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Reptiles/My Leopard gecko Rodney


QUESTION: Hello. Let me start with a bit of background as to how I got this wonderful Leopard Gecko name Rodney. My son just started kindergarten and every week he has brought home a book about Reptiles and or geckos. A friend of mine's cousins were having a baby and didn't have enough time for little Rodney Perfect timeing Got the whole tank set up for free. Now a bit about his cage set up (mind you this is how I got it) I would say its about a thirty five gallon or Fourty gallon tank. The bottom is lined with nice non sharp edged slate tile and "leopard gecko safe" sand ( THERE IS SO MUCH DEBATE ABOUT THIS ISSUE THAT I AM SOO CONFUSED) inbetween the gapps ( iwould say about a half inch inbtween the tiles) He has two hide rocks ( one large hallow rock and one small hallow coconut)and a humahut(filled with vermiculite) All from a reptile company. Along with a shallow watter and food dish. his lighting consist of a Large Red heat bulb on the right side( not sure the name and brand or wattage sorry) and a smaller Night time bulb on left. This is keeping his tank in the low 80'sf on the right and mid 70'sf on the left. ( I can adjust this if its too low or high via thermostats) when we got him he was on the smaller side not a lot of shape to his tail it wasn't SUPER thin but I was told he was on the skinny side. So we fed him up and he looks great. I will attach pic's of Rodney as well. Now about three weeks afterowning him he shed. There were no problems with the shed (as far as I could tell my daughter said she saw him pull his tail and start eating what she said looked like his skin.)he had been spending a lot of time inhis huma hut. So a few days latter ( I wanna say like mabey two days after this) I was holding Rodney( he REALY like to be held and is GREAT with my son) I noticed what looks like to me a small stone(Almost like a sand stone pebble you know that soft tan color that I am talking about)sticking out of were his tail meets his body. ( I can say the proper name but I cant spell it for the life of me) NOW this has not affected his appetite at all or his mood he is still the the loveable Leopard gecko. he is Pooping and eating just fine. AND it looks like he can move it in and out. I have given him a few warm baths.At one point I cold have sworn that it was GONE and than like mabey twenty mins latter it was back again. Please please help me out here he dosent SEEM To be Ill or in any pain.

ANSWER: Hello Brian,
Did you get a picture of the tail yet?  I didn't see one attached here.  :-)
Rodney sounds like the perfect friend for your son.  They are pretty easy starter lizards too.  

That is an odd description.  It almost sounds like a sperm type of plug, just based on the description you gave, or a urate plug.  A picture would be helpful.  
You could try soaking him to see if maybe it would work itself loose.  Don't pull on it if it is solidly attached.   
It is not red in color at all?

The basking temperatures on the warmer end can be in a range of 85-90 or so with a cooler end around 78-82 roughly.  
The substrate is fine, the tile is great.  The sand can be a problem only if he starts licking the sand.  The calcium based sands do harden when they get wet impacting them.  What type of thermometer do you use?
They do eat their skin when they shed, or at least most of it.  So that is a normal behavior of leopard geckos.  Are you supplementing calcium for him either on his insects or by leaving a dish of calcium in his tank?
The cave/hide that he has, do you have a moist area in there to help with shedding?
I normally recommend leaving an undertank heater to be used 24/7 to help with heating & they do like belly heat to help with digestion.

What foods are you feeding him?
Looking forward to seeing a picture of him.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Rodneys backside
Rodneys backside  

