Lee Richardson Zoo

Leopard Gecko

Order Squamata - snakes and lizards
Family Eublepharidae

Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius

 

Description: The leopard gecko usually has a base color of yellow with irregular black spots on its back and a white belly. Their colors are variable, and breeders have expanded the color ranges possible in this species to include a “yellow phase”, “chocolate”, and albino versions. The juvenile pattern tends to look more like cross bands than spots of the adults. When touching the leopard gecko, the scales feel like they have a wart-like bumpiness. The leopard gecko can reach about 8 inches in length from nose tip to tail tip. The tail is shorter than the distance from the tip of nose to base of tail; comprising less than half of its overall body length. This species of gecko has a segmented tail that can be automatized, or released as a means of distraction when threatened. They have moveable eyelids, instead of scales to protect their eyes, and claws, instead of a complex system of scales for adhesion on surfaces like other species of geckos.

Home Range:Found throughout Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Northwest India, and Pakistan.

 

Habitat Typedry and semi-dry desert habitats. Arid grasslands also make suitable habitat for this species.

 

Reproductive Habits:A healthy female can produce up to six clutches of eggs in a year; each clutch is typically comprised of two, leathery, eggs that are buried in the ground to incubate. Females prefer a damp, humid environment to lay their eggs. The eggs incubate for 45-53 days at 28 Celsius, and the temperature of the nest has been shown to determine the gender of the hatchlings. Once hatched the young are about 3.3 inches in length and will not reach sexual maturity until around 18 months of age. Males identify females for courtship through visual and chemical signals. Males court the females through a series of tail flicks before biting her on the nape of the neck and holding her still as he positions his tail under hers reaching her cloaca with his hemipenis.

 

Diet in Wild:  Leopard geckos are insectivorous but are not dedicated to a single insect for their diet. They have been known to eat scorpions, centipedes, spiders, and beetles

 

Diet in ZooPrimarily crickets, mealworms

 

General Info:   Geckos are a diverse infraorder and can be grouped across multiple families based on their characteristics. The leopard gecko belongs in the family Eublepharidae which are known for their more primitive characteristics; true eyelids and claws instead of toepads. Leopard geckos are nocturnal and find shelter during the day in burrows or under rocks. Typically the leopard gecko is known to be a ground-dwelling species but can climb onto rocks or branches, using their claws, to lie on sun-warmed surfaces. The tail of the leopard gecko is used for fat and water storage and because of this, can range in width. These reserves can be utilized in times of low food availability, and in turn, causes the tail to shrink in size. Scales are shed in large sheets and once off are typically consumed by the gecko. Leopard geckos are a popular animal in the pet trade. It is believed, that the pet trade population is captive bred, from a mostly Pakistani descent, and not from wild populations.  

 

Bibliography

Encyclopedia of Reptiles & Amphibians. Ed. Dr. Harold G. Cogger and Dr. Richard G. Zweifel. San Diego, CA: Academic, 1992. 146-151. Print. Obst, Fritz Jurgen., Klaus Richter, and Udo Jacob. The Completely Illustrated Atlas of Reptiles and Amphibians for the Terrarium. Neptune City, NJ: Distributed in the United States by T.F.H. Publications, 1988. 354-355, 384-387. Print. Woods, V. 2001. "Eublepharis macularius" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed June 26, 2017 at http://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Eublepharis_macularius/