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How to Choose a Leopard Gecko
Although, leopard geckos are one of the best beginner reptiles, they need their share of proper care and attention. By understanding how to fully and 100% positively understanding how to take care of the species, one can raise a leopard gecko to leave an average of 10 - 15 years or more.
But, you must know how to properly take care of a leopard gecko before you even think about bringing one into your home. Read up as much as you can- online care sheets and leopard gecko books. I suggest you read everything. Then make sure that you know what you're getting before you bring it home. Don't pick out a dud, so to speak.
Where to Buy a Leopard Gecko
Once you've decided to bring home a leopard gecko, and you've done all your research, meaning you know the proper husbandry and diet, you're ready to pick out a leopard gecko.
You need to take into consideration a few things...
- Retail Reptiles
- Breeder Reptiles
When purchasing a leopard gecko from a pet store you will need to take into account:
- Their current husbandry may not be correct.
- Unknown genetic history
- Unknown history, in general
With retail reptiles, you do not know whether or not the parents were health and not prone to genetic disorders.
Whereas, with breeders, they take care and pride into their reptiles, and any sign of a health concern that may have a slim chance of being hereditary, is removed from the breeding groups.
But, it all falls down to your opinion, as not all pet store reptiles are sickly, housed improperly, etc. And, you may not want to pay the 45-55$ for overnight shipping from a breeder.
You can always consider a local reptile show. To which you will normally find cheaper prices, more variety, and breeders.
Signs of a Healthy Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos that exhibit the following characteristics, generally, will be a healthy choice for a leopard gecko.
- Bright and alert eyes
- Thick and round tail
- Clean nostrils, free of discharge
- Closed, clean mouth
- Well-developed body (not boney)
- Intact toes and claws
- Alert and active behavior
Sickly leopard geckos will exhibit the following characteristics:
- Sunken eyes indicate a dehydrated or sick animal
- Flat and thin tail indicate improper feeding
- Discharge and bubbles around the nostrils can indicate respiratory infection
- Gaps when attempting to hold mouth closed can indicate vitamin/mineral deficiency
- Protruding hip bones indicate underfeeding
- Missing toes can indicate shedding concerns usually due to improper husbandry
- Lethargic behavior can indicate parasites
You, also, want to take notice to the fecal matter in the enclosure, if you have the opportunity to do so. Fecal matter that is covered in sand, can indicate early signs of impaction.