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ThenAndNow by Anuwolf ThenAndNow by Anuwolf
Still going through all my messages, I'll get to them all eventually!

FOR ALL POTENTIAL NEW LEOPARD GECKO OR REPTILE OWNERS

TL;DR version; don't trust pet stores. While some actually care for their animals, a surprising amount do not. Many leopard geckos from pet stores will come with pinworms, despite a pet store's health garauntees. Buy from a reputable breeder instead; the extra cost there will save you hundreds of dollars in vet bills down the road!

Name: King Ghidorah
Then: May 2nd 2013 -- just under 5 inches long (head to tail)
Now: June 26th 2013 -- approx. 7 inches long (head to tail)

Approx. 2 months difference!

Ghidorah came from a petstore; when I first saw him, he had his head shoved under his water dish in an attempt to find a cool spot in an otherwise tiny 12x6 overheated enclosure with only a warm dry hide available-- I felt so bad for him, I just couldn't leave him there. At the time, I did not realize how cruel and uncaring some petstores are (I'm sure there are decent ones out there). I had never seen a 6 month old leo before, so I thought his pencil-thin size was due to age. Obviously that was not the case. My sister was with me at the time (~ObsidianHyena). She was skeptical about the leopard gecko's pencil-thin body, but she was not sure if it was an issue as she had only ever seen either hatchlings or adult leopard geckos; neither of us had seen a 6 month old before. She asked the "reptile expert" of the store about all the leos' thin appearances; he claimed that "Oh, we get them like that from the breeder. We're working on fattening them up." That's where I call bullshit. Ghidorah, as it turns out, has pinworms (contributing to his thin appearance). This is a common occurence when leopard geckos are mass-bred for pet stores. As it is, I feed him twice a day because he is always so hungry due to the pinworms taking away his nutrients from him. It has costed me a total of $260 CND to bring him to a vet, get a fecal test, and aquire medication. I have no problem paying money to make sure my gecko is healthy, but I am angry that the pet store I got him from is so damn ignorant and obviously uncaring. I wish I had taken him to the vet sooner so I could have argued with the store about their 15 day health garauntee, and possibly have gotten my money back (at the very least). I love my Ghidorah very much and just want him to be healthy and happy. I wish pet stores would care as much as I do about the pets they sell!

In any case, be aware that pet stores in general may not truly take proper care of the animals they sell, and they may even give you completely wrong advice on how to house or take care of said animal. It is better to support reputable breeders, of any animal, who can assure you of their health, history and background.
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:iconpoisonpenpresents:
PoisonPenPresents Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've had a similar experience myself before. I got a bearded dragon from a pet store (mind you, I had researched bearded dragon care and just about everything I would ever need to know about them for about a year and a half) and it died 8 days later mysteriously so they gave me a new one.
It died 8 days later.
Turns out, that particular pet store is known for having all their animals infected with parasites and for mistreatment.
I got my current beardie from a breeder but my vet says petsmart actually takes amazing care of the animals they sell. At least the petsmart where I live does. Idk about any other ones.
Good to hear you have your gecko in good health though! Much better than the alternative :)
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Aw, that is so sad =( I'm so sorry :hug:
How awful... bah, I feel so bad for all the little critters, being mistreated :c I wish I could do something about it... :shakefist:
I've heard good things about Petsmart too. I hope all Petsmarts are good T^T
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:iconwhitewinterwolf:
WhiteWinterWolf Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Poor little guy :( At least you got him and brought him back to health! :D
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yesh! He is all big and fat now. He's grown up so fast =)
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:iconwhitewinterwolf:
WhiteWinterWolf Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh I bet! :D
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:iconsahasa:
Sahasa Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
:C Poor baby. He's lucky he has you now!
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Aw thanks! :meow:
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:iconvindurza:
vindurza Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
it's very interesting to see how age effects color
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I agree =)
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:iconvindurza:
vindurza Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
=)
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:icontoshirotheknightwolf:
ToshirotheKnightWolf Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:( holy shit...
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, the comparison really shows how unhealthy he was =(
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:icontoshirotheknightwolf:
ToshirotheKnightWolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:( big time.
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:iconblacksky959:
Blacksky959 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Beautiful Leo! Yes sad and surprising how many pet stores do not know how to properly care for the animals they carry. I always try to support the ones that do. Great job raising him. He's a lucky gecko that found someone knowledgable to care for him!
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thanks! X3 I've found an independent pet store that seems to care a lot more for their animals =) The employees even have their pet dogs running about the store (they stay out of your way, just big dopey harmless dogs). I've looked at their set-ups for their leos, and it's like a gecko paradise compared to the store I bought Ghidorah at!

