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Reptiles/Juvenile Gecko Behavior


QUESTION: Dear Tracie,
I know you said your expertise was in leopard geckos but I was wondering if you had any advice on gargoyle geckos.
I just brought home a young gargoyle gecko from a reptile expo, he's about 6-8 weeks old. He's pretty friendly, jumpy at times. I keep him in a screen terrarium that stays between 70-80F.
However, I'm worried about his behavior. He's not very active in his cage, even at night. Usually the place I put him is the place he stays. I've been told it can take a while for a gecko to settle into his new home-is this part of the process or is there something else going on?
I've tried researching young gecko behavior but I haven't had much luck.
Thanks for your time!


ANSWER: Hello Loren,

It's ok, they are very similar & the behavior will be very close also!
Do you have any pictures of your gargoyle? It will normally take a couple of weeks sometimes longer, for them to get used to a new environment.
Is he eating anything yet?  Insects a few times a week with some calcium is good.  There is also a food called the Repashy diet food you can look into getting for him also that people use with high success.  
He allows you to handle him some also?  
What sized tank are you keeping him in & what type of substrate are you using for him, sand, tiles or paper towels?
What type of thermometer do you use, a stick on type of a temp gun or digital probe?
A range of 72-82 but no higher than 85 is acceptable.  Is the other side of the tank cooler for him?  
Are you keeping the humidity at a range of around 40-50% daily?  You could mist him a couple of times a day or keep a moist sponge in a hide/cave in his tank also for some moisture, too.
Do you have a water dish in for him?  If he wont drink from his dish you can spray the side of his tank & he will probably lick the droplets of water that way, too.

Let me know how he is doing.

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

QUESTION: Dear Tracie,
He has eaten twice out of the four days I've had him. I've been feeding him Repashy and he seems to favor it on the second day. The guy I bought him from was also feeding him on Repashy.
He is very acceptable to being handled. He's pretty calm at times and a little jumpy at night. He usually jumps towards me, not away from me.
His tank is a screen mesh that's 28" tall and 12"x12" in width and depth. I've been using paper towel as substrate. There is a little cave at the bottom with a water dish as well.
I mist the cage about three times a day and heavily at night. I also use a stick on thermometer. His cage is around 80 at the very top and it gets cooler towards the bottom.
I just added another artificial ivy vine to his cage to provide more hiding places and try to eliminate stress.
And I also have many pictures of him :)

ANSWER: Hello Loren,

Well that is not bad, at least he has eaten something in that short amount of time.  
That is great!  So he likes the Repashy then?  Most of them tend to like that food.
They are normally a very calm gecko & don't mind being handled.  
The tank sounds great, with a mesh screen.  You might consider getting a digital probe or temp gun just to double check the temperatures for him.  It sounds like he is adjusting very well right now.
I hope he continues to do well for you.  I am sure his appetite will pick up also.
When you get a chance you can send some pictures, too.  :-))


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

QUESTION: Hello again!

I've had the baby garg for a little over a week now. I've been feeding him every night by hand but he doesn't always eat a whole lot. He's about 2 months old and I just weighed him today and he's only 1.7 grams. He looks a little skinny but he's only turned down food two nights out of the 11 I've had him. Should I be worried? In a group, I posted a picture of him and someone mentioned that he was showing slight signs of a calcium deficiency (kinked tail). I'm correcting it with an increase in calcium but does this have anything to do with his weight?

Also, how can I ensure that he eats on his own? He seems scared to venture down to the bottom of his cage. I watched a YouTube vid of someone that kept young gargs in smaller tanks until they were older. Is this a good idea?

Hello Loren,
He is a little thin but very pretty though.  I can see a slight kink in his tail, too.
If he is not eating enough then he wont be getting enough calcium so you can supplement him extra by dusting the feeders or providing a dish of calcium in the tank.  Or do you already keep a dish of calcium in the tank?

If he seems scared of the larger tank you can move him to a smaller tank so he can feel a little more comfortable.  If he is not interested in eating on his own then you will need to get more baby food to mix with the repashy food for extra protein.  Is she not eating the repashy very much?
It can take time for her to gain weight though.  You could consider getting a low output UVB light such as the Reptisun 5 tube bulb to help with D3 synthesis & calcium absorption.

Let me know how she 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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