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How to Select a Pet Leopard Gecko

Updated on February 16, 2013
My first leopard gecko. Bella (I now have three total).
My first leopard gecko. Bella (I now have three total). | Source

What is a Leopard Gecko?

A leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) is a nocturnal, terrestrial (ground-dwelling) lizard that are naturally native to the deserts of Asia, throughout Pakistan, and into parts of India.

Leopard geckos are very wide spread in captivity and are now privately and commercially bred and sold.

Why Choose a Leopard Gecko as a Pet?

Any person who chooses to own a reptile(s) as a pet, whether a beginner or a veteran, could own, handle, and care for a pet leopard gecko. Leopard geckos are incredibly tame and docile lizards who are very tolerate to human interaction.

What to look for (and think about) when selecting a Leopard Gecko as a household pet

Leopard geckos are bred on a large scale. Therefore, if a person (or family) has decided to purchase a leopard gecko as a pet, there are many options open as to were to buy a leopard gecko.

Where to Buy a Leopard Gecko

  • Any large pet shop that sells reptiles.

  • Expos or conventions.

  • A local pet shop.

  • A local breeder.

  • An on-line breeder.

The Size of the Gecko

Purchasing a leopard gecko as a household pet can be a little daunting since there are so many different varieties, shapes and sizes of geckos. One will be exposed to baby geckos, adult geckos, and even mid-sized geckos. It is important to understand that the care differs depending on the size of the animal purchased.

Baby Geckos

Baby geckos are small (under four inches) and are very delicate and should not be handled often (if at all). There are multiple reasons why one would purchase a baby gecko. Baby geckos have a long lifetime, so for people who are seeking a long term reptile pet, should look into purchasing a baby. People who plan to breed geckos should also seek a baby to ensure that the animal has healthy reproductive organs and are able (and ready) to breed when they are of maturity. (Children should not hold baby geckos at all).

Adult Leopard Gecko
Adult Leopard Gecko | Source

Adult Geckos

Adult geckos are fairly large (about six to eight inches) and are fairly rugged and one is to handle an adult animal more often. An adult gecko is fairly old as well and will not live as long as a baby pet. Also, an adult gecko will most likely not be able to breed and will be past its sexual maturity. There are reasons why a person would decide to purchase an adult gecko. One reason is that adult geckos are more docile and tolerant to handling more often. (Children will be able to handle an adult gecko).

Mid-sized gecko (my third gecko, Cyrodiil).
Mid-sized gecko (my third gecko, Cyrodiil). | Source

Mid-Sized Geckos

Mid-sized geckos are between three to six inches. Mid-sized geckos are usually at sexual maturity and are more tolerant to handling than a baby gecko. Most people choose to buy mid-sized geckos because they are large enough to hold, they still have a long life span for a long lived household pet, and they are still at sexual maturity (even though one may not know the breeding history of the mid-sized gecko).

A Leopard Gecko at any size makes a great household pet because these lizards are so easy to care for, and are docile, tamable creatures who are very tolerant to humans.

The Sex of the Gecko

Both male and female geckos are equally calm, tame, and docile creatures (even though some males tend to be a tad more jumpy and quick in their movements than females). If one decided to have multiple geckos, it is important that one has the knowledge that male geckos CAN NOT be housed together (but females can).

If gender is necessary any seller/vendor can sex the gecko before a purchase is made.

Morph and Varieties of Leopard Geckos

There are so many different types, morphs and varieties of Leopard Geckos on the market today (and with every near year comes a new morph). If one is only looking for a household pet, the morph should be chosen for the aesthetic appeal. If one chooses to breed Leopard Geckos, morph is particularly important to ensure what you produce is the morph one desires.

Albino
Albino | Source
Source
RAPTOR
RAPTOR | Source

How to Select a Healthy Leopard Gecko

It can be difficult to determine whether or not a Leopard Gecko is healthy before one makes a purchase, but there are steps one can take to reduce the risk of buying an unhealthy reptile.

The pictures shown in this hub are that of healthy leopard geckos and can be used as comparison when purchasing an animal.

  1. The outline of the animals body should be smooth, and the bone should not be visible. The tail should be rounded (the fatter the tail, the better). The tail should not have too many wrinkles (wrinkles in the tail could indicate that the animal Is not properly fed). Also, the tail should not look deformed at all, if the tail has any deformities it could indicate that it has been regrown (which means the lizard lost its original tail).

  2. When the mouth is closed the jaw should be even. The jaw should not have any jutting in either the upper or lower jaw.

  3. When examining the toes of the gecko, there should be no swelling or missing digits.

  4. The eyes should be equal in size. Avoid a leopard gecko that has either small eyes or large, buggy eyes.

  5. Look for fecal matter in the enclosure before purchasing an animal. The feces of a leopard gecko are pelleted in shape and are semiformed. The feces of a healthy gecko are dark colored with some white urates.

  6. One should always hold the gecko and take a closer look at the animal before a purchase (or decision) is made. The Leopard Gecko should be alert while being handled (and even a little jumpy and quick in its movements). The belly and vent area of the animal should appear smooth and clean without swelling.

If the gecko appears healthy, then one can continue in the purchasing process. Remember there is no guarantee on buying a healthy animal, so please never impulse purchase a reptile or any other animal.

The Amount of Leopard Geckos

The number of leopard geckos a particular person (or family purchases) is a personal decision. One must decide whether or not they desire to breed leopard geckos now (or in the future) or if the Leopard Gecko(s) are only going to be a household pet.

Leopard Geckos are very tolerant creatures that make great household pets because the care for these reptiles is easy for any person. Leopard Geckos do not require attention and only need to be cared and attended to once a week.

Have Fun!

The most important part of purchasing a leopard gecko is to have fun searching through different morphs and varieties, exposing yourself to both sexes and handling each gecko before making a decision on a purchase. Geckos are amazing creatures and great household pets for any person and/or family.

Before purchasing any animal please make sure you are well educated and informed on how to properly care for the animal. Please do not make impulse purchases when buying any type of animal (it is not fair to the creature).

Source

Philippe de Vosjoli, Roger Klingenberg, Ron Tremper, and Brian Viets. The Leopard Gecko Manual. Irvine: Advanced Vivarium Systems, Inc. 2004. Print.

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    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      Those Geckos are very cute!

      Thank you for posting such an informative article. It has all of the information needed to help choose a gecko. I especially like the section on selecting a healthy one.

    • profile image

      signals 4 years ago

      Sexing is easy. The male has femoral pores shaped like a V in front of the vent.

    • JamiJay profile image
      Author

      Jami Johnson 4 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

      signals,

      thanks for sharing, that is something I did not know and I have kept geckos for awhile now. That knowledge will come in handy when I start my breeding project in the next year or two.

    • profile image

      signals 4 years ago

      It works with all geckos as far as I know. Breeding leopards is easy and they are very prolific.

    • LagunaAlkaline profile image

      Amanda 4 years ago from Camas, WA

      Great hub! I am definitely getting a leopard gecko if I decide to get one!

      Voted up and useful!

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Very informative hub!

    • profile image

      Anna 7 months ago

      Hello just got a baby gecko it seems that he does not want to eat at all. His pop was watery and only white (not brown) we got small crickets for him and mealworms with calcium dust. He did not touch his worms yet. Is this normal?

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