Neglected leopard geckos.
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Neglected leopard geckos.

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Neglected leopard geckos.
Old 01-22-2009, 08:28 PM   #1
 
Neglected leopard geckos.

Hi guys,

My family has 2 leopard geckos in the house, that I don't take care of, my parents do. However, recently I took a good look at them and it seems like they're really neglected. ie, cage is always dirty, no hiding spots, etc. Even worse, I think the two geckos might be male, since they ALWAYS fought when we first got them, and still pick on each other sometimes. Even worse worse, they're in a teeny tiny 10 gallon, underneath a lamp that's on all day.

I don't know much about the geckos, and I see some conflicting information. I'm going to try to get a 30-55 gallon tank for them to move into. However, what should I be furnishing the tank with? I hear sometimes that heat stones are too harsh, and that's what they have now. Also, what wattage heating pad etc should I get? And, can I use peat moss for the substrate? I have a bag of unfertilized stuff in my room for other projects, so I was wondering if it would be suitable over the carpet they have now. I know walnut shells/sand/etc is bad for them.
And, would it be more suitable to just separate them into two different ten gallon tanks? This option seems more preferable to me, since I have a spare 10g right now.
As for actually buying the equipment: are there specific brands to get, which to avoid, etc. What equipment works best, ie heat pad as opposed to a heat stone.

I know about feeding them, they usually get fed crickets, sometimes I buy them mealworms. I've heard they can be fed pinkies? Do they appreciate them? I'd like to give them a wide of a diet as possible, so anything else that's good for them is great.

What about live plants? There's "terrarium plants" at the petstore, would they mind those, or are live-plants a no-no?

Finally, I don't know what to do about handling them. I'm not a very touchy person when it comes to pets, do the geckos like/need to be handled? They have grown up without much attention, and are fairly aggressive as far as I remember (aggressive as in... thinks your hand is food). Is there a way to wean them off their behavior, or should I just leave them be? Do they care?

I feel really guilty about the situation, but every time I try to move the geckos into a more accessible spot (they are on a high up shelf, and being short, it's very difficult to do tank maintenance balancing on a chair), my mother throws a fit. Is it time to put my foot down?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the heartache.
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:45 PM   #2
 
Two seperate 10G tanks would be ideal for temporary housing. Ideally, a 20 gallon long is best for each. You really need to seperate them, especially because it sounds like they are males. You need to tell your parents what the proper care is for them.

Now, as to care.

A basic setup has the following:
-Tank
-Heat Pad
-3 Hiding Spots
-Substrate
-Calcium Dish
-Water Dish
-Food dish
-Optional: Heat lamp, Other Decor

You want a heat pad that takes up 1/4-1/3 of the entire tank's floorspace, to provide a good heat gradient. I'm not sure about what the sides should be, but if you contact Willow or Kate (Amphridite), she should know as she has one very good looking Leo. Never use a heat rock, as it can severely burn a Leo.

As to substrate, DO NOT use sand. No matter what. Too many geckos get impacted, and they arn't even found on sand in the wild. Ceramic or Slate Tiles are great, as well are paper towels. I would do paper towles at first-easy to clean, and you can see how healthy they are by seeing how much/what their poop looks like. Moss is bad as whole tank substrate.

You need 3 hide spots. One is a warm hide, which is obviously placed on the warm end (which is where the heat mat is). Another is the cool hide, which is on the other side (cool side). The last is a moist hide to help in shedding. This can be placed on either side, but most people choose the middle. Fill that with spaghum moss, or paper towels, and make sure it stays moist at all times. A lot of people take a plastic tubberware container, cut a hole out for an entrance. Easy to make, and keeps humidity in it well.

You also need 3 dishes. One for food, water, and calcium. A calcium dish is just full of calcium powder (not sure what kind, ask Kate or willow). They should lick it from time to time. Another is a water dish, filled with Bottled water. Tap can be very harmful. Change this every day. The last is the food bowl, in which you have your mealworms/crickets during feeding time. All insects need to be gut-loaded and powdered in calcium. Again, ask Kate or Willow for confirmation as to how often they eat. Pinkies should only be fed on very rare occasions as a treat. They are very high in fat and are unhealthy for the leo.

Other optional decor is driftwood, fake plants, and aquarium decor. Only for looks. Leos are not climbing geckos, but will climb when given the chance. You could have a heat lamp, but don't have it on longer than 12 hours a day. You can use a red lamp at night if you want.

And make sure you have a screen top. Geckos can escape very easily.

As to cleaning the cage: Spot clean every day, and wipe down tiles every week to every other week, or replace towels every 5-7 days. You want to do a thorough cleaning of the tank every month to every three months.

