​All About Leopard Geckos!

Apr 14th 2024

Leopard geckos are becoming a very popular pet in the reptile world. They are small and come in a plethora of different colors. They grow 7-11 inches in length and typically live 15 to 20 years in captivity. Leopard geckos can easily fit into lots of different lifestyles and are good for people of all levels of experience. They are typically easy to handle and don’t require as much care as some other pet lizards. Leopard geckos, affectionately called leos, are ground dwellers that are typically nocturnal. Unlike other species of gecko, leopard geckos do not have sticky toe pads. Because of this, they cannot climb walls or other smooth surfaces. Leopard geckos also differ from other geckos because they do have eyelids.

Leopard geckos for the most part are very docile pets. They are typically slow moving but they can be a bit jumpy when they are nervous. Leopard geckos are sometimes known to be vocal pets and you may hear them chirping occasionally. Leos are usually pretty easy to socialize and can become acclimated to regular handling if socialization is done correctly. When socializing your gecko, it is important to be very patient and to pay attention to the gecko’s body language. When a leopard gecko feels threatened, they may raise or slowly wag their tails. This is a good sign to put your gecko back in their enclosure and give them some time alone. If you don’t acknowledge your pet’s body language, this may lead to your pet becoming extremely stressed. A stressed animal may injure themselves trying to get away from you. They may also try to bite you if they are provoked. The gecko may also drop their tail if they become very stressed. Their tails will grow back but they will never look the same. Dropping and regrowing their tails is also very stressful and physically demanding for the gecko. Leopard geckos should not be kept out of their enclosures for extended periods of time as this may cause them to get cold and could stress them out. Children should always be supervised when handling an animal and leos are no exception. It is also very important to teach children how to read and respect all animals' body language. Providing a proper and comfortable enclosure for your pet gecko is also extremely important.

Leopard geckos should be kept in a minimum of a 20 gallon long tank but bigger is always better for these guys! For leopard geckos, horizontal space is more important than vertical climbing space, although some do like to climb short distances when given the opportunity. In some circumstances, leopard geckos can be housed in multiples but in order to avoid any possibility of aggression, it is best to keep them housed alone. Their enclosure should range from 75-80 degrees fahrenheit on the cool side and 80-85 degrees fahrenheit on the warm side. They should be provided with a basking spot of 90-95 degrees. These temperatures can be achieved with heat lights or heat mats or a combination of both. It is very important to always use a thermostat when using heat mats or heat lights. This keeps them from getting too hot and reduces the risk of a fire or possibly of injuring your gecko. You should never use heat rocks as they can easily overheat and burn your gecko. The bottom of their enclosure can be lined with paper or paper towels for super easy cleaning. Reptile carpet can also be used and will give your gecko good grip and allow them to move around easily in their enclosure. Sand and other loose substrates should be avoided, especially with a young leopard gecko. Loose substrates can easily be ingested by your pet and cause impaction. Impaction is a blockage in the reptile's digestive system. A blockage like this can be very serious and life threatening if gone untreated.

Impaction can also be caused by feeding your pet bugs that are too big for it. Leopard geckos are insectivores which means that they feed only on insects! A good rule of thumb to make sure that your gecko does not become impacted by feeders that are too large is to only feed bugs that are smaller than the space between the gecko’s eyes. There is a huge variety of bugs that can be fed to your gecko and that is one of the most important parts of their diet. Variety! Leos can eat a lot of different bugs including butterworms, wax worms, dubia roaches, superworms, mealworms, silkworms, hornworms, crickets and black soldier fly larvae. Dubia roaches, crickets and superworms are all great staples while the rest of the bugs can be fed occasionally as treats. Leopard geckos also need supplements including calcium with D3, calcium without D3 and a good multivitamin. You can dust your gecko’s bugs with these vitamin powders by putting the bugs in a small container or bag, adding a bit of the powders and then shaking the container to coat the bugs. For adult leopard geckos, these vitamins should all be given once a week on separate days. Baby geckos will require more calcium and their feeders can be dusted every day. Leopard geckos should also be provided with fresh, clean water at all times.

If you are willing to put in the research and time that it takes to give a gecko a good life, they can make great pets! They are expressive, cute and can be easily handled. Their food is easily accessible and won't cost you much as they are pretty small animals. They are also great as a first reptile as their care is sufficient for beginners.