All the information you need to know about having a Leopard Gecko as a pet!
Do note climates may differ due to the different regions of the world. This Care Sheet is written based on the tropical climate we are living in.
You will gain general knowledge on the basic care and the needs of a Leopard Gecko through this article.
Leopard Geckos are one of the most commonly kept geckos in the world. They have been selectively bred for decades and have hundreds of different morphs and colorations. Some are vibrant, some are dull, some are full of patterns while others are not. One of them is bound to catch your eyes! Having a smiley face all the time will perk your mood every time you look and play with them.
Leopard Geckos can live for approximately 6 to 10 years in captivity and depending on how you care for them, they may be able to live well pass the 10 year mark and even hit the big 2!
Adulthood / Sexual Maturity
They reach adulthood at approximately 8 to 12 months of age and are ready to mingle at 6 months for males and around 10 months for females.
In the wild, Leopard Geckos are solitary animals which means they live alone. Thus, in captivity, they should also be housed in their own separate enclosures to avoid territorial conflicts. You can, however, house ONE male and several females together if your enclosure is big enough to allow you to do so BUT this is HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED.
Leopard Geckos inhibit grasslands and rocky shrub-steppe (grassland with low rainfall). Thus, you should mimic your enclosure to the closest you can to that kind of environment.
Arboreal / Terrestrial
Leopard Geckos are terrestrial and live on ground level. You can however, add some driftwoods for them to explore!
When they hatch, they are about 3 to 4 inches in length and can grow up to 12 inches (1ft) in length. The average adult size is 8 to 10 inches. Male Leopard Geckos are slightly larger than females.
Leopard Geckos are one of the easiest to house and are often kept in plastic bins by large scale breeders. However, you can choose to get an aquarium tank or an Exo Terra Terrarium to house them. They are non-arboreal (lives on ground / terrestrial) and therefore, does not require an enclosure that is high.
A 2ft (60cm) tank will provide adequate amount of space for your Leopard Gecko. However, if you are facing a space constraint, a bare minimum of 1 and a half ft (45cm) is required to house an adult.
Leopard Geckos are nocturnal by nature and will only be active at night. In the day, they spend their time sleeping in their caves or hideout. Thus, they do not require basking lamps. They also generally absorb more UVB than other basking reptiles and will be able to do so before sunrise. HOWEVER, a UVB bulb is known to improve all reptiles health significantly and this is something you can consider. You may also consider placing Exo Terra Infrared Basking Lamp or Exo Terra Night Heat Lamp to provide them with warmth and minimal lighting to see at night (even though they already see well in the dark).
UVA - Helps reptiles to stay healthy and allows them to have better appetite
UVB - Helps reptiles to metabolise Vitamin D3 and Calcium (to prevent Metabolic Bone Disease)
Heat - Reptiles are cold blooded animals and are unable to regulate their body temperature so they would have to make use of their surrounding to thermo-regulate.
The temperate here in the sunny tropical island suits that of a Leopard Gecko and they do not require any heating elements. HOWEVER, if you are housing them in a cold environment, you may wish to purchase a heat mat to warm up the entire enclosure or at least have a hot spot in the enclosure for them to thermo-regulate their body temperature. You can also use a ceramic heater to create a hot spot in the enclosure
Leopard Geckos shed just like all other reptiles in order to grow. Shedding process and timing differs from Leopeard Geckos to Leopard Geckos. When they are younger, they tend to shed more as they are growing. When they are about to shed, their coloration turns duller and when it is ready to shed, they will turn white.
When they are in shed, they normally shed their whole skin unlike other reptiles like the Bearded Dragons that sheds partially. They also have the tendency to eat their own skin after shedding and this is normal so do not be alarmed when you see this. There are several reasons as to why they do this and the most logical one is that they require back the tremendous amount of energy used when they go through the shedding process. Another reason could be that it was inbuilt in them to not leave traces when they are in the wild so they eat up their skin so their predators will not know of their existence.
Leopard Geckos need the humidity in order to have a full and proper shed. You may do so by placing moist substrate such as Exo Terra Forest Moss or Coco Peat in their caves to bump up the humidity. You could also mist them and the enclosure to increase humidity if needed.
You can also purchase this wonderful creation by Exo Terra called Wet Rocks. Wet Rocks is an enclosed cave that has a concave top for you to add water. The water will be absorbed into the cave walls and bump up the overall humidity within the cave.
Worse comes to worst, if they still have difficulty in shedding, you may consider giving them a 30 minutes soak in a lukewarm bath. DO NOT overfill the bath. Adequate amount of water according to your Leopard Gecko size will be great. Approximately slightly less than half inch for your adult. You may pour water over your leopard gecko BUT AVOID their eyes.
Do also note that after majority or all of the shed have come off, make sure you check through thoroughly that there is no stuck shed especially on their feets and tails. This is important because if the stuck shed doesn't come off, it may constrict and restrain blood flow to the specific area can cause it fall off due to the living cells dying from lack of blood circulation that carries oxygen.
You may use old newspaper or your trusty kitchen / paper towel as floor lining and that will be enough for it. It is easier to clear and very low costing. However, you can also consider Exo Terra Moss Mats or Exo Terra Sand Mats that comes in different sizes to suit your enclosure sizes. You can also use reptile carpets or spare tiles that you already have.
Leopard Geckos are strictly insectivores which means they eat only insects. There are a whole bunch of insects you can feed to your Leopard Geckos and they are listed below.
Mealworms, Superworms, Crickets, Wax Worms, Silk worms, Phoenix worms, Hornworms, Earthworms, Butterworms, Grasshoppers, Dubia Cockroaches, Turkestan Cockroaches and many more.
Place a water dish in the enclosure so they could drink out of it and also soak themselves for the shedding process. Please make sure the water level is not too deep for the Bearded Dragons and have steps inbuilt in the water dish for them to climb out. You may consider purchasing the Exo Terra Water Dish for this purpose.
Try not to handle them too much when they are younger until they are comfortable with their environment. Also, like a lot of geckos, they may drop their tails under stress so do not grab them by their tails. Although they will regrow it's tail, it's a slow process.
Easy - Great for Beginners
Do all the necessary research BEFORE purchasing your very own Leopard Gecko. If you have any queries, feel free to drop us a message and we will try to answer to the best of our knowledge and experience.
ITEMS CHECKLIST (Make sure you have them all ready before you get your first Bearded Dragon)
1ft to 2ft (in length) Enclosure
Exo Terra UVB100 (13W)
Exo Terra Infrared Basking Lamp
Exo Terra Night Heat Lamp
Light Holder / Lamp Fixtures:
Exo Terra Reptile Dome (Large)
Exo Terra Bracket (for hanging the lights)
Exo Terra Glow Light (Medium / Large)
Repti Zoo Dual Dome (up to 150 watts per socket)
Exo Terra Bracket (for hanging the lights)
Zoo Med Mini Dual Dome Combo (up to 100 watts per socket)
Exo Terra Bracket (for hanging the lights)
Heat Mat (if your environment is cold, you may need to bump the enclosure temperature up)
Exo Terra Ceramic Heater
Exo Terra Sand Mat (Optional)
Exo Terra Moss Mat (Optional)
Kitchen / Paper Towels
Feeding / Water Dishes:
Exo Terra Water Dish
Exo Terra Feeding Dish
Decorations / Caves:
Exo Terra Caves (Optional)
Drift Wood (Good for them to climb up to get closer to light source to bask)