Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Variety is the spice of leopard gecko life?

Leopard geckos feed primarily on an insect based diet. This diet keeps them active and interested in hunting most of the time. However wild leopard geckos eat all kinds of insects (anything that fits in their mouths) so

Feeding your leopard gecko the same type of prey week in week out can have an effect on the activeness at which it hunts prey. Feeding the same insects can make the gecko go off its food and not eat as much as it should.

Leopard geckos are usually easily stimulated by the variety of food on offer and by the way you present the food to them. Offer differrent types of prey to your gecko and you could see a more active hunter. I use a feeding schedule a little like the one below. It may be very basic with just 3 prey items but it has really been successful in stimulating natural hunting and my leopard geckos are very active hunters.

Sample Schedule

Monday: Locusts

Tuesday: Crickets

Wednesday: Locust (Waxworm every second week)

Thursday: Crickets

Friday: Locusts

Saturday: Crickets

Sunday: Locusts

This is a simple shecdule but you replace aspects with other live foods such as mealworm. So if your leopard gecko ever goes off its food, try them on something else. It could be bored with its current food and wants a change.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Keeping your crickets healthy

Keeping your crickets (or any live food) is essential to the overall health of your leopard geckos. When  properly gut loaded they become much more nutritious and provide lots of the essential minerals and vitamins that your gecko needs in a natural. When you supplement them with calcium powder they become a 'super food'. Without feeding your crickets your gecko won't get any added nutrients from them which they would get if the crickets were being fed themselves.

So what should you feed your crickets to make them as nutritional as possible? Well because crickets devour anything its very easy to get them to eat a good diet. There are lots of commercial foods available to buy which you feed your crickets. These come in a variety of different forms and usually have high amounts of calcium and essential nutrients in them. To give your crickets a drink use 'bug gel' which is great for providing safe drinking water which and will result in less drowned crickets. Drowned crickets are usually the result of using a small plastic container full of water (bottle cap or jar lid) .

So what can you feed your crickets? Here are a couple of types foods which provide ample nutrition:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Crushed Dog Biscuit
  • Assorted vegetables
  • Occasional fresh fruit

These should be fed to your crickets in a small bowl (makes it easier to clean it out) about 24 hours before you feed your gecko. This means that they would have eaten a lot of the food and your gecko will receive ample nutrition when they are fed. Make sure that you take out the food given to your crickets every two or three days. This lessens the chance of any mould growing inside the cricket tubs you use.

Leopard Gecko Guy

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Light or no light? - Updated

I have come back to the question of whether or not leopard geckos need a light in the vivarium. I get asked this question from time to time from lots of first time owners who sometimes don't have the means to put a light into the vivarium. This is certainly the case with a lot of plastic 'anything can live here' vivarum which are currently in the UK market.

I did a test around a year or so ago when I turned off my leopard geckos bulb for a month. The result was that here wasn't too much change but it wasn't something that was going to benefit a desert lizard if it never came back on! All it showed was the fact that the leopard gecko is a tough lizard and will adapt quite well to different surroundings – which is why the leopard gecko so popular.

After the experiment I went back to using a bulb during the day. The bulb provides them with that extra bit of warmth and more importantly your accurately creating the environment they come from. It suits their instincts and little bodies better to have the bulb on as they come from hot, sunny and warmer climate so it make sense to have a heat source from above – even if they spend most of their time in the cave! They have to hide under rocks in their home climate to evade the sun and they may eventually become stressed due to the change, after all they haven’t quite lost all of their natural instincts as they are still not truly domesticated pets.

So all in all I think that leopard geckos can be ok with no light on but for a more natural enclosure for them – a light is pretty much a necessity. It’s a good alternative to know about when a bulb has blown there’s no need to panic (as with other reptile species) as you know that they can survive with no bulb for a short period of time.

So there you have it – they need a light for the long term.

Leopard Gecko Guy

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

5 ways of feeding your leopard gecko live food - Updated

There are a number of different ways in which you can feed your leopard gecko. How you feed your leopard gecko can influence its natural feeding and hunting behavior, which is sometimes overlooked. By feeding, I refer to introducing live food into the vivarium, not the supplementing with calcium (these are covering in some previous blogs). There are a number of different and inventive ways to put live food into the vivarium.

1. Bag shake method

The bag shake method is very simple. Just get some crickets or locust and place them into a bag with some calcium powder in and shake well. This gives an even coverage of calcium to all the live food in the bag. The main problem with this method is that it can be quite messy to get the live food out of the bag and can leave to escapees if you shake the bag too much.

