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Even if you’ve never seen a gecko live and in person, so to speak, you undoubtedly recognize the GEICO Gecko® from the car insurance commercials and advertisements. Geckos don’t just make great mascots —they also make fantastic pets! These lightweight little lizards are reptile lovers’ superheroes and will astound you throughout their lifetime with their powers, including walking on ceilings and regrowing their tails. Oh, and they also half run, and half walk across water. If you’re wowed and want to find out more about geckos, or have one already but want to learn more, read on!

There are over 1,500 species of gecko and they’re found on every continent, except Antarctica, and are usually in the warmer regions. Some have stable populations, while others are, unfortunately, considered vulnerable or endangered. Geckos vary greatly in size and coloring, and even in tail shape! While many geckos have the long, straight, tapered tails we generally think of, those in the Uroplatus genus have leaf-shaped tails! However, you’ll typically find species such as the leopard and crested geckos available for adoption or sale. This is partially because they’re among the species best-suited for new pet parents.

Caring for geckos is fairly straightforward. They need a terrarium with substrate, heat, and moisture in addition to food and water. You can find specific guides for creating the right habitat for the species of gecko you bring into your home (here’s one for the leopard variety). Live insects will comprise the majority of your gecko’s diet, with crickets and mealworms being among the best choices. You won’t need to worry about exercising your gecko, but you ought to know that the vast majority of them are nocturnal. If you’ll be trying to sleep while they’re beginning their activities, you might consider earplugs, or a different pet altogether depending on your sleep sensitivities.

Finally, whenever possible, you want to get annual wellness examinations for your reptiles just as you would for your other pets. If you would like to inquire about possible ways NOVA Pets Health Center could assist any of your reptiles, gecko’s or others such as bearded dragons (for whom we have established services) call NOVA Pets at (703) 378-9791 and we will be happy to assist!