a hatchling box
Raising hatchling or young leo's requires
greater care and attention than that of adult and although some of the
conditions needed are the same there are differences.
The most important thing to note is choice of substrate. Hatchlings and young
leo's less then five inches in length should not have sand or loose particule
substrates as they are at a far greater risk of impaction - the only safe substrates
for leo's this size is kitchen-towel, plain paper etc.
For the first two weeks or so I use ventilated 3lt
containers for the hatchlings then as they grow they are moved into larger
tubs/rubs. A typical hatchling box should have a hide, humid/moist hide (hatchlings
and young leo's
more often then adults as they grow), a dish with calcium powder and water
Small, plastic lidded tubs with either
a layer of damp kitchen paper or damp moss inside make ideal
humid/moist hides, small flowerpot trays and toilet rolls (cut in half lengthways)
make ideal hides, plastic milk tops and jar lids do for water and calcium dishes.
When it comes to heating I keep the hatchlings in the same temperature range
adults ie: hot end at 88*F-92*F/ 31*C-33*C and position the tubs so that a
temperature gradient is provided.
of hatchling tubs on heat source to
allow for ample thermoregulation
With regards to lighting ~ I have noticed that newly hatched hatchlings
seem to be light sensitive so for the first two weeks I lay a single
layer of kitchen
over the top
of the tubs to diffuse any light.
Hatchlings and young leo's can be housed in small mixed sex groups in large
tupperware containers, plastic flatpacks, terrariums or faunariums etc but
care must be taken to remove those that are growing quicker and getting bigger
then their clutchmates or those that are not thriving as well; I prefer to
keep them either singly or in pairs. I seperate all males ~ from each other
and females ~ before they are three to
old as males mature quicker then females and this not only prevents the developing
from fighting but also prevents them from trying to mate with the females.
Handling ~ hatchlings and young
leo's are quite fragile, easily hurt and stressed; can be defensive ~ having
a young leo try to bite and hiss at you will make you jump lol ~ and real
quick to move! They really shouldn't be forcibly handled; instead let them
become used to your hand first a little at a time keeping your hand still
and near the viv floor (leo's will jump if frightened) ~ they'll eventually
climb up for a look.
newly hatched leo's don't tend to eat for the first few days; instead they
absorb any remaining eggyolk until they have their first shed, usually
you can tell when this has happened as their first stool is pale in colour.
You can start offering small livefood round about day three ~ small
hoppers, small crickets, mini mealworms
try not to offer food that is too small or too large ~ as a guide all food
should be the appropriate size ie no more then the length of the leo's
wider then the width between the leo's eyes.
times/frequencies ~ daily; I put mini mealies in shallow dishes such as
jamjar lids while crickets, etc are put in loose a few at a time.Young
leo's appetites will rapidly grow until they eat between 10 - 15 livefood
items everyday. It is important to remember to dust all food with the correct
supplements ~ usually calcium powder five times a week and vitamin powder
once or twice a week ~ and ensure all livefood
is well gutloaded.
Shedding ~ young
and growing leo's shed their old skin more often then older or adult leo's
and on average will shed every two - three weeks. First their skin will
turn (or start to turn) white/grey and they will either
spending more time in their moist-hides and/or try to rub against any viv
furnishings to help remove the dead skin which they will generally eat.
It is important to check that all old shed has been removed from areas
such as toes, end of tail and head.
Cleaning ~ unlike
older leo's hatchlings will defecate pretty much anywhere until they start
picking one area; ~
I use kitchen-paper as substrate which I just remove
and replace with clean daily along with removing any dead crickets, debris
etc. Sometimes they'll pick their moist hide; what I have found that works
to stop this is to thoroughly clean the hide to remove any scent and replace
it in a different area. Water dishes should be cleaned daily and fresh
water given; this prevents any build-up of algea
bacteria. I would recommend cleaning the entire hatchling tub/rub along
with all hides at least every week.
markings and patterns change as they grow
at a few hours old
at three weeks old
at seven weeks old
at three months old
*The information written on my
website and in my various care sheets has been gathered
through my own personal experiance and research over the years ~
Please do not use or replicate any information or photographs without permission
Leo's are originally from south-eastern
Afghanistan, throughout Pakistan, north-west India, and into Iran.