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Recognize Brilliant STEM Minds this Black History Month

Join us this Black History Month in recognizing brilliant STEM minds and their ongoing contributions and impacts to everyday life by: Exploring virtual resources for celebrating Black scientists, engineers, and innovators, past, present, and future Discovering...

Why Teachers Want Virtual Field Trips to Stay

Blog first published on American Alliance of Museums website. On a virtual field trip, students search their screens for signs of movement as they try to spot the elusive macroinvertebrates lurking in a pond water sample. A grid appears over the screen with the...

Life and Times of Lydia the Leopard Gecko

Jul 9, 2019

Lydia the Leopard Gecko

It’s time to celebrate the life of a remarkable reptile who touched the lives of so many. Lydia the leopard gecko came to PacSci’s Living Exhibits in 2002—already full grown and brimming with personality. Guests could observe as she basked and hunted for crickets just like her wild relatives in the deserts of South Central Asia. With her wide mouth and sleepy eyelids, Lydia charmed employees and visitors alike with her signature ‘smile.’ One of our young guests would draw a new picture of her every time he stopped by.

Leopard geckos are most active around dawn and dusk, but Lydia adapted her habits to spend more time with the people around her. Thanks to the loving attention of her handlers, she was only sick once before the end of her life. That would be like a person living to 90 years old and only catching one cold! Her days were carefree and easy, as evidenced by the fact that she never lost her tail. In the wild, a leopard gecko can detach their tail to escape from predators, but it’s never ideal because the tail is where they store extra fat and nutrients. Also, a second tail will never be as large as the first and the patterns won’t line up perfectly. Lydia’s vet complimented her on having one of the fattest, healthiest tails she had ever seen on a leopard gecko!

Whether Lydia was peacefully munching on crickets and mealworms or wriggling out of an old skin, she enjoyed a rapt audience. During her last few months, she lived in the Guest Services/Membership offices. Both teams quickly bonded over a new love and appreciation for reptiles. Lydia could do no wrong. Napping under a log, cleaning her toenails, or sticking out her tiny, pink tongue–everything was met with adoration. No matter how hectic your day had been, she was there to give you that slow, placid blink: making everything a little bit easier. She left behind a legacy of reptile lovers who are excited to welcome a new gecko into the family sometime in the future.