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Leopard Gecko

Conservation Status: 
not evaluated
Asia and Parkistan, to Northwestern parts of India

The leopard gecko is a nocturnal ground-dwelling lizard naturally found in the deserts of Asia and throughout Pakistan, to the northwestern parts of India.  Unlike most geckos, leopard geckos possess movable eyelids.  It has become a well-established and popular pet in captivity.

Leopard geckos are typically large for a gecko.  Hatchlings tend to be 6.5 to 8.4 cm (2.6 to 3.3 inches) in length and weighing about 3 grams while adult geckos are about 20.5 to 27.5 cm (8.1 to 10.9 inches) in length and weigh about 45 to 65 grams.  Those found in the wild typically have a darker, dull, and drab coloration than those kept in captivity as pets.  Those in captivity generally have an assortment of skin colors and patterns.  The skin of a leopard gecko is very durable, which provides protection from the rough sand and rocky hills terrain of their dry environment.  Their dorsal side is covered with small bumps, which gives a rough texture and appearance while their ventral side is thin, transparent, and smooth.  Like all reptiles, leopard geckos shed their skin.  In a few days before shedding, the skin will turn color to a translucent whitish gray.

Adults shed an average of once a month, while juveniles will sometimes shed twice as much.  The gecko will eat its old skin after shedding, revealing a brighter colored one.  There are 2 theories of why Leopard Geckos do this.  One is that in the wild leopard geckos eat their shedded skin so there is no trace that the Leopard Gecko was there.  The other theory is that eating the shedded skin is a means for obtaining protein and vitamins for growth. 

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Leopard Gecko", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.