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Little One And Wart - Gecko Stories

Little One and Wart – Gecko Stories

On August 28, 2010 I heard the call to duty “Come here.” So off to the master bath I went. My husband, still dry, said to look in the shower. There on the floor of the shower was a small animal. Usually he wants me to bring jars to capture critters like scorpions and such. So I looked down and there was something very little. “What is it?” came the next words out of my mouth. “A baby gecko” was the response. Then I say, “I want to keep it.” “It’ll die.” “I’ll get the right equipment. I’ll put it in the old fish tank. Please.” “OK, but I’m not taking care of it”. “Thank you, honey.” So Little One came into my care.

What do I put it in until I can get a proper tank? A few years ago, I started having fish and had the fish in a 5 gallon, 5 sided tank. My son also had a tank of fish but the fish all died so it got turned into a guinea pig tank. Guinea pig dies, I’m not sure on that one, but the tank is now empty and unused. Son, may I have the tank? Yes and so begins 2 years of taking care of fish in a 20 gallon tank.

Now a gecko comes into the picture. My husband knows I like geckos. I love the pattern of the carpet at the airport, geckos all over it. The gecko commercial makes me want one of him. I got a beautiful gecko necklace for either Christmas or Valentine’s Day. And now I come into having a baby house gecko.

I got out the old 5 gallon fish tank out of the garage and washed it well, and put everything together. Then come my mistakes.

I ran to PetsMart and bought a coconut hide, tiny crickets and substrate. What is substrate you ask? There are many kinds. The store sold me a shredded bark substrate.

So home I go, armed with everything I think I need to keep my little gecko happy. I put newspaper on the bottom, then the substrate, the coconut hide and last but not least, a cap of water. All set. I put Little One in and he runs right into the coconut hide and that’s almost the last I saw of the little jigger bugger.

I fed Little One a cricket every day which it didn’t eat. So I even went out and bought freeze dried meal worms and freeze dried fruit flies which the gecko didn’t touch. I bought a heat lamp, but since my hubby is an artist and does exhibits, he said I could borrow one of his lamps; so all I had to do is buy a bulb. The heat lamp didn’t make it to Little One’s tank. I had begun to search the Herp Center-HC (A reptile information and forum site I recommend to everyone.) for information and the folks on that site are so very helpful. Everyone said that since Little One was a wild gecko, he would probably never get used to me. When I noticed he wasn’t eating the crickets, day after day I asked the HC why he wasn’t eating. I later learned that I should not have left the crickets in the tank as they could bite the gecko. They had all assumed that I had my tank set up properly. I did it all wrong. 

My husband noticed how hard I was trying to keep Little One healthy, even though secretly he and I both thought it was a losing battle. I kept bugging him to let me get a pet gecko from the pet store. I have a menagerie of animals here at my house. Before Little One came into the picture I had a tank with 4 fish in it. I had 8 but I think a “bug” killed them off; they all had names too. Then there is Rudy. Rudy is my male cockatiel. I have had him the longest of all my pets; about 4 or 5 years now. Peanut is our Dachshund/Terrier mix who is truly a pound puppy. Button is a Pug/Chihuahua with more Chihuahua than Pug but since she is a year old now and settled a bit, we wouldn’t have it any other way. She is just so lively; just the opposite of Peanut; her adopted sister.

He gave up and said that if I get rid of an animal I can get the pet gecko. YES!! If I wanted a gecko, something had to go. I chose the fish. My daughter took them so I know I can see them if I want to, and I want to. Hoover, my bottom eater is a shark in disguise.

Everyone says that the Little One probably wouldn’t survive in captivity so after 6 days I let him go because it wasn't eating. I didn't give the little one an Under Tank Heater, I didn't know. As I was taking the baby out of the tank, it fell on the floor and I spent ten minutes trying to catch it. I went to get a dish to chase it into and it had just stopped in the hallway. When I picked it up, it looked like its lung had burst during the fall. It was still alive so I put it in the garden and when I went to look later it was gone, as in not where I put it. I sure hope it survived. I hadn't admitted that it fell 4 feet (a baby mind you) so here is my admission. I feel so very bad.

