Common Leopard Gecko

Common Leopard Gecko

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Eublepharis macularius
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
15-25 yrs
WEIGHT
50-80 g
LENGTH
18-28 cm

Common leopard geckos are ground-dwelling lizards. They are larger than many other gecko species. Those found in the wild typically have more dark, dull, and drab colorations than those kept in captivity as pets. Those in captivity generally have an assortment of skin colors and patterns. The skin of a Common leopard gecko is very durable, which provides protection from the rough sand and rocky hills terrain of their dry environment. Their dorsal side is covered with small bumps, which gives a rough texture and appearance while their ventral side is thin, transparent, and smooth. Like all reptiles, Common leopard geckos shed their skin. Adults shed an average of once a month, while juveniles will sometimes shed twice as much.

Distribution

Common leopard geckos are native to south-Asian Afghanistan, Pakistan, north-west India, and some parts of Iran. They live in the rocky, dry grassland and desert areas.

Common Leopard Gecko habitat map

Geography

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Common leopard geckos are solitary and do not usually live with other animals. They are cathemeral reptiles. In the wild they are mostly limited to burrows and shaded areas during the day, becoming more active at dawn and dusk when the temperature is favorable, and are often active quite sporadically in captivity. Winter temperatures in the native habitat of Common leopard geckos can be quite low, below 10 °C (50 °F), forcing the animals underground into semi-hibernation, called brumation, living on fat reserves. Common leopard geckos have many predators such as snakes, foxes, and other large reptiles. Their keen sense of hearing and sight help them escape from them during the night. Along with their exceptional sight and hearing abilities, their skin helps camouflage themselves from their predators. Their sense of taste and smell also helps them with survival. They also stay in underground holes and burrows during the daytime, not only to avoid the heat but to also avoid the risk of getting eaten. Common leopard geckos are not very vocal but when stressed they will produce barks and squeaks.

Group name

Diet and Nutrition

Common leopard geckos are insectivores. They feed on crickets, dubia roaches, mealworms/superworms, scorpions, centipedes, spiders, beetles, and other insects.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
summer
INCUBATION PERIOD
45-60 days
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
2 eggs

Common leopard geckos breed typically in the summer. Females can lay about 6 to 8 clutches, which consists of 2 eggs in each clutch. They will normally lay 2 eggs approximately 21 to 28 days after mating. The sex of the hatchlings is determined based on the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. Females are hatched if the temperatures are between 26-29 °C (7984 °F), while males can be produced from incubation temperatures of 31-33 °C (88-91 °F). After 45 to 60 days, droplets of moisture will appear on the shell and the shell will begin to shrink and partially collapse. These are indications that the eggs will hatch. Baby Common leopard geckos will have an "egg tooth", a calcareous tip at the end of its snout to help break their eggshell. Their "egg tooth" will fall off within 1 to 2 days. In addition to this, their skin will usually shed within 24 hours of hatching. The hatchling will not be able to eat until after the first shedding. Common leopard geckos become reproductively mature at around 1.5 years of age.

Population

Population threats

Probably the biggest threat to Common leopard geckos is the pet trade. They are very popular lizard pets for their gentle nature.

Population number

According to IUCN, the Common leopard lizard is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Ecological niche

Common leopard geckos play a very important role in the ecosystem they live in. Being insectivores they maintain insect populations and are prey for other species.

Domestication

Common leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizard pets. They are possibly the first domesticated lizard species. Their small size, robustness, and relatively easy care makes them a good "beginner" reptile pet. They breed easily in captivity, so most sold today are captive-bred rather than wild-caught.

DOMESTICATION STATUS Domesticated

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Common leopard geckos are ectothermic. They absorb warmth and energy during the day as they are sleeping, so they can hunt and digest food at night.
  • Common leopard geckos have openings on either side of their head as ears which are covered and protected by a tympanic membrane. They use their ears to locate their prey.
  • Unlike most geckos, Common leopard geckos have movable eyelids.
  • These lizards have short legs, which enable them to be quick and agile while their small nails allow them to climb twigs and rocks.
  • Common leopard geckos can detach their tails if they are attacked, grabbed by the tail, bitten during copulation, or nipped by another during feeding. This is called caudal autotomy. After autotomy the tail can continue to twitch for as long as 30 minutes, allowing the gecko to escape from its predator.

References

1. Common Leopard Gecko on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_leopard_gecko
2. Common Leopard Gecko on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/172683/1366357

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