Scooter came to me via my mother, a Massachusetts school teacher. She obtained Scooter to be a classroom pet for her 6th graders. Unfortunately leopard geckos are usually zonked out during the day! (Though I’ve only been to one reptile show, my experience was the poor leopard geckos were not happy campers in the middle of the afternoon). Because she needed to operate on a different schedule, Scooter eventually moved into the house with my family. My mom genuinely loves Scooter but questioned whether she wanted to buy crickets for the next 10-20 years. Enter yours truly, who lives on the west coast, owned an iguana back in the day, and likes reptiles. When my mom saw an opportunity to give Scooter to a loving home, she took it.
After much research, we determined the only way Scooter was going to get from Massachusetts to California was through the mail. We got a box from ShipYourReptiles.com and lots of specific instructions. I worked from home the day of Scooter’s arrival. She was supposed to arrive sometime before 10 AM. Needless to say, I was very cross with UPS when she didn’t arrive on time! Even though we had worked so hard to minimize her shipping time, would she be okay in a box for so long? What was I going to find when I opened it? What the heck would I tell my mother if she wasn’t okay?! And then, miraculously…there she was, peeking up at me from inside her plastic container with a curious expression. She had made it, and it was my job now to keep her safe.
After being a part of my life for this long, my boyfriend and I decided at some point that she is a lizard princess. He now makes a show of asking “Her Majesty” permission to enter her realm when he comes over. We’re not quite sure what she’s a princess of, but at the very least probably my studio apartment and my mom’s 6th grade classroom.
Genetically, Scooter is nothing special. She came from a pet store and has the typical coloring of a High Yellow morph. But to me, she’s one very special lizard. Leopard geckos aren’t cuddly like the family dog. But when I’m up late at night, I take comfort in her presence as she slowly sniffs around her tank. It’s as if she’s saying, “All is clear, Mom. I have inspected every corner.” I say goodbye to her on my way to work, and my first words when I return are always, “Scooch, I’m home!” Scooter’s behavior always strikes me as very earnest. She is a cautious creature, always sniffing slowly around, and yet she loves to explore my arm and the area outside the tank. The outside world is a scary place for a little gecko, and yet she trusts me enough to crawl right on my hand.
All sentimental joking aside, I don’t actually want to fall into the trap of anthropomorphizing geckos. At the same time, if I can protect her from the cold and the dark and the scary things, I think that makes me one cool mammal. This is my first year with Scooter and you’ll likely see me around the gecko forums asking if this or that behavior is normal. Maybe I’m an overprotective parent, but I’m determined to do the absolute best I can by her.
All hail Her Majesty!
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**We have had a number of beloved leopard geckos. If you have a different type of gecko, we’d love to hear from you!