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Leopard gecko

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My DH really wants a reptile and I have been looking into the possibility. I came across leopard geckos while researching them. We would be looking rehoming rather than buying from a pet store

My question is would they be ok with the kitties? I really would rather that they did not live in a cage. I had a roommate with a hamster years ago and I can never forget how that poor girl was constantly nibbling on her cage. It just struck me as such a miserable existence.

I don't know much about geckos yet so feel free to correct me
post #2 of 14
Cats and reptiles do not mix, especially a small gecko like a leo (9"-10 1/2" average). The cat(s) can and will easily kill this relatively slow moving lizard.
The cage is a must, for the gecko's health and safety. They actually feel secure in their homes, so it's not cruel.

Basic needs for an adult leo, is a 20 gallon long (29gal regular or 30 gal regular would work too). This offers plenty of floor space for the required hides. Around $30-$40, a strong screen lid is a must.

Under tank heater -$15-20. Leopard geckos are nocturnal and in the wild would use the day warm ground and rocks to digest their food after the sun went down.

3 Hides, you can buy them or you can make them. You need a warm dry hide, a cool dry hide, and a warm moist hide (tupperware container with a hole in the side, lined with damp papertowel).

Substrate can be paper towel, reptile carpet, or texture ceramic tiles. Loose sand is a bad idea, as leos can get easily impacted, likewise the stuff like bed'a'beast can impact them and also make their cage too high in humidity.

Digital thermometer with probe. Petsmart sells little ESU brand ones for $8-10.

Water and food dishes. Again, you can buy or use something around the house. (One of my leos currently has a peanut butter lid as a water dish )

Food must be live insects. They cannot survive on freeze dried or any of those roasted can'O whatever. They are drawn to live moving food. Average is 10-15 mealworms every other day, or 8-10 large crickets every other day. Depending on where you buy these, it can get a bit pricey. You will also need gut load for the insects - this can be bought at petstores - and containers to keep them in (at least for the crickets).

The gecko's warm side must be between the 88F-92F, any higher or lower and it will be unable to digest or avoid that side. You can keep the temperatures at range with a thermostat. A simple one can be bought for around $36 online or at petsmart.

I think I covered most of it, probably a bit out of order If you have anymore questions about them or any other geckos, just ask. Or you can register here and ask http://www.reptilerooms.com/PNphpBB2+main.html
The Leo section there is probably the best of any reptile forums I've came across.


Oh! and it's wonderful that you're considering adopting a reptile. Leos alone have a rather long life span, into their 30s with good care, so there's always some out there that need new homes.
post #3 of 14
I've always wanted a leopard gecko! I think they are the neatest reptiles and from what I've heard are very good for beginners, but I don't know very much about them!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Cats and reptiles do not mix, especially a small gecko like a leo (9"-10 1/2" average). The cat(s) can and will easily kill this relatively slow moving lizard.
The cage is a must, for the gecko's health and safety. They actually feel secure in their homes, so it's not cruel.

Basic needs for an adult leo, is a 20 gallon long (29gal regular or 30 gal regular would work too). This offers plenty of floor space for the required hides. Around $30-$40, a strong screen lid is a must.

Under tank heater -$15-20. Leopard geckos are nocturnal and in the wild would use the day warm ground and rocks to digest their food after the sun went down.

3 Hides, you can buy them or you can make them. You need a warm dry hide, a cool dry hide, and a warm moist hide (tupperware container with a hole in the side, lined with damp papertowel).

Substrate can be paper towel, reptile carpet, or texture ceramic tiles. Loose sand is a bad idea, as leos can get easily impacted, likewise the stuff like bed'a'beast can impact them and also make their cage too high in humidity.

Digital thermometer with probe. Petsmart sells little ESU brand ones for $8-10.

Water and food dishes. Again, you can buy or use something around the house. (One of my leos currently has a peanut butter lid as a water dish )

Food must be live insects. They cannot survive on freeze dried or any of those roasted can'O whatever. They are drawn to live moving food. Average is 10-15 mealworms every other day, or 8-10 large crickets every other day. Depending on where you buy these, it can get a bit pricey. You will also need gut load for the insects - this can be bought at petstores - and containers to keep them in (at least for the crickets).

The gecko's warm side must be between the 88F-92F, any higher or lower and it will be unable to digest or avoid that side. You can keep the temperatures at range with a thermostat. A simple one can be bought for around $36 online or at petsmart.

