Monthly Archives: October 2014

Potty Problems

Leopard geckos are funny little animals. Many of them prefer to potty in the corner of their cages, and even better they almost always potty in the same spot. This makes cleaning up their mess much easier.

When we first got Waffle our leopard gecko, the kids made her a super cute hide out using legos and the cardboard box that contained the night vision lamp for the tank. A day later we looked in the box (which we had placed in the right-most corner of the tank) only to discover she had pooped in it. I regretted that I had not lined the box with paper towels so it would not have to be thrown away. Now we place a piece of white folded paper in the corner, about 4 or 5 inches long and she always goes potty on it. In this funny way leopard geckos act a lot like a cat, you can basically create a litter pan for them if you wanted.

hand made hide
Waffle’s first “litter pan”.

One very important thing to know about leopard geckos is that their poop can contain parasites, because wild animals naturally have a small load of parasites in their body. When the load becomes too heavy, the animal gets sick. Leopard geckos are often fed crickets. If the crickets are left in the cage and find the poop and eat it (ew!) which they TOTALLY will if left in there long enough, the gecko then eats the crickets and overloads them with parasites. You ARE what you eat, and we want to feed our geckos crickets and meal worms that have fed on nice healthy stuff. This means you want to get your leopard geckos food from a reliable source. If the crickets and worms are sick, then your leopard gecko can become sick too.

You can read more about it here  and here if you would like to find out more.

Best ways to avoid potty problems;

  1. Clean out the poop daily or every other day
  2. Keep your animals cage clean – change out paper towels and newspaper weekly, and thoroughly clean with warm water and mild soap at-least once a month
  3. Make sure the insects you feed your gecko are fed a healthy diet
  4. Clean out all the poop before placing feeding any crickets to your leopard gecko

Bringing home our first leopard gecko

In the summer of 2014 my children and I first discussed the idea of getting a pet, something low maintenance, something the kids could hold but something that would not need to be held. Something cute and interesting from a scientific perspective so the kids could learn new and fun things. Kids love bugs, and leopard geckos eat bugs.

Leopard geckos don’t really want to be played with too often which means when the kids forget they even have a leopard gecko, the gecko won’t feel lonely. All the signs pointed to yes! With a bit of research online we quickly found that the best place to buy one would be a Reptile Expo. It actually turned out there would be an expo very close to our house only a few months away but we would not be home that weekend, so instead we went a bit sooner and trekked into northern Virginia to a show at the Prince William County Fairgrounds.

Receipt for our gecko with her “morph” listed

The reptile show was super interesting for the kids, they had spiders everywhere, and gigantic lizards, and tiny snakes. It was like the reptile section of a zoo times 1,000. The kids got to hold a bearded dragon and hold tiny mice (eeeek!! for the snakes to eat!!). GermX was thankfully present at a few tables. We wound a few vendors selling leopard geckos. It was decided we wanted an “orange” one and one of the vendors had several lovely baby “Bell Albino Sunglow” leopard geckos that we immediately liked.

Our soon to be pet, a Bell Albino Sunglow
Our soon to be pet, a Bell Albino Sunglow

Before looking at each “morph” (what the leopard gecko breeders call the different colors they come in) I asked the man which of his gecko’s was the most docile, he noted that the sunglows seemed the most docile in his experience, which was perfect for us given we wanted that lovely orange glow.

Leopard Gecko

All of the leopard geckos came in plastic containers. At this particular show we saw leopard geckos that cost anything from $35 to $120. We saw a very nice young man and his mother selling leopard geckos, to people who seemed to have a large breeding business selling leopard geckos along with bearded dragons and other reptiles. Once we held ours we were smitten! Both of the kids got to hold her, we paid and off we went on a long car ride home. The breeder told us she had been fed small crickets and to leave her alone for 4 to 5 days once we had her setup in her new home. We went home and placed her in a quiet spot while I went out to petsmart to find a 10 gallon tank and some other necessary supplies.

Her first tank setup, needs some work
The state of her tank the first day we brought her home, it has changed a lot since then!

I asked my kids what they wanted to name her and my 5 year old immediately responded “Waffle!” which turned out to be the perfect name for her. Welcome home Waffle!