Getting savvy on Gecko's.

Feb 25 2010
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Some pet owners want cute and cuddly but a growing number of people prefer small and scaly. One popular reptile, the gecko, has pierced the American consciousness as the face of a major insurance company. Geckos, like all pets, require specific care to maintain their health. Without proper lighting and diet, geckos can suffer serious, sometimes fatal complications. To find out more about gecko care, I spoke to All Pets Animal Hospital veterinary assistant Parisa Azamghavami. Parisa is the proud owner of a New Caledonian Crested gecko named Stryker.  One thing all geckos need is a calcium supplement. In addition, most need UVB light to convert calcium to vitamin D.  Vitamin D is vital for bone development. Without it, geckos can develop metabolic bone disease, a serious condition that results in rubbery legs and easily broken bones. While a complete powder diet is sufficient, Parisa recommends that owners supplement the diet with crickets. She advises owners to obtain their crickets from a reputable source to ensure they are healthy. Some people prefer to raise their own crickets, but many people purchase gut-loaded crickets.  This simply means the crickets have been fed a diet that will benefit your gecko. Parisa cautions that crickets must be the proper size for your gecko. An over-sized cricket can be difficult for your gecko to digest and can lead to impaction—a serious condition in which the digestive track is obstructed. If not treated, impaction will lead to death. Although lighting and diet are key for gecko health, there are other factors—humidity, temperature, housing—with which potential owners should familiarize themselves. Care for geckos is breed-specific. A breed Parisa recommends for beginners is the leopard gecko. No matter what breed you choose, there are many online resources you can consult; however, your best resource is your reptile-friendly veterinarian at All Pets.

Last changed: Feb 25 2010 at 3:01 PM

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