It all started with a post from one of my friends on an aquarium forum. Now, a few weeks later, I’m the proud owner of three Lepidodactylus lugubris or Mourning gecko ladies. They are really fun little creatures, with a very extraordinary characteristic; they are parthenogenetic. This means that they can more or less clone themselves, so they can reproduce without a male. Hopefully they will start laying eggs in the next couple of months, so I can follow the development of these remarkable animals.
As I said before, it all started with a forum post from a friend on how her dwarf geckos had escaped. I always really liked geckos, but never realized that dwarf species existed and that they are pretty easy to keep as pets. After I’ve read her story, I immediately started searching the internet for more information. I found that they are not only easy to keep, but not very difficult to breed as well. So I was interested right away. The next question was which species would be most suitable. During my internet research, I came across Mourning geckos. A species that is easy for new terrarium keepers; the can be kept on room temperature, don’t need UV-lights and can be fed with special (crested) gecko diet, so you are not limited to live insects.
My next step was to visit some pet shops, so I could see some animals in real life and take a look at different enclosures and other supplies. That was pretty disappointing; even the largest stores had no more than a small section with terrariums and none of them were having Mourning geckos on display. On April 1st, there was a big reptile show in Houten, so I thought that would be a better place to buy everything I needed. There was the possiblity to buy tickets online and I’ve already been warned that buying a ticket at the door wasn’t really a good idea. When I arrived, I was very happy I’ve listened to that advise, because I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the queue for the ticket booth. It looked like Madame Tussauds in the tourist season. And only to go to a reptile show. Inside it was also very crowded and I was amazed by what I saw. There were extraordinary animals everywhere; big snakes (with on top of the booth snake leather bags, very surreal), spectacular frogs, chameleons in every color you can think of and big insects, like scorpions, spiders and enormous beetles. Quickly I found a Dutch breeder who was selling Mourning geckos. They were a reasonable size and looked very healthy, so I bought three. Fortunately just in time, because they were the last three and I wasn’t the only person who was interested in them. Next, I had to find a terrarium and the other supplies I needed and when I got everything, I could take them home.
Part of the supplies I needed, like plants and soil, I bought before, so I could start right away with decorating and one hour later, I could put the geckos in their new home. In the beginning, they were a bit shy and didn’t move, but meanwhile they’ve explored their whole terrarium and seem to feel really at home. They will need some more time to grow into adult geckos before they are old enough to start laying eggs. Hopefully this will happen sometime this summer.