The leopard gecko gets its common name from the adult coloration of wild specimen, which is generally a cream to yellow ground color with black spots. However, artificial selection in captivity has produced a number of color morphs, distinct from this 'wild-type', possessing many varied colors and patterns. Some of these include: High yellow, orange, striped, patternless (no spots or stripes), lavender, blizzard (which are solid white or gray), and amelanistic (no black pigments in markings).
Leopard geckos are one of only a few gecko species (all of them members of the subfamily Eublepharidae, a small family of tropical/subtropical species found in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. ) that have eyelids. This helps the gecko keep its eyes clean and particle-free in its dusty environment. Most geckos clean and moisten their eyelids with their tongues. Another interesting difference in leopard geckos from most other gecko species is the absence of adhesive toe pads. Instead, they have small claws. Leopard geckos cannot climb walls or glass, although their claws give extra traction on the ground and are helpful in digging; the same applies for the same group of old world geckos having eyelids. Like all geckos, they shed their tail if chased or grabbed. Although they will eventually grow a new one, the regenerated tail will differ from the original, appearing bulbous and inferior. If they are handled as a baby, they may become accustomed to handling.
In its natural environment, the leopard gecko lives under rocks or in small caves to avoid temperature extremes. Like many desert dwelling species it is most active at night, hunting insects, spiders, and small rodents as its prey.
Leopard geckos are only slightly sexually dimorphic, with the males being somewhat more heavy-bodied than females. Males possess a V-shaped row of enlarged pre-anal pores and a pair of hemipenal swellings at the base of the tail. Females have pre-anal pits and lack paired swelling at the base of the tail. Gender is differentiated during egg incubation and is dependent on the incubation temperature, but gender characteristics are not visible in young geckos. Incubation temperatures of 78-82 degrees produce males, 82-84 degrees produce both sexes, and 84-88 produce females.
As pets, leopard geckos will gradually adopt non-nocturnal behavior. The best way to ensure this is to handle them frequently, and only during day time.
Hemitheconyx caudicinctus, commonly known as the African Fat-tailed Gecko, is a nocturnal, ground-dwelling gecko.
The Fat-tailed gecko is from the subfamily Eublepharneae. Members of this subfamily include the banded geckos of North America and the Leopard Gecko of Pakistan. This subfamily has clearly different characteristics from other geckos. They are terrestrial, nocturnal, have moveable eyelids, have vertical pupils, and no adhesive lamellae (sticky feet).
The Fat-tailed gecko is found in West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon. Their habitat is dry and arid, although they will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding place.
The Fat-tailed gecko will grow to be 6 to 10 inches. Females being 6 to 8 inches, and males being 8 to 10 inches. They will live 15 to 20 years. The normal coloring is brown and tan stripes, with a possible thin white stripe along the length of the back. The under belly is pale pink or off-white.
The Fat-tailed gecko is equipped with the natural defense of being able to lose their tails when attacked by a predator. The tail is also where they store their fat, an important energy reserve. If the tail is lost the new tail will look more similar to the head (fat and stubby), and may not match the coloration patterns of the body of the gecko.
Calcium is a very important part of the Fat-tail's diet. The primary source of their diet is crickets. Various sources show fat-tails can be fed as little as 3 times a week and as often as once a day. But everyone agrees that the crickets that are being fed to the fat-tails need to be calcium rich. This can be done by feeding the crickets calcium rich food or coating them with a calcium powder. Pinky mice, mealworms and wax worms can be also offered occasionally.