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katbobs
11-16-2013, 06:06 PM
I'd love some information as I am a new gecko owner and there seems to be so much conflicting information out there.
Here are the questions:

Sometimes my crickets live for a few days in the tank. Can I put cricket food in there - the gut loading kind?
Which kind of calcium do you dust with? I know there are two kinds. My gecko seems to object when I try to dust the crickets. She sniffs them (or whatever geckos do) and then walks away. I am worried about the bone stuff and also she needs vitamins.
How much should the gecko eat? I have been doing about 3 crickets a day. I give her some mealworms once a week (which she gobbles down) Can they overeat?
I don't have a moist hide. Is that important? She has already shed once, which was so cool.
My gecko, Scooter, is a classroom pet at school and the kids love her. I think she is a female. We,ve been looking for those pore spots and can't see them. How old do they have to be to know for sure. I don't really know how old she is... maybe 6 months or so. Is there a way to tell the age?
Thank you so much. This has been a new experience to me and I am getting quite fond of Scooter.

Elizabeth Freer
11-18-2013, 11:49 AM
A warm welcome to Geckos Unlimited for you and for Scooter!

Seems like your thread has gotten "buried" in the more recent ones. :-(

Is Scooter a leopard gecko? What grade do you teach? Just asking cuz classrooms can be quite noisy and leos like to sleep during the day.

:cheer: in feeding crickets to Scooter. Properly fed crickets are a very good feeder for leos.

Click:
Sexing Leopard Geckos (http://www.reptilecare.com/leopardgender.htm)

1) Best NOT to leave stray crickets in the tank beyond one hour. Uneaten crickets could munch on Scooter's toes. One idea is to use a clear glass feeding dish with vertical sides. Good idea to feed Scooter as late in the day as possible.

2) What supplement (and brand) are you currently using? Calcium with D3 very lightly dusted is recommended no more than 2x per week. I like Zoo Med's Reptivite multivitamin with D3 and vitamin A acetate. D3 is necessary for the metabolism of calcium; vitamin A acetate contributes to skin and eye health.

3) Moist warm hides kept moist 24/7 are necessary for shedding assist and hydration. Perhaps you live in a humid area? A relative humidity in the tank from 40-50% is recommended. Dampened moss or squeezed out paper towels can be placed as a substrate within the humid hide.

4) Three hides are recommended: warm dry, warm moist, cool dry.

5) An enclosure 30 x 12 x 12 inches is recommended as a minimum for establishing a thermal gradient (warm end ~~> cool end). That is difficult to obtain in a shorter enclosure.


Please take the time to complete this Health/Wellness Questionnaire. That is best so that we can get an overall picture of Scooter's husbandry. It is much more efficient to have the info in that form...really.

http://www.geckosunlimited.com/community/leopard-geckos-health-diseases/68527-helping-your-sick-gecko-read-first.html

Geckologist.tj
11-18-2013, 12:48 PM
"How much should the gecko eat? I have been doing about 3 crickets a day. I give her some mealworms once a week (which she gobbles down) Can they overeat?
"

This depends on age. Up until about one year old, they should eat every day. Many say to feed as much as she will eat in ten to fifteen minutes, but I don't like that because some leopard geckos are better hunters than others so for some that may be 3 crickets while for others it may be 12. If she is gaining weight and has a nice plump tail, but is not getting overweight or developing bubbles in the armpits, then you are feeding her enough. Leopard geckos can overeat and it will cause them to regurgitate their food. They usually will only do this once or twice when they are young then they will learn to stop eating when they are full.

cricket4u
11-18-2013, 01:58 PM
"How much should the gecko eat? I have been doing about 3 crickets a day. I give her some mealworms once a week (which she gobbles down) Can they overeat?
"

This depends on age. Up until about one year old, they should eat every day. Many say to feed as much as she will eat in ten to fifteen minutes, but I don't like that because some leopard geckos are better hunters than others so for some that may be 3 crickets while for others it may be 12. If she is gaining weight and has a nice plump tail, but is not getting overweight or developing bubbles in the armpits, then you are feeding her enough. Leopard geckos can overeat and it will cause them to regurgitate their food. They usually will only do this once or twice when they are young then they will learn to stop eating when they are full.

You have made some good points there geckologist jr.

Many say to feed as much as she will eat in ten to fifteen minutes, but I don't like that because some leopard geckos are better hunters than others so for some that may be 3 crickets while for others it may be 12


This is one of the reasons I prefer high calcium gutload. It allows more time for them to hunt without losing the unpredictable dusted calcium.

