Ethel the Leopard Gecko

Ethel the Leopard Gecko

This is the story of Ethel, our 10 year old Leopard Gecko!

When I lived in Alaska, I worked at the only pet store in my city, which was a Petco! 

This petco definitely tried to provide the best care they could, while still following Petco policy regulations. 

One day, someone surrender 5 leopard geckos to the store! I don’t know about You, but surrendering an animal to a Petco is the last thing in the world I would do. 

We took them all back into the wellness room. These geckos were in bin cages; well, actually they were just plastic bins; no ventilation. They had unsafe heat mats on the top of the bins, not the bottom. The geckos had paper towel for substrate.

Ethal was labeled “Snookie,” an 8 year old “lemon frost” leopard gecko, and it listed that she was hand tame. When we opened her bin up, we saw she looked nothing like a lemon frost. So not only did they lie about her morph, but she was definitely not hand tame! She tried to jump out! 


We put them quickly into their new tank habitats. We then had to weigh them, feed them, and watch them for 72 hours. After this period, they would be up for adoption. 

I had fallen in love with the gecko named “snookie.” I had never had a leopard gecko of my own, but I had researched their care for advocacy, so I knew how to set up a habitat. At the time, I thought a 20g was sufficient floor space for them. 

I felt like "Snookie” needed me and I just HAD to bring her home. 
I called my family on my lunch to break the news. They were excited for a new friend.

At the end of my shift I bought a 29 gallon tall, with the intention of building her a custom 3D background.

Leopard geckos need tummy heat to digest their food. I didn’t feel comfortable with a heat lamp, or with zilla heat mats. I decided to go with a ceramic heat emitter and a ceramic slate. I ordered a bean farm heat mat, and waited for it to arrive. (This has since been changed) 

I had plenty of bugs at home; no need to buy more. I bought some hides and went home. We waited until her 72 hours were up, and took her home the first chance we got! We named her Ethel; like the sweet old lady she was!

She was immediately very active! She was very polite when eating, and chose a special poop corner. She was eating well and pooping well. She didn’t have any claws; her shed was stuck on her toes. 

Her habitat was too cold with the CHE and the ceramic slate did not absorb the heat. We further researched the topic of heat, and found an amazing facebook group. They recommend a special kind of lamp, with no heat mat. They also recommend a 40 gallon breeder as a minimum tank size. 

We bought a regular flood lamp instead of a heat lamp from petco. 
Shes doing great!

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