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  1. #1
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    Post Questions about Crested and Leopard Geckos


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    Hello folks,

    I am fairly new to the world of Gecko ownership but have been doing plenty of research over the past month. I am currently torn between choosing a Leopard Gecko or a Crested Gecko.

    They both are awesome reptiles with their own quirks. I do enjoy that the Leos seem to be more laid back and easier to handle. Observing them hunting their live food would be fascinating and the rocky natural habitat would be easy to keep clean. Keeping their live food on the other hand could be more of a pain then the Crested Gecko's food.

    On the other hand, the Crested Gecko is arboreal and the idea of a planted tropical environment is quite appealing. The ease of feeding as most do not eat much live food seems simple enough. I am unsure of how handling them would be. Would they jump away or would they be alright just hanging out? The other concern is would their enclosure begin to smell between the humidity and the possible live plants? Cleaning up after them may also prove more difficult, what with the whole more vertical space thing.

    In closing I am just looking for some direction. I am pretty on the fence between the two! Any guidance or extra input on what I have noted above would be amazing.

  2. #2
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    For crested geckos, their behavior depends on the habits of the owner and on their individual character as well. Some will clearly show they dislike being handled and will jump away from your hands or even try to bite. If they have scarcely been handled before, they are also likely to try to avoid it, but leos which have not been handled at all or at least on a more or less regular basis will also react the same.

    However, I'd like to attract your attention on what follows: whatever the gecko species, they don't LIKE to be handled. Geckos have fairly different and much more "primitive" contacts with their human owners. They don't like it, it can even stress them out quite easily, with all the negative aspects which goes with it (stress triggers off aggressiveness as well as possibly, when it's repeatedly done, a collapse of the immune system and an anorexia). So, if you really want to handle a gecko, do it very gently and avoid it completely for at least the first month you have it at home. Doing it on an infrequent basis, like no more than 2 short handling sessions per week, would then work with many individuals, yet if you don't handle them at all, they will likely be better and breed more easily, also they will be in a better shape

    As for your choices, it's always easier to start with a desert species as there are less things to monitor -humidity levels, and temps can vary a lot in desert_like environments while cresteds must be kept under low to warm temps, nothing below the upper 60°F and never above 84°F or their health, or even life, is at risk. Leos are more tolerant on this. Oh, as for cresteds again, the more they eat live insects, the better for them. In the wild, eating bugs or small vertebrates is their main source of protein, helping them to grow and stay fit much more than their intake of fruit and pollen.
    "Thorr Geckos" private breeder in Normandy.

    Specialized in Ptenopus, Pachydactylus, Chondrodactylus, Hemidactylus, Ptyodactylus, Uroplatus genera, AFTs, picta, Gehyra marginata, South Americans, Ptychs...

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    Its like @thorrshamri indicated. A Leopard Gecko is a great species to start with or in my case stay with.

    Its alot like other Reptiles. I bought a Bitis Gabonica for my first snake because she layed around 24/7 was absolutley beautiful and sans getting bitten easy to keep. She was a behemoth and very predictable.

    Then I moved on to Elapids which were fast, smart, energetic and will try to make love to any of your digits or extremties if you dont keep eye contact.

    What I am saying is the E. macularius was my Bitis gabonica and I dont think I will be buying a Tokay any time soon.

    I know its very cryptic.

    Bottom Line: Leopard Gecko

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    I know it's off topic but wow, Bitis gabonica as a first snake, man you love risks! lol
    We certainly won't encourage or recommend beginners to start with any venomous species here, especially with snakes which can be deadly and have 2" fangs, the longest snake fangs known so far

    That said, there are other choices than leos which also make great geckos to start with. AFTs (African Fat-Tails) are really cool, easy to care for. I have written a care sheet on them on this forum.

    I also agree tokay geckos might not be the best choice as a first gecko, unless they were tamed by the breeder and captive-bred.
    "Thorr Geckos" private breeder in Normandy.

    Specialized in Ptenopus, Pachydactylus, Chondrodactylus, Hemidactylus, Ptyodactylus, Uroplatus genera, AFTs, picta, Gehyra marginata, South Americans, Ptychs...

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    This will probably not help you get off the fence: I mostly have leopard geckos but also have 1 crested gecko. I would say that watching the crested gecko dive-bomb for his crickets is quite entertaining. A planted tank with proper drainage (there are lots of instructions about doing this) and "clean up crew" isopods does not smell. With my currently 40+ reptiles, some of them barely tolerate being handled and some seem to be very calm sitting on my hand, even coming out of their hides when I approach. I do understand that in the wild they are certainly not socialized to tolerate handling, but wonder about some of these species that have been bred in captivity for tens of generations. Can there have been any "natural" (i.e. human) selection for more social behavior? As always, doing our best to read the cues of the animal in question and being willing to receive their non-verbal message has value.
    As it happens, I discovered I preferred gargoyle geckos to crested geckos, which is why I only have 1 crested gecko. It's your choice --height without heat or heat without height. You could always get one of each . . .

