LEOPARD GECKOS



The Leopard Gecko is a wonderful pet lizard found in nature living in hot, dry, rocky grassland and desert areas. They are easy to maintain and have been bred in captivity in the United States since the 1970s. These hardy geckos are available from pet stores and reptile shows in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes.

Leopard Geckos are long-lived with most living 8 to 10 years, but reports of specimens living for more than 20 years is common. Adult Leopard Geckos can reach a length of 7 to 8" and some adult males of the "giant" bloodlines can grow to 10 to 11".

A 20-gallon long terrarium (12”w x 12”h x 20”l) can easily house a Leopard Gecko. This size enclosure lets them explore and remain active.

We suggest keeping your Leopard Geckos warm by adding a reptile mat or undertank heater below your terrarium. As they are nocturnal (active at night), Leopard Geckos don't need the intense light and UVB-emitting rays of an expensive heat lamp. As with all reptiles, establish a hot end to the enclosure and a cooler end to their enclosure so that they can choose the area that fits their needs throughout the day. The ideal temperature range in your enclosure is 70-75° F at the cool end and 80 to 85° F at the warmer end. Leopard Geckos can cool down in the evening into the 60s F and can heat up in the day to 90° F without any harmful effects. Place a shelter at each end and let the gecko move from warm to cool to thermoregulate. For viewing your Leopard Gecko at night, we suggest adding a low-wattage red bulb over the enclosure. This will let you watch the behaviors of your gecko at night as it prowls its home in search of prey.

Feeding

Leopard Geckos will feed aggressively on dubia roaches, crickets, and mealworms. Dubia roaches are soft-bodied and are an excellent source of protein for all geckos. Leopard Geckos do not eat plants or veggies. We feed Leopard Geckos three or four appropriately sized roaches per feeding each day. We also add a shallow dish with mealworms once a week. Crickets and waxworms can be offered once a week as well. As Leopard Geckos do not bask and receive vitamins through the sun's rays, your feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamins and mineral powder combination once every week. You can also leave the calcium and vitamin supplement powder in a shallow dish in the terrarium and let them lick up the powder as they need it. Even though these are desert dwellers, a shallow water dish with fresh water should be available at all times. Make sure the terrarium's substrate remains dry, that no crickets can get in the water and drown, and make sure that young geckos can climb in and out easily.

SUGGESTED READING

Hamper, R. 2004. Leopard Geckos in Captivity (Professional Breeders Series). ECO Herpetological Publishing & Distribution, Rodeo, NM, USA.

Vosjoli de, P. and R. Klingenberg. 2003. The Leopard Gecko Manual. Advanced Vivarium Systems, USA.