Q: We bought a leopard gecko from a pet store. Spotty is fun, but we really can't pick him up; he's so squirmy. Any advice? - C.J., Chula Vista, CA

A: "Maybe Spotty won't be so hesitant if every time you reach slowly into the cage you have a mealworm or waxworm in your hand," suggests Liz Palika, of Oceanside, CA, author of "Leopard Geckos for Dummies" (Wiley Publishing, Hoboken, NJ, 2007; $9.99).

Waxworms are especially appealing - like candy for geckos. But don't overdo it, or you could have a sick or overweight lizard. The training process could take several weeks.

"Meanwhile, when you go to clean the cage, don't chase Spotty with your hand or he'll be fearful," says Palika. "Just place a paper cup in the cage and gently herd him in."


Q: I have a very playful cat. She loves to play ball, even catching the ball in her paws. She also retrieves. Sometimes, she'll catch the ball, drop it in her water bowl, then bring the wet ball back to me. What's that all about? - L.F., Homosassa, FL

A: Perhaps your kitty drops the ball into her water bowl so it's clean. Or perhaps she's taking the ball back to where she always eats, just as outdoor cats return to the same place with prey they've caught. This is all merely conjecture. It might simply be that your cat is entertained by watching the splash as she drops the ball in her water.

Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Send email to Include name, city and state.