If you have spent more then an hour on Craigslist, a popular classified site, then you probably already know how disturbing some people can be. What started out as a free way to buy, sell, and trade unwanted items, has practically turned into a circus. First you have those who feel its their job to remove also known as flagging the ads that they disapprove of. Then you have others who are extremely competitive, and argumentative that spend their time trying to pick fights. And finally you have those who feel the need to spread the dirty laundry of strangers by posting ads with the phone numbers, addresses, photos, and even police records of other sellers. Criagslist list in my personal opinion has become a online soap opera that is equally as addicting. Somewhere along the line I do became a Craigslist addict, and instead of playing online games, or browsing online sale ads, I like to check in daily to see what everyone is doing. Don’t get me wrong you can find great things on Craigslist at bargain prices, which is how the story of Bones started.
I have son that suffers from Asthma, and is allergic to dogs. About a year ago, I broke down and let him buy a leopard gecko from a person on Craigslist. As it turned out the seller was a teacher at the elementary school my son attended. We were able to get an excellent leopard gecko with tank and accessories for only $35.00. Not only did Luke, that is what we named him, turn out to be a wonderful pet, he also started our reptile collection. Over the next year we rescued a bearded dragon, bought a baby bearded dragon, and also bought a few other leopard geckos. This is the story of Bones, a leopard gecko that was dying to be loved.
It was my love for leopard geckos that caught my eye when I seen an ad of craigslist for one for sale. I wrote the seller as soon as I seen his ad asking if the gecko was still available, and how much he was he asking for it. Like a child on Christmas I checked my email every few hours to see if he’d replied. Later that night I received a follow up email from the seller. His email was simple, and read “yes”. I replied asking for the a price, and received another email stating “$25.00 The picture is bad but it is the only one I have, do you want him?” with a blurry photo attached of just the leopard geckos face to his email. You could tell from the photo that the leopard gecko looked a little thin, leading me to believe it was a juvenile, and it was a normal leopard gecko which sells for the same price that he was asking at our local pet shops. There was however something about the picture, that I couldn’t shake off. It was almost like the gecko was looking at me, begging me to buy him. I emailed the seller the next day asking how old the gecko was, and what was he use to eating, but my email went unanswered. A few hours later I received another email from the seller saying “Do you want him or not if so you must come tonight”. I emailed the seller to tell him that the children and I would like to buy him, but due to the short notice I would be having someone pick him up for me. The seller agreed, and sent me his address, along with the directions of “text me when they get here, I will take it out to the car for them”. I had my fiance pick up the leopard gecko for me, and asked him to call me when he left there.
It wasn’t long before my phone rang. “Your not going to believe this, this poor thing is barely alive” is what I heard. I quickly prepared a sick tank for him, and awaited his arrival. As soon as my fiancee pulled into the drive, I rushed out to meet him. Wrapped in a towel was a dirty hide the inside covered in mold, dried blood, and feces. In the corner of the hide set a scared leopard gecko, that was so skinny you could see every single bone. His tail had been broken off, and had started to grow back, but was paper thin. We quickly placed him into his new tank. Every 3 hours we feed him a few crickets, and prayed he would make it. That night I wrote the seller a email asking him how the gecko got in that condition. At first he played stupid and said there was nothing wrong with the leopard gecko. Then he changed his story and said it was a rescue that he took on several weeks earlier that needed more help then he could offer, and that he forgot to tell me about the condition it was in. Rumors quickly surfaced on how this person gets free animals and then sells, but don’t feed or care for them while they are in his care. I believed the rumors to be true, because he posted ads the next day selling a gopher, tokay gecko, and a uromastyx.
We named the leopard gecko Bones. In the first week while in our care Bones doubled his weight. We have now had him almost two weeks, and he has a fat tail, and a charming personality. Bones is a senior leopard gecko that will live out the remainder of his years with us, where he will have plenty to eat. We never could find any health issues with Bones, he was just literally being starved to death, because someone was to cheap to buy him a few crickets. I never asked for a refund, nor to I regret what I spent on him. I only asked for an explanation, which I only lead to me getting conflicting stories, or lies if you will. Looking back I find it amazing how I thought he was calling out to me from a photo, only to find out he probably was.
Bones has a lot to offer the world, and I share this story in hopes of preventing another case such as this. Before you sell or re-home your pet, please make sure the person getting it has knowledge of the animal, and can care for it properly. Don’t give pets away for free to people you don’t know. There are thousands of people who collect free animals to resale. Most of these people do not spend money on proper cages, or feed, they just hope to make a quick buck. And if you do find yourself in over your head, give the animal to a rescue group or someone that you personally know can care for it.