Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leopard Gecko

The majority of yesterday was spent in learning how to create an indoor desert garden/terrarium and adopting a new family member: a leopard gecko.

I researched how to construct a desert garden and created a simple illustration to show Aidyn. We first went to library to check out lizard/desert books, and then we went to our local Petsmart to meet some live specimens. We shopped around for basic needs while I explained the function of each to Aidyn. When we finally returned home, Aidyn and I made a living desert. He helped place tiny pebbles on the bottom of the tank. Next we scattered natural moss over the pebbles. We then added cactus-specific soil. Carefully, we placed two succulent plants, that Aidyn had chosen earlier, in opposite corners of the terrarium. To create multiple hiding spots for our soon-to-be adopted lizard, we situated a hollow piece of a tree limb, rocks, and moss throughout our desert environment. While placing the lamp on the tank, I talked with Aidyn about a reptile's need for external heat as they cannot regulate it within themselves as we mammals can. Daddy, at one time being an avid lizard owner himself, checked out our progress and further talked about the characteristics and needs of lizards. Once we had everything squared away, we returned to the pet shop and chose our new family member. We selected the quiet, easy-going leopard gecko and wrangled up a name for her. We decided on Sabor, the leopard from Tarzan and an Edgar Rice Burroughs-created word.

In the short amount of time that we've had her thus far, observing her has been quite interesting. Through this sort of peeking in through the glass and careful petting and holding, Aidyn is absorbing things a book could never teach him--the experience of watching a live animal, of caring for a pet, of sampling how certain animals behave. We look forward to daily observations and learning more about the personality of Sabor and the behavior of geckos in general.

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