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Animal Care Hospital
Call us today! 319-378-9000
Call us today! 319-378-9000

1146 Blairs Ferry Rd NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Choosing a Pet Gecko

December 1 2020

Are you considering adopting a lizard? Geckos are a great choice for beginners. But with so many different types available, which kind is right for you? In this article from me, your Marion, IA area veterinarian, you’ll read about a few good choices for first-time reptile owners.

L  eopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet lizards, and with good reason. They’re not only  super cute, they’re also quite friendly. They come in a variety of bright, vibrant colors and patterns. They are also quite hardy and easy to care for.

Crested Geckos

Crested geckos have fringed crests that make them look like tiny dinosaurs. (This, of course, makes them a big hit with dinosaur-obsessed kids.) They usually grow to about 8 inches. They tend to be a bit shy, and may try to run off at first when you try to hold them. Wild crested geckos live in trees, so these guys need terrariums that are more vertical than horizontal. Your pet will need lots of safe branches and foliage to look adorable on.

African Fat-Tailed Geckos

As their name suggests, these cute lizards have chubby tails. They use those tails to store fat, like a camel uses their hump. They are slow, gentle, and actually a bit timid. It’s worth noting that African Fat-Tailed geckos are nocturnal, which is something to consider if you’re looking for a child’s pet. They are also among the lizards that detach their tails when threatened. Their tails do regenerate, though the ‘new’ tail won’t look quite like the old one did.


Geckos can live up to 25 years, so be sure you are ready to make that sort of commitment before adopting one. No matter what type of gecko you choose, your pet will need a comfortable terrarium, which should include things like hide boxes and safe foliage. You will also need some special equipment to keep the conditions correct. Keep in mind that while some geckos can eat fruit and/or commercial food, they will still need some live gut-loaded insects, such as crickets, to satisfy their hunting instincts. Different types of geckos have slightly different care needs. Do lots of research, and ask your veterinarian for specific advice. 

As your local Marion, IA area veterinarian, I am here to help! Please contact me with any questions or concerns about caring for your gecko.