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Leopard Gecko

Eublepharis macularius

Family:

Gekkonidae, the gecko family.

Conservation Status:

IUCN Least concern.

Distribution:

Southern central Asia.

Habitat:

Rocky deserts, sandy terrain, sparse grasslands and mountains up to 2,100 m above sea level.

Factoid:

Their tails, which they can drop to escape from predators, break at a crack in the vertebrae, and the surrounding muscles are arranged so that they separate instantly. A muscle closes around the tail artery at the break to prevent undue blood loss. Usually a new, shorter, fatter tail is regenerated.

They are white or pale yellow with dark brown spots. Their heads are large and their tails, which are used to store fat and comprise about 40% of their length, are small at the base, fatter in the middle and tapering at the ends. Males are stockier with broader heads and thicker necks. They are crepuscular and nocturnal and spend daylight hours in burrows or under rocks.

Their diet consists of insects, spiders, crickets, grubs and worms, but they will also eat smaller lizards, small snakes (rarely) and even baby mice. They are preyed on by owls, large snakes, eagles and monitor lizards.

They generally mature in their second year, and one mating will fertilize all eggs produced for the next 15 months. As many as five pairs of eggs are laid at monthly intervals over a 4-5 month breeding season.

Unlike some other geckos, they have claws instead of adhesive toe pads, which prevent them from climbing vertically, but give extra traction and are useful for digging.

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