Leopard geckos may be encouraged to mate at any time of year in captivity, although their usual mating season in the wild is during the summer.
For many years, leopard geckos have been successfully produced in captivity. Size or weight, like with most other reptile species, determines sexual maturity more than age. Leopard geckos attain sexual maturity when their weight reaches 35 to 40 g, which occurs between the ages of 18 and 24 months.
If the colony has one male and at least two females, breeding is encouraged. Breeding is encouraged by shortening the “day” period and lowering the chosen optimum temperature zone to 70°F to 75°F (21°C to 24°C) for 4 to 6 weeks.
Females should be fed calcium-rich foods to compensate for the calcium loss induced by egg production. During the mating season, females lay one to five clutches of two eggs. The eggs are visible through the ventral skin as they grow. A section of the enclosure should be set aside to encourage oviposition.
The substrate in this region must be wet and soft or loose in order for the eggs to be buried. The eggs are roughly 28 x 15 mm in size and are first mushy and sticky. 2 Fertilized eggs stiffen up rapidly and are coated by a thick, leathery, chalk-white membrane.
Infertile eggs are frequently soft. Because the adults consume the progeny, the eggs must be incubated for effective hatching.
The sex of the child is determined by the temperature of the incubation phase during the first two weeks. At 79°F (26°C), the majority of females are created; at 85°F to 87°F (29°C to 31°C), an equal number of males and females are generated; and at 90°F (32°C), the majority of males are produced. The relative humidity in the incubator should range from 75% to 100%. After a 45- to 53-day incubation period, the eggs will hatch.
Geckos should be reared individually after they hatch. If the babies must be reared together, it is critical to safeguard the younger ones from both harm and food competition. Hatchlings survive on egg yolk for the first week after hatching. They, like most other reptiles, do not start feeding on their own until after their first shed, which should happen after the first week after hatching. They should be provided a vitamin and mineral-rich diet every day or every other day (e.g., gut-loaded baby crickets). Always give a shallow water dish and a humid hiding box.
Babies have a black and yellow banded pattern with more contrast and brighter colors than adults.
Leopard geckos are typically simpler to handle. They consume crickets and mealworms on a daily or biweekly basis, depending on whether they are adults or developing babies. Very friendly, not threatening, and unlikely to bite. Ball pythons are also simple to care for, although they can occasionally refuse to consume their food, which can be tough and depressing to deal with if you are not prepared.
They’re entertaining to handle, and I enjoy the way their muscles feel when they slither, but they may be a little scary at first when they get defensive/scared and may be inclined to bite, but they usually don’t. Other snakes are also cool. King snakes, corn snakes, and milk snakes are excellent starting snakes that should not provide any feeding difficulties. A crested gecko is another wonderful choice for a first-time reptile owner.
Balls are quite friendly snakes if you don’ mind a snake that may grow to be many feet long. Leopard geckos, on the other hand, are extremely easy to care for. Both are excellent handlers, however balls are generally more active. Overall, geckos are less expensive, but less active, unless they’re searching for bugs.
Because snakes and lizards are so similar, many people question if they can coexist in the same cage. I performed some study on the subject and decided to share what I discovered.
Can snakes and lizards coexist?
In most cases, snakes and lizards cannot coexist in the same tank. It is not safe for them to live together due to their somewhat varied living temperatures and habitats.
Depending on the species, it is feasible to keep these various reptiles in the same tank, but this is seldom a safe condition for both the animals and yourself. Two Reptiles Are Housed (Such as a Snake and a Lizard)
It would take a lot of effort and research to make your dogs’ habitat a safe and healthy one for them both. Here are a few essential conditions and laws to keep an eye out for if you want to create a healthy atmosphere where your scaley buddies may dwell peacefully.
Ensure that your pets’ varied species and genders are not hostile and get along nicely with other animals. This will keep both of your creatures from being seriously wounded, if not killed. So, before you put your tiny pals in a tank together, make sure you’re well-versed on the behaviors of the many species you own, as well as their unique gender patterns. You’ll need to create two distinct temperature environments within the same tank. Snakes require a cooler temperature environment than lizards. To make this work, a bigger tank with adequate space for the two different temperatures is desirable. Furthermore, having that extra space ensures that one side does not get excessively hot or chilly for its intended habitat.
On Snakes and Lizards Coexisting
If you shouldn’t keep a lizard in the same cage as a snake, you should absolutely avoid keeping a lizard AND more than one snake together, and here’s why. Snakes are “solo” animals by nature. They live on their own, hunt on their own, and feed on their own. They don’t get along with the other snakes and don’t “hang out” with them.
Snakes only interact with one another while they are mating. Otherwise, they prefer to be alone with themselves and flourish. They are born introverts!
When you keep snakes together, you may encounter the following issues:
Many snakes are cannibalistic by nature. It’s simply in their biology. There are snakes that will eat smaller, more vulnerable snakes, and there are snakes that will be devoured by larger, more dominating, and aggressive snakes. If you house snakes together, you are taking a tremendous risk that will end up costing or wasting a LOT of money.
When trying to house snakes together, disease is a HUGE issue. Cannibalism is more prevalent! Because snakes are a “single” species, each snake will have its own germs or illnesses. Especially if it’s from a pet store. These many illnesses can infect and kill your other snake(s) in that ecosystem.
Snakes may also become quite ill while at the pet store, and it is not usually apparent until months later, but it can swiftly infect others, ending in BOTH or ALL of your community housed snakes dying as a consequence of the one disease introduced into the tank. Or maybe a slew of exorbitant vet expenses.
