What is a Leopard Gecko?

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About Leopard Geckos:
 

Leopard Geckos were first categorised as a species in 1854. They were given the name Eublepharis macularis.

 The generic name Eublepharis is a combination of the Greek words Eu (true), and blephar (eyelid), as having eyelids is what distinguishes members of this subfamily from the other geckos. The name macularis, comes from the Latin word macula which means "spot" or "blemish".


Leopard Geckos are native to Afghanistan, throughout Pakistan, north-west India and into Iran; where they inhabit the rocky, dry grassland and desert regions of these countries. They are nocturnal creatures and spend the day hidden under rocks or in dry burrows to escape the daytime heat; emerging at dusk to hunt insects and to warm themselves on the rocks which have been sunbaked during the day.


The Leopard gecko is one of only a few gecko species that have eyelids. This helps the gecko keep its eyes clean in the dusty environment that they live in. Like most other geckos, the Leopard gecko can clean and moisten its eyes using its tongue. Unlike nearly all other species of gecko, Leopard geckos have small claws instead of adhesive toe pads, which stops them from climbing smooth vertical surfaces. However, their claws give extra grip on the ground and are useful for digging.


Like most lizards, the Leopard gecko can lose its tail, in a process called caudal autotomy. When frightened or disturbed (grasped), muscles at the base of the gecko's tail constrict and snap the vertebrae, severing most of the tail. The detached, wriggling tail distracts the predator as the gecko now makes a hasty escape. The Leopard gecko will grow a new one in time, this will take about 40 days, the regenerated tail will differ from the original, appearing bulbous with no ridges. The tail will sadly never look the same as the original.

Geckos also use their tails for storage. When a Leopard Gecko eats, it stores part of its food and converts it into fat, which goes to its tail. In times of hunger, Leopard Geckos survive by metabolizing this fat reserve and can survive a for a few of weeks without food. A healthy Leopard Gecko's tail is wider then the width of its neck as a general rule.


The natural colouring of the Leo tends to be a yellow base coat with numerous dark melanistic spotting resembling Leopard spots - hence their name. However captive breeding for many years has produced a huge array of different colour morphs.


A captive bred Leo is capable of living up to 20 years if well cared for and looked after! In fact the record holder as far as I know lived 27 Years!!


Unlike other lizards the Leo does not require periods of basking - as they are ground dwelling they have adapted over the years to gain their body heat from the ground and indeed they need a warm ground source to warm their bellies in order for them to properly digest their food.


 

F.Passaro

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