I also do not believe in feeding as much as they can eat at once. I look at it as power-feeding which can be unhealthy. Obviously this can lead to some overweight juveniles. One should use their best judgement based on body condition and activity level. Unfortunately, it is not that simple for the inexperienced eyes and can lead to malnutrition.

Wish there was a simple solution...:)

Geckologist.tj
11-18-2013, 02:55 PM
"One should use their best judgement based on body condition and activity level."

This is why I am such a huge fan of tracking growth in young leopard geckos. I would imagine you have access to a gram scale and a ruler at your school, correct? Perhaps you and your class could keep a log of the gecko's weight and length. It would be good for the health of the gecko, and your class might enjoy it too.

katbobs
11-24-2013, 08:22 AM
Thank you so much Elizabeth Freer and geckologist.tj I'm usually somewhat competent on the computer but I guess I don't know forums. :) It is great to have a place where I can look for information. I'm amazed at how willing everyone is to help a newbie like me, especially since I'm sure the questions get repetitive.

I'll reply so I can get more feedback:

Yes, Scooter is a beautiful leo. She is black and yellow with a bit of purple on her tail. So far I think her tail is plump, I hope. I teach sixth grade. I understand your point about a noisy classroom. However her enclosure is in the corner of the room and I always see her sleeping with eyes shut tight. We do handle her 2x a week. I have 2 Scooter lunches in which the kids sign up to have lunch in the classroom. It is always under close supervision and only lasts about 5 minutes. She has gotten less squirmy and will stay pretty much on the hand. I recognize that it isn't fun for her but it is part of the classroom.

I'm working on a moist hide - a Tupperware container. I assume you have to moisten the paper towels or moss daily? Otherwise she has 3 other places. She has a basking log. She didn't go up it at first but now really likes to sleep up there. She has a rounded hut type hide on the warm side and a see through the glass type hide in the middle of the tank. She uses all the hides at different points. I can move one to the cool side.

I see your point about the crickets not bring left in the tank. My problem is that I leave at 4:00 ish. So I put 3-5 crickets in there and usually by morning they are gone. She isn't that fast of an eater and doesn't always eat them right away..maybe because it isn't night yet. I will start dusting the crickets (2x week, right?) but she doesn't seem to like the crickets with calcium. I'll see how it goes. I did have the plain calcium in the tank and I've taken it out. She has a definite pooping place and she goes pretty much daily so I would imagine she's eating well. She has gone through 1 shed. Her color got all dusty and at first I was worried but then I saw pieces of skin around the tank. You said to use a glass dish with tall sides Does this really contain crickets or is it just for mealworms, etc. I am getting the correct calcium and vitamins this weekend. I already have a gut loading food for the crickets and I have convenient cricket supplier. If I get a calcium gut load then do I have to dust?

I did see your health questionnaire but it was quite involved and seems more suited more suited to a sick gecko.

I'm the most confused with the heating. I am using porcelain tile substrate according to one of the videos. But the tile doesn't seem to heat up much from the under the tank heater. So I removed the tile and just have the glass. I know you are going to say she might get burned, but really the heater isn't that hot. It just seems warm. I would have expected it to be hotter especially to heat with tile. I don't understand how to hook up a thermostat to an under the tank heater. Does the probe just go in from the top? How do you put a probe in with tile? I am using a red bulb that is on 24/7. I am going to look into getting a ceramic bulb because I have read that they are better heat emitters. I do have stick on thermometers on the walls of the tank. Usually the hot side is in the mid 80's and the cool side is cooler (not sure because the thermometer doesn't show below 78 or so. I also have a white viewing light which I only leave on over the weekends because the classroom does get chilly. Maybe I should get a second red bulb? I should be using a thermostat but again how does the probe stuff work and if it doesn't get too hot by leaving it on 24/7 than how is it going to adjust when more heat is needed. Lately I have been able to go in the building on weekends but I can't count on that always. I am taking her home over Thanksgiving but leave her on the weekends.

Scooter is in a 20 gallon tank. I had some fake plants in there but I took them out because it made it harder for her to hunt.

So sorry to be so lengthy but I want to do the right thing. I am amazed at how much conflicting info there is.

katbobs

Geckologist.tj
11-25-2013, 12:41 PM
"So I removed the tile and just have the glass. I know you are going to say she might get burned, but really the heater isn't that hot. It just seems warm. I would have expected it to be hotter especially to heat with tile."

