The Best Way to Care for Your Leopard Gecko

head of leopard gecko

If you are thinking about getting an exotic pet and more so a reptile, a leopard gecko is ideal. This small lizard is excellent for the novice. If you are a veteran reptile owner, having this exotic friend is blissful to say the least. These lizards are not just easy to handle; but they also don’t burn a big hole in your pocket. Any person with a passion can afford them They live up to 20 years or so and grow to at least 8 to 10 inches. Their diet and housing needs are fair. Having said this, you need to know exactly what these lizards need to keep them happy and healthy. This article looks at how you can care for your leopard gecko effectively.

What are leopard geckos like?

First, these amazing lizards come in variety of colors; you will find white, yellow and spotted varieties. Some will have black spots while others have all manner of colored spots. After they are hatched, young lizards or hatchlings have a more stripped look that gradually changes to a more spotted and defined color. Their color patterns are enchanting because they include most colors of the rainbow. In general, leopard geckos are docile and dwell on the ground mostly. They do not have the power to climb walls because they lack sticky toe pads compared to other kinds of geckos. This is great because they may not get too far if they wander away from their tank.

leopard gecko being handled

They are nocturnal lizards and are uniquely blessed with eyelids unlike other geckos. Thankfully, these lizards are not known for biting. However, they get loud when they are hungry. They move slowly; reflecting their personalities; and this makes them very easy to tame. Interestingly, leopard geckos rattle their tails just like rattlesnakes. When they are on a rattling rampage, they are either excited about their food or are thinking about mating.

The awesome lizards also like to protect their territory. If there are two male lizards in an enclosure, they will most likely wave their tails at each other. This means they are fighting for control and they feel threatened. Therefore, having them in separate places is key to avoid problems. Remember that lizards can become suicidal when they feel endangered or uncomfortable. They end their lives by biting off their tails. This tendency is just a way to defend themselves. Therefore, it is important to care for them in the right way as needed.

Housing needs for your leopard gecko

You need a 10 to 15 gallon tank for your exotic pet lizard. You can choose a 20 gallon tank if you want to have several leopard geckos in one tank. However, separating males is important to avoid the tail wagging and fighting mentioned above. One male and a female are more likely to live in harmony. However, beware that babies may result in such a set up. In the tank, provide enough hiding and climbing spaces and tools. Caves, cardboard boxes and a hide box are just a few examples of the things you need.

leopard gecko on black background

These habitats are very good quality and a great place to start for beginner leopard gecko owners. The Exo Terra Leopard Gecko Starter Kit. The Zilla Premium Desert Starter Kit, 10 Gallon is equally suitable for those just starting out with this exotic pet.

A white bulb for lighting and a good source of heat are great for your lizard at night. Remember, these are nocturnal creatures and they do not need UVB lighting. Heating pads are nice but you must monitor the temperature to avoid overheating the lizard. Very low humidity can cause shedding problems. Keep the humidity above 20% but not too high because leopard geckos do not like very humid environments.

The best substrate for your leopard gecko

A carpet is ideal when it comes to substrate options. Also, you can choose paper as well. Substrates to avoid include wood shavings and unsafe sand. Sand that is not safe can be ingested by your lizard and cause blockage of the intestines. Wood shavings have harmful irritating oils and can actually cut the delicate feet of your leopard gecko. You can choose to purchase some ready-made substrate perfect for leopard geckos. The Zoo Med Vita-Sand All Natural Vitamin-Fortified Calcium Carbonate Substrate is a good option as it is easy to clean up and won’t hurt your pet.

Additionally, its necessary to provide your leopard gecko with a place to relax and even hide. The Zoo Med Repti Ramp Bowl is a great item with the dual purpose of also offering your pet a place to bath or refresh in a small pool of water. Reptiles also need a place to hide and so the Imagitarium Tree Stump Reptile Hideaway is a great option as well. Lastly, its always fun to add something unique or an item that can offer your pet entertainment when you are not around. The SunGrow Raw Coconut Husk Hut with Ladder for Leopard Geckos is a cute little house for your leopard gecko to call home. If there are two male lizards in an enclosure or you’re going to breed them you also need to take this into consideration.

leopard gecko in natural habitat

What do leopard geckos eat?

Leopard geckos just like many other reptiles love their insects. They eat all manner of them including crickets, wax worms and meal worms. Some generic food for your leopard gecko can be found on Amazon. It is important to provide a good variety every time. Also, you can supplement the meals with calcium and vitamins. Dried crickets are a great way to reward your leopard gecko. Little ones must be fed every day unlike adult leopard geckos who can skip meals for several days. Clean water in a bowl should also be provided for hydration. The lizards may also take advantage of the situation to dip their entire bodies in the water. This makes for great fun and is cooling to their bodies in hot weather or when temperatures are high.

It is important for the lizards to get enough calcium and vitamin D. Deficiency in these minerals will lead to conditions such as metabolic bone disease. This disease is crippling and causes pain, low appetite and tremors. The lizard can also suffer bacterial infection which can lead to tail shrinkage. It is good to find the right help early if you notice any problem. A reptile veterinarian should tackle any health problems as needed.

Where do you start?

To care for your leopard gecko effectively, you need the right tools. To begin with, you need the right tank, a safe mat, the right substrate heater, water bowl, hiding cave; the list goes on and on. If you are overwhelmed about the things you need, consider getting the convenient Exo Terra Leopard Gecko Starter Kit. This kit contains everything you need to care for your lizard properly. In addition to the things mentioned above, the starter kit comes with calcium and multivitamin supplements, water bowl, hiding cave, energy saving LED lighting fixture, a thermometer, terrarium substrate, a safe sand mat and a terrarium with a sliding screen top. This kit is also affordable and gives you full value for your money.  

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