Another issue that will arise in a communal snake tank is the formation of dominance, which will result in feeding issues. One of your community tank’s snakes will achieve Alpha status in the cage and will always be the one to eat.
Along with this alpha attitude, this snake will not let the other to eat at all in order to demonstrate its control over it. As a result, the subservient snake will most likely starve, which is not ideal. If Lizards aren’t an option, can Snakes coexist with any other reptiles?
Other reptiles don’t always get along, but you may have a happy, reptilian community setting if you prepare ahead of time and do your homework on the species you want to purchase for your small ecosystem.
Snakes and turtles cannot coexist.
What you need to look for in your new reptile buddies are comparable climatic temps and characteristics. A snake that requires a 75-degree, dry desert habitat cannot coexist with a lizard that requires a 95-degree, moist forest ecosystem. As a result, be certain that your animals have everything they require.
Gender differences and aggressive or dominating behaviors are also factors to consider. Males of the same species frequently cannot coexist because of their quest for Alpha rank. When they are together, they will be aggressive towards each other in attempt to establish supremacy.
To avoid this violence, have just ONE male of each species in your tank, and if you have any additional reptiles of that kind, make sure they are female. This will assist to ensure a happy and healthy neighborhood. How to Deal with Aggressive Snakes
When a snake feels threatened or ill, it will react violently. This is not an ideal situation for anyone to be in while handling a snake, yet it is occasionally necessary and can be deadly. However, there are certain suggestions I can offer to make the situation more safer for both of you.
To be extra cautious, have ONE person for every FOUR FEET of snake you want to handle. You will have total control over your reptile if you do this. Make sure you’re adequately prepared! Wear long sleeves and trousers, close-toed shoes, gloves, and have a snake hook and appropriate medicine on hand. You can never be too cautious! Before touching the snake, move gently and allow it to become accustomed to your presence. Then act fast to contain it and regain control of the situation.
Lizards, like children who outgrow their old clothes, must shed their old skin to allow their bodies to expand.
For many days, the skin of most lizards falls off in pieces or flakes. The leo shedding process, on the other hand, is comparable to that of a snake: they shed the old skin all at once and practically in one piece, as if they were pulling off a worn-out suit.
Although shedding is a low-intensity event for seasoned enthusiasts, it can elicit a great deal of enthusiasm, fear, and anxiety in a new leo enthusiast. Furthermore, while the procedure is very simple, issues might arise along the way.
That is why it is important to understand what to expect when it comes time to shed.
Continue reading if you want a comprehensive guide on leopard gecko shedding…
We go through when, how, and why your gecko will shed. We also go through signs, behavioral changes, and solutions to typical shedding issues. Let’s investigate the whys and hows of leopard gecko shedding!
What Are Some Signs That My Leo Is Shedding?
Your leo will change color, which is a sure indicator of impending shedding. His hue will get duller as the date approaches, and he will finally turn grayish-white. This occurs as the old skin progressively separates from the body.
It should be noted that the phenomena is not uniformly evident in all morphs. The transformation in Blizzards and many other albinos is modest. The color shift in wild-type and melanistic leos, on the other hand, may be extremely striking, ranging from dark brown to grayish-white.
Is There a Season for Leopard Geckos to Shed?
There is no specific season for shedding. An adult leo, on the other hand, will almost never shed when brumating. Similarly, all of the resources of gravid leopard gecko females are directed toward their eggs, making shedding at this time improbable.
Some pet owners will notice no shedding concerns over their pet’s lifetime. However, knowing what to do if a health concern arises is always a good idea. Even a regular shedding cycle might be alarming for new owners.
Reptiles shed for a variety of causes. The most crucial is to assist in the formation of new skin as they grow. Shedding also aids in the removal of external parasites, the development of adult coloring, the conservation of nutrients, and the healing of injuries or skin injury.
In the wild, shedding may keep parasites such as ticks and mites at bay, which could otherwise cause disease. Shedding repeatedly over months can also aid in the recovery of bites, scratches, and other minor injuries.
Shedding, on the other hand, is not confined to wild species.
Healthy pet leopard geckos shed on a regular basis as they develop, replace skin cells, and change color.
Though most people believe a leopard gecko is “shedding its skin,” just the top layer of skin is removed. The epidermis is the name given to this layer. The epidermis is a protective layer on their skin that protects them from microscopic and macroscopic factors.
When your leopard gecko is ready to shed, there are certain behavioral and physical indications to look for. These indications differ somewhat from person to person, but they are all good markers that they may soon shed.
Leopard geckos that are about to lose their skin will become dull and their pattern will fade to a gray tone. Water and nutrients from the old skin are taken into the body at this stage, assisting in the growth of new skin.
As new skin develops, a layer of lymph fluid accumulates between the old and new layers. This removes the old skin, leaving your gecko pallid and papery.
They will brush against a hard item or use their teeth to remove the shed skin off of their body after the new layer of skin is ready and the old layer has dried off. The new skin will be vivid and vibrant.
As hatchlings and juveniles, they might shed once or twice a month.
Your lizard will shed less regularly after six months of age, at a rate of once every three weeks.
When they reach adulthood, geckos will shed every four to eight weeks. Your lizard may also cease shedding for a short period of time (e.g. brumating or incubating eggs).
A Shedding Leopard Gecko
Shedding is an everyday occurrence in the life of a leopard gecko. For a healthy lizard, it is not a tough or lengthy process.
