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What Supplies Do I Need for a Leopard Gecko
Pet Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos make great beginner reptiles. They are relatively small reptiles that are pretty docile. They also come in a wide variety of morphs (colors and patterns) that can be appealing. If you decide that a leopard gecko is the pet for you, make sure that you know how to care for it.
It's always the best idea to make sure that you have all of the supplies before you bring home the pet. Have the heating already set up to proper temperatures, and make sure that the enclosure is designed the way you want it, so that you don't have to move everything around when you bring home your pet.
It's already stressful enough on the reptile going from the breeder or pet store to your house, it's just not a good idea to change up the cage design many times right after getting the gecko. So, have it ready.
Below, you'll find a basic list of supplies that you'll need. I have not listed prices, as depending on the brand, style, size, options, and where you purchase the supplies, the prices could vary greatly.
- Minimum of 10 gallon aquarium (20 gallon most preferred)
- Screen lid
- Under tank heater (should cover about 1/3 of the surface of the cage)
- Digital thermometer with a probe
- Regular light bulb for day (wattage will depend on the temperature of the enclosure)
- Red light at night
Substrate: (choice of)
- Reptile carpet
- Paper towels
- Slate tile
- Rollout shelf liner
- 2 hides (1 for hot side and 1 for cool side)
- 1 humid hide
- 1 water bowl
- 1 calcium bowl (bottle top is sufficient)
- Fake plants (optional)
- Hammock (optional)
ZooMed Under Tank Heater
Measuring the Temperatures
It is very important that you measure the temperature in the enclosure. Leopard geckos need temperatures on the hot side of the cage to be around 90F, but it can vary between 88F and 92F and still be safe.
You do not want to estimate your temperatures!
Proper temperature is essential for digestion and overall health. If your temperatures are not accurate, your reptile may have trouble digesting its food, it may develop an illness, or with prolonged temperatures that are too high or too low death can occur.
It is very important that you do not estimate the temperatures. You want to keep in mind that the stick on thermometers are crap. They are no good, as they just don't read accurate temperatures. The plastic tape-like ones read the glass temperatures, and the slightly more advanced wall thermometers read the air temperatures (these are more propped off the glass of the tank).
The important temperatures that you want to watch are the surface temperatures. Your leopard gecko won't be flying around the tank. He'll be spending most of the time on the ground; you may see a little climbing, but this species is terrestrial and typically not great climbers.
The best way to measure the surface temperatures is by using a thermometer that has a probe. The examples to the right are the better reptile thermometers. You can go cheap and purchase one that only reads the temperature, and you'll be ok, or you can go a little more pricey and purchase the one that also reads the humidity.
Choosing a Water Bowl
There are many different options of bowls that you can choose from. Generally, you'll want to stick with a small to medium sized shallow bowl.
There are different materials of bowls to choose from. Consider the different options:
- Plastic- Harder to clean, in my opinion but are dishwashable I believe
- Ceramic- Easy to hand clean (dishwashable I believe) but easy to break
- Rock- Can be hard to clean and are heavy.
Choosing Shelter for a Leopard Gecko
When choosing the hides for your enclosure, make sure that they're not too big and that the gecko will still have room to walk around. You don't want the hides to sit on top of each other basically. If you need to, upgrade to a larger enclosure. Too much stuff in the enclosure can potentially stress out the gecko.
You'll find that the magnet gecko hides are pretty popular. They are essentially two pieces- one goes inside the aquarium and one goes outside. You can pull off the outer piece and see your gecko sleeping, if it's in the hide. These don't take up quite as much space, but they've never been one of my favorites, but they are popular.
Make sure that the hides that you choose are size appropriate. As your gecko grows, you'll want to upgrade the side of the shelters you have in the tank. If you don't have room to upgrade the shelter size, upgrade the tank size and the shelters. You just can't expect an adult leopard gecko to sleep comfortably in a small hide.
Most adults will be ok in medium hides, although you may feel better (for yourself) to purchase a large hide for the cage.