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Leopard Gecko Pet Care

Updated on April 7, 2013

Leopard Gecko Care

The Leopard Gecko, Eublepharus macularius, is the best lizard for beginning reptile enthusiasts. The Leopard Gecko breeds readily in captivity, eats well, and is overall, hardy. There are so many morphs that display a truly colorful and wonderful creature

Leopard Geckos come from Middle Eastern countries like Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They usually attain an overall length of 8-11 inches, and some even reach 13 inches. Most reach an average weight of near 60 grams with Giant Morphs reaching near 160 grams. Leopard Geckos are nocturnal and are usually hiding most of the day. The explosiveness of the Leopard Gecko in the pet trade has slowed down due to the popularity of the Rhacodactylus species.

The following information is how I raise my Leopard Geckos. Please leave a comment or question if you have any, or if you feel there needs to be any corrections.

Leopard Gecko Habitat

A single Leopard Gecko adult will be comfortably housed in a 10-20 gallon tank, preferably a long tank. My enclosures include two hiding areas (one cool and one warm), a water bowl, and a few grapevine branches for them to climb over. I do not create areas where they can climb up high because they can be rather clumsy climbers. I also never put my Leopard Geckos on sand or bark. They are kept on reptile carpet, paper towels, or newspaper. Because of the eyelids Leopard Geckos have, sand is prone to get in between the eyeball and lid.

Leopard Gecko Lighting

Leopard Geckos are nocturnal. Because of this, they do not require any UVA/UVB lighting. Keep Leopard Geckos around 75-85 degrees. A hot spot just around 85-86 degrees is enough for them to digest their food well. At night, the cage can drop to 70 degrees without any harmful effects. Under the tank heaters are popular with this pet because Leopard Geckos do not tend to bask during the day. However, given the right amount of security, I have had several geckos that will get under a grapevine branch in the basking spot and sit there most of the day.

Leopard Gecko Humidity

Leopard Geckos require humidity levels around 40%, which is pretty typical for the average home. Levels lower than 40% can cause shed retention and levels over 40% can cause bacterial and mold growth. If your gecko is having trouble shedding, please see my other hub regarding that issue. I created an entire hub specific to that topic because of how often it happens.

Leopard Gecko Diet

When feeding Leopard Geckos, give them what they can eat within 5 minutes. I have found that some of my geckos will gorge and some are better at stopping when they are full. I have large geckos, 12 inches and 128 grams. In one feeding session, they will eat about a dozen large crickets, four semi-adult roaches, or a small pinkie. I only feed pinkies to fatten up females who will be breeding. I feed my Leopard Geckos twice weekly when they are young, under a year, and when they are full grown, I switch to only once a week.

Leopard Gecko Temperament

Most of the time, Leopard Geckos are docile. I have seen many geckos that do not want to be handled, and they will scream, bite, and squirm to be left alone. However, if handled gently and often enough to create a trust, they tend to calm down quickly. As Leopard Geckos continue to be bred in captivity, it is safe to propose that their temperaments will continue to calm down.

Leopard Gecko Handling

Leopard Geckos are a rather easy gecko to handle. They tend to be flighty when they are young, but will calm down with age and regular handling. Best way I have found to fit in handling into my own busy schedule is to handle them for ten minutes when I am about to clean their cage. I will place them into a temporary tank while I clean. Once I finish, I will hold them for ten minutes and then place them back into their tank. Just from doing this, I have calmed down many bity geckos.

Leopard Gecko Tail Loss

Like most geckos, Leopard Geckos can lose their tails. If they are picked up by their tails, it has a great chance of falling off. Leopard Geckos are able to regrow their tails, but the regrown tail, in my opinion, looks horrible compared to the beautiful original. To avoid tail loss, make sure to pick up your gecko properly by supporting the body and giving each foot a place in your hand to rest. Also, make sure there are not any cage decorations that could roll onto or fall onto the tail, causing your gecko to panic and drop its tail.

Leopard Gecko Sex Determination

In adults, it is easy to tell what is male and what is female. Males have a bulge at the base of their tails and have V-shaped femoral pores. This bulge houses the hemipenis, the male sex organs. A female will not have any bulge. Sex is determined easiest by 6-9 months of age.

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    • Reptile Joe profile image
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      Reptile Joe 4 years ago from Illinois

      I feed once a week because it simulates how they eat in the wild. Leopard Geckos will spend most of their days hiding and sleeping in the deserts, and prey is few and far between. Leopard Geckos will also tend to become rather fat as they age. In your case, feeding a 10 month old every other day, were the total crickets consumed does not total more than 20, you should be ok. Juveniles need a lot of food so they can reach their maximum length. After about a year to 18 months old, you can feed them once a week. As long as their tails stay nice and plump, you know you are feeding them correctly. If the tail starts to become skinny, you are underfeeding. If the tail inflates quickly, you are overfeeding. Remember, they are desert animals and can go longer lengths of time between feedings. Cheers.

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 4 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona

      Also, why do you only feed once a week? I have been feeding every other day for my 10 month old male leopard gecko. Should I cut back?

    • Jacob Wittrock profile image

      Jacob Wittrock 4 years ago from Goodyear, Arizona

      Good Hub! Good information, thanks!