When you realize your pet is starting a shedding cycle (i.e., its skin becomes dull), it generally takes one to three days for it to shed. However, after it begins to shed, the skin shedding process generally takes an hour, however some geckos may take up to 24 hours.
During the shed cycle, your leopard gecko may decrease its appetite. This is quite normal.
They use a lot of energy in order to build new skin and shed the old one. It is natural for your leopard gecko to feel sluggish and sleepy when the two skin layers begin to separate. This lethargy is not a concern as long as your lizard’s energy levels return to normal after shedding.
Pets who are sluggish even three days after shedding may have another health issue. You can feed your leopard gecko if it is hungry in the days coming up to shedding. However, once it begins to shed, wait until it is completed before providing more food.
The act of shedding old skin exposes them to predators. Handling or introducing food to a reptile in the middle of a shed might cause shedding difficulties. Even on good days, they will be grumpy. While your lizard sheds, it is best to let it alone in its tank.
What Is the Cause of My Leopard Gecko’s Lack of Shedding?
Leopard geckos may shed less regularly as they get older. You may not see your lizard shedding at times, especially if it sheds at night. This might give the impression that your leopard gecko is not shedding at all when, in fact, it is.
If your lizard is generally healthy, growing, and feeding, it is still shedding; you may have simply missed the real shedding season. If a person is ovulating or incubating eggs, they may temporarily cease shedding. Because growing eggs requires a lot of energy, pregnant females may delay shedding until after they have laid a clutch of eggs. How to Assist a Leopard Gecko in Shedding
Frequency of Shedding by Age
The frequency and ease with which your et sheds is determined on age, food, and habitat. Younger species, on the other hand, develop quicker than older ones and so shed more frequently. Shedding Behavior in Leopard Geckos
Less than three months – Every week or every two weeks Three to six months – Once every one to two weeks Between 6 months and 1.5 years – Once every four to eight weeks 1.5 years+ – Monthly
Leopard geckos on the verge of shedding will be uninterested in eating. However, as soon as the leopard geckos shed, they should resume feeding on a regular basis. It may also be seen devouring its lost skin. This is typical and aids your lizard’s nutrition.
During their shed, many leopard geckos become sluggish, timid, or even angry.
Between the time their skin turns gray and the time they shed, they may hide more than normal or refuse to be handled. As a result, avoid handling your lizard for three days after it has completed shedding.
Keep an eye on you pet as it shed
It is critical to keep an eye on, and occasionally assist, your pet as it sheds. Though uncommon, shedding issues might result in limb loss and damage. If you leave stuck shed, especially on the toes and tail, your leopard gecko may lose these digits because the shed constricts blood flow.
Setting up the right cage is the most important thing you can do to help your leopard gecko shed effectively.
If your leopard gecko’s environment and food are appropriate, they should shed easily. In general, you should not attempt to free a jammed shed by yourself.
Pulling off a trapped shed might cause harm to the sensitive skin beneath. Soaking, misting, and bathing assist your lizard in removing the shed.
Here are our top three recommendations for making sure your gecko sheds easily.
Proper temperatures, decor, and humidity levels are critical for shedding health. Leopard geckos are desert lizards that favor dry environments. As a result, several new owners fail to understand that this species still need a humid environment in order to shed effectively.
For leopard gecko shedding, 40 percent humidity is ideal; however, too much or too little humidity might cause issues. Do not allow the humidity to go below 30%. Low humidity dries up the previous skin layer, making it more harder to peel away.
It’s a good idea to provide a shed box or a hide made of coconut fiber or sphagnum moss that stays wet in the tank. The hide should be damp enough to create condensation on the edges, but not so wet that water drips from the walls or top.
This hide will create a humid atmosphere for your lizard to shed.
You should also provide your gecko some rough décor to brush against while shedding. This may be anything from a plastic hide’s edge to sticks, pebbles, and branches. These surfaces should be rough enough to release shed skin but not sharp enough to harm your gecko.
3. Diet plan
A healthy diet is an excellent method to avoid not just shedding but also a variety of other health conditions.
Leopard geckos, unlike certain lizards such as the blue-tongued skink, are insectivores. To be healthy and happy, they require an all-insect diet.
A vitamin A deficiency is a nutritional cause of irregular shedding that can be produced by consuming the incorrect food.
Crickets, Dubai cockroaches, mealworms, and super worms should be fed to leopard geckos. Insects should be sprinkled with a vitamin supplement powder.
It is a popular misunderstanding that leopard geckos are nocturnal and so do not require specific illumination.
Because this species is most active at dawn and dusk, it is subjected to sunlight in the wild. They require UVB light as pets. This aids in the conversion of calcium into vitamin D.
The presence of UVB facilitates shedding in your lizard. It also aids in the complete metabolization of meals and the avoidance of vitamin shortages.
Keepers usually have nothing to worry about when it comes to shedding. The greatest thing you can do for your lizard during its shedding period is to let it alone.
Why you Leopard Gecko have shedding problems
Problems with a lizard’s habitat, food, or health can all interfere with the shedding process. The scientific word for retained or trapped shed is ‘dysecdysis.’ Stuck shed is not a sickness, but rather a side consequence of a healthy or husbandry situation.
Poor nutrition or humidity are the most common causes of stuck shed.
External parasites, a deficiency in vitamin A, or a severe injury can all cause blocked shed. Leopard geckos that have been wounded or are infected with parasites will generally exhibit additional indications of illness (e.g. thin tails or lethargy for more than a few days).
