Leopard Gecko Pet Care
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.