Caring for Leopard Geckos
This care sheet does not represent the only way to care for leopard geckos but the method that we use at Gecko Daddy. We encourage you to search for other care sheets and use the method or combination of methods that best serves you and most of all, your gecko!
Why Leopard Geckos?
Leopard Geckos are the most popular geckos kept today. They are easy going animals and make great pets. Twenty years ago a normal leopard gecko was the standard, but today there are dozens of morphs to choose from. From solid white to deep orange and speckled to bold striped, leopard geckos are exciting reptiles to own and breed.
Housing Your Leopard Gecko
Generally speaking, leopard geckos should be housed separately. In some circumstances females may be kept in colonies of 2 or 3 geckos. Males can be introduced to females for breeding purposes but should not be housed with them for extended periods of time. Males should not be housed with other males as they are territorial and will fight. We house all our geckos separately in plastic bins, in a rack system, although a glass enclosure such as an aquarium can be used to allow for optimal viewing of the animal. Nothing smaller than a 20-gallon "Long" enclosure (per gecko) should be used for housing an adult gecko.
Leopard Gecko Substrate
There are several substrates available to use for leopard geckos, however, none of them work better than paper towel or news paper. Our bins get fresh paper once to twice a week depending on the need. Some keepers use coconut fiber (bed-o beast) while others use calci-sand. While these substrates look nice, be aware that geckos can ingest bedding while feeding and impaction can occur. This often results in an expensive trip to the vet. In our opinion, paper is the way to go! Leopard geckos will often pick a “bathroom” area in their cage to make spot cleaning easy.
Heating Your Leopard Gecko
Because reptiles are cold-blooded, they require an external heat source to help regulate body temperatures and aid digestion. By providing a range of temperatures for your gecko to choose from, you will allow it to thermo-regulate its body temperature. Temperatures may range from 90-92 degrees F on the warm side of the enclosure to 80 degrees F on the cool side. We do not provide a night heat cycle for our geckos here, however some keepers choose to lower temps at night to 75 degrees F. You can use a radiant heat source such as a bulb (light or ceramic) with a dimmer switch or an under the tank heat source such as a reptile heating pad or heat tape. Place the heat source on one side of the tank (roughly 1/3). This will create that range in temperature that you want. We do not recommend heat sources such as heating rocks as they can cause injury or death to your animal.
Hydrating Your Leopard Gecko
Provide a dish of water in the enclosure, preferably one that isn’t too deep. By placing the water dish under the light/heat source, you will create some natural humidity as the water evaporates a bit quicker. Leopard Geckos need humidity to help in the shedding process. The larger circumference of the dish, the more humidity will be created. If the dish is deeper than the gecko can stand, provide a rock for it to use. Geckos are not swimmers! Make sure the substrate is never wet for long as mold and fungus are bad news if you are a gecko. When Leopard geckos are preparing to shed, they appreciate moist hiding places. We use glad-ware boxes with a hole cut in the side with moss that can be misted daily. This works well for us.
Feeding Your Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos are aggressive feeders most of the time. Crickets and meal worms are their most common food items in captivity although they have also been known to feed on roaches as well. Make sure that your food item is appropriately sized. Dust your insects with calcium w/ vit.D3 powder before each feeding. It is also recommended that you place a small dish with calcium powder in the cage. Your insects will also need food. We feed ours a variety of fresh greens, carrots and squash as well as oats and grains. Healthy food equals a healthier gecko.