Friday, October 13, 2006

Here be very small dragons

Like many people, we have a cat: but unlike many people, we also have a corn snake and three leopard geckos, which are good-natured little lizards with spots.

We bought the first gecko in March last year: here she is on her first day with us:


She had been in a tank with another gecko which had clearly been eating all the food, so she was very thin. The pet shop told us geckos need to live on their own, which was why we only bought one.

However, then we went to the excellent Silent World aquarium in Tenby, and Ginny told us that in the wild, in the semi-desert where they live in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, they live in little colonies.

So having fattened up our little gecko on a diet of crickets, waxworms and locusts, we decided she needed some companions.

Knowing that Silent World look after their animals very well, when we were in Tenby in July we bought two more geckos that Ginny happened to have, and which were about the same size as ours.

Last weekend Emily and Gareth had a trip to Tenby to collect them, and now they have made themselves at home with our gecko, and they all seem to be getting on very well. Here they are coming out for some food: our original gecko is on the right (thanks to Gareth for the photo). Just so you can get some idea of scale, they are about six inches long.

Geckos are very intelligent compared to the snake, but thick as two short planks when compared to almost anything else. If you look through their heads you can see the light shining through from the other side so they clearly aren't overburdened with brains.

They do, however, know the layout of their environment, so to introduce the new ones we had to rearrange the vivarium so the old one thought it was somewhere entirely new and didn't feel it had to start defending its territory.

Also, at the first sign of trouble they throw off their tails, the idea being that if, say, a bird of prey grabs them, they can run off leaving it clutching the wiggling tail. The tail grows again, but never as well.

Our first gecko is called Tasselhoff (we thought she was a boy) and has never been threatened. She will happily walk onto your hand if you open the vivarium, and is very tame and perfect in every way.

But the two new ones - which have not yet been named officially, but I shall call them Doris and Vera - are a couple of Ugly Sisters in comparison, with stumpy deformed regrown tails. Apparently when they were babies they saw each other's tails, thought they were worms and tried to eat them. Vera has lost some toes as she has had problems shedding her skin in the past.

They may not be cute in that panda kind of way, but they are nevertheless very interesting to keep. This weekend we plan to buy them a bigger tank. We like our geckos, and they can live for fifteen years, so we want them to be happy.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if there are some people you could do this with. A few I have encountered recently spring to mind but to protect the innocent (and not very intelligent) I will name no names.

"Geckos are very intelligent compared to the snake, but thick as two short planks when compared to almost anything else. If you look through their heads you can see the light shining through from the other side so they clearly aren't overburdened with brains."

8:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a SUPER DELUXE tank. If our house was like that tank it would have 12 bedrooms and a swimming pool. I'm going to take it as a personal insult if the new ones fail to thrive.

4:54 pm  
Blogger flybabydizzy said...

Hmm, I wonder if I rearranged this house, would it confuse the other inmates into behaving...

11:55 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

Emily - I prefer cottages, myself.

11:43 pm  

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