2. Feeding tub method

The feeding tub method is very simple just like the bag shake method. Just get some crickets or locust and place them into a tub with some calcium powder in and shake well. Again, this gives an even coverage of calcium. This method is less messy than the bag shake method as they are easier to put into the vivarium. However like the above method you can easily get escapees so you still have to watch what your doing!

3. Termite/Feeding Rock

These are great for simulating natural feeding and can make your leopard geckos feeding fun to watch. You dust the crickets before hand and then put the mound into the vivarium. When they come out of the one or two holes in the rock they are hunted by your gecko. The only downsides to this method is that the crickets don’t always come out and they can rub the calcium supplement off before your gecko eats the – or it could be a while before they come out.
4. Feeding Tongs

Feeding tongs are instruments that are used to feed your gecko by hand without getting your fingers too close to your geckos mouth. This is a great method if your gecko is ill or not feeding well. The problem with this method is that unless your careful then your gecko can bite the tongs. The feeding tong has the potential to cut your geckos mouth which can lead to infections if your gecko is a bit over zealous with its feeding.

5. Hand Feed

The hand feeding method is just like the tong method but using your fingers. This method builds up the trust of your leopard gecko and is great fun to do occasionally but should never really be a staple way to feed your gecko. Constantly feeding by hand can cause your leopard gecko to become fat as it never really has to hunt for its food. If your not careful or you use too small a prey item, your gecko could accidentally bite you. Its best to do this method when the are over 5 or 6 inches. I prefer this method to using tongs because I think its safer and builds the bond between you and your gecko.

As you can see there are a couple of different feeding methods available for you to try out. Leopard geckos will respond differently to each method so its more about finding which method best suits your gecko best. A variety of feeding methods can stimulate your leopard gecko and its always fun to watch a leopard gecko feed.

Leopard Gecko Guy

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Return of Leopard Gecko Guy

Hey Everyone,

First of all apologies for not posting a blog since October!

I have been very busy for the past few months with events out of my control and have not been able to find the time to blog.

However i'm now back in the grove and ready to rock with more leopard gecko goodness than ever before!

So hold on tight and keep reading

Leopard Gecko Guy

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Leopard Gecko Toes and Shedding

When leopard geckos shed their toes can be a problem area – even with healthy gecko. Even with a moist hide readily available some geckos choose not to bother or experience toe shedding difficulties anyway. It is therefore always essential to check on their toes whenever they shed just to keep on top of things.

So how you combat the shed left on toes?

It can be very difficult to do, as the toes are so delicate and fragile. The best thing to  do is to put your leopard gecko in a sauna  (warm damp cloth in bottom of a container ) for 5 –10 mins which will soften the skin around the toes. Then gently rub the affected toes with a clean towel. This should loosen off the skin over time. Don’t think that it will come off first time as if the shed has been unattended to for a while, it will be very tight and will take a few saunas and rubs to come off.

But what if the unthinkable happens and you loose your geckos toe? Sometimes a unshed toe can go unseen if your not careful and check after each shed. The layers of skin build up until blood can’t flow through to the toe and in the end this will cause the toes to drop. Well under no circumstances should attempt to pull it off, always get an experienced vet to give you advice. This however will rarely happen if you look for the signs of any skin left on toes.

Leopard Gecko Guy

Friday, 19 August 2011

Holidays and Your Leopard Geckos

I recently went on holiday here in the UK and it got me thinking – what do you do with your reptiles when you go on holiday?

Keeping reptiles when your going away on holiday can be tricky depending on your reptile. It isn't always possible to leave your pet at home for the duration of your holiday and this can cause problems and limitations when choosing a holiday. It is possible to leave an adult leopard gecko for 1 or a t a push 2 nights alone if your on a short weekend break. Unless you have a friend or relative who can care for your gecko it can be tricky if your going for a week or more.

There are not many places which offer holiday boarding for reptile pets – which is a real shame. I know some pet shops can offer them which is good but it inst always possible. Its also very difficult to find somewhere which does it as a main feature (I have found just one place!)

I always take mine with me. I don't holiday abroad so I put my leopard geckos in a viv and take them with me! I also take my bearded dragon too which gets a lot of attention when im driving.

I take my leopard geckos in a large plastic faunarium with a heat mat. I put in some of their objects from their larger vivarium such as their cave, water bowl, plants etc (so everything isn't alien and it does a good job of calming them down on a trip).

This brings me to another more interesting poll which I want to get your help with. What do you do with your leopard geckos / reptiles while your on holiday?

Let me know your ideas and thoughts – im very interested in hearing them. Would you like a place where you can keep your reptiles while your away which are actually readily available?

Leopard Gecko Guy