I think I covered most of it, probably a bit out of order If you have anymore questions about them or any other geckos, just ask. Or you can register here and ask http://www.reptilerooms.com/PNphpBB2+main.html
The Leo section there is probably the best of any reptile forums I've came across.


Oh! and it's wonderful that you're considering adopting a reptile. Leos alone have a rather long life span, into their 30s with good care, so there's always some out there that need new homes.

Thank you for all that info! I will pass it on to DH.

If leos are not suitable with kitties can you recommend another type? What about an iguana?

Anyone one else have reptiles and kitty households? Any advice?
post #5 of 14
I think that the cats would try to eat / kill any sort of reptile, even an iguana...Plus, iguanas aren't for beginner herp keepers... They have very strict dietary requirements, plus humidity and heat/light needs.

Any herp would need it's own enclosure, be it a glass tank or a screened cage...

Another couple of good beginner geckos:
African fat tail gecko- easy to come by, same basic needs as a leo, but needs bark type bedding and higher humidity.
Crested gecko- is usually fine at room temp, eats insects and fruit baby food, but can be harder to find and cost more than leos or fattails...They do come in a startling range of colors.

The fattail would need the same basic setup as the leo, but with higher humidity and a different substrate.
The crested could be housed as a solo in a 10gl, or a pair or trio in a 20gl "tall" type tank.

A good beginner larger herp would be a bearded dragon, but they require a large cage when fully grown (at least 55gl "breeder", pref. bigger) need a desert type setup (similar to leo).

Art
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok you have convinced me about the enclosure. So what do you do to keep your cats from attacking your gecko?
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by artgecko View Post
A good beginner larger herp would be a bearded dragon, but they require a large cage when fully grown (at least 55gl "breeder", pref. bigger) need a desert type setup (similar to leo).
Wait... an iguana would be harder to care for because of it's diet, yet an bearded dragon wouldn't? The effort and research needed would be the same, and honestly if someone thoroughly researches any reptile (baring the more aggressive species - don't start out with a WC nile monitor or something ) could be a decent starter.

(Unfortunately most people start with turtles and do not research at all... )

Bearded dragons (after the hatchling-juvenile stages) need a balanced diet of vegetables, with some insects. Hatchlings and juvies eat a lot of crickets while growing, so unless a person is willing to make online orders of crickets by the 500-1000, it won't be cheap. 1000 crickets from a typical supplier costs about $18, plus overnight shipping which is another $14-16.
-Side note to the OP, read up on your preferred feeders care.

African fat tails - people do keep them on tile, with a humid hide like a leo uses.
Cresteds really need more than a 10 gallon, also they're arboreal so a regular tank set up isn't the best for them. Tall cages, like the exo terra ones, work much nicer.
Heat may be needed if one has a drafty home, or turns the heat down to cut cost.

As with almost all lizards and especially geckos, they do not need companions. Geckos do not get lonely and adding two to one cage (especially an undersized cage) is risking possible fights or one gecko being bullied.
The only reason to have two in one cage is breeding, and that's hardly something a beginner should be concerned about at this time.

Other considerations and costs - Find a herp vet near you. Just like a cat or dog they can get internal parasites, respiratory infections, and do good with a general check up so you don't have to worry about bringing home a possibly sick lizard. Ask your chosen rescue about what vet care the reptile has had, what vet they use, and maybe even ask for the medical records.
http://www.herpvetconnection.com/
http://www.arav.org/
To find vets in your state/city.

And to sort of give you an idea on prices http://www.reptilesupply.com/
This is a great supply store, I and many others have used them. Orders are usually processed and shipped quickly. Overall though, expect to spend $100-150 for a gecko setup.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sims2fan View Post
Ok you have convinced me about the enclosure. So what do you do to keep your cats from attacking your gecko?
Shelf the cats cannot jump up on. Shoo them away if try to jump up there and tell them "NO". Most of all, don't let them sit on top of the lid. Falling aquariums would be a serious hazard to a cat, and deadly to the gecko. Another option is to put the cage in a room that the cats are not allowed in.

Be prepared for the cats to try though. Even mine try to watch- from a distance. I tell them no and distract them with toys, it's no use to let them get fixated on something they can't have.

