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This section of information is meant to be a quick-stop answer source. We've all had those questions that stop us in our tracks and we just need a quick answer. I am hoping you will find the answer you are looking for here. If you do, let me know!! I would appreciate the feedback.
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My New Gecko

  • I just purchased a new gecko from you, what should I do now?
    There are several things you can do to ensure the health of your new animal: 1. Quarantine your animal- do not put it in an enclosure with other animals- for two to four weeks. The helps prevent any disease issues passing to the new animal or from the new animal. Also, new animals sometimes get bullied by established animals. 2. Provide a save, clean, comfortable new home for the animal. You should check the information provide on these web pages for more details on the needs of your new animal (this includes temperature requirements!). 3. Provide water through a water dish or misting the enclosure. I believe this is one of the most important, yet overlooked needs of new animals. 4. Minimize handling of new animals for at least a week (see below for more information on handling) especially very young animals. 5. Do not worry if they do not eat the first or second day after you have them. This is a very normal adjustment period for them. (if you have received a crested gecko, see below for mixing the MRP diet for them). 6. If you feel there is something that does not look right or if the gecko does not eat after 3 or 4 days, get in touch with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

General Gecko Husbandry

  • Can I use sand as a substrate for my gecko?
    Sand can cause impaction in geckos. While capturing insects, the gecko (especially young ones) can ingest pieces of substrate. In the wild, it is believed, leopard geckos may consume some substrate to gain the benefits of calcium. A dish with a calcium supplement can decrease sand consumption. A better option might be to use paper towel or tiles.
  • Can I use a heat rock as a source of heat for my gecko?
    Heat rocks are generally considered unsafe in the gecko hobby. Better options are UTH (under the tank reptile heating pads) and lights.
  • My gecko is very pale or my gecko is shedding or my gecko has shed but there is still some left on it. What should I do?
    This is a very common question. As geckos grow, they shed their skin. They turn a paler color a few days before they actually shed. Sometimes we see them shed other times they shed without us knowing it. Also, most geckos eat their shed (I know, gross!). This is why the gecko enclosure should include a moist hide (not wet but just damp). Usually the gecko will go into this hide and not exit much for the days preceding the shed, sometimes not eating much either. With Rhacodactylus geckos (crested, gargoyle, etc.) additional misting helps as well.
    If the gecko still has shed on its body quite a few days after their primary shed, you can do a couple of things to help the gecko. First, place the gecko in a ventilated contain with moist paper towels for 3-4 hours. Also, with a wet q-tip, gently swab at the dry skin. Usually this is enough to take the dry skin off.If not, you may need to repeat this 2 or 3 times.
  • Do geckos need companions? If two geckos are kept together (other than two males), there is interaction. They sometimes sleep together, chase each other, and tussle over food. This all makes the keeping experience that much more interesting.
    I don't believe it is absolutely necessary to have companions for geckos but again, I believe there is more to stimulate the geckos if they are kept together.
  • Do geckos like to be handled? I don't know that geckos ever 'like' to be handled. I believe they 'tolerate' being handled. Do they recognize us as we approach their enclosures? Well, they probably associate the activity with feeding time. We can certainly condition them to accept our presence and handling by associating it with food and by meeting their requirements in handling. Some general rules for handling your gecko are:
    • Always gently pick them up from their enclosure with care, avoiding its head and tail, and fast and rough movements. Slowly 'scoop' it up around the midsection.
    • The most common method of handling geckos is to allow them to 'walk' from one hand to the other, switching hands as they move off one and onto the other.
    • Leaping geckos can be allowed to jump from your hand onto your shirt/sweater. As these geckos have claws, slowly free them from your clothes to avoid damage.
    • Some geckos tend to climb/jump to the highest structure they can see, which often times is your head. Care should be shown to avoid allowing the gecko to get to a spot that you cannot quickly get them back in your hand.
    • If you are handling a gecko capable of jumping- assume that it will jump! If it is staring at that lampshade 3 feet away, you can be assured that it WILL attempt the leap!
    • Limit the time you handle your gecko. Remember, this activity can be stressful and tiring for your animal.
    • Finally, remember that these animals can and do carry forms of disease. Always wash your hands afterward with a disinfectant soap.
  • My gecko bites! Well unless your gecko is a tokay, it really shouldn't bite.
    There are rare times when they may bite though
    • When they are really hungry. If they race to the front of the enclosure as your hand enters holding a couple of mealworms, they may mistake your hand (especially the smell) as food.
      This usually happens to me when I am not looking and the cup of mealworms goes flying at my surprise. Watch your gecko when feeding for signs of this action and be a bit more cautious.... or quicker.
    • When held too tightly. This is true especially of females with eggs. If you know of a female that has eggs, do not handle her unless absolutely necessary. If you are holding too tightly, determine a better way to handle the gecko. One trick I found was, as they become more antsy, I place my free hand in front of their face to block their view of an escape path. They will eventually settle down a bit.
    • When handling several males consecutively. The smell of a male on your hand is enough to send another male over the edge. I learned this the hard way and will never handle a male after handling another one before washing off my hands.
    • Finally, young animals will defend themselves with an open mouth and threat of biting. While this is an impressive display, any resulting bite certainly is more startling than painful.