    Aliza

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    Quote Originally Posted by acpart View Post
    but wonder about some of these species that have been bred in captivity for tens of generations. Can there have been any "natural" (i.e. human) selection for more social behavior? As always, doing our best to read the cues of the animal in question and being willing to receive their non-verbal message has value.

    Aliza
    I completely agree with most of what you have said, Aliza.

    Now, if you consider the level of encephalization of reptiles, as YOU already know for sure (but probably not many other members of the forum, especially those who are new to herps), I completely doubt they are able of any deliberate interaction with their owners.

    Exceptions might be some monitor lizard species which have a higher level of encephalization and do seek to interact with their environment. I am at risk of upsetting a lot of reptile owners including beardie fans, but let's face it on a down-to-Earth and scientific point of view. They respond to very basic stimuli such as the need to feel safe, to be undisturbed and under cover, the need to eat and drink and as a secondary need, mating and breeding when they feel good enough for this. That's about all.

    Their memorization abilities are comparable to fishes. No long-term memories, only ones which last for, at best, a few minutes. They respond to food stimuli and owners may get confused when they see such or such behavior such as animals watching what's going on as they simply would like some food. It's a completely human-centered approach to think reptiles may have "feelings" such as dogs or cats do, or that they are ever able to distinguish between your arm and a branch. They won't respond to names, and they just can't deal with such complex matters like who is their owner. That's, according to neurological studies on various reptiles, well beyond their abilities.

    The need for interactions are on the owners/human side only. Even with tons of patience on captive-bred animals, the best interactions owners will be able to have is, with some species only, being able to feed their critters with thongs or even hand-feed them. No reptile likes to be scratched, cuddled or that sort of thing. If they seem to do so, there are other explanations on the behavioral/neurological level.

    Just as an example, most geckos won't hesitate to eat their own youngs. That says a lot about individual recognition and how most of them are simply unable to distinguish between a prey insect and one of their own offsprings.

    That said, if you leave them quiet and let them act in a spontanenous and "natural" way according to each species, all reptiles and geckos in particular are GREAT display animals with many interesting behavior patterns to watch for owners who are curious to learn on their habits.

    Hervé
    Last edited by thorrshamri; 05-18-2015 at 01:11 AM.
    "Thorr Geckos" private breeder in Normandy.

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    I'd also like to emphasize on choosing ADULT or near adult animals as your first gecko(s). Juveniles are always a bit more fragile and a bit more difficult to keep than adult ones.

    All crested geckos are normally captive-bred, as well as leopard geckos. Buy captive-bred animals only (CB/CBB) when you are new to them, it will avoid you tons of problems, it's also much better on ethics grounds for species conservation in the wild.

    All imported wild-caught animals arrive with a fairly high level of stress (the worse thing for a reptile, probably), dehydration issues, sometimes denutrition issues as well, and in 99.9% of cases, internal and/or external parasites which will have to be treated with the help of a qualified veterinarian.

    There are species which are a middle line between terrestrial and arboreal, they are also affordable and not difficult for beginners. I'm thinking of Paroedura picta, Panther Geckos or Painted Geckos in English. These guys are not really arboreal but climb well enough on rough surfaces, are inexpensive, colorful and hardy.

    Now the choice between a leo, a crested or possibly another species (AFTs, Panthers, Gargoyles) are also a matter of 1) financial means, what you can afford or not 2) personal tastes, and nobody can know better than you what you prefer. I suggest, if you have a chance to do so, you first handle both species at friends of yours or in a pet store, to make yourself a better opinion.

    Hervé
    "Thorr Geckos" private breeder in Normandy.

    Specialized in Ptenopus, Pachydactylus, Chondrodactylus, Hemidactylus, Ptyodactylus, Uroplatus genera, AFTs, picta, Gehyra marginata, South Americans, Ptychs...

    FORUM RULES HERE! PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY, ESPECIALLY NEWCOMERS TO GU! http://www.geckosunlimited.com/commu...les-rules.html

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    Thank you all for the great responses! I am still very undecided but have already learned a lot. I am beginning to appreciate the idea of an arboreal gecko partly to save some space with the foot print of the enclosure. How do you guys keep your live food? I imagine crickets can be quite noisy and escape frequently.

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    if you're talking about crickets, this is the standard for smaller numbers.

    however, I have found that crickets will escape from these containers. so I use one of these, of appropriate size.

    to keep with the convenience of the tube for feeding them off (remove tube, shake in cage, put tube back), I use toilet paper rolls both for feeding the crickets and giving them somewhere to hide. it's super convenient and easy.

    adult crickets seem to have a pretty short "shelf life", at least in my hands, so I never need a large bin and I pick them up about every other week. my roaches are in bins 15-20 gallons with eggcrate flats.
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    As far as the intelligence of reptiles: I'm perfectly fine with a reptile resting on my hand simply because it's warm while incidentally giving me the joy of holding it. I don't need it to be feeling enjoyment as well, as long as I'm not stressing it out, which is where the "nonverbal signals" part comes in.

    Crickets: I get large amounts of crickets. I keep them in 5 or 10 gallon tanks (depending on cricket size) with a bedding of good gut load, plenty of egg crate to sit on and jar lids with water crystals. They don't last more than 2 weeks, given my feeding schedule.

    Aliza
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