Healthy Pets
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2010
Written by 

The basics on leopard gecko care

Furry dogs, cuddly cats, fluffy hamsters, and feathered birds may be the preferred pets of choice in homes across the country, but a fair share of pet lovers are enamored with reptiles and decidedly more unusual pets.

The leopard gecko is one lizard that many reptile fans find is a great introductory pet for owners learning to care for reptiles. Leopard geckos tend to be docile, require easy care and do not need a very large cage.

Geckos are lizards native to Pakistan, India and Afghanistan, where the terrain is dry and rocky. They like an arid environment and prefer to live on the ground or even below it. Their spotted skin makes great camouflage in their natural environments, and geckos prefer hiding out.

Geckos are widely available at pet retailers, but sometimes you may find a fellow reptile enthusiast who has bred leopard geckos at home and is willing to sell you one or give you one free. Healthy geckos tend to have bright, clear eyes, a thick tail that is at least as thick as its neck and an interest in food.

You will need a tank to hold your gecko. One or two geckos usually can live comfortably in a 10-gallon aquarium. If you plan to buy more geckos in the future or even breed them, you will need a larger tank.

Geckos require year-round warm temperatures that mirror those in their native surroundings. A heating pad or heating lamp will be needed to keep the gecko comfortable. Place it on one side of the tank so that the other side will remain cooler if the lizard needs to regulate its body temperature. Geckos are nocturnal, so you will not need any specialized basking lights. Geckos aren’t normally escape artists, but you may want to use a screen over the top of the tank to keep crickets from getting out and other pets from getting in.

Choose the right substrate material. Some geckos may eat the substrate and get digestive blockages, called impactions, so make sure that any sand you use is a very fine grain. You may want to wait until juvenile geckos are older before introducing sand. Otherwise, paper towels, newspaper, reptile carpets, or ceramic tiles can work. Decorations, such as perching ledges and rocks, can add a natural appeal. Geckos also need hiding spots, so include cave-like hide boxes.

Occasionally, the gecko will need extra humidity to aid with skin shedding. Misting the walls of the tank or putting a damp paper towel under a hide box can help with the process.

Provide food and water for your gecko. Use a very small amount of water so that it will not become contaminated with bacteria. In nature, geckos do not drink or get large amounts of water. Live food sources can run the gamut from crickets to mealworms to pinkie mice. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is best to discuss feeding options with a knowledgeable gecko retailer.

Like cats, leopard geckos will use one spot for waste, making cleanup easier. Spot clean the tank once per week. Empty the tank and sterilize all items once every three to four months.


Source: MetroCreative Connection.

Leopard geckos can be interesting pets. Learn about these reptiles to ensure they enjoy a long, healthy life.

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