Gecko Care – parasites
Parasites are organisms that can live on the body of another organism of a different nature, this would be the host for the parasite. They contribute nothing to the survival of the host and are usually much smaller than the host and live a shorter life cycle.
You should know that in the wild reptiles would have some kind of parasites that live on their bodies. It is wrong to assume that just because your reptile is kept in captivity then it will be free of any parasites. To the contrary if you keep a reptile I captivity it may have more chance of contracting parasites. This is because in the wild it is free to move around and lives in a much larger open space, they can shed their skin and leave it behind and move away from their feces easily. When captive, they are in a confined space a lot smaller than in the wild, the space is also kept in perfect conditions for the gecko, this also means perfect conditions for the parasite.
Cage hygiene is of the greatest importance if you want to lessen the chances of an overflow of parasites. The water inside the cage must be changed at least every 2 days and the water containers must be cleaned, there is no harm in cleaning and changing more often. Any feces left in the tank must be removed as soon as possible, this also goes for uneaten live foods like it’s regular dose of crickets.
Crickets can carry a parasite known as pinworms. An example is for you to feed your gecko some crickets that are infected with pinworms and your gecko eats the crickets thus becoming infected with pinworms, your gecko then sheds some feces that are covered in pinworms, the crickets in the tank eat the feces thus becoming infected with a higher load of parasites, this can easily spiral out of control and is a good reason why you must never leave uneaten crickets loose in the cage.
If you have more than one tank housing your geckos it is important not to let any parasites spread to the other cages, it is just as important to ensure you yourself do not contract the parasite from your geckos. These parasites can also be passed on to humans just as they could be from a pet cat or dog. It is not to say that they are dangerous, but there is a possibility that you could become infected. Practicing standard hygiene is the best way to avoid this happening.
To find out if your reptile has parasites you will need to observe them closely. There are parasites that live on the outside of the body called ectoparasites, these are visible to the naked eye. Endoparasites live inside the body and can be identified by looking at their feces. When you buy a gecko for the first time you should have its feces examined by a qualified vet, this is the best way for internal parasites to be discovered if they are present, it also allows you to have the gecko treated as early as possible. To ensure your gecko stays parasite free they should have periodic checks about once a year. All new geckos should stay in quarantine for at least three months to ensure they are clear and healthy before they are placed with other geckos.