Don’t be alarmed if your reptile still has shed attached to its body after 24 hours of shedding.
There are numerous things you may do to assist your lizard in getting rid of its retained shed as soon as possible. Here are five easy techniques to assist a leopard gecko in shedding:
1. Take a bath
Fill a plastic jug halfway with lukewarm water.
Put your gecko in the container, ensuring sure the water does not reach his chin. Allow your lizard to soak for 10 minutes, or until the water cools.
Soaking helps loosen shed and make them simpler to remove.
If your leopard gecko is not shedding, there is no need to wash it. Soak your lizard only if it still has sticky shed 24 hours after shedding.
Misting your lizard might help soften stuck shed, but never splash your leopard gecko in the face.
Spray your reptile lightly with lukewarm water, then pat it dry after 10-30 minutes.
It is better to use a thin mist.
If misting directly does not help, consider using a shedding aid.
3. Use Shedding aids
Shedding aids are often made out of water mixed with aloe, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. They are intended to be applied straight to the skin.
The majority of shedding aids work best when gently massaged onto dry skin using a Q-tip.
4. Box for Shedding
When your lizard is ready to shed, a humid hide to climb into can aid in the process.
Fill one inch of a hide with moist sphagnum moss, paper towel, or coconut fiber. This hide should be large enough to accommodate your entire lizard, but with only a small entrance to avoid evaporation.
It is unlikely that you will need to bathe your reptile if you give it with a damp hide for shedding.
A lack of rough surfaces for your lizard to rub against is one of the most prevalent causes of trapped shed.
Many leopard geckos use their teeth to remove shed from their bodies, but they will also brush against rough surfaces to reach areas that their jaws cannot reach. When they don’t have something to rub against, they might become shed on their back, nose, or tail. Summary
Shedding is a natural part of the life cycle of all leopard geckos. The average adult sheds once every four to eight weeks.
When your lizard begins to shed, you may notice that they stop eating and become sluggish or agitated. Their hue will become dull and gray during the following two days as the old layer of skin separates from the new layer.
You will see your leopard gecko rubbing up against the tank decor or chewing at the loose shed. After that, your lizard should have a bright, new covering of skin and resume regular activity.
Sheds can become trapped if the tank humidity is too low or if they are fed the improper food. This condition, known as dysecdysis, might result in your lizard losing limbs or fingers. To aid in the removal of trapped sheds, carefully soak or spray them with water or a reptile shedding aid.
Resons why leopard geckos shed
Let’s take a look at some of the most prevalent causes of excessive skin shedding in leopard geckos so we can get your lizard pal back on track.
1. Parasitic infections
Several parasites can cause skin shedding issues. The majority of them, such as cryptosporidium, are intestinal in nature. These parasites feed on nutrients within the leopard gecko’s body, resulting in weight loss and a decrease of appetite. Malnutrition can lead to severe skin issues and even death.
These blood-sucking arachnids are also known as ectoparasites. That’s right, Draculas, spider Draculas! You only need some garlic and a wooden stick…
Okay, but honestly, these bugs are generally the size of a pepper speck and red in color.
They may cause severe skin irritation in certain leopard geckos while they eat, but they also transmit illnesses that can make your pet sick in other ways.
3. Lack of water
Dehydration is most likely the most prevalent cause of excessive skin shedding. When a leopard gecko does not have enough water, its skin might become dry, saggy, and peel.
This causes drier skin, making shedding more difficult. As a consequence, portions of skin may fall off over time or, in rare circumstances, the skin may adhere to the layer underneath.
What’s the deal with my leopard gecko shedding so much?
Juicy feeder insects can aid in the hydration of your leopard gecko.
4. Thermal burns
Your leopard gecko’s skin can burn if it can reach up and touch its heat lamp, or if the surroundings is too hot. Any type of burn might cause excessive shedding as it heals.
5. Low Humidity
If the humidity in your tank isn’t between 40% and 60%, your leopard gecko’s skin may dry out on a frequent basis. As a result, the skin may shed more often.
6. There is no hiding place.
Leopard Geckos require hiding places, especially during the hottest hours of the day. They like low-light or gloomy environments. They do, however, require moisture-retaining hiding places. This can be provided via caves or boxes lined with a wet substrate such as sphagnum. This will assist to keep the skin of your leopard gecko moisturized and healthy.
Even though we all like our leopard geckos, they may be readily influenced by stressful conditions. Being handled too frequently and competing with more aggressive geckos can create anxiety, causing them to stop eating or become sluggish and jittery. This might eventually result in excessive skin loss.
Abnormal skin shedding might be a concern if your leopard gecko isn’t getting the appropriate nutrients. That is why it is critical to give the proper leopard gecko food.
How Long Does It Take for a Leopard Gecko to Shed?
It will take 1-3 days from the time you notice your pet’s dull colour to finish the shed.
Once the procedure begins, it might take as little as 10 minutes to complete. However, in rare cases, it might take up to a day to finish.
Is It Possible to Hold a Leopard Gecko While It Is Shedding?
While shedding, leopard geckos can become irritable and even violent. Unnecessary handling and straining an already agitated gecko might result in problems such as blocked sheds.
Simply give the finest circumstances for your leo and let nature take its course.
Should I Feed Food to My Leo During Shedding?
Some leos will eat regularly before and after shedding, while others may fast for several days before and 1-2 days after the procedure is completed.
You can serve food as normal – just don’t begrudge it.
