Leopard geckos are great little reptiles from south asia. Their natural range is from Iran/Iraq through Afghanistan and into northern India. They have become a staple in the exotic pet trade and most reptile keepers have either kept one or do have one in their collection. If you’re looking for beginner pet reptile as well, these are certainly one of the best starter lizards you could collect.
However, while we all know the basics of leopard gecko care, there is so much that people don’t realise about these absolutely fantastic little geckos. So here are ten leopard gecko facts you might not have known.
Ten Leopard Gecko Facts
1. Leopard Geckos Aren’t Like Other Geckos
This is probably one of the most widely known leopard gecko facts, but still a good one. But when you think of a gecko, you probably think of a lizard that can climb up walls and doesn’t have eyelids. Leopard geckos don’t have these traits. In fact, they can’t climb up walls, glass or any other flat surface like so many of their cousins like crested geckos. This is because they don’t have the toe pads.
In addition, leopard geckos have moveable eyelids. And seeing a gecko sleep with its eyes closed is very cute. There might be several reasons for this, the natural habitat for the leopard gecko and the prey items probably don’t require it to climb, unlike that of the crested gecko or the Tokay gecko.
Leopard geckos eat a variety of invertebrates in the wild, which tend to spend the vast majority of their time on the ground. Most wild leopard geckos spend large parts of their in burrows, which toe pads would be unhelpful.
In addition, eyelids might offer protection from substrate that might fall on them while moving through burrows and tunnels.
2. Leopard Geckos Don’t Live In Deserts
Despite the instance of pet stores and chains, leopard geckos don’t inhabit deserts. Their main habit is mostly dry grasslands. Though they are found in some rocky locations. I’ve seen pictures of wild leopard geckos however living very happily in green grasslands in Pakistan and India.
A pure desert set-up is therefore not ideal for leopard geckos. Instead, you should build a substrate that is a mixture of sand, soil and even bark. You should also include plenty of hiding places and surface clutter to improve the natural habitat you’re providing your leopard gecko.
3. It Can Get Very Cold In Their Natural Habitat
Another common myth, when it comes to leopard gecko facts, is that they live in very hot climates all year round. While it is warmer than it is in Canada, Northern US and the UK, the average temperature in these locations during winter can be as low as 10 degrees Celsius. This is very chilled compared to what we generally keep leopard geckos in captivity.
During these colder months, leopard geckos brumate. This is a sort of hibernation where they are less active, but not asleep. They often require their fat reserves in order to survive these harsh months.
4. Leopard Geckos Shake Their Tails
New owners can sometimes be amused by this, but leopard geckos like shake their tail often. There are a few reasons why leopard geckos shake their tails. The main reason why a leopard gecko owner might see the tail shaking is that they are displaying hunting behaviour. I’ve seen this lots of time and it can look very cute.
Another time is during breeding and sometimes when they are excited about something. However, these are less commonly seen. I have seen my girl, Felicity, shake her tail when she sees me. Though I think this is because she knows that I’ll be feeding her soon.
5. Leopard Geckos Can Talk
Many think that leopard geckos are quiet and don’t have a voice. This isn’t true. In fact, leopard geckos can make noises, often it sounds like a little squeak or small squark. You don’t often hear it, but when you do you will think it is the cutest noise. From experience, the noise is a last minute deterrent to predators. I’ve often heard the noise in young leopard geckos that I am taming.
If this doesn’t work, I suspect that the tail will be shed as a last resort.
6. Its Confusing On Who Discovered The Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos facts can sometimes be confusing and this is certainly one that has some debate. Different sources list different people as the discoverers of the leopard gecko. One source says that the leopard gecko was discovered in 1903 when Russian ornithologist N.A. Zarudny collected two specimens while travelling through Afghanistan. These two specimens were lost however.
Other sources have stated that zoologist Edward Blyth discovered the species nearly fifty years earlier in 1854. This is the most likely answer as it predates N.A. Zarudny and Edward Blyth is well known to have visited the area and discovered numerous different species in the area.
7. Leopard Geckos Are Not Nocturnal
Many people expect that leopard geckos are nocturnal. However, this is a misconception. Leopard geckos are most active around the evening and dawn times. This is when their favourite prey items are active and it is easier for them to hunt.
In captivity, however, leopard geckos can be active at any time of the day. Sometimes it is based on their owner’s behaviour. Sometimes, it is just their preference.
8. Leopard Geckos Can Regrow Their Tail
Like many reptiles, leopard geckos can shed their tail in order to escape predators. Sometimes this can happen in captivity too. When it does happen the tail will regrow. To do so, you will need to feed your leopard gecko lots of food to help it grow back. Some of the best food to feed is mealworms and wax worms as these are full of fat, which is what the tails are mostly made up of.
The problem is that a leopard gecko’s tail will never regrow exactly the same as it was before. It will look remarkably different.
9. Leopard Geckos Will Eat Their Own Shed
Reptiles shed their skin periodically as they grow and to refresh their skin when they mature. Most reptiles, like snakes, will discard their skins. However, leopard geckos will eat their skins. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the leopard gecko is a prey item as much as a predator. Eating its skin hides it presence and stops predators from knowing where it has been.
The second is for nutrients. Skin has a lot of goodness in it and eating its own shed is a great way for the leopard gecko to recycle them.
10. Leopard Geckos Can Bite
A leopard gecko is famous for losing its tail as a defence mechanism. However, did you know they are also able to bite to deter a predator. A bite from a leopard gecko is unlikely to do much damage to a human; however, the shock of it can often mean that you could drop your leopard gecko. Some have been hurt from this.
Firstly, you have to tame your gecko. This includes three sessions a day for handling. Every time you handle your leopard gecko, try to do so on the floor, where a fall will do less damage. It might also be best to place a box under your hands, so if it does fall, it can’t go too far either.
After about a week, your leopard gecko should be fairly tame and be more accepting of handling sessions. However, some geckos just never calm down.
And That Is The Last Of Our Leopard Gecko Facts
Have you enjoyed our ten leopard gecko facts? What facts do you know? Let us know in the comments. If they’re good, we might add them and give you credit!!!