Wild leopard geckos (the breed of gecko most commonly kept as pets) are found in arid and rocky environments in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-west India. Geckos are nocturnal (active at night) and feed on a variety of different insects and other invertebrates.
Adult leopard geckos are spotted, hence the name — they have a yellow body with a white under carriage, are speckled with brown spots and splodges on the tail, and the tail is striped with black bands. Juveniles are mainly striped.
Pet geckos will have been bred in captivity. There are now several different colours available, including patternless geckos.
While a gecko may tolerate being handled, it is unlikely to enjoy it. A gecko will need to be handled carefully and, as they can move quickly and suddenly, geckos should not be handled by young children. Being dropped can cause serious injury to a gecko and you should never grab a gecko by it's tail. Geckos can drop their tail if it is grabbed — this is a defence reaction enabling them to escape if they are attacked by a predator. This is unpleasant for the gecko and can result in health problems as the tail is the gecko's primary fat store. Once it the tail has been dropped it will never properly grow back.
During the daytime geckos will most commonly be found hiding under rocks. Therefore, if you are after a pet that enjoys human interaction, a gecko is not likely to be the right pet for you.
Are you able to provide a lifetime of care to a gecko? On average they live for 15 years, but in captivity they have been known to live for up to 40 years! As a potential gecko owner you have to be willing to commit to this amount of care.
Have you considered the costs involved in owning a gecko? There's the expense of heating and lighting the vivarium, feeding and pet insurance premiums, plus veterinary fees in case of emergency. These will all need to be budgeted for. Not forgetting the initial equipment you will need.
Who are you buying the gecko for? Geckos do not make good pets for younger children as they require careful handling in order to avoid injury. A child might be really keen at the start, but may become bored quickly so responsibility for the gecko's care will no doubt be passed onto a parent. Children will need constant supervision to ensure that their pet is being properly cared for.
Remember too, that within a reptile's lifetime children may move out, or go to university or college, leaving parents to be responsible for their gecko's care.