Guess who went out walking yesterday afternoon!!! YES! Jupiter and Nova did.
Last week I felt how their tiny claws were getting too long and sharp and I knew it was time for a walk.
It is healthy for geckos to get a little sun and since they are crepuscular animals, it is always a good idea to take them out right before sunset. However, it was somewhat early for them and they were a little sleepy.
After a while they were more alert and enjoying the sunshine.
But as it is common for geckos 20-30 is enough to get exhausted and ready for another nap.
As the winter is here, guess who I found cuddling together!
Now, isn’t this sweet?
Geckos are not known to have the ability to love, but they can definitely create an attachment. For months, I tried for these two to get along and it seams to me that I have finally created some bond here. Hurray!
Geckos are nocturnal, better said crepuscular, which means they should wake up when the sun goes down. We as humans should wake up when the sun goes up, but come on! on Saturdays no body wakes up that early.Guess what? neither did my geckos. It was 8 pm when I took this pictures and they are just opening their little eyes. Oh big lazy ones!
I love both Jupiter and Nova, despite some people saying that I have preference for Jupiter. But that is not true, Jupiter is more curious and very jealous, Nova is more calm and sweet. If Jupiter sees me petting Nova before him, he stands up, fixes his sight at us and gives me a demanding […]
This a house I designed for them a few months ago. It was a great design, specially for summer. And see they actually liked it.
… and then they started fighting. Jupiter is bigger and stronger, so poor Nova, always got the worse part, but even Jupiter got some bites from her. It was a little bit hard for to understand, because I tried putting walls to separate them, and they always managed to get back together. It is a love-hate relationship they have. Sometimes it was that Jupiter went looking for Nova, but sometimes it was Nova show looks for Jupiter. I could only assumed that something in their house was unsettling them.
And this time they would be separated….
If you read my previous post, then you can see that is IMPOSSIBLE
In case you did not see the yet their new house, here it is.
I have not give any update is more than a year, but it is time to come back. We had a hectic past couple of months and that upset the Geckos a little bit. When Geckos do not feel comfortable they will try to escape their house, so it is important to try to recognize what is causing that. In my case is that I moved to a new apartment and now we have different angle of sun and wind. But now after almost three months they are feeling better.
A couple of month ago, Nova escaped and she was gone for almost a week. I was loosing my mind thinking of all the things that might have happened to her. But then I found her under some shoes and I felt a lot better. She was cold and dehydrated. I have never seen her drink so much water. Here is a picture of her right after I found her. Poor Nova.
Jupiter and N0va and great companions, but sometimes they fight. Think of two people living together all the time, there will be a moment when you can’t stand the other person anymore and just want to bit his/her face. So it is the same. Except that Geckos actually bite each other. When they are stressed they fight a little bit more often. So I redesigned their house and now they are separated. Here is their house now:
See how it is arid and desert -like on top (for Jupiter) and humid and forest-like on the bottom (for nova). But perhaps you can also see how they sometimes switch.
There is Nova tail and Jupiter curious face. Can you see them both?
And here is photo of Jupiter, because he loves having his picture taken:
So I caught Jupiter drinking water. He stays like this for a long time as if trying to decide if he is really thirsty or not. Two sips and then he goes away. I have never seen little Nova drinking any water, though. I suppose she does, at least I hope she does. Sometimes I worry and place a few water drops around her mouth, but she only takes one or two.
I always give them mineral, purified water, however a time ago I encounter a person who mentioned that his brother has five leopard geckos and that he always has had many, so he just give them tap water. I could not give any opinion on the matter, but even if I had as many geckos as planets and stars in the galaxy to name them after, I would still give them purified water. One can never be too careful about tap water, especially where I live, and I do not want my geckos to get impacted from something as simple as that.
On those days when one is just dissapointed with the world, it takes nothing but two seconds of looking into the Geckos house to cheer up and feel revitalized. I know it is just their face but they always look happy and tender, and sometimes, just sometimes it is like they know I can use a Gecko hug and come out from their hiding places and look at me like this and wait there until I take them out.
They are actually very patient, because they are a bit annoyed by light but I guess they really enjoy to curl up in my hands. Jupiter loves to sit on my shoulder but Little Nova loves when I hold her in my arms and stays there until she falls asleep. Last week I showed this to my aunt, she is an animal lover like me. Even so, I do not remember ever before seeing the tenderness face she had while looking at us. It was quite a moment!
Who would have ever thought that reptiles could be this loving!
I love Jupiter and Nova, they are my pets and I love them just as much anyone could love a dog or cat. They are special to me and they are my company. I know they love me back, in their own gecko way. Perhaps they do not wiggle their tails when they see me, or purr on my lap, but they come to my hand when they see it and chose to sleep on my chest after I we play.
