Geckos are interesting creatures that make great low-maintenance pets. But because of their anatomy, it can be hard to tell how old one is. Geckos can live for a long time, so if you're keeping a gecko as a pet, you might want to know what stage of life he's at.
Keeping a pet gecko
The leopard gecko is a common variety that is found in pet stores. A single leopard gecko can be housed in a 10-gallon aquarium, making them a pet that's easy to accommodate. Leopard gecko gender can be difficult to tell, but size is a factor. More than one male gecko should not be kept in the same habitat as they will fight.
Reptile Magazine says leopard gecko hatchlings are 3-to-4-inches long. These babies grow to be around 6-to-10-inches long and generally live from six-to-10 years, although some geckos live as long as 20 years. Female leopard geckos are typically 7-to-8 inches, and male geckos are 8-to-10 inches. Male geckos often outlive female geckos.
Determining age of leopard geckos
Even though they live for many years, a leopard gecko's size does not increase once they reach their full-grown size, so it can be difficult to tell their age without a reliable leopard gecko growth chart. Geckos can be adorable, no matter how large or small they are, but older geckos will not have the dramatic coloring of younger geckos. The Bearded Dragon <ahref="http: www.lihs.org="" files="" caresheets="" e_macularius.htm"=""> </ahref="http:>says that a gecko's markings commonly fade with age. So comparing a known young gecko with an older gecko can help provide a comparison for age determination.
Gecko growth rates
Moon Valley Reptiles says that crested geckos grow from hatchling to adulthood in an average of 18 months. Once they reach adult size, they will not continue to grow, even though they may live for another 10 years or more. Geckos appear to respond to increases in humidity and temperature in their environment by growing faster and reaching sexual maturity sooner.
There is no easy way to determine the exact age of a gecko since there is no standard leopard gecko growth chart rate. The Bearded Dragon says size is dependent on their general health, diet and caloric intake, and any genetic traits they are born with. Most baby leopard geckos, known as "leos," will have bands on their body instead of spots. Over time, the bands separate and become spots, but this usually does not happen until the gecko is one-year-old. So if you're in a pet store and see a gecko with bands instead of spots, it could be one that was hatched within the year.
Leopard gecko gender
It is easy to determine leopard gecko gender once they reach sexual maturity, so if you can tell the difference between a female or male gecko that is a sign that it is at least 10-months-old. Male geckos have a broader head and weigh more than females. A more reliable way to tell leopard gecko gender is to look at their underside where their tail meets the body. Both female and male geckos have pores in that area, but a male's pores are larger and are in more of a v-shape than a female's.
Leopard gecko facts
There are a few reasons why geckos make great pets. They can be kept in a small space and don't require expensive food or equipment. Petco points out that while most geckos are silent, leopard geckos have a small "bark" that they use when they're agitated or upset. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, so they may be more active while you are sleeping.
Leopard geckos can drop their tail if they are attacked, which gives them a chance to escape. When handling your gecko at home, avoid picking him up by the tail, as this can make his tail drop off. But if it does drop off, it will eventually grow back. Perhaps the most interesting fun fact about leopard geckos? When viewed from the right angle, you can look in one ear and see through their head, and out their other ear.