Difference Between Leopard Gecko and Fat Tailed Gecko

difference between leopard gecko and fat tailed gecko normal wildtype stripe

What’s the difference between leopard gecko and fat tailed gecko?  Leopard gecko and african fat-tailed gecko share the same subfamily “Eublepharidae”.  Eublepharidae are a family of geckos lacking sticky pads on their toes (they have claws instead).  They also have movable eyelids unlike other species of geckos.  Aside from being in the same subfamily, leopard gecko and african fat-tailed are two different species from different parts of the world.

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Leopard Gecko vs African Fat Tail Gecko – Where are they from?

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Best Reptile Pets For Handling – Beginner Pet Lizards – Leopard Gecko As Pets

best reptile pets for handling leopard gecko beginner pet lizzard

Leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) make for great beginner pet lizards for hobbyists of all ages.  Crepuscular in nature, they are the most active during twilight around dusk and dawn.  Due to their gentle and docile temperament, leopard geckos are one of the best reptile pets for handling.  They are usually skittish when they are young, but they become much more docile and calm as they get older.

Best Reptile Pets For Handling

Leopard geckos tolerate handling very well.  They are coldblooded animals, so they will often lay on the palm of your hand to enjoy the warmth of your hand.  Unlike other gecko species, leopard geckos are ground-dwelling lizards with claws instead of sticky pads on their feet.  You can feel their claws when they hold on to you, but it won’t hurt as their claws are very small.

Leopard geckos rarely bite unless threatened.  Key to not spook a leopard gecko is by slow movements.  When approaching them with your hands, try to approach from the side of them and scoop them up.  If you approach from the backside and touch their tail first, they may get spooked.  When you see a leopard gecko wave their tail slowly back and forth, that’s their defensive posture.  This tail waving behavior means they are spooked and you should wait until they calm down before attempting to pick them up.

 

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Leopard gecko heating temperature requirement. Under tank heating pad. How to install UTH. Digital thermostat.

leopard gecko heating under tank heat pad zoo med

Leopard gecko heating requirement

Leopard gecko heating and temperature requirement is an important topic.  We’re happy to provide you some factual information and clear a few things up for gecko hobbyists.  Leopard geckos require belly heating in order to digest food properly.  This is why under tank heating pads are preferred.  Some people mistaken leopard geckos with diurnal species such as iguanas and bearded dragons.

Difference between diurnal and crepuscular species

Diurnal species require basking light as they absorb UVB and heat through their backs.  They are active during the day when the sun is shining bright, and they sleep throughout the night.  UVB triggers vitamin D3 synthesis, and with vitamin D3, they are able to absorb calcium properly.  Where as leopard geckos are crepuscular, they are the most active during fading light, such as around dusk and dawn.

Leopard geckos wake up early in the morning to hunt for food.  They will sleep through the day, often burrow deep underground or inside rock crevices to hide completely away from sunlight.  Then they wake up later in the afternoon to hunt for food again.  This is their normal daily cycle, the very definition of crepuscular species.  Their exposure to sunlight is very limited in the wild.

Leopard gecko heating requirement is different, they absorb heat through their belly instead.  It’s through belly heating that they are able to digest food properly and have a healthy life.  In the wild heat traps underground and inside rocks long after sunset.  Leopard geckos are able to find belly heat throughout the night.  They are also known to navigate at night using natural moonlight.

Leopard gecko heating with under tank heating pad

Under tank heating pads, or UTH for short, come in all different sizes.  What you want is for your UTH to cover roughly 1/3 of your tank.  Zoo Med ReptiTherm is a popular brand, we’ve been using them for over 7 years with great success.

Here is how you would install this under tank heating pad.  First you stick the pad under your tank, like this:

leopard gecko heating under tank heat pad zoo med

leopard gecko heating under tank heat pad zoo med uth

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Did You Know? Leopard Geckos Are Crepuscular

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Did you know that leopard geckos are crepuscular?

It has long been thought that leopard geckos are a nocturnal species.  But leopard geckos have been observed to come out at fading light during dusk & dawn, the very definition of a crepuscular species.  Where as nocturnal animals only come out at night, and they shy away from light completely.  Nocturnal species also have distinct features such as very large eyes and ears so they can see & hear at night.  So the next time someone tells you leopard geckos are nocturnal, you can correct them by saying leopard geckos are crepuscular, they are most active around dusk & dawn during twilight.

What about diurnal species?

Leopard geckos are very much different from diurnal species such as iguanas, bearded dragons, and chameleons.  Diurnal species are awake during the day and sleep at night.  They bask under full spectrum sunlight, using UVB for Vitamin D3 synthesis.  They absorb light and heat through their backs.

Since leopard geckos are crepuscular, do they need basking light?

Do leopard geckos require basking light?  The answer is no. They get very limited exposure to sunlight in the wild, as they are only active during dusk/dawn and at night.  So the little UVB they get, they would get during fading light.  Leopard geckos burrow deep under ground to sleep during the day, and they wake up in the afternoon/evening to go hunt for food.  They are also able to navigate at night using natural moonlight. Continue reading “Did You Know? Leopard Geckos Are Crepuscular”