So, I cleaned out the 5 gallon fish tank, again, and gathered all the fish supplies and food together and took Crystal, Ying, ***** and Hoover to Jessica. When I got home, started removing all the water from the fish tank, then took it outside and tipped it on its side to get the remaining water to drain and left it outside to dry out. After a hard workout of cleaning it a couple of days later, I brought it in and put it on the stand, clean and dry. There are a lot of things I still needed to do to the tank. I needed to attach the background to the inside of the tank, lay the substrate, put in the moist, cool and hot hides, install the under tank heater, put in the basking log, plug in the heat lamp, find dishes for food and water.

Most of my experience, which is limited, is from reading on the Herp Center Web Site. After assembling the tank I sat back and looked at it. I had a few more items to buy; a 75 watt heat bulb, and a digital thermometer. After getting those items, I added them to the tank. I knew enough about my tank now that I needed to monitor my temperatures for awhile. They were within the limits for the gecko. Now I could get my leopard gecko. I was so very excited. Now it was time to make one last major decision. Which leopard gecko (called leo’s on the HC) did I want to get? I took my time as leopard gecko don’t sell like hot cakes. I made a trip to the Yarbrough PetsMart. They had 4 leo’s there. They had 2 almost adult ones, one that had bands around its body and one that had a yellow band running down its back. I had to also look at the ones at the Zaragoza PetsMart and when I did, I didn’t like any of them. I actually am 98% sure that the one with the yellow band had been there; then they moved him. I wanted the one with the yellow band and on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at about 4pm my husband drove me down to the Yarbrough PetsMart. On the way we discussed names for my new pet and we came up with Wart, as I believe it could be a unisex name. Into PetsMart we went and together we picked out my first Leo. I bought the one with the bands around its body as my husband didn’t really like the one with the yellow band and I wanted him to like the gecko too. I walked out of PetsMart armed with Wart, a screen for the top of the tank, an addition hide, calcium powder and meal worms.

Wart was nervous; I could feel it (oh yah, like ET). lol. I set him on the table and prepared his moist hide and into the tank he went. He headed straight to the moist hide and didn’t come out for two days. During that time I tried so very hard not to touch him but I was compensated because he spent the time in his moist hide and I could see through the lid. I think he snuck out after all the lights were off as I saw poop in one of the corners and the crickets I fed him were gone and a couple of the meal worms too.

As of today, Thursday, September 16, 2010, he has moved into his cool side coconut hide and sleeps there during the day. People on the Herp site tell me that he just had to get used to his tank. OK but now I can’t see him. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I put an update on the Herp site just now. ---“Wart was not happy with me yesterday. I had fed him a wax worm that wasn't moving so when I went to pick it up, it squirted yuk all over in front of his hide. I had to take everything out of the tank to change the substrate, then when I was putting everything back, I spilled his water. So I had to do it all again. He squealed at me when I tried to move him so I could put the paper towels down again. I feel like I'm ruining his adjustment period. Do the leo's skip feeding if they're not hungry? Wart didn't eat anything last night (except maybe a couple of crickets that were in his tank when I cleaned it). I'm not too worried though. He'll eat when he wants to.”--- I came up with a way to see him. My cliphanger broke on my phone so I ordered a new one that included a mini flashlight so that I could see the key hole in the door at night. I thought this morning that I could use the light to see Wart and it worked, so I can check on him whenever I want which I will keep to an extreme minimum; I may have to shackle my hands. So I won’t switch to a plastic hide I can see into.
lizardladyleo lizardladyleo 56-60, F 1 Response Oct 3, 2010

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You don't need to have animals. You captured a wild gecko that was perfectly happy and you selfishly enclosed him into a small 5g tank where he was not eating because he was so terrified, and you most likely murdered him. Wild animals belong in the wild, so leave them there.