My Son Wants a Gecko


As I was busily typing away yesterday morning, my 10-year-old son appeared at my arm and announced, entirely out of the blue: “Mom. I want a pet lizard.”

Huh? Yeah, okay… WAHHH??? COME AGAIN?

“Yeah, I think a lizard would be a good pet for me,” he informed me.

Now, let me pause and set the scene. I am not a pet person. My husband is not a pet person. When I was a little girl, I had gerbils. And when we were a young married couple without kids, we had a cat. He made me so ill that we had to give him away. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, so I can only imagine the state I’ll be in when I send my kids off to college.

But I digress. Since then I’ve happily joined the ranks of the pet-free. I like having no fur to clean up. I like having no litter box to scoop. I like having no poop or puke to clean up aside from that which my generous children decide to share. I like having nobody to find care for when I leave on vacation. I like having no vet bills. I like having no pets.

But the kids. They would very much like pets. They would like a dog, but they know THAT ain’t happening. They would settle for gerbils, but I’m not even interested in gerbils. I had them growing up. Been there, done that. We’ve done the hermit crab thing. That didn’t go so well. I could be persuaded to consider a fish.

But a lizard? That’s a pet that was never on my radar. I’m not quite sure how I feel about welcoming a reptile into our family, but I’m a sucker enough that my son easily talked me into a trip to the pet store to “check into it.”

I’m not quite sure how I feel about welcoming a reptile into our family…

After perusing the various and sundry cold-blooded creatures for sale, my son decided that the leopard spotted gecko was just the thing he was looking for. I admit, compared to the other scaly creatures, he was rather cute.

I am happy to say that I did not come home with a lizard and a glass-walled home for him. (Did you know that aquariums with the appropriate lamp and other reptile-friendly paraphernalia cost upwards of $150??) (And did you also know that geckos eat live crickets?) But we are “checking into it.”

I’ve done a bit of research, which basically means Googling “gecko pets” and reading the first hit. It seems that a gecko is a fairly good pet. If you’re in the market for a pet. Which I am not sure that I am.

A leopard gecko makes an excellent pet. They are small, have minimal care requirements, and can be left alone for several days {score!}. They are quiet, don’t smell {that’s positive, at least}, and don’t need attention. Leopard geckos are inexpensive and easily available from pet stores and breeders {but have you priced their habitats?} They do not require a large amount of space. They have a wide variety of color and pattern variations. Leopard geckos are the perfect lizard pet. — The Leopard Gecko Guide

The part about the crickets throws me a bit, I have to admit.

Crickets are a good source of food and nutrition in your leopard gecko’s diet. You can feed the crickets commercial cricket food and liquid or just use a piece of potato and some oats.

Now hold on just a minute. I have to feed the gecko AND the crickets? This is getting a wee bit out of hand. Although my son swears he will do everything.

Yeah, riiiiiiiiiight. It goes on…

Crickets are very resourceful and are sometimes difficult for the gecko to catch. If this is the case, you may have to remove the rear jumping legs of the cricket.

Did that just say REMOVE THE REAR JUMPING LEGS ?????  HOLD EVERYTHING. What am I getting myself into? Is a 10-year-old going to be able to care for it? Because I can tell you right here and now. I am not touching that thing. Or its crickets.

My son has been told if he wants a gecko, he has to save up for it. Admittedly, that was before I read the bit about the crickets. That buys me some time, right? Perhaps for Christmas.

Jo-Lynne Shane is a mom of three from Chester County, PA. This post was adopted from her blog, Musings of a Housewife.


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