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Information About Leopard Geckos

Updated on April 26, 2017
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Brittany Banks loves animals. She likes to help people learn more about them and the proper ways to take care of them.

The picture above is of a beautiful leopard gecko.
The picture above is of a beautiful leopard gecko. | Source

What Is A Leopard Gecko?

A leopard gecko is different than most geckos. Its scientific name is Enblepharis (good eyelid) Maculararis (spot or blemish). Leopard geckos are ground-dwelling and they cannot climb smooth vertical surfaces. They also have moveable eyelids. This type of gecko is crepuscular, which means they wake up after dawn and before dusk. Leopard geckos are related to the African fat-tail gecko.

A great picture of a leopard gecko's tail.
A great picture of a leopard gecko's tail. | Source

Environment

Leopard geckos come from Afghanistan, Northern India, Iran and South Asia. The temperature can exceed up to 104 F during the summer in these regions. Winter temperatures can drop to an average of 40 F. Their environment includes rocky, dry grassland, and desert landscapes. These geckos hide in underground holes to protect them from extreme heat. Undergound holes prevents them from getting attacked by another animal. Leopard geckos have durable skin that provides them with protection from rough packed down sand and rocky terrain.

This picture shows a close up of an example of a  leopard gecko's skin texture and ears.
This picture shows a close up of an example of a leopard gecko's skin texture and ears. | Source

Characteristics

In the previous section, we talked a little about the leopard gecko's skin. This skin consists of small bumps and rough texture. Leopard geckos shed and their skin will turn more pale. During this time, the skin will lose its color. Their skin will shed on average, once a month. They eat their shed, because it contains vitamins and nutrients important for growth. This prevents predators from tracing any signs of the gecko. The predators are: snakes, foxes, and other large reptiles. The skin can also help with camouflage. Leopard geckos can live up to twenty years, depending on environmental factors.

Leopard geckos can reach a length up to eleven inches. They can store extra calcium in their armpits. They also have a huge tail that stores extra fat that can help them survive if they can't find food. They have the ability to detach this tail when attacked by a predator. The tail will continue to move to distract the predator as the gecko makes a quick move to get away. Losing this tail can cause a lot of stress on a leopard gecko. Minimal blood is lost, but losing this tail means that they lost their fat storage. A lost tail can cause the gecko to become sick and possibly die. The tail will regenerate slowly, but it won't look the same. The new tail will look shorter and fatter than the previous tail. A thin tail means the gecko is lacking a nutritional valued diet.

A leopard geckos ears can locate prey. These ears are holes on the sides of the gecko's head. The ears are covered in tympanic membrane to protect from water or debris from getting inside. Leopards geckos are Ectothermic. Ectothermic means that their blood temperature varies with the environmental temperature. This causes the gecko to come out of the underground hole to absorb warmth and energy during the day. They will hunt and digest food at night. Since leopard geckos can not climb smooth vertical surfaces, they have small tiny nails to help them climb.

During winter time, a leopard gecko may go through a process called Brumation. Brumation is similar to hibernation. Reptiles brumate not hibernate. They will only wake up to drink water. They can go several months without food. The brumation process can last from one to eight months depending on the temperature. It also depends on the age and health of the leopard gecko. Some leopard geckos will go into a brumation state and some will not. After brumation, they will hunt prey. They will stalk their prey while twitching their tail. Leopard geckos are insectivores. In the wild, leopard geckos will eat spiders, ants, or any other type of insect that they can find. They have a keen sense of smell and sight to help them hunt prey.

This picture represents a female.
This picture represents a female. | Source
This picture represents a male leopard gecko.
This picture represents a male leopard gecko. | Source

Breeding And Hatchlings

You can determine a leopard gecko if it's a male or female really easily. Males have pre-anal pores and hemipenal bulges. Females have no bulge and smaller pores. You can use the pictures to the right as a reference. Males can figure out the sex of another gecko by smelling pheromones on the other gecko's skin. Leopard geckos breed the majority of the time during summer. They have to be mature enough to breed and around two years old.

