Back

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.

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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:

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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:

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Demanding Pampering

So all these last few days I had to take little Nova out two times a day  to give her the medicine the vet gave us. Guess who is jealous thinking he is missing the pampering? Yep! JUPITER! So here he is asking me to take him out as well:  

 
He stands on the highest place and makes sure I see him. Or perhaps he is just curious to see what I am doing with Nova. Not being convinced he still wants to out. So here he is being a little more happy:  

 

Nova Taking her Medicine

Little sweet Nova was feeling ill from her tummy, so I took her to the veterinarian last Saturday. It took me a long time to finally find a good reptile vet, but I was finally lucky to find a good, very professional one. All the nurses went “Oh how cute! How beautiful and bright colours! I have never seen a gecko so pretty before!”. I was a proud mother of geckos at that moment. The vet grabbed her with care and examined her, that is how I find out she is now weighing 71 gr. How cute is that! I am happy she is getting bigger and gained 20 beautiful grams since last year. She has nothing serious but the doc gave us a little medicine for her to take.

A natural reaction for geckos is to open their mouths when their lips are rubbed with a finger. I read it many times and even watched videos of how to give them medicine. I know Jupiter does it, I have tried before, however Nova has never had this reaction, so I was worried if she would take her medicine or not. At first I tried as I read how to, but as it turns out it was far easier than I thought. She is a very good girl, sweetly and obediently just do as I tell her and without any effort she just drinks it from the syringe without complaining, even though it is a little bit bitter. After that she just curls up and sleep in my arms… She is so tender.  Here she is after taking her medicine:

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Drinking water

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.

jupiter drinking water

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.

Gecko Tenderness

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.

Jupiter y nova

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!

Jupiter, the bringer of Jollity

When I was deciding the name of this blog, I considered calling it something like “Jolly Jupiter”. As it turns out, I am not the only one who thinks of Jupiter to be Jolly. a few days ago, mom recommended this for me:


they call it Jupiter, the bringer of Jollity. My Jupiter definitely brings Jollity to my life.

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Baby Leopard Gecko

Yesterday night I went to the pet shop to get some crickets. The pet shop I frequent doesn’t usually have geckos. But yesterday night I saw a cage I hadn’t seen before. I love all reptiles, especially lizards, so I approached to see the new one. At first I could not see it, but then, there it was, right under a piece of wood. It was a tiny new born Leopard Gecko. It was soundly sleeping and didn’t even notice I was looking at him. So tiny, so fragile, but above all cute. It was only about 6 cm long and didn’t even had spots, it will develop them as he grows. 1384282_10152020355893939_1288460417_n

Then I remember the day I brought Jupiter home. At that time he was only 13 cm long. His body and part of his tail could fit on the palm of my hand. He had only about 5-7 spots and the rest was still stripes. He and his tail were rather slim and his legs were somewhat weak. In a matter of days he started growing and growing.783_10152034382438939_839080030_nI could see the stripes slowly becoming spots. It still happens but at a very slow rate compared to when he was little. A few months later his legs became very strong and he could stand higher upon the ground.His nails got longer, so he was now able to climb steeper surfaces. He doesn’t really like to, but he can. His skin is now very bright and colorful, his eyes are shiny. The only thing he does not changes is his lovely friendly face.

I’m a proud mother of Geckos, as you can see. Jupiter is now 29.5 cm long. I once read that the record is 33 cm, perhaps he can still reach it. Even if he doesn’t, I have encounter some blogs of people trying to make their leopard gecko at least 26 cm, which makes me realise Jupiter is a rather big Leopard Gecko, and that makes me even prouder.

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Gecko’s Love

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.

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And this picture over here, little Nova is falling asleep while covered with my fluffy blanket. what’s not to love?

Little Nova

Leopard and African Fat-Tailed Geckos, Part 2: Eating

A very important and common question: “What do they eat?” I wish the answer was “fruit” or “leaves” or at least “raw meat”.

Sadly for me, the answer is crickets and they have to be alive and well fed. It is not that I do not like crickets. I it just I am an animal lover, and any kind of cruelty towards any type of them is absolutely out of the question. No matter how big or small, they are live beings and they deserve respect. It is important to understand that all of us exist in nature for a reason and millions of years of evolutions have place each creature in its place. There is no reason for cruelty even though I am not very fond of insects, most of them, as you know, carry a bunch of unwanted bacteria on their feet and are usually appear uninvited, and some… well, they are just really ugly. There are a few that are pretty and some of them, as crickets that are totally harmless.

A Typical Diet

Most Leos and Fatties`s favorite are spiders, however there is not place near me that sell them. I would not recommend grabbing wild insects to feed the geckos, basically because there is no way of knowing if it is healthy and clean or if it has eaten something that might be harmful for the geckos. Remember this kind of geckos would not normally live in cities. The best is to buy or grown them yourself, this way the risk is less, plus you can have the satisfaction of knowing that the insect was grown to be fed to the geckos.

They also eat mealworms and waxworms. Apparently these two can even be kept in the freezer and this way they can be kept for longer time. From my point of view, worms are really nasty things and they have a horrid smell. I love my geckos so much that I have been willing to overcome these feelings, if only they are happy and healthy. Lucky for me, I have tried several times to feed Jupiter and Nova with them, but they reject them. They just smell the worms and walk away. This happens everytime and I will not for force them, even though they should eat and like them. So since they do not like them and I do not like them then worms are simply out of the menu.

