Tangerine (Tanni) was a rescue. She was neglected by a previous owner and, as a result, lost almost all of her toe tips, including the little claws that leopard geckos use for climbing. The previous owner offered to give her to friends of ours at a pet shop after the store refused to buy an animal in such poor condition from him. We helped our friends nurse her back to health, and later they gave her to us.
Leopard geckos are generally docile, and they come out at night. Tanni liked to sit in my lap and watch while I read or worked on the computer. When she wanted to, she made the cutest little chirping noise that reminded us of a water droplet. Like all of our leopard geckos (leos), she ate mealworms, which are the larval stage of a small beetle. Neither the mealworms nor the beetles bite, and we raise them ourselves.
Once, I forgot to put Tanni back in her tank when we went to bed, and she was loose in the house for 6 nerve-wracking nights before we found her again. We left food and water and hiding boxes out for her, hoping to see some sign of where she was. We tried the baby powder along the baseboards. We even tried strips of tape rigged with jingle bells. The food finally gave her away, and we found her under Jessica’s bookshelf. What a relief!
By the end of that same year, though, she had developed a strange malady in which her tail grew thin while her body swelled and she had difficulty eating. Maybe she got into something harmful while she was out; we’ll never know. She died at the vet’s office before the vet could attend to her, and is now buried in the back yard with Racer the hamster.