Pet Gazette March 2019 - Page 20

20 | PET GAZETTE | REPTILE Pa t rt wo LOOKING AT THE LEOPARD GECKO AND ITS CORRECT HOUSING IN THE MODERN HOBBY In the second part of this feature, John Courteney-Smith continues to look at the updated requirements for the reptile following continued research within the hobby R eptile keeping as a hobby is evolving very quickly indeed. Many of the ‘old ways’ of keeping are seen as being invalid and in some cases detrimental to health and wellbeing. This is down to the ease of access to good information that is both available online within specialist keeping groups, and the good advice given by specialist retail stores. Gone are the days of small sterile box type cages and minimal care standards. At the core of effective reptile care we have guides set out by millions of years of wild adaptation and progression. The parameters of supply in which all species have developed have indeed become the optimum suppliers, a series of core providers that will allow a species to truly fl ourish within the wild state. Accepting that these suppliers form the base of the core need, per species, represents the fi rst steps that every keeper will take in order to make suitable adjustments to their own level of provision, and to subsequently see their own animals fl ourish within captivity. This is the basis of wild re-creation, replicating as best we can the core suppliers that power any given species in terms of heat, light, food, water and typical terrain. We can then further build upon the core theory of wild re-creation by expanding our knowledge base as we continue to discover and to then seek to provide for them alongside the core providers within ‘The three parameters of overall-supply’- these being; 1. The energy that surrounds, 2. The energy that is ingested, and 3. Physical and mental enrichment. All of this theory is just as valid for the Leopard Gecko as it is for any other species, large or small, our own included. As we discovered in the previous feature the Leopard Gecko is a highly developed, sentient and very well organised small predator. It is well developed to be able to take all that it needs to thrive within the variations in which it exists in the wild state. The fact that this is a group of species that has been able to adapt to differing terrain in the wild is the sole reason why they have been able to do so well in captivity, even when kept in less than wild- like surroundings. Just imagine how much improvement their lives will see, what types of wild-like behaviour we may start to see, the impact on captive breeding that may be had still. All of this, when we start to move them back into wild-like enclosures that do seek to provide for them in a wild-like way, and including all of the core environmental suppliers, as best as is possible. Over the past few years we have seen a marked move within the hobby towards naturalistic and bioactive enclosures. These are not new ideas, in fact both have been bought back from our history into the modern hobby and then fi nally made accessible and indeed successful for all. What does this all mean for the Leopard Gecko and its ongoing care within our hobby? Are keepers really trying to mimic the scrublands and emergent forests of Afghanistan and its surrounding countries and are there levels of keeper buy in to the theory? The answer is yes in both of the preceding questions. Keepers are trying to build more wild-like systems in the home. Some even being akin to those only usually seen in zoos and large private professional collections, however there are more keepers March 2019