The leopard gecko is a ground-dwelling lizard. It is found in the highlands of Asia, Afghanistan and in the northern parts of India and some parts of Iran. Leopard geckos, unlike the rest of the reptiles, cannot climb up smooth surfaces as they do not have toe pads like the rest of the geckos. Leopard geckos are domesticated as pets in many countries.
Leopard gecko and habitat
The natural habitat and surrounding of a leopard gecko is the rocky, dry grassland, deserted regions. The winter temperatures of these places can drop low. Leopard geckos during the winter go into semi-hibernation, also known as brumation, as they are the cold-blooded animals. These creatures are active at dawn and dusk when the temperatures are favorable for them to come out. These animals prefer solitary and do not mix up with other animals.
Diet of a leopard gecko
Leopard geckos when domesticated are often fed crickets, mealworms, and other insects. Naturally, these geckos prefer hunting food by themselves. The majority of the leopard geckos refuse to eat the dead prey fed to them as their natural instinct is to hunt the animal before feeding on them. Calcium and vitaminD3 is very important for their nutrition.
Traits of a leopard gecko
Leopard geckos are larger than most of the animals of gecko species. Their skin is durable and provides them protection from the rocky grassland in the dry environments. Their skin is textured and has small bumps all over. Like other geckos, these reptiles also shed their skin. Adult geckos shed their skin once a month while the newborns shed their skin twice. They eat their skin after shedding as it provides the essential proteins and vitamins for growth. They absorb the warmth during the day as they sleep and hunt the food at night. They have short limbs and have thick tails. They use hearing to locate their prey. Leopard geckos are generally yellow or brownish-orange in color.
Leopard geckos defense mechanisms
Leopard geckos have a sense of hearing and sight that help them escape their predators such as foxes, snakes and other large reptiles. They have exceptional hearing abilities. Their skin helps them camouflage themselves and helps with survival. They live in underground holes to avoid the heat and getting eaten. Their tail can re-grow if they lose their tail.
How to choose a substrate for a leopard gecko?
What is the substrate?
A substrate is the flooring or the bedding that is to be placed when one is domesticating a leopard gecko. This substrate is installed in the cage or tank of the leopard gecko for them to walk on. One should be cautious in choosing a substrate for the leopard gecko as some substrate consists of fine particles that can be easily ingested. If a leopard gecko consumes those fine particles there could be a possibility of the reptile falling ill and experience severe health problems.
What substrate is safe for leopard gecko?
Choosing the right substrate for a leopard gecko is one of the most challenging tasks while putting up a tank or cage for a gecko. It is very important for the gecko owners to create a habitat similar to the natural living surrounding of the gecko. One should always do research beforehand what substrate is safe for leopard gecko. Though it does not seem very ideal or attractive, paper towels are one of the most common substrates today. Here is the list for some of the substrates that can be used.
Many leopard gecko owners use sand as the substrate because scooping or cleaning the waste is easier and looks more natural. However, sand is not recommended for adult geckos as they tend to swallow it. Calcium based and fine-grained sand is a safe and digestible option.
Paper towels are the best substrates for young geckos as well as sick geckos. One doesn’t have to worry about the inhalation and indigestion of particles. Paper towels are easy to clean and very absorbent and hygienic. It makes it easier for gecko owners to monitor the health of the gecko. It doesn’t allow the option for the gecko to burrow in the paper towels like sand. However, if a gecko isn’t much into burrowing, paper towels are the best substrate for the geckos.
Reptile carpets are easy to clean and are very absorbent. They carry the possibility of ingestion. These carpets are safe and would not likely cause any injuries to the gecko. These carpets are soft and are easy on the gecko’s skin without causing any irritation. Since it can’t be eaten by the gecko, it is an attractive choice as a substrate. Reptile carpet is easy to clean and can be washed multiple times before needing a replacement. However, it is suggested to replace the reptile carpet over time as the loose threads and fibers can get caught in gecko’s toes.
These days there are a lot of prepackaged and premade bedding products in the market. These can provide comfortable bedding or flooring to the gecko. Many people are considering buying prepackaged bedding to offer their gecko maximum comfort. Sand, dirt, and wood chips should be avoided entirely.
Slate rocks are also used by the gecko owners. If one wants to give the gecko a smooth, flat stones, then slate rocks are a great option. They offer a natural environment and promote the well-being of the leopard gecko. This allows the gecko to hold heat and without any threat of ingestion. They are also excellent to use as décor and must be used with another substrate.
Similar to the paper towel, newspapers are easy to use and easy to replace and clean. A newspaper is very impressive as there are no wobbly pieces that the gecko can swallow. Though newspapers are not much to look at but they are absolutely safe, and the best substrate for Leopard Gecko. Newspapers must be replaced daily to avoid infections or bacterial growth.