Gek the gecko - an update.
Altoid caught our 'free' gecko, relatively newly hatched, eating fire ants, on a friends pool deck just moments before leaving the desert to drive home.
OT thought I was the one who agreed to take it with us, I thought he was. By the time we had that sorted out, we were up 8000 feet and it wouldnt have been fair to let it loose again. Altoid named this see-thru western banded gecko 'Gek'. Gek was smaller than my little finger (tho nearly as long, about 1/5 the mass). We could see his innards & bones thru his skin, and his eyeballs thru his skull.
The first month was difficult (for me). We didnt have a good container, we didnt have a good food source (we were catching ants in a neighbor's yard every night), and having taken it from paradise, I felt we owed it proper care.
We eventually found a local source of pin-head crickets, the appropriate 'cricket food for geckos', and an aquarium with heater. Gek seemed to thrive. He/She/It shed its skin a time or two, and even started to get a little bit of a fat tail (where they store reserves). Watching Gek catch dinner was fun.
Last Friday, Gek seemed 'off'. Didnt move right or enough. Didnt hunt dinner. No way I am paying ER rates for a gecko on a weekend. Internet revealed nothing. We worried. Finally a later search attempt Monday night yielded possible cause (takes time to work thru all possible searches). We took the left-over crickets out (they bite sleeping geckos), cleaned the cage as usual, added LOTS more water than before, and waited... the possible diagnosis was constipation due to eating sand along with the crickets. After 24 hours, there was movement (gecko poop has this bright white tip, which is the gecko pee. Very distinctive). Gek seemed a bit more lively. But not much, and the most recent molt wasnt entirely shed. This should not take 7 days. So, the free gecko got a vet appt. [sigh]. Verdict - dehydration. Gek spent last night in a vet-recommended sauna: heater on bottom, hot pad on top, bottom covered in saturated papertowels. Gek was lively this morning. It will be interesting to see how it hunts tonight. Meantime, we have to make permanent changes to its enclosure to a) give some local humidity b) get UV light near the heat, for basking c) change/vary feed. The recommended fee is a years supply, only $15... with $15 or more in shipping.
This free gecko is up to $65 in non-consumable costs (I dont count his feed. Everyone has to eat). It would be $100 but at the very end, the vet (an old friend of OTs) ended up bartering the cost of the exam against a free piano tuning. The vet came out wayyyyyyyy ahead, but it will likely expand OT's customer list, as he gets most of them thru word of mouth.
On the plus side, the vet said this kind is difficult to keep in captivity and that if we've gotten 8 mo, we've done well. He's grown from smaller than my pinky (tho as long) to as long as my ring-finger, with commensurate gain in diameter, in the past 8 months (not so explicitely said is that since its a baby, the mistakes we have made, whatever they may be, will have downstream repercussions in health/lifespan).
Gek is fun, cool, interesting, and causes me ridiculous amounts of stress. WAY better to buy one from a pet store, which will have a boatload of literature on the species.
Altoid - curiously strong.