happen . We may also share this information with third parties that may also contact you please tick this box should you not want this to happen  :

 

Name;

Number and street;

Town;

County;

Post code;

 

E-mail address;

Telephone number;

 

I understand that any purchase of animals made at Coast to Coast is with the full understanding of the above and that I have been fully informed of the correct husbandry requirements for the species chosen. I have been given a copy of this care sheet.

 

Signed

 

Coast to Coast Exotics, 124 North Road, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 2EJ. Tel 01325 283756 Fax 01325 255060.

Opening hours Monday to Saturday 10 til 5. Sunday 11 til 3.

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