Nothing will spark the wide-eyed wonder and curiosity of a small child like lizards, frogs, snakes - and geckos.

John Edwards of Waxahachie brought his native Pakistani gecko collection to Nicholas P. Sims Library on Saturday to the delight of fascinated children and their parents.

“Their average life span is 10 to 15 years and the best environment for them is in a glass aquarium with calcium sand, a small box with an entrance cut out of it for them to hide and plenty of insects to eat,” Edwards said. “When confronted by a predator, they sever their tails, which enables them to escape danger because the tail distracts the predator.”

Edwards explained that hatching season for the gecko is from July to October and temperatures of from 80 to 90 degrees are ideal for hatching of new baby geckos. They never produce more than two eggs at a time, he said.

“It has been proven that there is a greater likelihood the birth will be female in lower temperature, male when temperature is higher,” Edwards said. “They also store fat in their tails, which enables them to receive nourishment during times when food is scarce.”

In response to questions, Edwards said geckos can be purchased at pet stores at a cost of from $30-$50. He suggested purchasing young geckos as older ones are less likely to bond with their handlers and might even go into shock.

“If you get a gecko for a pet, you must spend at least 15 to 20 minutes a day playing with them and petting them, otherwise they will not do as well. They need companionship,” he said, while cautioning against excessive handling.

Edwards suggested reading material concerning the gecko, which is available in the library and bookstores.

E-mail paul.gauntt@waxahachiedailylight.com