This is Geckzilla

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Or Geck or The Gecko. She came to live with us around about my son’s 9th birthday. The first, but by no means the last, reptile to join the menageries, she was just about full-grown she came home, which probably made her somewhere between six and nine months old. In my view, she did, and does have a distinctly saurian look about her. Leopard Geckos are slow moving and easy to take care of but, like many small pets, you need to be gentle with them.

Over the 11 years and change since my son brought her home, he, and by extension we, although not as much, has learned a great deal about taking care of Leopard Geckos in particular and reptiles general.

Not least of which is that most of what he was told by the pet store experts of the time about caring for her was misguided at best and wrong at worst. Part of that is advancements in the hobby and availability information and part of that his experiences with her leading into deeper research that wasn’t necessarily available to the generalist pet store staff of the time.

The one thing that really hasn’t changed that much is her basic diet. Bugs, mostly crickets with some mealworms here and there for variety, but she doesn’t bother with much else even when offered. The basic temperature range is probably still good, although now we talk more about the hot and cold sides of the enclosure and gradients, and humidity is much more factor that he was told time. Places to hide, structures inside the tank, substrate, lighting, all different.

When we first brought her home, our readings showed a projected average lifespan of 7 to 10 years for animals in captivity, but as much as 15. She’s 11, closing in on 12, and now the projections tend to read 10 to 15, with 20 being possible and not that unlikely.

This was the first, the slow-moving, easy-going pet, that essentially launched my son into reptiles as a major hobby. He now also has the other creature he was considering time that we semi-vetoed because of size and care considerations at that moment: a Blue-tongued Skink. More recent additions: two Peters Banded Skinks, and a mated pair of Whiptail Lizards. Four species in his menagerie, all of reptilian nature. There are a couple of other things he would like to add longer-term, including a couple of snakes, but at least one of his current roommates is afraid of snakes, so that will have to come later. And he is a student so there certainly space and financial considerations.

So, while Geckzilla doesn’t technically live with us right now, I still consider her part of my family’s menagerie.

Be well, everyone.

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