Leopard Gecko Care (Eublepharis macularius)
These Great Starter Pets have been captive bred for around 30 years and are one of the most commonly kept reptile pets. These hardy geckos come in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes. Its an excellent species for a child to start with.
Available for purchase in pet stores, at reptile shows, and online. And can range in price from $40 to $1000.
Babys are 3-4 inches long. Adult females are typically 7-8 inches, and males can be 8 to 10 inches. Males of the giant morphs can reach nearly a foot.
Leopard geckos are long-lived, On average, you can expect your gecko to live eight to ten years, but many can live up to 20 years.
A 10-20-gallon terrarium can houses one or two leopard geckos from hatchling to adult size. Larger tanks cause the geckos to stray away from their proper heat and hide box. The cage you choose should be at least 12" tall. Make sure to secure the screen top on your gecko cage. Provide proper ventilation and keep out cats and other unwanted visitors. A hide box filled with damp moss or vermiculite is needed so your gecko can shed its skin correctly. This is also required for egg laying. Artificial plants can be added for a more natural look.
Lighting and Temperature
The best way to heat your gecko is an undertank heat pad or heat tape. Heat one end of the cage, and allow the other to cool. This allows for a thermal variation that your gecko needs, always use a cage carpet when using a heating pad on a glass tank; it'll keep the gecko from coming in contact with the hot glass and prevent burns. Heat rocks also tend to become too hot and should be avoided due to the risk of injuries. A low-wattage heat bulb can be used instead, place on the screen-cage top and leave on 12 hours a day using a timer. Use of a heating pad should also be considered for night time use. Because leopard geckos are active at night, they do not need to bask under a UVB light, and we believe it may cause damage to their eyes and should be avoided.
The ideal temp in the hide box is 85-90 degrees at all times and checked with a thermometer. The ambient temperature of the room they are housed in should be above 70 degrees.
Reptibark, Cage Carpet, or flat stones can be used as bedding. A young gecko might accidentally consume sand or coconut products on the cage floor, and this could lead to impaction. Leopard geckos will choose a “bathroom” in one corner of their cages, and that area can be cleaned using a pet safe cage cleaner without disrupting the entire system. Do not use plant soils that contain fertilizer or pesticides.
Naturally insectivores; they do not eat vegetables. The best items to use are Crickets, but you can treat your pet to Waxworms or Pheonix worms, and occasionally Mealworms. Don't feed leopard geckos pinky mice. All insects must be first given access to a for at least 4 hours before being fed to your gecko. This is called "gut loading,” and it is essential to the health of your pet. Several good diets are available for this purpose, Total Bites and Cricket Drink are some we offer. Simply place the insects in a tub with some and let them eat before feeding to your gecko.
Dusting your insects is the easiest way to deliver essential vitamins and minerals to your pet. Food and the dusting powder should be placed in a plastic bag and shook gently to coat the insects. Another way to give the extra powdered vitamins and calcium to your pet is to keep a small shallow dish filled with vitamin/calcium powder at all times. The gecko knows how much it needs, and it will lick it up as needed.
You should offer two appropriately sized insects for every inch of a leopard gecko’s total length. A meal every other day is excellent. Therefore, a 4-inch-long gecko would receive eight bugs three to four times a week. It is also normal for your leopard geckos to eat its shed skin.
A shallow dish with fresh water should be available at all times. Use of a water conditioner is optional but recommended, Cage bedding should be kept dry, so be careful about spillage. Make sure that your leopard geckos can climb out of any dish you use.
Handling and Temperament
In general, do not handle leopard geckos until they have settled in. Once your gecko has relaxed and becomes accustomed to it new home, you can start handling it, its best to sit on the floor and let your gecko crawl through loose fingers and hand-over-hand for 5-10 minutes per day until they are accustomed to being handled. This taming process takes only about a week. Never grab the gecko’s tail, or it might fall off. If it does detach, spray daily with a pet safe anitbiotic, the tail can regenerate in less than 40 days, but will always look slightly different.