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Old 23-12-2012, 01:47 AM
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Default Best lizard for a novice please?

Hi, nervous novices here. My daughter (aged is very keen to have a pet lizard. I have encouraged her to do some research, (although I will of course be overseeing all the care) and it seems that leopard geckos are recommend as good for beginners. I have joined this forum so that we can both continue to find out more before taking the plunge. I have never kept any kind of reptile before so feel quite daunted reading caresheets etc that don't seem to agree with each other. Would you recommend the leopard gecko as a good pet species please? We would like to be able to handle our pet if possible. If not, which species would you recommend? I must admit I quite like the look of the crested geckos but they look more delicate.

Many thanks for reading.
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Old 23-12-2012, 02:07 AM
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Leopard Geckos are very easy to look after and to handle. Just be careful that a youngster doesn't grab their tail roughly, as they can drop them.

Watch out - a lot of caresheets say that you don't need UV lighting for leos, but this isn't correct - they are very efficient at using even small amounts of this - which helps them produce vitamin D3 and aids calcium uptake. Their food should be dusted with a balanced calcium / vitamin supplement as well.

I've never kept cresties, but they can be a bit flighty and quite delicate. Not necessarily great for youngsters to handle, but they tend to be very tame.

If you have a bit more room, bearded dragons are great as a first time lizard. You might also want to look at water dragons. There are several types of these, but they all have pretty good temperaments. Also, have a think about mountain horned agamas (or mountain horned dragons, as they are sometimes known.

If you want something a bit livelier, check out Ackie Monitors. These are fantastic to watch hunting and are usually pretty easy to tame. They are lightning fast, though!

There is a huge choice, to be honest!
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Old 23-12-2012, 02:19 AM
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Hi there

Nice to see people doing research before getting their animal!

There's a few care sheets I recommend for leopard geckos >
Home - Moon Geckos
Leopard Gecko Care Sheet - Classy Collection Leopard geckos
SleepyDee Gecko's - Leopard Geckos, African Fat-Tailed Geckos, Geckonia chazaliae, Tarentola chazalia, Underwoodisaurus milii, Nephrurus milii, Teratolepis fasciata, Hemidactylus imbricatus, Lepidactylus lugubris, Nephrurus levis levis, care, health

You'll find that very few care sheets agree with each other on everything (keepers on here don't always agree!) The basics are pretty much the same though:
- Minimum of 2ft x 1ft tank
- Don't house geckos together
- Use a heat mat and thermostat to maintain temperatures - these temperatures should be measured using digital thermometers. All probes must be touching the floor, on top of the substrate where the heat mat is
- Hot end should be around 88-95F (it often depends on the individual as to how hot they like it)
- Cold end around 75-80F
- Substrate for younger geckos should be kitchen roll, newspaper, reptile carpet, lino, slate or tiles - when older you can consider particulate substrates but they come with risks
- Keep humidity low
- Offer a variety of insects, these should be gut loaded and dusted with certain supplements
- Many care sheets say that they don't require UVB lights but they seriously benefit from them, will help to prevent disorders such as MBD.

Most leopard geckos are handleable but remember that they're all individual, you'll get your confident ones and your skitty ones. It would be best to get them from a trusted breeder who handles them from a young age for your own peace of mind. Remember that they can be delicate so take handling slowly.

Cresties are a lot more jumpy and I find a bit more unpredictable, but again this changes depending on individual and breeder.

Other reptiles that are good with children are beardies (larger, usually very docile but require a lot of room and more complicated setup), rankins dragons (like beardies but smaller) fat tail gecko (very similar to leopard geckos but I find a lot more chilled out, will usually fall asleep in your hand). Those are the most handleable reptiles that I can think of at the moment but I'm sure there's more.

Just keep doing what you're doing, plenty of research and find a reptile that suits you
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Old 23-12-2012, 02:22 AM
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Thankyou for your reply, Jeffers Lots to think about but we are in no hurry. I will do some reading up on the other species you mentioned as I have never heard of most of them
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Old 23-12-2012, 02:29 AM
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Thankyou for taking the time to post all those links vgorst More species to look at I am looking forward to showing these to my daughter in the morning and then no doubt I will be back with more questions Thanks again
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Old 23-12-2012, 02:48 AM
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Having kept beardies before, I can tell you they're an absolute pleasure. They all get their own daft little personalities, and they had me in stitches more than once! (Laughing, of course, not injuries!)
Easy to care for, as long as you don't mind potentially keeping bugs as a feeding source (most pet shops sell insects live, so that's not a worry. If you don't have any local pet shops nearby - big chains like pets at home carry locusts/crickets etc in some stores)
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Old 23-12-2012, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffers3 View Post
I've never kept cresties, but they can be a bit flighty and quite delicate. Not necessarily great for youngsters to handle, but they tend to be very tame.
This is very true, crestie are very jumpy as babies until they are handled and used to being handled. Just have to watch for stress as cresties will also drop their tails when stressed. Females can be kept together but only one male.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffers3 View Post
If you have a bit more room, bearded dragons are great as a first time lizard.
Beardies are great first time lizards, as said above they do need a bit more room than leos and cresties.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vgorst View Post
Hi there

