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  1. #1
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    Apr 2010
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    Default Dropped 2 mealworms in substrate?? Cant find them?! Plus other noob questions.


    Hi everyone, I just got 2 leopard geckos on friday. I have a few questions.. well, a bunch really lol.

    1. I dropped 2 mealworms in the geckos tank substrate during feeding and COULD NOT FIND THEM. Should I change all the substrate now?? Lol. This might be a ridiculous question but I don't know if they will multiply in there or just die or what. It kinda grosses me out that they are random mealworms roaming around my geckos home now! What should I do?

    2. Substrate.. ohhh substrate. I knew from the start that I could NOT use sand or any type of small loose substrate because of impaction. So I started with repticarpet. I got rid of it though because they kept getting their toes and teeth stuck on it (during feeding) and I felt bad for them. So I went to the pet store and got some wood chips/bark. None of the pieces are smaller than a penny and most are bigger than that, but I'm now reading that I shouldn't use wood chips. I am absolutely willing to change substrate if need be but I really thought this was ok since none of the pieces are small and I don't think impaction is possible with these chips. Is it? If I have to change what do you recommend besides paper towels/newspaper? I do want a more natural looking environment if possible. Please let me know if I need to switch, what I should switch to and where to get it. The only pet store around only sells sand, carpet, bark/wood chips and eco earth. I can order online if need be.

    I really want my geckos to live a long, happy, healthy life. I've tried to make their home as comfortable as possible. I have them in a 30x12x12 terrarium. they have 2 large hides (one on each side of the tank) and a coconut shell moist hide (with ecoearth in it) and a few things to climb on. They have a calcium dish, a water dish, a food dish, a UTH, a day lamp and a red night lamp. Humidity is at about 30%- my cool side is between 78-81 usually and my warm side between 87-90. I feed them mealworms for now, have waxworms also but have only given them each a half of one so far (they are quite large). I have been letting them sniff my hand every day waiting for them to decide to walk in it and today they both did! They are really cute, very friendly, seem to like me, and seem pretty happy so far.

    The problem I am having is that there is so much debate over leopard geckos and how you are supposed to take care of them. Some people say the warm side should be 88, some say it should be 98! Some day to only feed mealworms, some say to only feed crickets, some say you have to feed both. Some say no sand, some say sand is ok. Some say you need a lamp, some say you CAN'T use a lamp. I'm going crazy! It seems every where I look people are telling me different things.

    Okay, sorry this is so long. To sum up:
    should i change substrate because of loose mealworms?
    is my substrate ok?
    any other advice/tips, please let me know.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Somerville, MA
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    Welcome to the world of geckos! The biggest problem with substrate that comes in pieces, even if they are pieces too big to eat, is that the feeders get lost in them. For the most part with few exceptions they will not do the geckos any harm and will most likely surface (you may never see them because the geckos will eat them). At least if the mealworms die in there they won't stink like crickets will. Although I do use coco fiber (eco earth) for my African fat tail geckos, I usually use ceramic tile for my leopard geckos. I get the cheap beige, slightly textured tiles and they look good and natural. They hold and spread the heat well. There are other people who build their own vivariums and do lots of amazing stuff with styrofoam, Great Stuff and other materials to make fake rocks and a rocky ground. It's beyond me, but you may be able to find some of that here and on the vivarium forum that's connected to here.

    As you have also discovered, there is a range of recommendations about how to keep your geckos. Most people swear by what works for them. It's kind of like child-rearing: there are a variety of ways, some of which are contradictory, which result in a well adjusted child. I recommend you choose something within the range of recommendations (e.g. temps in the 88-98 range, but not 108 or 78 ) and see how you and your geckos do. You can also experiment a bit and see if they seem to like it hotter or cooler, for example.

    There is a good article on Gecko Time (which I also edit) that discusses leopard geckos on sand and talks about other substrates. It's here: Housing Leopard Geckos on Sand | Gecko Time

    I hope that next week there will be an article reviewing substrates that we'll publish.

    Feel free to ask more questions.


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