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What Factors Affect a Gecko's Lifespan?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2016
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A pet gecko's lifespan may be influenced by several factors, primarily diet and care. Choosing proper housing for a pet gecko may also increase its life expectancy. Providing a habitat that resembles its natural state will help reduce a gecko's stress, thus helping to increase longevity. Illness and disease, as well as genetics also play a key role in determining a gecko's lifespan. Breeders who attempt to achieve various patterns and colors often decide to inbreed, which may cause genetic defects that can result in a shorter lifespan of the gecko.

When a wild animal is removed from its natural environment and forced to live in captivity, its lifespan may decrease. This is true even with exotic pets that are domestically bred and hand reared from the beginning of life. A gecko's lifespan may be increased, however, by providing proper care and diet, as well as an habitat that is suitable for a pet lizard.

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If a gecko's tank is not properly maintained, stress and illness can make the lizard prone to illness that can shorten its life expectancy. Keeping the environment clean and sanitized, as well as warm and dry will provide a healthier and longer life for a pet gecko. In the wild, geckos choose an environment that is warm and dry. A wild gecko will also choose a safe retreat to hide when it is frightened or threatened. If a pet gecko is not provided with a secure hiding place, it will become overly stressed and more susceptible to illness.

Diet plays a key role in a gecko's lifespan. If nutritional requirements are not met, a gecko is prone to developing fragile bones. This condition, known as osteodystrophy, can lead to deformities and immobility. In some cases, a gecko with loss of bone density may be prone to disease that can shorten its lifespan.

One way to prevent osteodystrophy is by supplementing the gecko's diet with adequate calcium. This is especially important for egg-laying female reptiles. Live crickets are a good source of calcium, and supplements can be given in a powdered form.

Nutritional deficiencies may cause other types of disease in a gecko that can influence its lifespan. In the wild, a reptile can choose the proper diet it needs to sustain itself. While it is common for a wild gecko to live up to 20 years, a gecko in captivity is likely to have a life expectancy of 12-15 years.

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