Females will lay six to eight clutches. Each clutch contains two eggs. After mating, the female will need extra calcium and vitamin D3 to calcify her eggs. After 21 to 28 days after mating, she will lay her first clutch. The eggs will hatch six to twelve weeks depending on the temperature. If the temperature is below 75 F or above 95 F, the eggs could die. The female has to be careful when she lays her eggs to make sure her eggs will survive. 78 F to 80 F, tends to produce more females. 88 F to 92 F, tends to have males come out of the eggs. Females can lay infertile eggs without a male. Sometimes without a male, the female leopard gecko may never lay eggs.

Female hatchlings tend to express aggressive behaviors if they are born in warmer temperatures. The hatchlings can be two to four inches in length after they are born. They will weigh about three grams at this time. Hatchlings can't eat until the first shed. The first shed will be 24 hours after hatching. Hatchlings shed twice a month.

This picture shows three egg clutches and a hatchling coming out of the egg.
This picture shows three egg clutches and a hatchling coming out of the egg. | Source

Diseases And Conditions

In the wild, leopard geckos can get a disease from environmental factors. Captivity born geckos, don't carry transmittable diseases to humans. Most of the diseases mentioned below, can happen to a leopard gecko in the wild and in captivity. Most people think reptiles can have salmonella. Salmonella isn't an issue, because of the dry environment they live in.

Unsanitary conditions can lead to Gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can be caused by a bacterial or a protozoan infection. The gecko will have diarrhea, watery or bloody stools. If left untreated, it can cause weight loss, undigested food, and death. This condition can happen when a leopard gecko is in captivity as well.

If a leopard gecko is lacking calcium or vitamin D3, it can cause the gecko to have Metabolic Bone Disease. It can result in weight loss and the bones will become spongy. There will be deformities in the limbs and spine. The gecko will twitch a lot and have a lack of appetite. This condition can be very painful to the gecko. In captivity, leopard geckos can have this happen to them.

Leopard geckos can become anorexic if they are stressed out. This can be due to unsanitary conditions and other diseases. When a leopard gecko becomes stressed, the gecko will not eat. This can be very bad news for the gecko. Unsanitary conditions can make leopard geckos sick causing them not to eat.

Leopard geckos can get a condition called dysecdysis. This is when a gecko has troubles shedding that can be caused by lack of humidity and moisture. Poor nutrition and poor care can also be another cause. Geckos have to have moisture and humidity to help them shed. The skin will come off a lot easier and with less effort. If a leopard gecko has troubles shedding, it can cause the shed to stick to the gecko's skin so it won't come off that easily.

Pneumonia is a respiratory tract infection caused by bacteria in the lungs. Leopard geckos can get this condition by a too humid environment. If the environment is cold for a long time, this can also cause pneumonia for the gecko to attract easily. The gecko will not be able to breathe very well. Left untreated, it can cause the gecko to become sick and eventually it will result in death.

In the environment leopard geckos live in, there can be loose particles that the gecko can accidently swallow. This process is called impaction. If the gecko swallows too much of it, it can cause their digestive system to back up. In result, the gecko can get sick or possibly die over time. In captivity, owners will use sand for substrate. This is not the safest way for the gecko to live.

Glaxemiona is a rare heart disease that can be caused by an infection. If the conditions that the gecko lives in are too poor, glaxemiona can be a factor. It doesn't happen too often, but it can happen. If the gecko has exposed injures, this condition can happen as well. The disease can kill with in two weeks. This condition can cause the gecko not to eat and not be so active.

This is a picture of two leopard gecko hatchlings.
This is a picture of two leopard gecko hatchlings. | Source

Summary

A leopard gecko is a very interesting gecko to learn about. They also make great pets and can be your best friend for the next 20 years. If you would like to learn more about a leopard gecko, check out the links below. The links will provide more great information about this amazing species.

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© 2017 Brittany Banks

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