REPTILE / new pets
Leopard Gecko Care Guide: Tips for Caring for Your Pet Leopard Gecko
6 Cool Facts About Leopard Geckos
- Leopard geckos can live as long as 20 years
- Leopard geckos can grow as long as 10 inches in length.
- In the wild, leopard geckos live in semi-arid desert environments and are nocturnal.
- Unlike other geckos, leopard geckos don’t have “sticky” fingers and toes. They’re not able to climb or walk on other vertical surfaces like many of their relatives.
- The leopard gecko is one of only a few gecko species that have distinct outer ears and eyelids.
- Leopard geckos have such large tails because they’re filled with fat and nutrients that they receive and can live off of if their food supply every run short.
Leopard Gecko Care Guide:
Leopard geckos originate from semi-arid deserts, so naturally, they love a warm, dry environment. But they also need a hiding place that’s moist—this is where they retreat to when it's time to shed their skin. Multiple leopard geckos may be kept in a size-appropriate terrarium—but only one should be male. Make sure you have all of the right leopard gecko supplies to give them the best care.
You’ll want to keep your leopard gecko in a well-ventilated terrarium with a screened lid. Start with a 20 gallon (76 L) tank (30” x 12” x 12” or 76 x 31 x 31 cm). If you’re getting multiple geckos, think about increasing your tank size.
Temperature and Humidity
The next step in the caring for your leopard gecko is to keep their habitat like the warm climate they come from. You should have a warm side and a cool side of the tank. To do this, put a heat light on one side of the habitat, and measure the temperature with a thermometer at each end.
You’re aiming to keep the terrarium between 85-95°F (27-32°C) on the warm end and 75-90°F (24-27°C) on the cool side. Use a heat/light lamp to get the desired temperature. It’s also worth getting a hygrometer to make sure humidity remains in the 10% to 30% range, which leopard geckos prefer.
Leopard geckos require 12 hours of visible light a day, Use a low-wattage UVA/UVB light source with a timer to mimic day and night schedules.
Use reptile carpet, tile, or an appropriate semi-arid bioactive soil/substrate. For geckos shorter than 6 inches (15 cm), use reptile carpet—these guys are so small they might accidentally swallow the material, which is bad for them. Scoop the waste when it’s noticed and change all their bedding at least once a month
Use rocks, low branches and other reptile habitat décor to allow your leopard gecko places to climb closer to the basking lights or hide behind/under. Putting some moistened moss in their hide house will help when they’re ready to shed their skin.
Leopard geckos should always have access to a hiding place on both the warm and cool side of their habitat. One hiding spot per gecko is a good rule. Mist the moss periodically with a spray bottle of water to keep the humidity higher inside their hide house.
What Does a Leopard Gecko Eat?
The next step in the caring for your leopard gecko is to feed them all of their favorite food.
These scaly pets love their insects. Their favorite ones to eat are crickets, dubia roaches, hornworms, mealworms and superworms. They do not need to eat very often, only once a day to once every other day.
Dust your leopard gecko’s food with some calcium powder 2-3 times a week along with a reptile multivitamin once a week for juveniles and 2 times a month for adults. Make sure to check with your reptile veterinarian regarding your pet’s diet.
Leopard geckos drink from large shallow dishes and will also soak in their water dish to maintain hydration. Be sure you empty, clean and refill their water dish every day.
How Can I Keep My Leopard Gecko Healthy?
Once you have your pet’s habitat and diet sorted out, the next step in the caring for your leopard gecko is to find a good veterinarian that is familiar with reptiles. It’s a good idea to have a veterinarian examine your leopard geckos shortly after you get them and for annual physical exams thereafter. When you first bring them home, don’t handle your new leopard gecko for three or four days—they need to get used to their new surroundings. Keep a close eye on them in case moving in has stressed them out or caused them to get sick. Even a settled-in lizard can get sick. 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
- Weight loss
- 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.
Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not 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.
PET SAFETY TIPS
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans
- Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat
- Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water