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leopard gecko

Reptile Rapture,

6308 Monona dr, Monona WI 53716

608-221-0094, www.reptilerapture.net


Common Name: Leopard gecko
Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius
Origin: Asia, Pakistan, northern India
Size: 8-10" males being the larger
Lifespan: 10-15 years

You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of breeding and caring for this species.

Leopard geckos are terrestrial in nature. So you will want an enclosure that has more ground space than height. Adults can live in a 20 long enclosure or an Exo Terra 18" x 18" x 12". That size can comfortably house 1-3 adult leopard geckos for their whole life. Groups of one male and two females or all females work well. If you have more than one adult male, they will fight. Keep them in separate cages. It's also important that your leopard geckos are of similar sizes. Don't house a baby with an adult. If one is significantly larger than the other, the smaller one usually ends up being bullied by the bigger.

For a loose substrate, you can use eco earth or a thin layer of clean natural sand (not that fake "edible" sand). Don't make the sand too thick; they could have trouble walking through it or may eat some while chasing food. Alternatively you can use a solid substrate like the exo terra sand mat, moss mat, or regular paper towels.

Leopard geckos are hardy little guys. Being nocturnal, they usually sleep in a hiding spot during the day and are active at night. UVB lighting is not necessary for these lizards. You'll want to turn any daylight off at night. Your leopard geckos hiding spot should be kept at 88-90 degrees during the day. They are comfortable with the rest of the tank being daytime temperatures of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer. Don't guess. It's OK if the temp drops to the low 70s at night, as long as you still have a warm hide for the gecko to retreat to. An easiest way to warm a hide is to use an Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pad placed underneath the tank, with the hide positioned above it inside the enclosure. You always want part of the tank to be cooler so your gecko can regulate its own body temperature, choosing what area to hang out in. The side without the heat pad should be where its humid hide will go. This is another hide with moist sphagnum moss inside. This is necessary for your gecko to shed properly. You can also use damp paper towels, but they do dry out faster. Whatever you choose, keep an eye on the moisture in your humid hide and remoisten when needed.

You shouldn't have to mist your enclosure if you have a humid hide. They do, though, need a water bowl to drink from. Flukers rock dish is a nice naturalistic non-porous water bowl, or you Exo terra's bowls are nice too.

Leopard geckos typically eat crickets or mealworms. You can also try other bugs such as dubia roaches, phoenix worms or small hornworms. You can let the crickets loose in the enclosure for your gecko to hunt but put any worms in a shallow dish. That way they won't hide under anything so your gecko can't find them. The insects should be gut loaded with a high quality gut load such as flukers cricket diet or Natures zone cricket gut load. Alternately,  you can feed your crickets dry oatmeal and carrots or other leafy greens.

When you are ready to feed your gecko, you will want to dust the bugs you are feeding with a calcium powder. When using regular reptile calcium with D3 dust the bugs every feeding and a multi-vitamin once a week. Repashy Calcium Plus is a combo of calcium and multi vitamin and can be used instead at every feeding.

Leopard geckos are naturally fairly calm and tolerate quite a lot of handling. Start slow with a new pet and gradually increase the amount of time you hold it until the lizard gets used to being handled. Babies like to wiggle and have little bursts of energy. To help calm them, use your hands like a treadmill. When your gecko walks or jogs onto your hand, put the other one in front and repeat. It will get tired and should calm down after a few minutes. Do this a few times and your leopard should feel more comfortable being handled.

Never pull on your gecko's tail. It could naturally break off as if the lizard is trying to escape a predator. Once dropped, a leopard gecko's tail will grow back, but it will never look as good as the original.