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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Food Management for Geckos

Photo credit - L. Brand from Flickr
The first week I had Absinthe, my Madagascar Giant Day Gecko, I started to train her to take squirmy crickets dusted in vitamins from my fingertips. She was voracious and ate every one I offered. But that's changed now.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Training in Action: Baby Steps!

My goal is to have a tame Day Gecko that will sit in my hand while I feed him, and maybe while carrying him in the palm of my hand. This will be a challenge for most people because you cannot grab a day gecko without risking serious injury to the animal because their skin falls off if grabbed! It is because of this characteristic that many people claim Giant Day Geckos are untrainable and are a strictly hands off reptile. These people say this because they rely primarily on training involving Negative Reinforcement (R-) which involves grabbing animals. Fortunately training with exclusively Positive Reinforcement (R+) relies on 100% willing participation on the animal's part, and if the animal doesn't want to train they can walk away and the session stops. My training plan with R+ includes a long list of approximations (baby steps). See the videos to see where we are at with training!

Training doesn't always go as planned.

Approximation 1 - Take cricket from tweezers (or fingers!) in front of face.

Approximation 1 in action.

Approximation 2 - take one step to tweezers until each leg/arm(?) moved one time each

Approximation 3 - Follow tweezers one length of cage.

Approximation 4 - Follow tweezers two lengths of cage.

Approximation 5 - Follow tweezers regardless where on cage.

Approximation 6 - Follow tweezers on perch.

Approximation 7 - Jump onto perch/hand to follow tweezers.

Approximation 8 - Stay on perch/hand for 5 sec

Approximation 9 - 10 sec

Approximation 10 - 15 sec

Approximation 11 - 20 sec

Approximation 12 - until five minutes.

Approximation 13 - Stay on perch while it moves.

Gecko is now trained to be held!

Copyright 2014 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog

Saturday, August 16, 2014

He Has a Name!

Giant Day Gecko licking juice off a finger. Photo taken by ColourCodeMe at Flikr.
And his name is Absinthe! Don't know what that is? It's a green herbal liquor that was often used by hippies with a "bohemian lifestyle" in the 1900's and was thought to cause hallucinations and bad behavior. But I just like to think of my Gecko wearing dreads sitting with an ice cold beverage.

Copyright 2014 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog