Contradictory advice

Contradictory advice

Postby elizevdmerwe » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:37 pm

In my Introduction I explained that we are wanting to buy either a Beardie or a Leopard gecko for our oldest son. I received great advice there that I am going to follow as best possible. I will be responsible for feeding, caring etc. and systematically hand over responsibility to our oldest son as time goes on.

Well, today I went to one of the recommended petshops here in Pmb, and the lady had four adult (2yrs) female Beardies and two older (as long as my hand) Leopard Geckos for sale. She told me that Leopards are not lizards that kids (my son will be turning 8 in November) should keep and that they are more for looking at in their enclosure than to actually have as pet, like the Beardie. She also said that you shouldn't start off with a baby lizard (whether Leopard or Beardie) and that you should rather buy the more mature ones as they weren't as susceptible to die from wrong treatment and that you need to be very accurate with temperatures, feeding, etc.
I have to add that the four Beardies looked well (not that I would know if they are not), and the one that she gave me to hold was quite tame and calm in my hand, with the most beautiful orange spots under her chin!

Yesterday when I spoke to the owner of the other recommended petshop (he or his partner breed lizards, etc.) over the phone, he said to be very careful of buying older lizards, as they seldom adapt to a different house, and they may be stressed unduly because of our Jack Russell which will most probably try to catch it, or at least bark at the lizard behind glass it cannot get to. And also you don't know how those lizards were treated or whether they got enough calcium, etc.

Does it matter? What would you recommend? Are Leopard geckos mostly for watching and not for touching? If it isn't a problem buying an older Beardie, what telltale problems/symptoms should I look out for?
I did discuss the snake option again with my husband and son and it is a definite "No-Go" from all of us.

I really appreciate your advice and help.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby Ruan Stander » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:56 pm

Hi Elize,
I have not heard of leopard geckos being better off without handling, but I have not kept any so I can't say.

Very young lizards are somewhat fragile, I would personally get one that is in the range of four months old or more, as they can then easily adapt and are no longer in the very fragile stages.

Any animal you want to buy should be awake and alert, not lethargic and lifeless. There should be no mucus around the mouth or nostrils, no wounds and so forth. Its skin should not be wrinkly either and you will be able to see if it is looking abnormally thin.

A barking, menacing dog will do no animal any good, regardless of its age.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby elizevdmerwe » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:45 pm

Thanks! These four were moving around, taking turns under the light, eating, etc. Def. no mucus and they did look nice, flat and round.
Much to think about.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby reptile » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:40 am

Hi,
I have never personally kept any lizards/geckos, so just my 2c worth:
If your son is younger, then he will obviously want to handle the new pet allot.
I have seen geckos being handled, but there is always the fear of the tail, they don't come off that easily, but it is still possible.
Beardies are great, but require more space and some arboreal setup, which will cost a little more.
In my opinion I would go for a beardey if he wants to handle it allot, though if it is only from time to time, then I would definitely go for the leopard gecko, as they are much prettier in my opinion.
Hope this helped,
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby Jamster » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:13 am

The advice you got from the woman in the first instance is better in my opinion. You are not necessarily buying an old animal, just an animal that has been given a head start for you.

The story with the old lizards seldom adapting to new homes is frankly, a load of rubbish. Whether it be a beardie or a leopard, should they be old or young, they will adapt perfectly to their new surroundings provided they get the proper treatment and environment, and that they don't have any diseases.

Beardies are definately more robust, less easily hurt and from my personal experience they are a nicer animal to handle than a leopard gecko, provided it is tame. Leopard geckos can lose their tails if handled improperly however in the long run a leopard gecko would be a far more economical choice.

Leopard geckos don't need fancy lights and their diet is relatively straight forward. Beardies need more space, UVB lighting and a more complex diet.

Personally I would go for a tame yearling or so beardie. As I said they are robust animals and are impressive too, they can also have somewhat affectionate behaviour, for example I have held beardies that will climb out of the cage and up your clothing to almost perch on your shoulder.