Leopard geckos lose their skin throughout the rest of their life. Reptiles, unlike mammals, lose their skin all at once rather than continually.
Geckos often shed without issue if their food and habitat are appropriate.
The Dione’s Rat Snake, scientifically known as Elaphe Dione, is a non-venomous rat snake found in Eastern Europe, Far East Russia, and various regions of Asia. Steppes Rat Snake and Dione’s Rat Snake are common names for this snake.
They are energetic and inquisitive snakes. They are usually peaceful creatures that seldom bite. When agitated, they shake their tails, like do many other ratsnakes.
This snake has a few subspecies that have been identified. Adult Dione’s Rat Snakes are not very large; males typically reach sixty to seventy centimeters in length, while females, which are often larger, measure one hundred and twenty centimeters. Some individuals claim to have seen one hundred and seventy-foot-long representatives of this species.
Dione’s Rat Snakes Are Stunning Creatures
Because the owner had no idea what origin their Elaphe dione was, or because of personal experimentation, there has been a lot of mixing of varieties within Elaphe dione. The Chinese variety, which generally has a more golden or light brown base color, is the most preserved and bred type. Specimens from the Vlavidistok are frequently a beautiful crimson color. Elaphe dione produces eggs, although the incubation period is quite brief (20 to 30 days). When hatchlings crawl out of the egg, they are usually 15 to 20cm long. Adult males averaging 50 to 60 cm, females 90-100cm to 120cm, with peaks of up to 150cm and more.
Geographical Location of Dione’s Rat Snakes
The Elaphe dione is the most widespread of all ratsnakes. They adapt readily to a variety of situations and are so simple to care for in captivity. Because of this, as well as the fact that more and more local forms and variants are being produced in captivity, they are a perfect smaller alternative to the well-known cornsnakes (Pantherophis guttatus)
Eastern China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, South Korea, and Far East Asia are home to the Dione’s Rat snake. Some members can also be found in South Ukraine. Among the Elaphe species, this snake has the widest distribution. Habitat
When it comes to habitat, this species of Rat snake is highly adaptable. They may live in both steppe and highly wet environments. Within its geographic distribution, these snakes may exist in any habitat.
Behavior, Reproduction and Captivity
Dione’s Rat snakes are not aggressive; in fact, they are quite kind. The snake has extremely strange diurnal habits. When they are excited, they rattle their tails, and when faced with danger, they escape. Except for those found in China, they prefer to hide and are mostly terrestrial. Small animals are preyed upon by members who dwell in the wild. Those kept in cages are fed thawed mice. Reproduction
Female Dione Rat Snakes are oviparous and deposit big eggs in clumps after a brief incubation period. Their hatchlings are often stockier and shorter than the other snakes’. Hatchlings consume newborn mice. Captivity
Because they are so calm in captivity, these snakes make excellent pets. They can, however, become flighty when aroused and flee.
How to take care of Dione’s Rat Snake / Elaphe Dione
Diet: Young Elaphe dione are rather large when they hatch and begin readily by eating on pinky mice. Adult animals can be fed once every 7 to 10 days throughout their first year. Food is frequently denied when they are in the shed, therefore it is better not to offer them any food during this time and instead utilize it as a little respite. Elaphe dione will not eat on something that is considerably larger than it is.As a result, do not provide prey that is larger than 110 percent of its thickest body section.This means that in many situations, even for large adults, a tiny adult mouse is adequate. It is preferable to feed many medium-sized animals rather than one large meal.
Housing: This species requires minimal special attention. Males may be accommodated in a 60x45x45 terrarium, while females or couples can be housed in a 100x40x40 terrarium. Once again, larger is always better.The substrate might be beech chips or Zoomed Reptibark.A more natural ground cover, such as a combination of sand, coco peat, bark, and dried moss and leaves, is also an option.Remove waste as soon as possible, and refresh your substrate once a month.Provide the animals with a basking area with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius in the warm zone and 30 degrees Celsius under the hotspot.Temperatures on the colder side of the terrarium might range from 22 to 24 degrees Celsius. The temperature may dip to 17 degrees Celsius in the evening.Elaphe dione does not take persistent high temperatures well; if your Elaphe dione spends a lot of time in the waterbowl, this is usually an indication that the temperatures are too high. Provide fresh water at all times. Provide the animals with a variety of hides in each of your terrarium’s temperature zones. Climbing possibilities will be available as trunks and branches are employed on a regular basis.
Hibernation: During the winter seasons, Elaphe dione naturally goes into hibernation. In captivity, this hibernation can sometimes avoided by maintaining temperatures and not reducing daylight hours. Despite this, some animals stop eating and search for a cool zone as much as possible. If this is the case, and we do not provide them with a hibernation at the appropriate temperatures, they will lose weight since the higher temperatures keep their metabolic rate up, but they will not obtain any nourishment because they are not eating. We would always suggest providing these snakes with a hibernation because it is a natural stop and part of their ecosystem.
In late September through October, one begins to prepare for hibernation. Stop feeding and begin shortening the daytime hours. Make sure the animal can still bask so that it can digest and secrete any gastrointestinal material. A wash is sometimes given to ensure that the snake has excreted everything and that they go into hibernation with a clear gut. During the month, reduce the light hours (and, if you have a heat spot, the heating hours) from 12 to 8 to 7 hours. The animal should next be kept in the terrarium for a week without any lights or heating. After that, the animal can be put into hibernation at temperatures ranging from 8 to 10 degrees Celsius; lower temperatures can be tolerated. Hibernation lasts 8 to 16 weeks on average. Yearlings are frequently given a reduced hibernation period by keepers. After this hibernating time, you can return the snake to the terrarium for a week without lights or heating. After this week, you can resume lighting and heating.