Once I read that it is not scientifically proven that geckos have the ability to love, but it is proven that they are able to recognize a safe person. I am sure they know I am the safest person around them and that they do not need to hide when they see me. It is natural in animals to be thankful, give them shelter, food, water and some care and they will be thankful to you. That creates a bond, my geckos trust me and they are thankful, that is good enough to be consider as Gecko’s love.
Look at this picture here, Jupiter loves to be pet on his head while his four legs are on the air.
And this picture over here, little Nova is falling asleep while covered with my fluffy blanket. what’s not to love?
Both Jupiter and Nova have tiny hands, I say “hands” because they are utterly similar to human`s. Slender fingers, a well-shaped palm, soft skin, except instead of nails they have claws, really tiny ones, but they have. Well, they used to be tiny but after a while they grew, and grew, and grew, specially Jupiter´s.
A gecko claws are special adaptation for digging, climbing little trees and walking on sand. Three activities that they do not do as much in their house, basically because they do not need to, they have enough hiding places, they have food, water and their needs cover, in other words, they feel safe and relaxed. When a gecko feels like this, just wants to stay like this. I suppose the length of their claws are a result of too much comfort, and because they are so healthy their claws are not even a little brittle.
Because Jupiter and Nova are different species of gecko, their nails growth-rate is different. Nova has already been with me almost a year but her nails are not as sharp and Jupiter´s. His grow incredibly fast and terribly sharp. At the beginning, I had the impression the long nail could be a bit harmful for him, because when ever he stood on a flat surface his fingers arched a little, something that did not happened when his nail were short. Apparently he does not mind at all, the only one that is really bothered by them is me. You see, he likes to sit on my shoulder, walk through the length of my arms and jump from one hand to the other. I often end up with cat-like-scratches, and even though they do hurt as much they kinda leave marks.
Wearing Down the Nails
So I was determined to find a solution, as the matter of fact, I found several of them and the combination of them keeps my hands scratch-less. Firstly, whenever we go out on a walk, that is about every two weeks, I encourage him to climb trees and walk a considerable distance. Of course, not excessively long to exhaust him, but just the right distance so that his nails wear out a little, and besides exercising is always good for any kind of pet.
Secondly, I designed a house for Jupiter and Nova with two higher platforms. Both platforms have different hiding places and degrees of humidity and temperature, so that whenever they want to change sleeping place they have to use their claws to climb up or down. This also makes their house more interesting and less boring, because similar to humans, boredom might affect health. Basically, if geckos have a boring environment they will want to go out and explore, they have such a curious nature, but when they find out they are unable to do this, they will get stress out. And… well… “stress”, oh “stress”, one of the worst evils of our times.
And then the PETICURE, this is where I wanted to get from the beginning. I do not do this with Nova, for she does not need yet, but I have to sit down with Jupiter at least once a month or whenever his nails start scratching me. I use a fine nail file to go through all his nails, moving the file against the growing directions. It has to be very softly and carefully because I would hate to hurt him. He does not mind at all and since we have been doing this for a long time, he already knows the dynamic. However, geckos are not fond of strong light, so I cannot use a strong one, which makes the task a little difficult, but otherwise, he will soon start moving around and just want to go away. Sometimes, it is just impossible to finish in one day, so we have two o three more sessions.
I know what are you thinking right now! “wow, so much work for such a little creature”. Actually I do it for me, because I really like bonding with them and, in fact is not that much work. If my dear reader, happens to have a similar care as mine, you’ll know that it does not take more that 15 -20 mins and you can do it while watching a movie or listening to music. So it is not really extra effort.
And then it comes winter!!!! I cannot take them outside with low temperatures, it could totally be damaging for them. Remember they are cold blooded animals and they depend on the environment to regulate their body temperature. Also, where I live it get dryer in winter and they both require a degree of humidity. Both Leopard Geckos and African-Fatties have a hibernating cycle and they are even less active in winter, so taking them outside is not only damaging but forcing them to be active will make them rather cranky and in a very bad mood. I do not want that! I want my sweet, cute geckos all the time!
Filing Jupiter’s nails started to become a rather challenging task so I had to think of another solution, and quick. I previously read that trimming a gecko’s nails could be a dangerous thing to do and that only a doctor should do it. I still agree with this and I do NOT suggest that anybody should to it. If you are not careful enough, you could end up with gecko blood in your hands and a pet that does not trust you anymore. However, if you observe carefully, it is only the the very tip of the nail that scratches the deepest, so trimming that very end of the claw is about enough. Jupiter gets a little nervous with this because I have to hold him rather firmly and I must use a stronger light. Poor Jupiter, the things I do to him! I do not want to stress him too much so we usually do only 2 -3 nails by day, and I do not trim them all, only the sharpest ones.
Wait! what did I just said? “Poor Jupiter”? In which world is that true. He is a prince in his palace and I love him so much.