Also never buy a lizard or gecko whose eyes are constantly at half mast, this usually indicates a problem.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby elizevdmerwe » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:22 pm

Thanks very much for the advice. I must admit I am falling in love with those Beardies she had in the shop! My son has definitely set his heart on a Beardie. Has been telling my husband non-stop about how to look after them, what to feed them, etc. He is even willing to help me grow extra veggies in the garden for the Beardie!
She has the 2nd hand cage that the four came in, all set up with 2x lights, flat feeding bowl, stump, 2x plastic plants, and that green grass-like repti substrate for R1300. I'll need to buy a lock, and my son has seen a fake croc skeleton that he would like to add (?). Also an extra substrate: one in the wash, on in the cage. And then food: crickets, worms, little bit of pellets, calcium and vitamins. And of course the Beardie itself for R1000! Eish, the total is a bit high...
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby Ruan Stander » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:59 pm

Yes, lizards are the more expensive reptiles to maintain.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby reptile » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:42 am

There is a beardie in the classifields section right now.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby elizevdmerwe » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:54 pm

Reptile, I saw, but it is a male (apparently bit more aggressive than female?) and he is in Gauteng, if I remember correctly - we're in Pietermaritzburg. We won't be able to buy a Beardie (or two) right now, but hopefully by end of September.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby elizevdmerwe » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:03 pm

By end of September, the other pet shop here in town said they'll have baby Beardies available (R350 up, each). His partner breeds them. By then we'll also be in a better position to maybe rather buy the older beardies from the other shop, if they are still available.

I read that Beardies rub their noses against metal wire, like chicken mesh. Do they do that with the plastic mesh as well? I will need to put mesh in front of the boys' bedroom window, so that it can't get out there, and maybe mesh on one side of the cage/enclosure, that we can take outside for some sun, if possible.

I also read in some posts that Beardies shouldn't have high humidity in their enclosure, but others say they should? What is preferred? And what about real, edible plants in their enclosure?
Another thing: a girl in Japan who breed with various reptiles, said that she preferred using a very fine sand paper for her Beardies to be on when she feeds them, helps to keep the toe nails short? Would that work?

Sorry for all the questions, but I seem to find contradictory advice, or is it a case of it works for some but not for others and isn't essential?

Thanks for your patience.
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby reptile » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:13 am

Should of thought about that! Hope you are able to get one for your son!
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby Inyanga » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:31 am

Hi Elize

Beardies were my very first exotic pet, and I have a colony of five, one male four females who live a life of luxury in Pretoria. They are, hands down the absolute best lizard for beginners as they are robust and adaptable, calm and even friendly. I would recommend you get a good book on their culture but Ill set out a bit about how I keep mine;

The colony live in a huge, converted fish tank with sekelbos perches (this wood has rough bark and helps keep nails short), the base of the tank is covered with artificial turf, which I find is easy to keep clean as the waste tends to dry quickly and can be vacuumed. They have a 10 UVB light for rainy and cold days because I have a large, galvanised mesh (NOT chicken wire, it will cut toes) outside cage with perches, rocks and hides into which they go every sunny day, even in winter. This cage has a base as they can and do dig, and I have no desire to lose them!
I prefer natural sun for all my lizards, the artificial light is OK, but its silly to think we can compete properly with a star!
As for diet, they eat roaches, mealworms, silkworms in season and a selection of veggies. If you can get, fresh lucerne is good for them, and mulberry leaves are a very good alternative. Most people don't believe me when I tell them that but they are high in protein and calcium and my household is powered by mulberry leaves when they are available, even the parrot will eat them...Just be sure to collect leaves from a pesticide free source.
You can keep more than one beardie together if there is only one male, two or more females tend to get on just fine. However, they do lay eggs even if not mated and that's a whole other story....
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby Inyanga » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:37 am

I know it sounds obvious, but I know people who have done this, never ever put a beardie outside or in direct light in its glass/plastic tank. Its a good way to cook the poor soul...
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Re: Contradictory advice

Postby elizevdmerwe » Mon Sep 01, 2014 6:28 pm

Thanks Inyanga! Your advice helps a lot especially about the galvanised mesh. Luckily I know not to put the whole glass tank outside. I really need to get an inside and outside cage as we have lots and lots of sunshine here in Natal. Especially winter, summer and autumn. Spring is miserable, plain and simple, but we need the rain and cool to last through summer.
My husband said this morning, one older Beardie. So that is what I'll prepare for.
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