Live plants can work, but they have to be the right kind. Many are poisonous to geckos. Most people just skip live plants all together in a leo environment, as they are not needed and can hold in unneeded humidity. Fake plants are fine, and make a tank look better.

Some geckos like to be handled, and some hate it. Do with what you wish. They will need to be handled every now and then to take them out of the cage, and if you want to play with them. Never grab one by its tail, as it can fall off. However, it can grow back, but it will never be as full and pretty as the original.

Good luck, and let us know what is happening. If you have any more questions, or if I forgot any, let us know.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:48 PM   #3
 
Thanks a lot for the swift reply..

I got one of the geckos into the 10g tank I quickly set up. I lined it with paper towels, and I did put the peat under a little hiding spot, and misted it. There's also another dry cave, and he has a water dish.
Unfortunately, I don't think we have the heating pads anymore. I think my mother might have thrown them out, so I'll try to get more asap. In the meantime, I took a heating rock from the other tank. It's barely warmer than the temperature of my hand, and much milder than the other one, so I think it'll be alright until I can get something better.

Besides that, I need a calcium supplement. I'm not sure if I can get two 20L tanks, since I'm on a budget, at least not within the next year or so. In any case, I'll try my hardest to make them happier than they were, I'll see if I can move the other gecko up & renovate his tank too.

I have a question. Both of the geckos seem to have "eroded" toes, it doesn't look like they have claws or anything. Is this because of a lack of calcium, poor diet, or because of a substrate that was too rough? (When we got the geckos first, we received them from someone else who had been using a very coarse sandy substrate, they had short toes when we got them, but one had shorter toes than the other..)
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:03 PM   #4
 
This could possibly be because of inproper shedding. Leos can lose their toes if only one tiny piece of skin is left on during a shed.

And here is how you can make a moist hide:
Moist Hide Creation - Reptile Forums - Herp Center

Of course, you don't need a drill. Scissors are fine, and you can cut an opening on the side instead of the top if you would like.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:40 PM   #5
 
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i keep mine in a canibilised 30g tall that ive turned on its side and removed the "side" and replaced what was the tanks top with a the cut down side leos, prefer low tanks with lots of room as they cant climb(the best they do is the "wash the windows move") a hood is un-nessry to keep them in but is good for keeping in heat and dust out.
heat rocks are useless and ive found heat mats to be little better for a 10g tank on a tight budget suggest a true red bulb in a holder that gives out very little light and wont disturb the leos too much and will give off ample heat placed at one end of the tank
get a thermometer and move it until you get a warm spot of about 85F-90F in a small area and about 70-75 in the rest of the tank this will do fine until you can organise something better a thermostat and cermic heat bulb are recomended
sand is fine ive had mine on sand for 10+ years there seems to be some debate as to substrate ive found sand to be fine and lets them dig if they please it also holds heat well
as for water one tip i can give is to use a chick waterer over a bowl as it will hold a lot of water and will not evaporate or get contaminated
a hide box is also a nececity in the wild gekos will retreat into burrows to avoid the sun and will also shed here therefore the hide box should have a higher humidity than the tank as a whole a tupperware tub filled with vermiculite with a door cut in is perfect you will have to keep replacing the vermiculite as the leos will flatten it reducing is ability to hold moisture
as for feeding leos will eat mostly crickets as a staple diet mine refuse to eat them so ive switched to locusts which are unfortunately more expensive, mealworms,waxworms and morio are the main live foods avalible all should be fed sporadicly not as a staple diet all food items should be fed well 24hours before there fed with the exeption of waxworms which will not eat(there a pest in beehives they eat wax and honey hence the name)
everything should be dusted in a good quality vitimum and mineral supplement

as for decor plants are a good acompiment to leos the proplem is that plants need high intesity light which the leos dislike silk or plastic plants are better the newer ones are very realistic in a 10g its best to keep the decor to a minimum to save space a silk plant or 2 would give them some cover thogh

the eroded toes could be down to not having a moist enviroment to shed in if its to dry they cannot shed properly and this can lead to lost toes as the dry skin will not shift
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:55 PM   #6
 
willow's Avatar
 
hello and welcome.
bless your heart for trying to help these little guys.
most if not all you need to know,has been covered,both myself and kate have
posted pictures of our set ups,so they may give you a bit to go on.
the toes,to me sound like unshed skin has restricted the blood flow,and that's why
they will look the way they do,as already said,a moist box is needed to help with shedding,
you should notice the gecko will go a light color before the shed happens,you won't always get to see
them shed their skin as they should eat it. :)
leopard geckos do not need a special light during the day,only a night light for you to observe them.
if you are worried about getting bitten at feeding time you could always use tweezers,
feed the crickets and locas the night before you want to feed them to the geckos,and don't
leave any uneaten live food in with the geckos,as the geckos can get picked on.
you should find that they poop in one place within the tank,and this is very handy for cleaning. :)
best not to try and handel them too much,as they are not used to it,when possible perhaps try this,
place a wax worm in the palm of your hand,place your hand flat down within the tank,very slowly near to the gecko(presuming he's not run off :) )he may wander onto your hand and take the worm,
continue doing this every few days,and they maywell,eventually go onto your hand without
and food being present.
i wish you well,if you are able to do any photos and show us,that would be fantastic.
please keep us updated.
:)
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:13 PM   #7
 
