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August 4, 2009

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Raptor, the Pet of the Day
Name: Raptor
Age: Four years old
Gender: Male
Kind: New Caledonian Crested Gecko
Home: Williamston, Michigan, USA
   Crested Geckos (Rhacodactylus ciliatus) are native to Southern Grand Terre, New Caledonia and at least one small surrounding island (Isle of Pines). Crested Geckos are semi-arboreal, spending most of their time in small trees and low shrubs. They will, however, seek out hiding places near the ground to sleep during the day. Crested Geckos feed on both insects and fruits and in most cases can be kept at room temperature. It's said their life expectancy in captivity is fifteen to twenty years. Technically, Raptor is my second Crested Gecko. My first Crested was (unbeknownst to me) ill when I purchased him at a pet store. A few months later he passed and I was so sure that I was just not meant to be a mom to exotic pets.

    But my husband convinced me to attend a local reptile show and there I had a long chat with a local Crested Gecko breeder. He assuaged my fears and that day I went home with two little geckolings... Raptor and his brother Nimrod. Now I currently have seven Cresteds.

    Raptor is a very special Crested. Typically they grow to be eight to nine inches in length and only about 60-70 grams in weight. Raptor is a whopping ten inches long and has topped the scales at 83 grams. Raptor is somewhat of a gentle giant. He doesn't mind being held once you can actually catch him, and seems to enjoy being scratched along his back, head, and jawline. But he'll grab at your hands if he's 'not in the mood.' Their teeth are so small though so he never draws blood.

    Occasionally I feed my geckos crickets and it is fun to watch them stalk and hunt their prey. Raptor especially rushes to the front of their enclosure when he sees me dusting the crickets with calcium supplement.

    Their skin is neat. It's dry and not slimy, but it's not smooth like a snake's. It's actually a little bumpy and the fringe on their eyes and back bends and flexes. They also don't have eyelids, so they can't blink. They lick their eyes to keep them clean and moist. When they are sleeping, their eyes sink in slightly.

    Because they are semi-arboreal and are sticky-toed, they can sometimes be caught sleeping in strange positions. There is a never a dull moment.

    Each gecko I have has its own unique 'personality' of sorts. Raptor is like the patriarch. Though he lives alone, he seems to enjoy being perched high, as if watching over everyone and everything.

Raptor, the Pet of the Day
Raptor, the Pet of the Day

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