I wasn't knowledgable at first T^T;; but I'm learning, trying to do my best :] and thank you!
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:iconblacksky959:
Blacksky959 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Always nice to find a pet store like that! Yep the desire to constantly learn and improve is what makes a great hobbyist or breeder. One day u look back and see how far you've come and how much more you know. The moment you stop learning you stop improving. I work at a pet store and tons of people come in asking why their pet is sick usually something easy to treat. When we suggest a change in their maintenance plan, I always hear "but I've been raising fish/reptiles for 20 years!". Time spent does not indicate knowledge. I say " I've been watching tv for 20years, if it were to be smashed it up, doesn't mean I can put it back together.". I've met 10 year olds with far better knowledge on husbandry then some people in their 50s. Sorry to ramble haha! Bottom line keep doing what your doing and with your attitude, you will be or currently are a damn great keeper! :D
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I always wanted to work at a petstore (the nice ones of course) but I don't have much experience with animals even though I love them (owned a dog, newts, and a dagu before, and now a leo of course).

The vet critiqued my set-up for my leo, I became a little frustrated only because I had researched it so much and I thought I had put together the most ideal set-up, only to be told by the vet to buy even more things like UVB lights and to replace other things with heat lamps instead of UTHs and whatnot. I didn't reject her advice, though; I evaluated it, and I probably will end up mixing my methods with her methods and come up with something that I feel comfortable with (and that won't break the bank). That's the least that other pet-owners can do!
Aw thanks! I'll keep trying my best! T^T;
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:iconblacksky959:
Blacksky959 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Does the vet do a lot of herps? I know some vets that are unfamiliar will just generalize all reptiles together (needs lamps, uvb, temp gotta be so and so). To be honest i know of MANY breeders who dont use heatlamps or uvb with leos at all. UVB is still kind of a hot debate as to whether its needed or not. I would however supplement with cal d3 just to be on the safe side. As to the UTH,they will need it to digest their food properly. The lamps will raise ambient temps a bit though. It sounds like you are being very thorough so i wouldnt let what the vet said bother you to much! If the geckos happy with its home, youll know as you are the one spending the time with him.
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:iconblacksky959:
Blacksky959 Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
P.s. I love watching their color change from juvi to adult! I always tell myself to take before and after pics but never do...
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I know, I find it so interesting :] I was so excited to see how Ghidorah would turn out. I'm more than happy with the results! :love:
I'm always sure to take photos XD I have so many photos of Ghidorah as it is >_> I knew the before-and-after was something I definatley wanted to do!
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:iconkeprion:
Keprion Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What was the name of the pet store?
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I've seen that sometimes people refuse to tell others the name of bad stores because there's some idea that they could get in trouble for naming the store..? xc I dunno, it makes me nervous to say >_<
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:iconkeprion:
Keprion Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's ok if you don't say, I completely understand; ^__^ I was just wondering because at the time I was looking for a good leopard gecko and wanted to know what stores to keep an eye out for. I know that all stores vary, but we have two pet stores in a town east of us were one is a more commercialized pet store and one is owned by a local. I was mostly wonder if I should look out for locals or the commercialized pet stores. I'm glad you put this up though, it gave me some pointers on what to look for when selecting my pet. I was able to buy a bearded dragon; not what I had planed to buy, but still happy with what I've got ouo.
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Well the store I went to is purely Canadian, so you wouldn't be encountering it in the states!
Usually the locally owned petstores are better, but I'm sure there's exceptions to that as well. Really, just look at the state of the animals in their care; if there's a bunch of animals housed together in a tiny enclosure and are pencil-thin, you know there's gonna be problems.

