Leopard Gecko


ORDER: Squamata

FAMILY: Gekkonidae

GENUS: Eublepharis

SPECIES: macularius

DESCRIPTION:
Skin color consist of dark brown spots on white or pale yellow background. The young gecko has alternating bands of color which gradually break up into the spots or splotches. The male is more heavily built with broader head and thicker neck than the female. Size: six to nine inches.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Desert areas of eastern Iran, Pakistan and western India. Habitat: arid rock and sand terrain.

DIET:
Locusts. Eats pinkies, mealworms and invertebrates here in the Zoo.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
This gecko is a crepuscular and nocturnal reptile and daylight hours are spent out of sight in a burrow or under a rock. Some young geckos will produce eggs as early as 9 months of age, but other sources say they generally reach breeding maturity in their second year. One mating will serve to fertilize all eggs produced for the next 15 months or more. Sperm is stored in seminal receptacles in the female's genital tract. Females lay as many as five pairs of eggs (a pair laid at monthly intervals) over a 4-5 month breeding season each year. Sex of hatchlings is determined by temperature. Life span in excess of 20 years.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Nitrogenous waste is excreted in solid crystal form as uric acid instead of as urine.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
This species should never be picked up or restrained by holding the tail as this may result in it breaking off. This defense mechanism sometimes allows them to escape an enemy. The tail breaks at a crack in the vertebra and the surrounding muscles are so arranged that they separate neatly and instantly. A muscle closes around the artery in the tail at the point of the break and prevents undue blood loss. Usually a new tail is regenerated. The genus name is from the Greek and means "good eyelid". The species name is from the Latin and refers to the spots.

OUR ANIMALS:
1 Female. She is used in our Education and Zoomobile programs and is not viewable by the public.

STATUS IN WILD:
Only Pakistan allows the export of wild caught geckos to the United States. Most of the leopard geckos sold in the U.S. are captive-bred.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Balsai, Michael, 1993. "Leopard Geckos" in Reptile & Amphibian Magazine, Mar/Apr. 1993.
  2. Thorogood and Whimster, 1979. "The Maintenance and Breeding of the Leopard Gecko as a Laboratory Animal" in International Zoo Yearbook: Reptiles, Vol. 19, pp. 74-78.
  3. Tremper, Ron, 1980. "Care Sheet Leopard Gecko".

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