With so many different animals roaming about the earth, when it comes to trying to decide on a family pet, the endless options may be a bit dizzying. Of course, you have dogs, cats, and the usual hamsters even, but does a gecko make a good family pet?
Geckos make a great family pet for those who want to care for another creature, but don’t have an abundance of time to commit to things like exercising and interacting with the pet. Geckos are low-maintenance animals that don’t require a lot of handling or extreme measures for overall care.
If you are someone who wants a pet for your family but doesn’t necessarily desire the kind of pet that is going to require walking, large amounts of space, or regular attention and affection, a gecko may be the perfect choice for you and your family. Continue reading to see all the reasons why geckos make good family pets and the things you should consider before bringing a gecko home.
What Makes a Gecko a Good Family Pet?
Having a gecko as a family pet may be a little unconventional, but it is certainly not unheard of. These little creatures afford families the ability to have something to care for and interact with without requiring too much of anyone. Dogs and cats have their obvious appeals when it comes to the family pet, but what is it about geckos that make them such a great addition to your own family unit. Let’s take a look at why geckos make a good family pet.
Geckos Take Up Very Little Space
With many other house pets, they require quite a bit of space when they enter your home. Beyond where they sleep, typical house pets like dogs and cats need room to roam. This means that you will find them in your living room, in your kitchen, and maybe snoozing in your bed. Although this may not be a problem at all for many, some pet owners and their families want a pet that they can care for but doesn’t make a huge footprint within their home.
If you are someone who is looking for a smaller pet that stays contained for the majority of its stay in your home, a gecko is a no-brainer for your family pet. Young geckos can do well in a 10-gallon vivarium and older geckos don’t need more than 20-gallons to thrive. Of course, you can always go bigger, but in general, geckos really need just enough room to stretch their legs, find a place to hide, and nap under a cozy heater.
Geckos are Simplistic Eaters
A gecko may seem like a bit of a wild animal to you if you aren’t too familiar with reptiles and this could lead to the idea that they require food that may be outlandish and a feeding schedule that may be even more off the wall. However, geckos are very simple eaters when it comes to their overall eating habits. This includes what they eat, when they eat, and how they eat it.
Geckos consume small prey. For most geckos, the bulk of their diet can be made up of crickets with other insects thrown into the mix on occasion like mealworms, and fruit flies. Geckos are typically fed in the evening but can handle a morning or afternoon feeding if your schedule requires it. They can eat to their heart’s content for a 10-minute period and after that, water should be all that is available. Low cost, low maintenance, and easy feeding.
Geckos Have a Pleasant Temperament
When looking for a family pet, there is always the worry that the pet you choose may, at one point, turn out to be a tad more aggressive than you anticipated. If you have small children, this can be a major red flag. If this is a concern on your family pet list of “must-haves and must not have,” a gecko is one house pet that will put your mind at ease.
For the most part, geckos are very docile and pleasant creatures. They can be skittish, but it is very rare that they ever bite and are sometimes even very playful reptiles once they are familiarized with those that are around them most often. They are small and easy to handle if you or your family members want to be a little more hands-on with this pet. They can’t be handled too often, but when handled calmly and gently, they typically reflect the same.
Geckos Provide Unique Entertainment
Although geckos may not reflect the typical attributes of other house pets like lounging around on the couch with the family or playing fetch, they are fantastic entertainers. As previously mentioned, they cannot be handled too often and prefer it to be this way, but they do love to put on a good show for those that are watching. If you have the right setup within their vivarium, a gecko can provide hours of entertainment for your family.
Geckos have sticky pads on the bottom of their toes that make them perfectly capable of climbing up walls, along branches, and even on the ceiling. Even more, they are very fond of hiding. If you have the vivarium set up with good hiding spots, ample room, a good amount of heat, and plants here and there, you may find yourself peering in constantly to see your gecko jumping about, running here and there, and scampering up the walls at record speed.
Geckos Require Minimal Maintenance
Geckos are a great family pet because they don’t require much maintenance. Gone are the days of having to assign each family member a duty for each day, no one has to worry about leashing up the gecko to take a walk outside, and a gecko’s messes are very few and very easy to clean up. A gecko’s inherent low-maintenance is one of the biggest reasons for it being such a good choice for a family pet.
This shouldn’t be taken as geckos require no upkeep, but it is very easy and very quick when the time comes to maintain your gecko a bit. Their vivarium should be spot cleaned throughout the week as needed and should be well cleaned of all soiled items and unwanted food once a week. Outside of this, they need regular water and a bite to eat every other day. If all this is done, your gecko will have no complaints.
What to Consider Before Bringing a Gecko Home
Now that you know why geckos are such great family pets, there are a few things that you need to consider before giving one a permanent home. Just like any other family pet, they are a responsibility (no matter how small and low-maintenance they may be) and this step should require a bit of thought before you and your family dedicate themselves to the decision. Let’s take a look at what you need to consider before choosing a gecko.
Consider the Species
There are many different kinds of geckos out there and they are not all alike. This is important to understand because although geckos may not be inherently bad new when it comes to house pets, there may be a species that fits better with the dynamic of your family, your availability, you and your families desire to interact with the gecko, and what type of care is required of each particular species.
With that in mind, you have to be aware that all geckos are not intrinsically the same. Each species is going to have some kind of difference, whether it be small or significant and those differences should be compared and contrasted before you bring your pet home. Some geckos have a tendency to be more social, some are a tad more recluse, some have a higher amount of energy, and some require particular care. Weigh these things and then decide.
Consider Other Pets
If you are welcoming a gecko as your first and only pet, this is of no concern to you. However, if you live in a household that has one pet or even multiple pets, you need to consider how your current pets are going to handle having a little reptile in their personal space. Although this may seem insignificant due to the nature of a gecko, other household pets can get antsy with new pets which can cause them to bark, pry at, or harm the gecko unexpectedly.
Many times, incidents that end up with an injured gecko are accidental, but if someone is handing the gecko and another house pet gets riled up, things can get rocky fast. Just be sure that other pets can handle the new housemate well so that you can be sure that you will not have to be on the search for a new home for your new gecko. A happy household is always necessary – with family members and pets alike.
Consider How Involved Your Family Can Actually Be
If you are on the search for a family pet rather than a pet that is only for yourself, it is likely that you will be bringing home an animal for you and (probably) your children to love and enjoy. Although it is such a lovely thought to bring home something that you and your children can help to care for, play with, and love together, you need to consider if your family is actually at the right place for such a pet.
If you are someone who has small children who love the idea of having a tiny reptile to play with and adore through the years, it is completely understandable that you would be quick to go out and get a gecko as your family pet. However, small hands don’t have great control and many times, can end up handling the gecko too roughly which can end poorly for the gecko and your children. Geckos are great with kids, just be sure they are at an appropriate age.