For geckos, you have to make sure they have all their toes, make sure that their eyes are clear (no stuck shed on their eyelids or infection), check their nostrils for any mucus (which of course would be a bad sign), make sure their jaws line up equally and are a good fit (not shriveled), check thier skin for any odd flaking or black dots (could be lack of calcium, or mites). Stuff like that, really. I don't know how much of that translates to other reptiles, but it's good to know if you ever think of buying a leo :]

Bearded dragons seem pretty cool. I went to a reptile expo not too long ago; a woman had a bearded dragon just resting on her t-shirt, and she was petting it and giving it scratches. It was so cute! And they get pretty big, too. And as babies they are so tiny! @w@
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:iconkeprion:
Keprion Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist

ah, ok then, thanks for the help and tips, man. :D

ah yes, the lady at the pet store said if you handle a dragon a lot, he will enjoy hanging out on your shirt like a broach. They do get big! O: like 24 inches owo.

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:iconxxmossfacexx:
xxMossfacexx Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy shit! The orange on his tail! It's almost completely orange! You will be doing a crime against gecko breeding if you don't get him a female with a super orange tail too and make some babies. The carrot tail is something people are always striving to make more orange. That there is almost 100%, I'd dare say 90-95%, and geckos with that much orange are often much sought-after and upwards of 150 dollars if done well. Breeding him to a nice sunglow with lots of orange would make friggen gorgeous babies.

[link] sunglow!

I'm just freakin out cuz I am a gecko nerd though lmao. He looks so much better! you should be a proud gecko mommy!
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yes, his tail is so orange >W< Dem orange stripes took over his tail :3 A crime against gecko breeding XD haha. Now you're tempting me to attempt gecko breeding >_> cause then I'd get to buy another pretty baby, and then have moooaarrr pretty babies! T^T

That's quite alright X] Aww thank yoouuuu T^T I try to be a good mommy.

Maybe, oh knowledgeable one, you could give the answer to something I have been confused about? T^T; Sometimes Ghidorah is bright bright yellow [link] and other times his brown stripes reappear and his head becomes dull and brown again. (you can see this sorta in the second "now" photo of him). And this happens seemingly at random (not when he is about to shed). Do leos just.. colour-shift sometimes? Does temperature do that, or mood? I don't know >_> I just was hoping his bright yellow colour would become permanent but it seems to shift back and forth all the time, it never settles down >_<;
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:iconxxmossfacexx:
xxMossfacexx Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That color shift happens with my very orange gecko at times as well where sometimes her body is smooth bright orange-yellow like a cadmium color and others there are greenish stripes. It's common, and normal.

It's called 'firing up' when their colors are particularly bright and it can happen with almost 100% of lizards. It has to do with their state of excitement and their temperatures. When hot, they tend to be a bit brighter overall - as well as when they are happy or excited. When cooler, scared, or particularly tired, they tend to be a little more dull.

This will often happen concurrently with shedding cycles too though - before one starts, or after, they may fire up or down. This cycle or pattern of colors is most apparent in some other species of geckos such as crested geckos or mourning geckos, as well as marbled geckos.

This interesting color/pattern cycle will occur in most species of fish as well when they are sick or become stressed.

[link] This is a perfect example. :)

Crested geckos make good examples too, as they are often bright, clear colors while awake, and cool muddled colors when asleep.
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:iconanuwolf:
Anuwolf Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Oooh. I've never heard of that term before, although my sister has a gargoyle gecko that changes from ghostly white to a mottled brown, much like the example you've shown! I thought that was a colour-changing trait, like a chameleon is capable of. I didn't really view it as "firing up"- I didn't know all reptiles were capable of this, to certain extents xD; Thanks for the explanation!! =)
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:iconxxmossfacexx:
xxMossfacexx Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem! :3 I find it pretty fascinating, that just paying attention to color and hue is a huge part of watching a reptile's feelings and behavior.
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