Consider this: If you put your finger in your armpit, does it feel hot or slightly warm? Generally speaking, it should be about 96 degrees assuming you don't have a fever. That's about 2 degrees warmer than the maximum temperature a leopard gecko's hot spot should be. We humans are terrible judges of temperature by feel because our body is constantly thermoregulating itself and what feels warm to us one minute might feel cool the next and visa versa. Additionally, it can take a while for the UTH to heat up the tile. Put the tile in; give it 30min, and measure the surface temps with a digital probe thermometer or an infrared temperature gun.
Another possiblilty is that the tile isn't laying flat on the bottom creating air pockets that keep the tile from heating up properly.

katbobs
11-25-2013, 01:42 PM
Okay, I certainly will try that. Seems like when I originally did it the tile never heated up. Also a lot of the time Scooter chooses to lay flat on the glass making me think it is not too hot. But I'll investigate and let you know. I love the feedback... thank you

Geckologist.tj
11-25-2013, 01:57 PM
Is the heat mat adhered to the bottom of the tank? Also, what brand and size is it?

katbobs
11-25-2013, 02:04 PM
It's a Reptitherm UTH for a 10-20 gallon terrarium that's stuck onto the bottom of one side of the tank (taking up about 1/4 or 1/3 of the bottom.

katbobs
11-25-2013, 02:06 PM
Could the tile be too thick? It seems like regular porcelain tile.

Geckologist.tj
11-25-2013, 04:36 PM
Could the tile be too thick? It seems like regular porcelain tile.

I doubt it.

katbobs
11-25-2013, 06:03 PM
I don't have a heat gun and with Thanksgiving coming up probably can't get out to buy one. Can I just tape a regular thermometer down on the glass? Hope that doesn't sound too stupid.

Elizabeth Freer
11-26-2013, 04:18 AM
I don't have a heat gun and with Thanksgiving coming up probably can't get out to buy one. Can I just tape a regular thermometer down on the glass? Hope that doesn't sound too stupid.

A digital thermometer with a probe which can measure air temps works best. Some pet stores carry these. Heat guns won't measure air temperatures.

Elizabeth Freer
11-26-2013, 07:38 AM
How do you put a probe in with tile? I am using a red bulb that is on 24/7. I am going to look into getting a ceramic bulb because I have read that they are better heat emitters. I do have stick on thermometers on the walls of the tank. Usually the hot side is in the mid 80's and the cool side is cooler (not sure because the thermometer doesn't show below 78 or so. I also have a white viewing light which I only leave on over the weekends because the classroom does get chilly. Maybe I should get a second red bulb? I should be using a thermostat but again how does the probe stuff work and if it doesn't get too hot by leaving it on 24/7 than how is it going to adjust when more heat is needed. Lately I have been able to go in the building on weekends but I can't count on that always. I am taking her home over Thanksgiving but leave her on the weekends.


katbobs ~

You are very welcome!

Is Scooter's enclosure 30 x 12 x 12 inches?

Some recommendations have changed, like NOT keeping plain calcium in the enclosure:
Leopard Gecko Setup - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmWmvT1d_TQ#t=12)

For links to all Tony's products including the hide on the right side of Cleo's tank, the Walmart tea candle holders, and his thermostats, scroll to post #26 following the Leo Caresheet. The Walmart glass dishes are good for young leos.

8 Piece Set Kit. Store (http://www.anchorhocking.com/prodd_4984_cat_209_8_piece_set_kit_store.html)

Thermostats are effective for turning off the heat when it has reached the preset amount and for lessening the possibility of fires from overheating.

Did you size up for your UTH? A 30-40 gallon size heat mat is recommended for 20 gallon LONG tanks. Sounds like your UTH might be too small.

An under tank heat mat is plugged into a thermostat (like a Hydrofarm MTPRTC-Amazon $32). Then the thermostat is preset to say like 91F. Plug the thermostat into a power strip or directly into the wall.

The probes come in from the top. Put the thermostat's probe under the warm dry hide. Tape the digital's probe to the thermostat's probe to monitor the thermostat's setting.

Temperatures for all leos regardless of size:
88-93 F (31-34 C) ground temp at warm end inside the warm dry hide
no greater than 85 F (29.5 C) air temp - 4 inches above ground on the warm end
no greater than 75 F (24.5 C) air temp - 4 inches above ground on the cool end

Leave the UTH on 24/7. Can turn off overhead heating at night.

What are you feeding the crickets?

http://www.geckosunlimited.com/community/leopard-geckos-food-feeding-issues/68574-cricket-guidelines.html

Even if you gutload the crickets at every feeding with the T-Rex Calcium Plus Food for Crickets, I would still use supplements.