Edit: Oh shoot! I almost forgot a very important part of keeping any reptile. Supplements.
You need to have 3 separate kinds, plain calcium (to fill a small milk cap dish for the gecko to lick from as needed and dusting the feeder insects on most feedings), calcium with D3 (D3 is needed for them to properly use the calcium, but too much can damage the liver), and a multivitamin. All need to be phosphorus free, as they get plenty of that from the insects - no need to add more to the diet and hinder the calcium.
Check out the Rep-Cal brands as they make all three.
post #9 of 14
I think the best beginner herps would be house geckos, anoles, or grass snakes.
post #10 of 14
Forgive me if you take this the wrong way, but I do not know how you can have any sort of lizard or rodent without them living in a cage?? Lizards are not potty trainable and need a warm/cool environment. Our cats get along fine with the rat loose in the house, but they never did warm up to the lizard, they would kill it in a heart beat.

We had a leapord gecko for about 5 years then I donated him to my job (juvenile treatment center) because I knew they would enjoy him a lot more than we did. They are the easiest of all lizards to keep and are relatively inexpensive. (which also means they are probably one of the most boring)

I also had a Chinese Water Dragon for a year and a half, but when the ice storm went through IA and cut the electricity he died because it was too cold. It really makes me sad that I could have a pet for so long and then loose him in a matter of hours. I even bought hot pads for him but it was just too stinkin cold in our apartment The water dragon was an awesome pet, he had a lot of personality and you could actually tell he was happy to see you when you went over to his chage. I had also bought him a lizard leash and would take him places. He just loved sitting on the dash board of my car and looking at things as we drove by!

ps, the chinese dragon gets to be 3-5 feet. Mine reached about 3.5! They are not aggressive whats so ever, but like most lizards you run the risk of a broken, or detached tail.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlyn View Post
I think the best beginner herps would be house geckos, anoles, or grass snakes.
House geckos would take general arboreal gecko care, but unlike a leo they're not a species that a person can really interact with. The anoles, believe it or not for a tiny 3-4 dollar lizard, will easily cost $100+ for a proper set up. They would need proper humidity and uvb lighting (something most geckos can go without). Also, anoles, with their small size and temperaments tend to be extremely flighty. And there's the fact that these two species are almost always wild caught - this mandates a vet visit for at least worming.
...No idea if the OP is keen on a snake.

And I do agree, leos are boring. But they're slow, sleep as much as any cat, not prone to barking at night (or whenever the mood strikes them), not typically an aggressive gecko, and most importantly - they can't climb smooth surfaces. In short, a good species if one isn't that used to handling lizards.

It's pretty much generally accepted and suggested for beginners to start out with leos, cresteds, or even corn snakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
I also had a Chinese Water Dragon for a year and a half, but when the ice storm went through IA and cut the electricity he died because it was too cold.
I'm sorry for your loss. What year was that ice storm there? Oklahoma was hit by a really bad one in 2002 that left the small town I lived in without power for more than two weeks. I lost a tokay and a leo to it. After I ran out of heat packs I was able to keep my other geckos alive by putting their cages near the furnace and heating bricks in the oven then wrapping them in towels for the lizards to lay on.
Not an experience I wish to go through again, it's extremely unsettling to be in a town that's running out of food and fuel.
post #12 of 14
3-4 Dollar lizard?
I forgot the Bahaman and Green are the most common, my first anole was a nasty temperd Knight, loved him to bits.

My first herp though was actually a Northern Curly Tail lizard.
post #13 of 14
Yeah, the knights are getting more common lately. I think I've seen those once in a store. However, still wild caught.

My first herps were actually toad tadpoles that I saved from a drying up puddle. There were about 50 of them, 43 toads made it. This was when I was around 6-7 years old.

I had green anoles too, a few years later. I was still a kid and obviously couldn't order online, so it was a pain in the butt getting insects small enough for them. They lived for about 4-6 years, since they were originally wild caught I had no idea what their age was before I got them.
Not my choice in lizards, however if there were some needing homes in the future I'd probably take them in.
post #14 of 14
Try a whites tree frog


http://www.bright.net/~a1rep/a1whitecare.html

Great for a beginner. They get to be about 4-5 inches in length. live up to 20 years. They show little fear of humans. They are realitively easy to care for & are CUTE.

Kermit the Frog was modeled after a Whites Tree frog you know (just abit of Triva for ya)
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