Basic Leopard Gecko Care Information
Housing: A 10 gallon aquarium is just about the right size for an adult leopard gecko. Terrariums made for reptiles and amphibians can also be used. Since Leopard Geckos are terrestrial and can’t climb glass, they will not utilize much vertical space, for that reason a tall enclosure is not necessary.
Substrate: The cheapest and easiest substrate is newspaper. Some people use play sand, but caution should be used with smaller geckos, as they can ingest the sand and become impacted.
Heat and Lighting: You cab use under tank heaters, or use lights over a basking area, as a source of heat. Whichever you decide on, I would recommend placing the heat source at one end of the enclosure. Leopard Geckos will regulate their body temperatures by moving to a heat source, or away from it, depending on whether they need to be warmer or cooler.
Except to be used as a source of heat, or to aid in viewing, lights are not necessary for Leopard Geckos. Unlike some reptiles, Leopard Geckos don’t require UVB lighting.
Food: The diet of Leopard Geckos in captivity consists of mainly crickets, and mealworms. Some people swear by crickets and some swear by mealworms. It has been my experience that Leopard Geckos seem to grow a little faster, and maintain their weight better on a diet of mostly mealworms. Although admittedly it is not as much fun to watch them eat mealworms as it is to watch them stalk a cricket. As part of a healthy diet, Leopard Gecko should also be given a calcium supplement with D3, and a multivitamin supplement. This can be done by “dusting” the crickets or mealworms before offering them to your geckos.
Water: A shallow dish with clean water should be available at all times.
Other items: When Leopard Geckos get close to shedding, they will seek out a humid, or moist area, if available. This is very important to prevent your gecko from developing shedding problems. For that reason, a container of some type, with moist sphagnum moss, or other material that retains moisture well, should be in their enclosure.
Leopard geckos don’t like to be in plain view all the time, so they should be provided something to hide in or under. There are many products on the retail market for this purpose. The humidity box mentioned above can also double as a hiding area. I prefer to provide a hiding area on the cool end, and one on the warm end of their enclosure.
If you decide to create a complete desert style terrarium, there are many products on the market that can help spruce up your geckos new home.
Choosing a Leopard Gecko: It is my opinion that you should stick to buying your Leopard Geckos from a reputable breeder or dealer. I don’t know every breeder out there, but when preparing some of the Leopard Gecko information on this blog, I communicated with the following breeders, and found them to be friendly and helpful, they are:
This has just covered some of the basic information on Leopard Gecko Care. For more detailed information on the subject, and for information on breeding,see the following sources:
The Herpetoculture of Leopard Geckos
The Leopard Gecko Manual: Includes African Fat-Tailed Geckos (Herpetocultural Library)
Design and Maintenance of Desert Vivaria (Vivarium Design Series)