Exotic Pet Expert Thomas Harford Columbia Shares Advice to Keep Leopard Geckos Healthy
If you are a reptile lover, chances are you have seen the cute, pet-friendly lizards leopard geckos. Leopard geckos have a distinctive yellow color with black spots. They are quite small with a relatively long lifespan, and are a popular choice as a pet, according to Tom Harford Columbia, an exotic pet expert who has owned several leopard geckos himself.
If you think a lizard is a pet for you because they are quiet, inexpensive, clean and fairly low-maintenance, a leopard gecko may be an option to consider, Thomas Harford Columbia said. However, there are a few key things to know about the care and keeping of a leopard gecko.
First, evaluate the cost of owning a leopard gecko. Leopard geckos are widely available in pet stores, at reptile shows, from breeders and online and are not expensive to acquire (unless you opt for a rare type of leopard gecko, Tom Harford Columbia pointed out). You will also need to purchase an aquarium (Thomas Harford Columbia recommends a 20-gallon tank), a heat lamp or heating pad, moist box for hiding and shedding and substrate. These items are relatively inexpensive and can often be found used.
When it comes to feeding your leopard gecko, live insects are essential— there’s no getting around that, Tom Harford Columbia said. Leopard geckos typically enjoy a diet of crickets and mealworms who are first fed a nutritious powdered diet. Feeding the insects or dusting them with a nutritious powder is the best way to get essential vitamins and minerals to your pet leopard gecko, Thomas Harford Columbia advised.
Since leopard geckos are cold-blooded (like all reptiles), they require warm temperatures to stay safe and happy. It is best to keep their cage at more than 73 degrees Fahrenheit, Thomas Harford Columbia advised, while their damp hide box should be closer to 90 degrees. Heat rocks, a heating pad or a heat lamp are all options to keep your pet toasty. Tom Harford Columbia recommended having a cooler area of the cage in case the leopard gecko gets too warm.
If your leopard gecko is shy or seems stressed out when it is handled, give it some time. With a few minutes of regular handling each day, your lizard will get used to human contact quickly. Just make sure you do not grab the leopard gecko by the tail, as the lizard may drop the tail, said Tom Harford Columbia.
With these tips of the trade, a leopard gecko can be a wonderful pet, living for around 10 years. Thomas Harford Columbia said he has found these pets to be rewarding and fascinating to observe and handle.