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Leopard Geckos Care Sheet
Leopard geckos are naturally found in Iran, Afghanistan, Western India and Pakistan. India sent leopard geckos to the United States from 1960- 1973 for legal protection. Pakistan began exporting their leopard geckos worldwide later on; many captive-bred leopard geckos are the descendants from Pakistan ancestors.
They reside in deserts and arid grasslands with dry and rocky landscapes, and because they are nocturnal animals, they spend the day beneath rocks and in burrows. Leopard geckos are terrestrial animals, spending much of their time on the ground; they rarely climb, and when they do, they can become clumsy
Handling: Leopard geckos are relatively docile animals, so when it comes to handling them, they are usually at ease. You must be careful when it come to picking them up. NEVER pick them up by the tail, because they will drop it, and it will not grow back as pretty but more a rounded bulge.
Temperament: They rarely bite and are tamed easily with regular handling. However, be careful how you hold the gecko. Never by its tail! Gecko tails break off rather easily as a defense mechanism. Although they will grow back, they never look as nice as the original. Baby leopard geckos are so small and, to them, you seem huge; handling young leopard geckos must be done carefully. If spooked, the baby may drop its tail, and as mentioned earlier, it will not grow back as visually appealing. Overall, the leopard gecko is one of the most docile of the reptile species in the pet trade today.
Lifespan: With proper care, leopard geckos can live anywhere from 15-20 years.
Size: Usually leopard geckos will grow between 8-10 inches in length, but many individuals only reach the about 8 inches in length. Many times, breeders will breed geckos as to achieve specific lengths and sizes that are beyond the normal, average size.
Books About Leopard Geckos
Housing Leopard Geckos
Enclosure size: A 10 gallon aquarium is the minimum size for one leopard gecko, and a 20-gallon, long aquarium will house up to three geckos. NEVER house more than one male together because they are very territorial and will fight! With adequate housing, several females can live with one male for life, but this is not recommended.
Substrate: Leopard geckos should never be housed on loose substrates, to include, play sand, Calci-sand, or wood shavings, as they can cause impaction. There are several different things that can be used as substrate, to include paper towels, reptile carpet, and tile.
Décor: When landscaping, include shelters for the geckos to hide in. Remember, they are nocturnal animals. Putting at least two shelters in the terrarium: one on the hot side and one on the cool side. Make sure to have plenty of room so the gecko can maneuver around the terrarium with ease; not having enough room to walk comfortably can cause stress on the gecko.
A humid hide is also recommended to have in the tank; this creates higher humidity for easier shedding.
Lighting, Heating, Humidity of a Leopard Gecko Enclosure
Lighting: As leopard geckos are nocturnal, UV lightning is not necessary nor is a regular cage light. However, having a light helps create a 12 hour day and 12 hour night scenario. Because leopard geckos are terrestrial, they get their heat through their bellies. A light will only add heat to the air temperatures in the enclosure.
Tip: If you decide to use a light for you enclosure, regular light bulbs from a grocery store can be used. They are cheaper than reptile bulbs, yet serve the same purpose.
Heating: Because they cannot produce body heat, leopard geckos need a warm spot and cooler spot from which to choose. Daytime temperature should range between 85F-90F, and night temperatures can go into the low 70's. Under Tank Heating Pads, which attach to the bottom of the tank, work well to provide the proper temperatures necessary. Follow the directions for the heat pad carefully so that injury to your leopard gecko is limited and cracks to your terrarium is prevented.
Use a digital thermometer to gauge the temperature. DO NOT estimate the temperature because temperatures that are too high or too low can harm your gecko.
DO NOT USE HOT ROCKS! They develop hot spots and many lizards have been badly burnt by them!
Humidity: Leopard geckos require a low humidity level that doesn't exceed 40%. When the humidity levels are too high, respiratory, bacterial, and fungal infections can occur. A humid hide can be provided to aid in shedding. Use a hygrometer to gauge the humidity levels.
Leopard Gecko Diet
Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning they eat insects. The diet of a leopard gecko can be based mainly on crickets, but a varied diet will insure optimum health. Leopard geckos can eat roaches, mealworms, waxworms, butterworms, silkworms, and phoenix worms. No matter what is fed to your leopard gecko, it needs to be size appropriate; insects must be at least ½ the width of the gecko's head and no longer than the length of the gecko's head.
Do not get insects from your backyard because insects travel and can carry pesticides and chemicals used by either you or your neighbors, which can be detrimental to the gecko's health.
Although leopard geckos do not drink very much, water should be provided at all times. When keeping a baby leopard gecko, do make sure that the bowl is not so large that the baby can drown.
Leopard Gecko Information
- Best Beginner Reptiles
Leopard geckos are one of a handful of the better beginner reptiles.
- What Supplies Do I Need for a Leopard Gecko
Make sure that you have all the right equipment for your leopard gecko.
- How to Set Up a Leopard Gecko Enclosure
Find tips to setting up your leopard gecko enclosure the right way.
- Native Habitat of the Leopard Gecko & Setting up a Natural Enclosure
Set up a natural habitat for a leopard gecko.
- How to Choose a Leopard Gecko
Make sure that you pick a healthy leopard gecko.
- Leopard Gecko Morphs
Here's a semi-complete guide to leopard gecko morphs.
- Best Leopard Gecko Care Books
Find my choice leopard gecko reference books.
- My Gecko Didn't Shed Properly
If your leopard gecko is having trouble shedding, figure out why and how to fix it.
- My Leopard Gecko Quit Eating
Leopard geckos from time to time can stop eating for one reason or another, and to prevent the gecko from wasting away, you may want to check this out.
My personal website, which contains caresheets, FAQs, helpful tips, feeder insect care, and more!
- Breeding Leopard Geckos
If you think that you are ready to attempt breeding your leopard geckos, you need to check this out.