Leopard Gecko Caresheet
Geckos are one of the most popular species of geckos because
they make such excellent pets. Hundreds of thousands are bred
commercially in the United States each year. Leopard Geckos
are easy to find, just as easy to care for and the emotional
rewards are endless. Leopard geckos come in a huge variety of
color morphs, from albino to tremper albino. They also stay
relatively small. Hatchlings are usually 1"-3" and
adult females can reach 8"-10". Rare adult males have
reached lengths of 12".
choosing a leopard gecko take your time, find one that suits
you. With proper care, your leopard geckos will probably outlive
the family dog. Be sure you understand how to care for a leopard
gecko before you get one.
Habitat: Leopard geckos in the wild are found primarily
within Pakistan but they can also be found in Afghanistan and
southern parts of India. Their environment is very hot and arid;
the terrain is usually a desert and/or clay-like surface. During
the day, they hide in cracks, caves and crevices to sleep and
keep cooler. Once the sun has gone down they come out to hunt.
Expectancy: Leopard geckos, like most other reptiles,
can live 15-20 years under the best conditions. Breeding consistently
every year can lower a leopard gecko's life expectancy.
So long as the temperature meets the requirements, leopard geckos
can be kept in anything that has enough ventilation and will
not allow the leopard geckos escape routes. An adult leopard
gecko needs 10 square inches of space. An adult male and a trio
of female leopard geckos can easily be housed in a 10-gallon
tank, 20"x10"x12". Two males should never be
kept in an enclosure together; they could end up fighting over
territory. You should also take care not to house too many young
geckos together because they have ravenous appetites and could
decide their cagemates look like good eating if they're hungry.
Leopard geckos require a substrate that won't hold humidity
because they are native to an arid environment. If you're trying
to setup a more natural looking environment for your geckos,
try using sifted and washed play-sand. Of course, as with most
arid-dwelling lizards, sand is dangerous for younger geckos
due to the high risk of impaction. If you're trying to cut costs
and you want to make things simple or if you're housing babies,
paper towels or newspaper is the way to go. It's cheap and relatively
easy to clean. Of course, this is not the final say in caging
substrate. Substrate is always a huge debate. So long as the
substrate you use doesn't have chemicals and stays relatively
dry, you should be fine.
A hidebox, filled with moist potting soil, is a requirement
for the habitat of a Leopard Gecko. The hidebox can be as simple
as a 6" Gladware bowl with a hole cut in the top of the
lid to serve as an entrance. Geckos need a moist hidebox for
several different reasons. The first reason is that it helps
them shed. If the cage is too dry the leopard will not shed
properly. That can lead to complications and health problems.
Secondly, it will provide a great hiding spot for the gecko
to escape to if he feels stressed out. That is the reason it
is called a hidebox.
Dish/Food Dish: Leopard geckos require a shallow dish
or bowl that won't tip over easily. You can use something like
a jar lid or you could get as complicated as a hollow water
dish that serves as a secondary hiding spot
Requirements: The leopard geckos' hidebox should be
kept at a temperature of 88-90° Fahrenheit and the other
side of the cage should be about 5-10° cooler. You can reach
the required temperatures by placing an under-tank heater (a
UTH) on the side of the cage. However, because a UTH can raise
temperatures too much, you should purchase a thermostat or rheostat
to control the temperature.
Requirements: Leopard geckos do not require Ultra-Violet
rays because they receive benefits through their diet. In addition,
because they are nocturnal and hide during the day, they don't
normally see the sun.
It is imperative that young geckos eat a healthy diet. Their
long-term health is dependent upon their diet within their first
year. Young leopard geckos should be fed five to ten appropriately
sized food items every day. The food items should be no larger
than the width of the reptiles mouth. This holds true in young
and old Leopard Geckos. Adult leopard geckos do not eat as much
and should be fed two to three times a week. Throw in about
30 crickets and remove any that are uneaten the next day. Crickets
or mealworms should form the bulk of the Leopard Gecko's diet.
to the live insects, leopard geckos should also be provided
with a calcium supplement. You can gut-load crickets 24-48 hours
prior to feeding them to your leopard geckos. Take your crickets
and put them in a rubbermaid container and then feed them either
chicken feed or cricket food. You can also provide Repti-cal
in a dish within the enclosure. The geckos will lick it up when
they need calcium. Without a calcium supplement your leopard
gecko can quickly develop deformities