QUESTION: Dear Tracie,
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. Sorry about not sending a pic I swear I attached two But I will reattach them. OK so on to your first question. No it is not red at all just a kind of tanish almost like sandstone. and Having looked at cropped and zoomed verion of the picture I realy think its a testy ( but I am no expert but you will see what leads to my assumpstions In the pic)
Next question. I am currently running three different thermometers. The First one is only for displaying the current temps and is a Thermo Meter and gives the temps for right and left side. the second one Controls his right side of the tank (Warm side) That is a BAH-1000 Dial controlled thermostat ( sorry I don't have access  to the company name but its a good heavy duty one with good plugs and wires) it turns the Red basking bulb on and off depending on the temp. And the Third one is a Zoo Med rheostat that I can turn up or down and incresse the amount of light in the bulb.
Yes I am supplementing him with calicium  bolth on his food and in a cap in his food dish. It is call Zoo Med Reptivite Reptile Vitamins and the calcium that I put in his cap is called Zoo Med Repti Calcium w/d3
His Hide hut is a Rock that splits in half that I keep with vermiculite and I do keep it moist for him pretty much at all times( HE LOVES it in there its also on the warmside of his tank I didn't think it a good idea to have it on the coolerside of his tank idont know if it matters or not) and I was told that because of the depth of the tiles an undertank heater probly wouldn't work but I am more than willing o get another thermostat and run one for sure Looking for a multi thermostat and seeing if I cant get them all on one control
OK back on track we fed him two or three crickets Gutloaded of course everyday for about two weeks  ( as I said we were getting weight back on him)we have seince cut him back to a one or two crickets size depending and about three to four meal worms every other day (I like to feed him bolth just to keep him happy and hunting the mealworms don't realy give him a hard time)
AND I cant bleave that I didn't put this in there the last time But Rodney is about five years old. Now just a few other remarks about this I have given him warm baths and I have been able to run and rub my fingers over it. IT seems to me that he can move it I know I have seen it out AND in. when I rub it in the warm bath It pulls closer to his body and I realy want to say that I have seen it go in RIGHT before he poops. I have only had Rodney about two months like I said this is the first time owning a Leopard Gecko ( BUT NOT THE LAST FOR SURE) so iam running off of what ifind off of the internet and I read SOOO many of your answers to other herp owners but I just couldn't find a post that was like what Rodney has. I am realy hopeing that the pictures go through this time you have been most helpful and iam thankful talk to you soon and happy holidays

Hello Brian,

How is Rodney doing?
That is ok~   I think the computer eats the pictures sometimes...LOL
The picture does a good job.  You mentioned that it goes back in on its own?
I don't think that it is a hemepenes because it would be darker (red) in color.  I think it is going to end up being a sperm plug that is working itself loose.  It should come loose on its own but you could soak him & see if you can gently work it out.  You can use some ky jelly or petroleum jelly to see if that may help also.  Did it feel rough or soft in nature or could you tell?

Overall he looks pretty good.  He could stand to get some more fatness on his tail but doesn't look too bad.  
Giving a variety of crickets & mealworms is fine.  The crickets should be smaller than the space between his eyes to avoid impaction.  You can also try waxworms & phoenix worms too, he would probably like those also.
Impressive on the thermometer!  That is great it helps control the temperatures, etc.  He has it made then.
Do the tiles stay warm for him on the warm side where you have the moist hide/cave for him?  If so then that is fine, you don't need to add an undertank heater for him.  As long as he has adequate heating & is not having trouble shedding that will be fine.  It is better to place the moist humid hide/cave on the warmer end to help with releasing humidity for him.
The calcium & reptivite vitamins are fine & will help him out as long as he gets them a few times per week.
I would say for 5 years old he is doing fantastic!  Their life spans are up to 20 years.  
You are doing great, Rodney sounds happy.  Does your son enjoy him?

Happy Holidays as well.   Let me know how he is doing.



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Tracie Kretzschmar


I can answer questions pertaining to health, UVB specifics, overall husbandry care & supplementation, analysis of blood test results, and behavioral problems & handling. I can answer questions pertaining to bearded dragons, leopard geckos, iguanas, uromastyx & ball pythons. I can answer adeno virus related questions in bearded dragons, & then specifically about the testing methods as well. I am beginning an Pogona Adeno Testing Society in 2008 which will help to begin to start some standardization within the bearded dragon colonies of the breeders who choose to test.


I have been working with bearded dragons for over 5 years now, as well as leopard geckos, too. I am currently doing rescues, as well. I hope to be able to educate people prior to them purchasing an exotic pet in order to avoid any health crisis with them.

I have a master's degree in sports medicine & physiology, & 1 year of vet tech schooling, & am currently working on a reptile certification through the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.

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