I also know geckos should like dubia roaches as much as children like cotton candy. It should be a treat for them and give them a lot of calories. Dubia roaches are better looking than normal cockroaches, but still very nasty. A few months ago I found a place to buy them, and while swallowing my disgust for this repulsive, black creatures, brought a few home. Nova walked away immediately when she saw it and did not even cared to try it. Jupiter, however, stayed there trying to figure out what was the new thing in front of him. Going back and forth a few times, as if he had not make out his mind yet but then finally he just went for it. Baam! One bite and the ugly thing was gone. But the story is not over. After swallowing, Jupiter raised his eyes looking at me a little frightened. I understand now that it was because he was feeling something in his stomach that he had never felt before and then he just walked away refusing to eat another. A few moments after saw he had thrown up. Dubias are, as well, out of the menu.

A fat tail is a healthy tail, besides it looks so gorgeous and magnificent. Why not fatten it up? Many people recommend pinkies that is,baby mice. Wait, whaaaaaaaaaaat? There is no way I am going to sacrifice a baby mouse to my geckos, as much as I love them, that seems cruel to me. Besides, what will I do if they do not fancy it and just leave it half dead? No way! I could never do that.  And so goes the 4th thing out of the menu.19178089843_0463728291_o

That leaves me with crickets and only crickets. They are not very unpleasant, no deadly smell and feeding them to my geckos does not feel inhumane. The most important thing is that both Jupiter and Nova fancy them.

Preparing the Crickets

Whenever I go to the pet store for crickets I ask for small sized ones. Ideally crickets should not be larger that 2/3 of the gecko head. Sweet little Nova eats up to 2 cm ones and mighty little Jupiter up to 3 – 3.5 cm. People in the pet shops are usually nice, but sometimes they reluctantly chose the crickets for me. Either way I do not want to be a nuisance and since I need about 20-30 crickets two or three times a week I ended up catching the crickets myself. They used to make me nervous, but now we are just like old pals.

The crickets are kept in a small cage with sufficient ventilation. Some suggest placing carton or paper for the crickets to feel more comfortable.The problem I see with this, is that they will eat it and my geckos will end with a  bunch of cellulose in their bellies.

Everyday I spray water on the walls of the cage, I do not place a bowl of water for they are likely to drown in it. As for the food, let’s not forget that crickets are the only thing that my geckos eat, so I need to gut load them properly so they obtain as many nutrients as possible. The success in a healthy diet is variety, but crickets are very small and they die very easily, so I cannot feed them with watery food or things what will rot very quickly, such as watermelon or papaya. Usually, I just cut few pieces of carrot, apple, lettuce, cucumber or similar food. Also, some grains and cereals are good. They dryer the food is the easier it is to clean after.  Just recently I found out that it is possible to feed the crickets with dry dog or cat food and since the they seem to like it, I included it.

After feeding the crickets, it is important to wait a couple of hours before the geckos delight. Once or twice a week I powder the crickets with a mix of calcium and other minerals. These two are sold in the store, and they have their own little measurement spoon, so I normally take one spoon of each of them into a small plastic bag and them mix it. Then I take a few crickets and shaked them inside with the powder. Jupiter and Nova trust me and seldom complain about the powder but sometimes they just want the bare cricket and they will refuse to eat other way. They are a little prince and a little princess, so why not give them their own way once in a while.

I keep a record of the quantity of crickets they eat, this way I would know how many crickets to bring home and It will be easier for me to realise if one of them gets sick.

Beverages and other Foods

There is a bowl of water in their house at all times and it is always in the same place. I change the water, without miss everyday. It is not only a matter of throwing the old water away a pouring clean one. It is imperative to fully wash the bowl, the reason is because it will usually be slimy on the bottom.  The smile is nothing more than baterias, mostly from their tongues.  So this way it is possible to know if they have been or not drinking water plus hygiene is always best. We do not want to end with a colony of well developed baterias at the bottom of the 19803782811_b34ee6b06c_ogeckos water bowl.

Water is not the only thing they drink. Wit my time with them I have discovered that they really like watermelon juice, milk, chamomile and green tea. Sometimes I experiment with different kind of thing they might like to eat, but I will remark that I would not ever offer them anything that might contain irritant or harmful substances. I do not suppose I need to elaborate on that, but lets say that anything spicy, sour, or bitter is not up for a test, and of course, any type of stimulants.

Even though they are likely to take anything I put around their mouths, I found out that they are not banana, grapes or berries lovers. On the other hand, besides of what I have mentioned before, they enjoy mangoes, peaches and pears. They do not take much vegetables unless it is on baby food. By they way, they love chicken flavored baby food  so much that there are times that they have an entire teaspoon of it. It is really entertaining watching them eat it. But let us not forget that what they really love is crickets.

Peticure

Human-like hands. Slender finger and a well-shaped palm.
Human-like hands. Slender finger and a well-shaped palm.

How much I pamper my geckos? A lot!!!

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.

The Claws

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.

Cold Weather

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.