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REPTILE / new pets

3 Ways to Help Your Leopard Gecko Live a Happy Life

How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live?


Interested in being a reptile parent but never cared for one before? A leopard gecko could be a great choice for you! Their docile nature combined with the ease with which they can be handled makes them the perfect selection for beginners. Leopard geckos only grow to be about 10 inches (25 cm) in length, they’re quiet, primarily nocturnal and are happy with minimal attention or interaction. They're great pet options for those looking for an odor-free friend, unlike some animals, as long as your Leopard Gecko's environment is clean and thoroughly maintained, there are minimal smells that these animals give off. 


How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live?

Being a pet parent is a long-term commitment of course, but just how long-term largely depends on the type of pet you decide to bring home. Choosing the perfect pet for you is important because caring for your pet requires different amounts of effort depending on which type you choose. So, about how long is the leopard gecko lifespan? In the wild, they typically live between six and eight years.  

But how long do leopard geckos live in captivity? When kept as pets, male leopard geckos can live to age 10-12 when properly cared for. Male geckos have a slightly longer lifespan than females, due to the strain that many reproductive physiological processes can have on the females’ bodies. If you choose not to breed your female lizard, it can in fact live a similar lifespan of a typical male. 

If you’re planning on bringing home this amazing pet and loving it for up to two decades (and maybe even beyond), you’ll need to know all the ins and outs of leopard gecko care. Ensuring that your pet has everything it needs to thrive is of the utmost importance for keeping it alive and thriving for the entire leopard gecko lifespan.


3 Ways to Help Your Leopard Gecko Live a Happy Life

1. Make Its Habitat Comfy

In the wild, geckos generally live in a semi-arid desert, so naturally, they love a warm, dry environment. But believe it or not, this environment isn’t always the most suitable for them. Though Leopard Geckos bodies are adaptable to inconsistencies in food and water, imitating their natural environment in captivity is the best way to see your Gecko live a full lifespan. Leopard geckos tend to live longer in captivity as long as they receive appropriate amounts of attention, husbandry, and veterinary care. The most suitable environment for this type of animal is a well-ventilated terrarium with a screened lid. One terrarium can be used for multiple geckos, as long as there is only one male. But what size is best? For one lizard, a 20-gallon (76 L) tank (30” x 12” x 12” or 76 x 31 x 31cm) is sufficient. If you’re thinking about purchasing more than one, you should increase your tank size for a more size-appropriate habitat.

Now that you know what type of habitat your lizard should live in, there are a few more things you should know about making the inside of your pet’s home more habitable. Though they naturally prefer a warm and dry climate, they also need access to a hiding place (hide house or shed box) that acts as a dark retreat and safe environment for them to relax in as they shed their skin. Many natural and artificial hide houses are available for purchase. To help facilitate proper shedding, you should put moistened sphagnum moss in one of their hiding places. This allows for the right amount of humidity between 10 and 40%, thus allowing your gecko to shed more easily. During a shed, humidity should be kept on the higher side of this range to ease this process. Invest in a hygrometer to ensure proper humidity has been established. To make sure your adorable new lizard has both the warmth it prefers and the cool retreat that it needs to shed its skin, you will need to place a heat light on one side of the habitat. Your pet will be happiest in day temperatures between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm end, day temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the cool end, and a night temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a thermometer at each end of the tank to keep tabs on temperature. Leopard geckos also require around 12 hours of visible light per day, and they benefit from a low-wattage UVA/UVB light source.

Now, on to the fun part: home décor! Your pet will love reptile carpet, tile, or an appropriate semi-arid bioactive soil/substrate. You can also add wood accents, artificial terrarium plants and terrarium backgrounds to help your leopard gecko feel more at home in its new environment.

2. Prioritize Its Health

Though leopard gecko care is generally pretty simple, there are still a few things you should make your top priority. First off, your lizard’s diet is imperative to its survival. Ensuring it has the proper nutrition is the first step to giving its health a boost. Adding a calcium powder to your geckos diet is imperative as most feeding insects lack the nutrients that your Leopard gecko needs. 

For Proper Supplementation In Your Leopard Gecko’s Diet:

Dust Insects with Calcium powder 2-3 x a week
Multivitamin 1 x a week (juveniles); 2 x a month (adults) or as directed by your veterinarian. 

What do leopard geckos eat? They’re insectivores, meaning they prefer meals made up of insects. Feed your reptile a well-balanced diet made up of insects such as:

Small Mealworms
Dubia Roaches

Be sure to feed your gecko size-appropriate insects. Baby geckos require smaller insects, and mature geckos will enjoy larger ones.

Secondly, when you bring home your pet, give it a little space for three or four days to get acclimated to its new home. Getting used to a completely new environment with unfamiliar surroundings can cause stress that may cause your gecko to become sick.

It’s also a good idea to have a veterinarian examine your gecko shortly after you get it and for annual physical exams thereafter.

3. Be On The Lookout For Signs Of Distress

If your lizard starts acting a bit different or is showing some concerning symptoms, it could be a sign that it’s time for a visit to the vet. Regular visits to your veterinarian could help your leopard gecko live a longer, happier life. It’s probably a good time for a check-up at the vet if you notice these symptoms:

Hiding more than usual
Eating or drinking less
Losing weight
Swollen joints
Abnormalities with the eyes, nose or mouth
Discolored skin and noticeable shedding problems
Runny or abnormal droppings for more than two days
Lack of droppings for extended periods of time
Retained shed on toes
Labored breathing
Bumps, sores or abrasions on skin

Properly taking care of your lizard could possibly help expand their lifespan, but even if it doesn’t you can be sure that it will have lived a happier life under your care.

Not sure where to purchase your new little reptile friend? Look no further! PetSmart has both leopard geckos and fancy leopard geckos available for purchase. Head to your nearest PetSmart store today to browse our selection of reptiles, habitats, terrarium accessories, bulbs and lamps and everything you need to help your pet live its best life.

Information in this article isn't intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and isn't a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.

PetSmart also offers convenient shopping with curbside or in-store pickup. Need something today? We have select items available for same-day delivery in most areas powered by DoorDash. For items you purchase frequently, PetSmart has Autoship that automatically delivers the items you want to your door as often as you’d like. Check the website to see what items are eligible.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What should I buy for a leopard gecko?

Make sure to have all of the right leopard gecko supplies to give them the best care. You’ll need a terrarium, temperature and humidity control, lighting, substrate, decor, hiding spots, leopard gecko food, water, vitamins and more.


Can you keep leopard geckos together?

Multiple leopard geckos may be kept in a size-appropriate terrarium—but only one should be male.


Are leopard geckos good pets?

Leopard geckos make great beginner pets for children. They grow up to 10” and live for 15-20 years. They are small, don’t require too many reptile supplies and are relatively easy to care for.


Do leopard geckos cost a lot?

The cost of a leopard gecko is different depending on where you buy it and what type of leopard geck it is. At this time, PetSmart sells different types of leopard geckos for between $35 and $45.