Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizards as pets. In fact, they are so popular that there are complete websites, forums and even YouTube channels dedicated to them.
If you’re like me then you probably can’t get enough of these slimy cuties. So, I thought I should make a list of a bunch of interesting facts that you probably didn’t know. To speak the truth, I didn’t know some of them either. Some of the facts in this list really wowed me while I was researching.
So, sit back, relax and let’s dive right into it. Here, are 12 amazing leopard gecko facts –
1. They have eyelids
I’m not sure if you knew but it’s pretty unusual for geckos to have eyelids. There are about 1500 known gecko species and on 18 of them have eyelids.
These 18 species belong to the Eublepharidae subfamily and the leopard gecko is a member of this subfamily.
The majority of gecko species have a clear scaly shield covering their eyes which they shed like the rest of the scales of their body. Instead of blinking like they use their tongue to lick off any dirt.
2. No sticky toes
Having sticky toes is kind of a defining feature for geckos. But not when you belong to the Eublepharidae subfamily.
Leopard geckos lack the adhesive membrane that allows most other geckos to stick to vertical surfaces.
This is due to the nature of their habitat. Unlike most geckos, they don’t live in trees. Instead, they prefer flat grasslands. So, having sticky toes is not really necessary for them.
3. They can see colors at night
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but you really can’t tell the colors of things at night when there ‘s very little moonlight. Well, that’s not a problem for leopard geckos.
Leopard geckos have eyes that are 350 times more sensitive to color than ours. So, they can see the color of things in great detail even when there’s very little light outside.
Humans have two types of light receptor cells. Rods and cones. Cones help us see color and work great in bright light. On the other hand, we use rods to see in low light conditions. But rods are not really that great at differentiating colors.
Geckos don’t have any rods at all. Instead, they only have highly light-sensitive cones which they use for vision in both bright and low light conditions.
My theory is that unlike geckos, our ancestors didn’t really hunt or do much at night. So, using rods was probably a way of conserving energy as processing color is a lot more work.
4. They can’t see the color red
Geckos don’t have red color receptors. So, obviously, they can see the color red. This is kind of the same for most reptiles.
Many reptile owners think that just because their pets can’t see red-light, they can hang a red LED day and night. This is not ideal. Sure, they can’t see red light but they can see light, duh!
They’ll just see it as white light and it will definitely disturb their sleep cycle. So, keep that in mind if you have reptiles as pets.
5. Can detach their tail at will
Leopard geckos can detach their tail at will. They use it as a defense mechanism to escape from predators.
When facing a predator leopard gecko will detach their tail and run the other way in the hopes that the predator will remain satisfied with it and not follow them.
Leopard geckos also do this sometimes in captivity if they are somehow spooked by their owners. The tail does grow back but does not look as good as the original one.
So, if you’re a leopard gecko owner you mustn’t do anything to scare them or stress them out.
6. They eat their shed skin
Yeah, it sounds gross but it’s true. Leopard geckos eat their own skin after shedding. There are many theories as to why they do it.
Some say that leopard geckos eat their shed skin so that they don’t get tracked by predators. Other people say that their skin contains some nutrition. So, they do it to get that nutrition back into their system.
7. 20-year lifespan
Leopard geckos can live for a long time. In captivity, their lifespan can be stretched to as long as 20-years.
8. Have 100 teeth
Leopard geckos have 100 tiny teeth in their mouth. They shed their teeth every few months replacing them with new ones. Even though they have a lot of teeth they don’t really chew their food. Like most other reptiles they swallow their food whole.
9. They come from grasslands
This might come as a surprise to many of you guys but leopard geckos don’t live in deserts. This is quite a popular misconception. Leopard geckos come from the lush grasslands of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
10. Leopard Geckos are crepuscular
Being crepuscular means leopard geckos like hunting in dawn and dusk. So, if you own a leopard gecko it would be a good idea to feed them during these hours to mimic their natural feeding time.
Brumation means a state of sluggishness or lethargy. Leopard geckos just like other reptiles undergo brumation during winter climates when food is sparse. It is to preserve energy so that they can go on for a long time without food. It is kind of like hibernation but not entirely.
In hibernation, the animal goes into a deep sleep and uses stored fat as an energy source to keep vital functions running.
In the case of brumation, the leopard gecko stays awake but their metabolism is slowed down to almost zero. As a result, they spend very little energy that allows them to survive through the winter without food.
12. Enigma Syndrome
Enigma syndrome is a common neurological disorder that occurs in leopard geckos of the enigma morph. Due to rigorous breeding, many leopard geckos suffer from this disorder.
Leopard geckos with the enigma syndrome show the following symptoms –
- Head Bobbing
- Death Rolling
- Lack of balance
So, there you have it. 12 amazing leopard gecko facts. Do you know any other amazing facts on leopard geckos?
If you do then feel free to leave a comment and share your knowledge with the rest of the world. It would be very much appreciated.