Clementine is not a mini citrusy fruit in this article, but a four year old leopard gecko that I call Clementine (Clem for short). I named her after my favourite fruit because of the beautiful vibrant orange she was when I first bought her.
Sadly, I did purchase her from a pet store, PJ’s Pets from the Scarborough Town Centre. I say sadly, because buying any animal from a pet store is often a mystery, in the sense that the store owners, and workers, rarely know anything about the animal’s history.
Being honest, I did not plan on buying this sweet, anxious, nocturnal little leopard gecko. It was mother’s day in 2014, my sister, her son, and husband, wanted to go to the mall. I tagged along.
Before leaving, my nephew begged to go see the animals in PJ’s Pets, so as our last stop, we went browsing.
To give some back history on myself, I am a serious animal lover, I have avoided animal products to my best ability since I was seven years old (mainly just food until I got older and learned how many other random items contain animal by-products and cut those out).
Walking into that pet store broke my heart, yes I know I am being mellow dramatic, but zoos, pet stores, and any other places that cage up animals in places too small and too crowded always made me upset. I kept saying I wanted to buy them all so they can run free (not realistic, I know).
Once we got into the reptile section I saw this skinny, small, jumpy little lizard in a tight cubby with only one hiding space and a small dish of dried out water. She looked terrified, malnourished, and like she had never been held before.
When I asked a worker there if he could give me some information about her, he had no information. The only thing I remember him saying was:
‘Oh, sweetie, you do not want this one. It is very hard to handle.’
He told me it (he did not know the gender) was jumpy, a speedy runner, and ‘hyper.’ He would not even take her out of the cage until I said I was going to bring her home with me.
It scared me that he had told me not to buy her. It made me wonder how many other people he would say that to and for how long?
So, I did the opposite of what he told me to do and I spent $200.00 (which as a first year student, just moved to Toronto, hardly working, barely had) and I brought her home (to my Grandma’s apartment where she was not very liked by her).
Clementine was scared. She did not like me putting my hand in her cage to pick her up, hold her, and she ate like she never had before. Over time and with lots of patients, she now lets me pick her up and hold her with ease. She is an excellent eater, active, and overall healthy.
I am usually one to go with the flow, listen to/take the advice people give me, and not step out of my comfort zone. I am thankful that on Mother’s day in 2014 I stepped out and ignored that man’s advice about this beautiful little creature.
Clementine is an amazing gecko, a reptile I never thought of caring for or being so happy having in my home.
Ouellette, Chantal. “Photos of Clem” Images. November 22, 2016.