This post is sponsored by petMD® Reptile Center, and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Reptile Ownership, but My Divas Dish only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. petMD and PetSmart are not responsible for the content of this article.
Welcome to the family, Norbert and Daggett! Yesterday we became the proud new pet parents to a fancy leopard gecko, Norbert, and a leopard gecko, Daggett. As part of this blogging program I had the opportunity to add to my family zoo and after researching which type of reptile we wanted, we went to PetSmart and perused its Reptile Center and came home with our two new family members! This was not a snap decision. The first day we went to the store there was no chameleon available,which was what we had originally researched and considering adoption, so we headed back to the car, pulled up the petMD website on our phone and went to its reptile care center and refreshed our memory about how to care for geckos. We knew they were pets for “beginner reptile owners” whereas chameleons are for “advanced reptile owners.”
The reason we adopted two geckos is because they were in a tank together at the store and frankly, I would have felt bad adopting one and leaving the other alone. Two male geckos may not get along when they get older, but at this point because they are so young (and are very hard to sex at this age) they are happily co-existing. If, when they get older, we notice they are fighting we will set up a separate tank so they can have their own habitat and that is something we are prepared to do if the situation arises.
Prior to our heading out to PetSmart for the geckos I looked around the petMD Reptile Center. I took the “what do you know about reptiles” quiz just for fun and just to see if I knew as much as I thought I did. Note: I did! We knew they were for advanced reptile owners, but having owned reptiles of various types —
bearded dragons, an iguana, anoles, a turtle, geckos and a frog — we felt we were up for the challenge.
This is what we learned about geckos from petMD:
- They need a home that they can grow into. We purchased a 20 gallon reptile tank so they will have ample room to grow.
- They need to having hiding places. PetSmart sold a reptile starter kit that had everything we needed! Plants, flooring (it’s like a thin carpet), fake plants, water bowls and two cave areas because geckos sometimes like to hide. The starter kit was geared toward desert-dwellers so the accessories have that “feeling” to them and their tank looks as though they are living in the wilds of Arizona!
- Because they need to be warm the reptile habitat we purchased (the aquarium) has two lamps — one for daytime and one for nighttime.
- They need constant access to water in a water bowl and our reptile tank came with that. The dishes are shallow to prevent any accidental drowning. This was a change for us as Alice, our bearded dragon, doesn’t require a bowl of water because we mist her daily and she also takes in her water through the lettuce she eats.
- Crickets and other gecko-friendly food. Because our geckos are babies, we know they will have to fed often and that will require either daily trips to the store for crickets or our setting up a tank to keep and feed crickets at home so that we don’t have to run to the store. We knew that was going to be a commitment we made when we became gecko owners and we are more than happy to take on that responsibility.
If you’re considering adopting a reptile you need to be aware that many of them are long-lived. Geckos, for example, can live up to ten years. Some of the tortoises we saw at PetSmart in its Mega Reptile Center can live up to 100 years. These are pets that you, as an owner, would need to make arrangements for in the event your pet outlived you!
We also know that for the geckos, moving from their original location at the store into our home could be enough of a stressor for them that they might “drop their tails.” This means just what it sounds like — their entire tail could fall right off! It’s something we hope won’t happen, but it is also something we are prepared for. At this point, though Norbert and Daggett seem well-adjusted and are eating every time we feed them and are out and about — rather than hiding in their caves all day.
Their tank is in the living room and this means they will have a lot of interaction with the family. You never want to buy a lizard or any kind of reptile or pet and have him locked away in a room where they don’t get to see people. Geckos, from my experience, aren’t as friendly as bearded dragons (it’s not that they are mean, it’s just that the ones we’ve owned in the past weren’t as happy to be held as our dragons have been) and while you can pick them up, it’s not something they enjoy like a bearded dragon does.
Owning reptiles is as much of a commitment as owning cats or dogs and it is a commitment we were happy to take on because, frankly, we love pets! Before you make any decisions on reptile or turtle ownership or even owning birds or dogs or cats you need to research them and make certain you’re up for the challenge, commitment and responsibility that comes along with it.