This page was originally published by Paul Sage at paulsagereptiles.com and was since taken down – this page is a restored copy from WayBackmachine . We keep a copy here for the purpose to keep it the original source accessible though pages where it is cited. Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20200925141502/paulsagereptiles.com/
Guide to Leopard Gecko Morphs and Genetics
Note: This guide is merely intended to be an explanation of the basic morphs and genetics behind Leopard Geckos. Some traits are controversial among Leopard Gecko enthusiasts due to their variability and subjective nature. The descriptions listed here, especially for polygenic traits, is simply my interpretation based on my experience as well that of other breeders in addition to a perceived “majority opinion”. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list.
Definitions: Simple Recessive: a trait that must be passed on by both parents for it to show up in the offspring. Animals that carry recessive traits but do not express them are referred to as being “het” (heterozygous) for that trait. Polygenic: also known as “line bred” traits. Animals expressing certain desirable characteristics are selectively bred to each other in hopes of reproducing and improving those characteristics. Co-Dominant: a trait that can be passed on by either one or both parents and be visible in the first generation of offspring. Co-Dominant traits can also yield a “Super” form if inherited from both parents. Line-Breeding: breeding related animals together to intensify desired traits Out-Crossing: breeding unrelated animals to introduce new traits or to increase genetic diversity and prevent genetic defects. Phenotype: the actual, visible appearance of an animal Genotype: the genetic composition of an animal, regardless of appearance. Heterozygous: an animal that carries a recessive trait but does not express it Homozygous: an animal expressing a recessive trait
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Albinos There are three known strains of albinism in Leopard Geckos that are incompatible with each other. Albinos are generally recognized by their lack of black pigment. Having red eyes is not a requirement in Leopard Geckos to be considered an albino. All three strains of albino are simple recessive traits.
Tremper Albinos are usually characterized by their light-colored eyes and tendency to have brownish markings on them. They were the first strain of albino Leopard Gecko discovered, and are also the most common of the albinos. Some variations of Tremper Albinos have pink eyes, but they may fade to a light silver color with maturity.
Rainwater Albinos are also known as “Las Vegas” Albinos. I use the two names interchangeably but they do describe the same strain of albino. Rainwaters tend to be the smallest of the albinos, and also have the darkest eyes. Many Rainwater albinos are lighter in color than the other albinos, but more color is being bred into them so it is not a definitive characteristic.
Bell Albinos are well-known for their light pink-colored eyes visible from birth through adulthood. Some of them tend to have a greater amount of small brownish spots, and some also have greater amounts of lavender coloring on them. Bell Albinos are the “newest” strain of albinism discovered in Leopard Geckos.
Patternless, short for “Murphy’s Patternless” is occasionally referred to as a Leucistic Leopard Gecko. This is morph is another simple recessive trait. They are known for their lack of pattern as adults, and as babies they have a unique spotted appearance–especially around the shoulder and head area. The color of a Patternless can range from grays to a greenish color over the whole body, but most will have a purple-gray tail. Through selective breeding, some breeders have managed to bring out the orange coloring at the base of the tail (“carrot tail”).
Blizzard Leopard Geckos are similar to Patternless specimens in appearance since they lack any of the typical spots and banding seen on other leopard geckos. Blizzards range from pure white to shades of gray, occasionally marked by varying degrees of a yellowish shine on their bodies. Blizzards do not have any visible pattern at any stage of maturity, and do not exhibit a noticeable amount of “carrot tail” like some Patternless Leopard Geckos. Blizzards can also fluctuate slightly in their darkness or lightness, and are thus referred to as “mood geckos” by some. Like the Albinos and Patternless, Blizzards are a simple recessive trait.
Patternless Albinos are Leopard Geckos that exhibit both the Patternless trait as well as one of the three strains of Albino. They look very similar to Patternless specimens, although their bodies are a shade of yellow instead of grey or green and their eyes are the color of the Albinos. They are a double recessive mutation, and can exist for all three strains of albino. Rainwater Patternless and Tremper Patternless Albinos are commonly available, but at this point Bell Patternless Albinos have yet to be produced to the best of my knowledge.
Blazing Blizzards exhibit both an Albino trait as well as the Blizzard trait, and are another double recessive mutation. Essentially, they look just like Blizzards except they lack any shades of grey. They are usually solid white geckos, but like the Blizzards, they can have varying degrees of a yellow overcast on their bodies. Both the Tremper Blazings and Rainwater Blazings are available on the market, but to date only one Bell Blazing has been produced.
Red Stripes, Bold Stripes & Jungles are considered by many to be polygenic traits, although some claim that stripes tend to act like a recessive trait. Jungles are characterized by their broken bands of pattern and no two are identical. Bold Stripes appear similar to Jungles, although the dark pigment runs only along the outside ventral surface of the animal’s body and tail. The amount of striping can vary, and some geckos will have a striped body without a striped tail and vice versa. There also exists a Reverse Stripe morph which has the darker pigment running down the spine of Leopard Geckos in one line. Red Stripes have been selectively bred to produce a mostly yellow or orange gecko with two reddish stripes down the dorsal surface of the Leopard Gecko. These stripes can vary in intensity, and frequently don’t show up until the gecko is six months old. Baby Red Stripes usually have a dark brownish color where the stripes will later come in, and adults’ stripes may fade back to a brownish color once they have reached maturity. The Red Stripe either has been, or is currently being introduced into the Albinos to produce albinos with the red stripes down their backs.