Hi, thanks a lot for the help--

I went out and bought a bunch of stuff for them the other day, and set up both of the tanks in my room. They both now have undertank heaters on one side of the tank, a hide in both the cold&warm side of the tank, and a humid hide, as well as separate water/food dishes. My room is nice and quiet during the day, as well as pretty dark (I have to keep the curtains closed so sunlight doesn't hit my fishtanks), and they seem much happier so far.

I've had some luck handling them, they don't seem as aggressive as they used to be. It might be because they're more secure, or because I seperated them, but whatever it was, good news for me.
Also, I just remember that one of the geckos laid eggs a while back, so I do at least have a male/female combo, if not female/female. I might go and pick up a 40g tank for them, since there's a free one I can get if I want to. Would just putting both of their 10g heaters in the 40g be good for heating?

The crickets being fed to them are kept in a 1g plastic container, and I change their food daily, I give them fruits to eat. I sprinkle their food with a little bit of calcium powder when I give it to them, as well as putting some on the crickets when I feed the geckos.

Just wanted to let you guys know they're a-ok now, and also some pics:


The more active leo, a bit more spunky than the other.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...i/d24f20f6.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...i/7a8f0d78.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...i/86b11376.jpg

The other one, who I couldn't get a good picture of, since they were hiding.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...i/2148ec7a.jpg

Pictures of their tanks:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...i/ddef5cef.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v2...i/8b48ac04.jpg

I still need to fix them up a bit, mostly to get better hides for them.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:34 PM   #8
 
willow's Avatar
 
hay there :)
wow you've been busy,i hope they enjoy their new home. :)
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:45 PM   #9
 
swankycat's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie View Post
Hi guys,

My family has 2 leopard geckos in the house, that I don't take care of, my parents do. However, recently I took a good look at them and it seems like they're really neglected. ie, cage is always dirty, no hiding spots, etc. Even worse, I think the two geckos might be male, since they ALWAYS fought when we first got them, and still pick on each other sometimes. Even worse worse, they're in a teeny tiny 10 gallon, underneath a lamp that's on all day.

I don't know much about the geckos, and I see some conflicting information. I'm going to try to get a 30-55 gallon tank for them to move into. However, what should I be furnishing the tank with? I hear sometimes that heat stones are too harsh, and that's what they have now. Also, what wattage heating pad etc should I get? And, can I use peat moss for the substrate? I have a bag of unfertilized stuff in my room for other projects, so I was wondering if it would be suitable over the carpet they have now. I know walnut shells/sand/etc is bad for them.
And, would it be more suitable to just separate them into two different ten gallon tanks? This option seems more preferable to me, since I have a spare 10g right now.
As for actually buying the equipment: are there specific brands to get, which to avoid, etc. What equipment works best, ie heat pad as opposed to a heat stone.

I know about feeding them, they usually get fed crickets, sometimes I buy them mealworms. I've heard they can be fed pinkies? Do they appreciate them? I'd like to give them a wide of a diet as possible, so anything else that's good for them is great.

What about live plants? There's "terrarium plants" at the petstore, would they mind those, or are live-plants a no-no?

Finally, I don't know what to do about handling them. I'm not a very touchy person when it comes to pets, do the geckos like/need to be handled? They have grown up without much attention, and are fairly aggressive as far as I remember (aggressive as in... thinks your hand is food). Is there a way to wean them off their behavior, or should I just leave them be? Do they care?

I feel really guilty about the situation, but every time I try to move the geckos into a more accessible spot (they are on a high up shelf, and being short, it's very difficult to do tank maintenance balancing on a chair), my mother throws a fit. Is it time to put my foot down?

Thanks in advance, and sorry for the heartache.
Hey wow. There is so much to comment on. Since you got advice I'll just say a few things. Putting them together is a bad idea. If you have a heat rock, beware. I hear those are dangerous. The lights should NOT be on always. 12on/12off or so. You can add some plastic plants, and some things to climb on. Also, you should be cautious of what substrate you use. Many people say bad things about most substrates. Nevertheless, in the end it comes down to what you mostly feel comfortable with. People use particle substrates, others sand, others hate sand and use liners, etc etc.
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