Leopard Gecko
reptiles
 

Leopard Gecko


The Leopard gecko is a popular pet since it is fur-free, clean, do not need a huge terrarium, is easy to care for and beautiful as well as entertaining to be around. They are not difficult to breed in captivity so you do not have to affect the wild Leopard gecko population if you wish to keep one as a pet.

The Leopard gecko is native to Pakistan, Afghanistan and the north-western parts of India. It is a ground dwelling creature that inhabits desert environments, and it will typically spend the day resting and the night hunting. Leopard geckos are typically found in small cave and crevices or under rocks since the want to avoid the extreme desert temperatures. The wild Leopard gecko feeds primarily on insects, spiders and small rodents.  

The scientific name of the Leopard gecko is Eublepharis macularius. “Eu” means good or true and “blephar” means eyelid. The Leopard gecko is one of very few gecko species that have real eyelids. This is probably an adaptation to the dusty desert grounds in which this gecko lives. The eyelid will keep the sensitive eye clean and free from damaging dust particles.

The second part of the scientific name of the Leopard gecko, macularius, means spotted. The wild Leopard gecko displays black markings on a cream coloured or yellow background, and it is from this distinctive colouring that it derives its common name. When you purchase a pet Leopard gecko you can select among many different colour variations since this species have been selectively bred in captivity for many generations. You can for instance obtain striped Leopard geckos as well as geckos that display no markings at all since they are amelanistic or albino. High yellow, tangerine, orange, lavender and blizzard Leopard geckos are also popular. 

If you want to get a special colour morph, you must usually pay a higher price than for a standard coloured Leopard gecko. Albino leopard geckos have been sold for over $1000, which can be compared to the standard coloured Leopard gecko that often is sold for $20-35 in the Untied States. High prices colour morphs are typically not offered by standard pet stores; you must visit a specialized store or purchase your Leopard gecko directly from a breeder.

Unlike many other gecko species, the Leopard gecko does not have adhesive toe pads. The Leopard gecko has instead adapted to a ground dwelling life in the desert where claws are more useful than adhesive toe pads, since the claws can be used to dig. Many Geckos would easily climb out of a glass terrarium using their adhesive toe pads, but the Leopard gecko will stay inside, a fact that add to its popularity as a house pet. 

It can be hard to tell a male Leopard gecko from a female without a closer examination, but the males are often slightly more heavy-bodied. At the base of the tail the male Leopard gecko have a pair of hemipenal swellings and you can also see a v-shaped row that consists of enlarged pre-anal pores.


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