Hypomelanistic, Super-Hypo & “Baldy” are terms used to describe the lack of dark pigment on non-albino Leopard Geckos. A Hypomelanistic Leopard Gecko displays a greatly reduced amount of dark pigment over its body, although some spots may be present. A Super-Hypo is essentially a Hypomelanistic that completely lacks any spots on its body. “Baldy” is a term used to describe Leopard Geckos that also lack the pigment spots on their heads, although most if not all “Baldies” are also Super-Hypos. All of these traits are regarded as polygenic or line-bred, and usually don’t show up until the animal is maturing. Babies that exhibit spots or bands after hatching will loose those markings if they are a Hypo, Super-Hypo or “Baldy”.
Tangerine, “Carrot Tail” & “Carrot Head” describe varying degrees and locations of orange coloration on a Leopard Gecko. Animals labeled as Tangerine (or “Tang” for short) will have orange as a background color as opposed to the typical light yellow color seen on normal leopard geckos. The intensity of the orange color may vary from a yellow-orange to nearly red on some specimens. “Carrot Tail” is a term used to describe a Leopard Gecko that has an area of orange that starts at the base of their tail and continues toward the tail’s end. The amount of “carrot” varies from just a small band at the base of the tail to a solid orange tail seen on some extreme specimens. The usage of the term “Carrot Tail” is usually reserved for animals with at least 1/4 of their tail being orange. “Carrot Head” is a trait characterized by orangey spots on the top of a gecko’s head and is usually exclusive to Tremper Albinos. All of these traits are considered to be polygenic or line-bred.
Hybino Leopard Geckosare essentially the result of combining the recessive albino traits with the polygenic Hypo and Super-Hypo characteristics to produce Albinos with a solid or almost solid yellow to orange body color with varying amounts of carrot-tail and tangerine. These are referred to as “Sunglows” by some people. Hybinos can be created for each of the three strains of Albino, and can vary just as much as the Hypos and Super-Hypos.
Giant & Super Giant are traits believed to be co-dominant that affect the size of Leopard Geckos. This trait originated in Tremper Albinos and is usually not used for the other strains of albino even if the animal falls within the weight range depicted by the “standards” established for Giants and Super-Giants. The Super-Giants are the largest Leopard Geckos, with a record weight of 156 grams recorded.
Line-Bred Snows are Leopard Geckos that have been selectively bred to reduce the background color to a white or near-white color. An exceptional Line-Bred Snow would be black and white, with no noticeable yellow coloring on them. As their name suggests, Line-Bred Snows are a polygenic morph.
Mack Snow & Mack Super Snow are co-dominate morphs that reduce or eliminate the yellow and orange color seen on many Leopard Geckos. Mack Snows can be black and white, although some specimens show varying degrees of yellow after having been out-crossed. Mack Super Snows are characterized by their unique, high contrast black and white pattern and their solid black eyes. This pattern does not present itself on a hatchling Leopard Gecko, but usually develops within a month or so. Hatchling Super Snows are similar in appearance to blizzards. The Super form can be thought of as a recessive trait, since both parents must contribute a Mack Snow gene to produce Mack Super Snow offspring.
Various Morphs & Combination
Raining Red Stripes are a relatively new morph that resulted from combining a Rainwater Albino with a Red Stripe. Exceptional specimens have two unbroken orange-red stripes running down the back of the gecko and a fully-striped tail.
Mack Snow Patternless are Leopard Geckos that exhibit both the recessive Patternless trait as well as the reduction in yellow, orange & red pigment from the Mack Snows. As hatchlings and juveniles, they show the slightly spotted pattern seen on young Patternless, but this fades away as the geckos mature.
Mack Snow Albino is the result of combining one of the three types of Albino with the Mack Snow gene. As hatchlings, the yellow color of the albino is replaced with white, but as the gecko matures some yellow starts to appear, resulting in a pastel colored Albino.
Mack Super Snow Albino is basically the Mack Super Snow version of the Mack Snow Albinos mentioned above. Like the Mack Snow Albinos, these can be created for any of the three types of Albino. They exhibit the same pattern as a Mack Super Snow, but the black is replaced by shades of beige or tan. Mack Super Snow Albinos have solid colored eyes which are very dark on Tremper and Rainwater specimens, and solid bright red on Bell Albino specimens.
A.P.T.O.R., R.A.P.T.O.R. & “Eclipse” are essentially three variations of the same Tremper Albino morph. A.P.T.O.R. stands for Albino Patternless Tangerine Orange, and R.A.P.T.O.R denotes specimens with red eyes. The “patternless” trait affecting these morphs is not compatible with the Murphy’s Patternless. The “Eclipse” refers to a non-Albino variation of this morph and is occasionally used to refer to Leopard Geckos with “Snake Eyes”. More information can be found at www.LeopardGecko.com
“Snake Eyes”, as pictured here are basically Leopard Gecko eyes that have solid black areas in their irises. Many such specimens will have one or both eyes half black, while others will show anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 of their eyes solid black. The genetics behind this trait are still suspect, but it does seem to occur the most often with Blizzard and R.A.P.T.O.R morphs. Some breeders have also produced albino animals with “Snake Eyes”. Occasionally the term “Eclipse” is also used to describe this trait.