You'll find that very few care sheets agree with each other on everything (keepers on here don't always agree!) The basics are pretty much the same though:
- Minimum of 2ft x 1ft tank
- Don't house geckos together
- Use a heat mat and thermostat to maintain temperatures - these temperatures should be measured using digital thermometers. All probes must be touching the floor, on top of the substrate where the heat mat is
- Hot end should be around 88-95F (it often depends on the individual as to how hot they like it)
- Cold end around 75-80F
- Substrate for younger geckos should be kitchen roll, newspaper, reptile carpet, lino, slate or tiles - when older you can consider particulate substrates but they come with risks
- Keep humidity low
- Offer a variety of insects, these should be gut loaded and dusted with certain supplements
- Many care sheets say that they don't require UVB lights but they seriously benefit from them, will help to prevent disorders such as MBD.

Most leopard geckos are handleable but remember that they're all individual, you'll get your confident ones and your skitty ones. It would be best to get them from a trusted breeder who handles them from a young age for your own peace of mind. Remember that they can be delicate so take handling slowly.

Cresties are a lot more jumpy and I find a bit more unpredictable, but again this changes depending on individual and breeder.

Other reptiles that are good with children are beardies (larger, usually very docile but require a lot of room and more complicated setup), rankins dragons (like beardies but smaller) fat tail gecko (very similar to leopard geckos but I find a lot more chilled out, will usually fall asleep in your hand). Those are the most handleable reptiles that I can think of at the moment but I'm sure there's more.

Just keep doing what you're doing, plenty of research and find a reptile that suits you
Very well said hun

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryanb0401 View Post
Having kept beardies before, I can tell you they're an absolute pleasure. They all get their own daft little personalities, and they had me in stitches more than once! (Laughing, of course, not injuries!)
Easy to care for, as long as you don't mind potentially keeping bugs as a feeding source (most pet shops sell insects live, so that's not a worry. If you don't have any local pet shops nearby - big chains like pets at home carry locusts/crickets etc in some stores)
Well said again.

If it was me hun i would look into beardies, rankins and leopard geckos. These are excellent starter lizards and all require similar set ups. it would depend on which your daughter would prefer. Leos do give you a much wider 'colour' varity but this does come at a price.

Good luck with what ever you decide hun, and always pop back as everyone will be happy to answer any questions you have to ask hun. Welcome to RFUK.
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Old 23-12-2012, 04:46 PM
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Thanks Ryanb and Baby DJ Today we have visited a reptile shop in the local town (Wisbech) that we did not even know existed until we started to trawl the net looking for info (I was looking for potential livefood suppliers although I know you can get that sort of thing posted too and found their website). We looked at leopard geckos, crested geckos and bearded dragons in the shop and at the kind of housing they need. I think we are veering more towards the bearded dragons having looked at the practicalities as I think my daughter likes the idea of being able to watch them basking etc during the day although I realise the initial costs will be higher. It was lovely to be able to spend time looking, now time to start saving Will be hanging around on here reading up as much as possible and continuing to bother you all with daft questions while enjoying seeing the pics pf other people's set ups and collections Thanks again for making us welcome.

Julie
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Old 23-12-2012, 06:06 PM
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bearded dragon all day long, I find geckos a bit dull, but beardies are much more fun to watch, especially when they head bob or arm wave, mine will glass dance then run up his massive bamboo stump sit there and bob his head a great pleasure to watch, only thing is u will need at least a 4ft viv to house one, they are also very hardy lizards so when u have the viv set up to all requirements they will look after themselves
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Old 23-12-2012, 10:42 PM
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[QUOTE=bobbyd;10805021]bearded dragon all day long, I find geckos a bit dull, but beardies are much more fun to watch, especially when they head bob or arm wave, mine will glass dance then run up his massive bamboo stump sit there and bob his head a great pleasure to watch
Totally agree. I have had many reptiles, but bearded dragons are just brilliant, amazing and fun lizards. Had mine for 5 years, and he still cracks me up. Get a beardie and you wont regret it.
They are very easy to keep, and a pleasure to handle as well. You could have out for quite a while as well, but i have found leopard geckos to be... errrr... granny like?
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