Some people think about buying a leopard gecko for Christmas. While there should always be some caution about bringing a new family member home for Christmas, often I think that a pet for the family to love is a great idea. As long as you’re committed to the leopard gecko, which could live to 20 years of age, then there is nothing wrong with the idea.
To be sure that you’re happy, remember to check out the leopard gecko setup guide.
As always, ensure that you do your homework and have everything set up and ready for your new pet before purchasing.
However, one thing that can often be a problem is the transfer of your new pet home. Whether you’re buying from a pet shop or a breeder, you’re not likely to get an animal that is travelling in a heated environment. During the winter months, when the outside can be cold, the reptile can also feel the chill and this can cause problems when it gets home.
So how can you bring your Leopard Gecko home in the winter to ensure its good health?
What Problems can be Caused When Transporting your Leopard Gecko Home
It is not travelling that often presents the biggest problem when transporting the leopard gecko. Reptiles are very sturdy and can tolerate colder temperatures for short periods. As long as your journey is less than one or two hours, even in very cold temperatures, the Leopard Gecko should be fairly well for the journey.
However, it might be good to ensure that the car heater is on to at least keep the temperature more tolerable for your Leopard Gecko.
The major problem is actually when you get home. Many people assume that the Leopard Gecko can immediately go from the transport box into the heated vivarium/enclosure. This is okay during most of the month, but during the colder months, this can be fatal.
Reptiles are heated by their environment and change their body temperature gradually. A sudden quick change in temperature (like from 10 degrees to 32 degrees) is too much for their bodies to handle. When you combine this with the stress of travelling, then Leopard Geckos can go into thermal shock.
How to Prevent Thermal Shock
The ideal way to prevent thermal shock in your Leopard Gecko that you bring home is to gradually warm them up in your home. This can be done by first preparing your home before you collect your Leopard Gecko. You could easily have your home heating set at 16 degrees before you leave.
Then when the Leopard Gecko is home, you can gradually start to raise the temperature in your house to 18-20 degrees. Ensure the gecko is left in the transport box for an hour to acclimatise to these temperatures. Then you should be able to move the leopard gecko into its new enclosure.
You don’t need to do another rise in temperature because the enclosure of your leopard gecko should have a cool end that should have a temperature of approximately 25 degrees. So a 5-7 degree rise is perfect. Ideally, you will want to place your Leopard Gecko into that side of the enclosure.
Final Word: How to Bring your Leopard Gecko Home in the Winter
Getting a new pet during the winter can be uplifting to the spirits and could be a great present for the whole family, as long as it is planned carefully. However, you must ensure that you acclimatise your Leopard Gecko carefully when first bringing them home to ensure they’re comfortable and that they’re in the best of health.