 

 

Breeding

  • How do I tell if I have a male or female gecko?
    If your gecko is less than 6 months, it is difficult to identify males and females. Once they get a bit older, males will start showing a pair of bulges (called hemipenes) behind the vent at the base of the tail. Also, males will show a row of pores (referred to as preanal pores) behind the vent. Female will either not show the bulges nor pores or they will be much less noticeable.
  • My geckos mated, how long before I get eggs?
    Usually, once the male mates with the female, eggs will be laid about 3-4 weeks later.
  • Do geckos need to go through a brumation period?
    A brumation, like hibernation, is a cool down period for your gecko occurring in the winter months. It is a good idea to separate male and female geckos during this time, drop temperatures and decrease 'lights-on' periods, and decrease food. This could last up to 2 to 3 months. Moving into this period and moving out should be done gradually as the geckos' system will be affected. Some breeders do work through a brumation period for their geckos, some don't. Again, any period that gives the females a break will be good for them.

Foods and Nutrition

  • Why won't my new gecko eat?
    It is very common for a new gecko to refuse eating for the first few days in their new home. This is due to the stress of the move and getting use to the new surroundings.
    Note- always quarantine new geckos for a several weeks to make sure they are healthy. Monitor the new geckos' intake and, well, 'output'. If the feces is not found after a week, and it is noticeable that the gecko is not eating, contact the breeder or prior owner.
  • My gecko was eating but suddenly quite eating. What's wrong?
    Geckos that have been kept for some time also reduce their feeding during certain times. Determine if one of the following apply- winter months (temperatures have dropped), the animal is in shed (a day or two either prior or after), a female is ready to lay eggs. Also, additional enclosure mates might be bullying the gecko in which case, it should be removed to its own enclosure.
    Another factor in a gecko's decreased appetite is colder weather. As temperatures cool down, their metabolism also decreases, causing them to be less hungry.
    If the gecko is not eating and it is not due to one of the above reasons, there may be an issue. Leopard or African Fat Tail geckos with healthy tails can go a significant period of time without food. However, this issue should be addressed as soon as there a problem is determined to exist.
    Watch for feces. If it is runny or discolored, you may need to take the gecko and a feces sample to the vet. See Health for more information.
  • How much do I feed my gecko, how large of food, and how often?
    Geckos can usually be fed once every other day. During brumation, they will go without feed for much longer periods of time.
    It is generally acceptable to feed your gecko foods that are no longer than the width of their heads. If larger foods are eaten, it could cause choking or even impaction.
    Most gecko keepers feed as much food as the animal will take in a feeding. You should get a feel after several feedings for how much your gecko will eat in one feeding.
    If you are feeding crickets, it is especially important to understand how much your gecko will eat as uneaten crickets will bother them and may even bite your gecko when sleeping.
  • Is it true that mealworms can eat their way out of a reptile's stomach?
    No. This myth comes up every once in a while from some picture of an expired reptile with a mealworm exposed from the body cavity. This is a result of the mealworm attacking a deceased animal the same as it would in the wild.
    Geckos' stomachs have juices that will kill the worms quite quickly (again, as it occurs in nature)... if the gecko's jaw doesn't do the trick first.
  • I just purchased a bunch of mealworms and I cannot feed them all now? How can I best store the worms for future feedings?
    The best thing about mealworms is the fact that they can be stored for a long time. If kept warm, they will pupate into beetles. If kept at cooler temperatures (in the 50's) they generally will take weeks to pupate.
  • My gecko lost its tail, what do I do?
    I believe this question has more to do with the area on the body where the tail fell off. This is best left alone. There is really no need for us as keepers to attend to this as tails fall off in nature all the time.
    However, there is another point of this issue that should be addressed and that is WHY the tail fell off. Is it due to rough handling (usual situation unless we are talking about gargoyles that are just hard on co-habitants' tails), or perhaps aggression between tank mates?
    If this happened as an action of the keeper, you should be aware that A) you should not handle a gecko by the tail B) closing a top or door on the tail will absolutely result in the injury or loss of a tail C) Crested geckos sleep during the day and if awakened suddenly are more prone to dropping their tails.
    If this happened due to other geckos in their enclosure, additional attention should go into watching the enclosure for more aggression.
    Also note that if the gecko is a leopard or African Fat Tail, these geckos store fat in their tails. Pay special attention to their diets and their health until they've had a chance to regrow their tails.
  • My leopard gecko has what looks like fatty, balloon looking  bags behind its front legs legs. Should I be concerned?
    The pockets are storage areas for the gecko. The area can contain excess fat, calcium or protein. In essence, the issue is that this is not an urgent medical issue but you should consider cutting back a bit on the amount of food you are providing your gecko.



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