This page was originally published by Paul Sage at paulsagereptiles.com and was since taken down – this page is a restored copy from WayBackmachine . We keep a copy here for the purpose to keep it the original source accessible though pages where it is cited. Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20200925141502/paulsagereptiles.com/
Basics: Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis Macularius) are native to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India where they live in an arid, mountainous environment. They reach a maximum size of approximate nine to ten inches with the males usually being the larger specimens. The captive population of Leopard Geckos in the United States is believed by many to be a mix of various subspecies which likely explains the wide variety of color mutations available to gecko enthusiasts. Leopard Geckos do not require the companionship of other Leopard Geckos to thrive, and should not be housed with other species of geckos or other reptiles. Male Leopard Geckos will usually fight if housed together, although a male may be kept with females provided that they are of comparable size.
Heating: Leopard geckos are ectothermic animals that require a temperature gradient in their enclosure so that they can thermoregulate. This is vital to their digestive process, as improper temperatures may lead to eating and digestive problems. Leopard geckos should have access to a “hot spot” between 90 and 93 degrees Fahrenheit (32 – 33.5 Centigrade) in approximately ¼ to ½ of their enclosure at all times. The rest of the enclosure should be near room temperature, or 74*F (~23*C). There is a variety of ways to achieve the warm area in the enclosure, with an under-tank heater being the most common and efficient. Not all under-tank heaters are capable of producing the appropriate temperature at the surface in the enclosure for a Leopard Gecko, thus attention should be paid to the maximum temperature listed on an under-tank heater. It may be necessary to use a thermostat or rheostat to control the actual heating element.
Humidity: Leopard Geckos usually do well at standard household humidity levels, although providing them with a “humid hide” is a good idea to aid in the shedding process. A humid hide is simply a small container large enough for the gecko to fit in that contains a moistened substrate of coconut fiber, peat moss, sphagnum moss, paper toweling, or other appropriate media. Humid hides can be constructed out of plastic food containers with an access hole cut into the top. If shedding problems develop, it may be necessary to raise the humidity level in the enclosure, but adequate ventilation should be maintained to avoid the risk of respiratory ailments.
Lighting: Leopard Geckos are nocturnal animals and therefore do not require the same lighting as some other reptiles. A simple viewing light may be used during the day above the enclosure provided that it does not interfere with the temperatures in the enclosure or the animal’s day-night cycle. If heat is supplied to a Leopard Gecko via an incandescent lamp, a red or black “night time” bulb should be used so that it can be left on around the clock. Substrate:Many substrates can be used for the bottom of a Leopard Gecko’s enclosure with good results. Options include paper toweling, newspaper, reptile carpet, slate, ceramic tile and sand. There is a great deal of controversy over the use of sand as a substrate for Leopard Geckos due to the risk of intestinal impaction that results from an animal ingesting the sand. Although many adult Leopard Geckos have thrived on a sand substrate, it poses more of a risk to smaller leopard geckos. Sand and other loose particulate substrates can be more difficult to properly clean and sanitize, thus I usually recommend that Leopard Geckos be housed on an alternate substrate.
Diet & Hydration: Leopard Geckos are primarily insectivorous, although adults may eat tiny mammals such as newborn “pinkie” mice. Staple diets for Leopard Geckos usually consist of mealworms, crickets, or superworms. Other insects include silkworms, wax worms and various species of roaches. To provide adequate nutrition, feeder insects should be fed an appropriate “gut load” prior to being fed to the gecko. Additionally, Leopard Geckos require vitamin and mineral supplementation which can be supplied via commercially available reptile-specific products. Calcium is a necessary mineral for Leopard Geckos, as a lack of it may lead to Metabolic Bone Disease. There is a wide variety of supplementation products available, and many of them are adequate for Leopard Geckos. Finally, a source of fresh, clean water should be available to Leopard Geckos. This can easily be accomplished by keeping a small dish of water in the enclosure at all times or by misting them daily to allow the gecko to lick water off the sides of its enclosure.
Hygiene & Quarantine: As with any animals kept as pets, proper quarantine and sanitation procedures should be followed to protect the health of all animals in one’s possession. All newly acquired Leopard Geckos should be housed individually and away from existing animals in the home regardless of where they came from. Proper sanitation should be exercised to avoid cross-contamination when taking care of new animals, and all utensils and tools should be sterilized routinely. Keeping to a regular schedule of cleaning enclosures and equipment will help to ensure a healthy environment for both pets and people. Although pathogen transmission from reptiles to humans is far less common than portrayed in the media, it is a good idea to wash your hands after handling and caring for your pet. In addition to using an anti-bacterial soap when cleaning enclosures and equipment, pet-safe disinfectants such as chlorhexedrine can be used to ensure proper sterilization. If household bleach is used, please be sure to fully rinse the materials and allow them to dry before exposing them to reptiles.
Further Information: There exists a number of books written on Leopard Geckos that provide detailed information on their husbandry, but keep in mind that not all authors will agree on the “best” method of providing and caring for Leopard Geckos. My advice is to explore the various opinions and weigh the options to see which works best for you. Additionally, there is a variety of internet message boards and forums where questions can be researched and asked if a suitable explanation is not found. I invite persons interested in purchasing a Leopard Gecko from me to ask any questions before and after making the purchase should they feel it would be helpful. In my opinion, a person interested in breeding their Leopard Geckos should achieve a good understanding of the general husbandry requirements prior to making plans for breeding their Leopard Geckos.