...is to plan for the escape in advance! Let me explain.
Aside from geckos, one thing I collect is masks. I have been all over much of the world, ranging from China and Thailand to Spain and Turkey. I have yet to tackle Australia, but that is on my list . As souvenirs I have picked up masks from nearly all of my stops and really enjoy the unique differences that can be seen in each one.
Well, as it turns out, one particular mask that I got from Peru has saved my butt a few times. It is carved out of the base of a tree (try to imagine this with me) that has been slightly dug out of the ground to expose the roots. The mask has been carved such that the face is the base of the tree and the roots serve as the beard. I can take a picture if you guys would like - might be hard to envision.
Anyway, I mounted this mask above my Crested Gecko tank and it has turned out to be a great idea for escapees. Because these geckos have a tendancy to go "up" every gecko that has ever escaped has been found in the beard/roots of the mask that is 2 feet above the tank.
Some background: I bought my existing tank off Craigslist and have had a very hard time finding a correct fitting top. As per the seller, it is a 30 gallon (tall) but I have never found a top that fits snugly. My alternative has been one of those sliding tank tops that fits a variety of sizes but you can adjust it to fit yours. While I am greatful for the top, it does leave a signifcant amount of wiggle room between the sides of the tank and the top, and it also doesn't fit that snugly. I have since added weight to the top of the tank but in one particular weekend I had three geckos slip out, all of whom I found nestled in the mask above the tank.
This top also has those plastic circular "caps" that you can slide out to drop things in the top of the tank, as I often do with insects. Well last night I was evidently very tired and left one of those doors open. This morning I woke up, saw the open top, freaked out a bit, and then looked up into the mask and saw two little reticulated eyes looking back at me in a nestle of roots .
My point here is that planning for a possible escape is the best way to find your gecko again if it does happen. If you have a plant nearby, a rack system, or maybe even a picture or sculpture that is probably the best place to check. This whole post may not be very useful to many of you but for those who have a space above a tank to put a plant or something similar to my mask- you are at an advantage. This system has not failed me yet, even with my own stupidity and lack of sleep !