Leopard geckos or Panther geckos are beautiful and relatively docile lizards. They are neither dangerous or venomous, nor large. For these reasons they have become such common pets, or it may be for all the fascinating characteristics they exhibit. Native to southern Asia, India, Pakistan, southeast Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and they are also kept as pets in US and Europe nations. They look similar to other lizards but, there are plenty of differences also. So, Let’s check about some facts.
1. Leopard geckos belong to the family Gekkonidae. Like other lizards they appear almost same, but the coloration is very striking. The skin is yellow or brown in general with black spots that do look like leopard. The color get dull at the upper back, and the body is bumpy. The head, neck and back part is covered by relatively thick skin. The tail is banded and very unique.
2. In average, they grow up-to 8-11 inches and weigh as much as 30-65 grams. Lifespan is around 10 years, but sometimes they do live for 20 years.
3. Unlike other geckos, their feet are not sticky. They have claws as their habitat is dry grasslands, deserts and mountains. It help them to run instead of climbing. In fact, they couldn’t climb.
The thick banded tail is unique. They often shake their tail while hunting, mating and defending their territory. But, it is more interesting as the tail stores fat and can be used in food scarce, letting the species to live up-to 3 weeks without food. It also provide self defense as any predator attacks, the leopard gecko can detach it’s tail and run away, and will regenerate again.
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5. These creatures are nocturnal. Due to their habitat, they rest during day to avoid the heat and hunt at night. Their eyes are well capable than other geckos, and provide vision similar to a cat. These eyes are able to see colors in complete darkness even, capable of detecting light waves that are non visible by human eyes.
In spite of their excellent eyesight and detachable tail, they have good sense of smell and hearing. Adding to their defense, their body color give them excellent camouflage in the wild.
7. Many geckos lack eyelids. But the leopard geckos do have moveable translucent, which allows them to blink and close their eyes while sleeping. Even their long tongue can give those eyes a quick lick as needed.
They eat their shedded skin. This is one of their numerous defense mechanisms, eating their dead skin removes scent markers for their predators to track them with.
9. Commonly they are Polyphyodonts and able to replace each of their 100 teeth in every 3 to 4 months.
Their diet mainly consist of insects like crickets. But, they also eat other insects like meal worms, wax worms, spiders, beetles even centipedes and scorpions.
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11. When looking through their ear holes, other side can be seen. This is because they only have one ear canal. Some say if you shine a light through one of their ears, the light can be seen coming out of the other side.
In the wild, leopard geckos mate during the summer months. Sperm can be stored by the females, allowing her to lay two eggs at a time over the breeding season. She will lay up to 20 eggs in a month.
13. These geckos are solitary, and do not usually live with other animals. They come together to mate else live alone.
The eggs take 30-90 days to incubate and like some other creatures, their gender also depend on temperature. If the temperature is 79-84°F (26-29°C) hatchlings will be females and for 93-95°F (34-35°C) it will be males.
15. Nearly all geckos have a voice. Leopard geckos have a small “bark” they use if agitated but, they are not as vocal as other gecko species.
16. Leopard geckos are friendly, docile creatures by nature. But sometimes they do bite, thinking human finger as food by mistake or if the person is holding the gecko too tightly. Fortunately, these creatures are not venomous and do not carry any diseases transmissible to humans.