Leopard Gecko Care: Species Overview
- Common Names: Leopard Gecko
- Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius
- Distribution: Pakistan, India and surrounding regions
- Adult Size: 8-9”
- Life Expectancy: 10-18 years
Leopard Geckos are among the most popular pet reptiles and are an excellent choice for beginner hobbyists. Leopard Geckos stay small, are very docile, and are relatively easy to maintain in captivity. Thes geckos are beautifully marked and have fascinating personalities. Over the years, breeders have developed many different color morphs that have become available to hobbyists at all levels.
Leopard Gecko Care: Habitat Set-Up
- Hatchling to juvenile Leopard Geckos can be housed in a 10-gallon terrarium. Young Leopard Geckos can be housed together.
- Adult Leopard Geckos will need at least a 20-gallon terrarium. Do not keep males together because they are territorial.
- Zoo Med’s ReptiHabitat 10 and 20-gallon terrariums are an excellent choice for Leopard Geckos.
- A Repti Shelter, Habba Hut, or Cork Bark will provide a secure hiding place to help reduce stress.
- Make sure that each gecko has a place to hide.
- Daytime Terrarium Temperature: 78-85° F.
- Basking Spot: 90° F.
- Nighttime temperature: 70-72° F.
- It is essential to create a thermal gradient in your terrarium. This heat accomplished by providing a Basking Spot Lamp and an Under Tank Heater on one side of the terrarium. By focusing the heating elements on one side of the cage, you will naturally provide the proper thermal gradient.
- Although these nocturnal animals will not generally bask, providing a basking spot will maintain proper temperatures in your terrarium.
- Any of Zoo Med’s thermometers will help you keep a close eye on terrarium temperatures.
- New studies have shown that Leopard Geckos will significantly benefit from exposure to UVB lighting.
- Zoo Med’s NatureSun® or ReptiSun® 5.0 FRlurescent Lamps can be used to illuminate your terrarium and create a photoperiod (light cycle) that will keep your animal on a natural day/night cycles.
- Leopard Geckos live in arid, sandy places in the wild and will do well on a variety of sand-type substrates in captivity.
- Hatchling Leopard Geckos will do best on Cage Carpet, such as Zoo Med‘s Eco Carpet or Vita-Sand®.
- Excavator® Burrowing Clay Substrate will allow you to create a naturalistic terrarium complete with burrows and tunnels for your animals.
- ReptSand® and ReptFresh® are excellent choices for housing Leopard Geckos.
About the Leopard Gecko
Leopard Gecko Care: Temperament
- Leopard geckos are nocturnal, ground-dwelling geckos that are generally docile and easy to tame. They do not have the sticky toe pads like other geckos, so they do not climb walls, but unlike other geckos, they do have eyelids.
- Leopard geckos are not prone to biting and are usually slow-moving. They have perky personalities and are known to be very vocal, especially when they are hungry.
- If you have more than one leopard gecko in an enclosure, keep an eye out for tail-waving. This means a leopard gecko feels threatened and is about to attack. You’ll want to separate them right away.
- Leopard geckos also are tail rattlers, similar to rattlesnakes. Tail rattling means your leopard gecko is excited, with either eating or mating on its mind.
- And just like a lot of other lizards, when they feel endangered, leopard geckos can self-amputate their tails as a defense mechanism. It would be unusual to see this in captivity, but it’s among the quirky behaviors you may see in a leopard gecko.
Leopard Gecko Care: Diet and Nutrition
- Leopard Geckos are insectivorous and will need to be offered a variety of insects to stay healthy.
- Insect size = width of gecko’s head.
- Leopard Geckos should be fed crickets or mealworms dusted with ReptCalcium® and ReptiVite™ as directed.
- Always remove uneaten crickets after each feeding.
- Use caution when handling pets and remember they may bite or scratch (especially when stressed).
- Supervise children around pets.
- ALL ANIMALS can potentially carry viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases contagious to humans.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after contact with any pet or its habitat.
- Adults should assist children with handwashing after contact with a pet, its habitat, or aquarium water.