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LEOPARD GECKO CARESHEET

Caring for your Leopard Gecko

Please note: This care sheet is just one of many sources - it is up to you as an individual to research properly and to look at multiple sources before taking on the responsibility of an animal.

Life Span: 15 - 40 years

Social: Strictly solitary

Size: Female 7- 8 inches, males 8 -10 inches. Weight can vary from 35 grams to over 100 grams.

Originating from the rocky grasslands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and North-West India, Eublepharis Macularius, more commonly known as the Leopard Gecko, is a small ground-dwelling gecko known for its distinctive fat tail and movable eyelids.

BASIC SETUP

Tank

Leopard geckos thrive in a large tank. I recommend giving a leopard gecko a 90 x 45 x 45cm tank.


Glass tanks available from Amazon from £345, and wooden tanks available from ProVivs for £90 and Amazon for £100 are both appropriate. Despite the large price difference, there is no difference other than aesthetic between the two tank styles recommended above.

You can also use tubs, as long as they are of an appropriate size.

I would recommend having a tank fully set up and running at least 7 days before taking an animal home, to make sure everything is working and ready for the new inhabitant.

Substrate

For the first 6 weeks of owning a leopard gecko (or any reptile), its necessary to quarantine them on paper towels.

After quarantine, provided the gecko is over 6 months old, I would recommend any of the following options. 

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RECOMMENDED SUBSTRATES

HOMEMADE  MIX

This is a mix of 60 - 70% organic topping soil, and 20 - 30% play sand. You can also add in small amounts of Sphagnum moss, excavator clay, and charcoal. I would also recommend having a few large pieces of bark (larger than the geckos head at least) so if you choose to make the tank bioactive, the clean up crew can hide somewhere!

Find the Organic Topping Soil, Playsand, and moss we use in the links here!

ARCADIA EARTH MIX ARID

This is a commercial bioactive mix, which can be used as a normal substrate. 

One 10 litre bag fills a 90x45 floorspace perfectly.

Find it here

You can also add leaf litter to your substrate which adds some lovely texture for your gecko!

I don't recommend the following

Calcium sand - this is not a natural substrate and can cause joint, respiratory and impaction issues.

Shelf liner (or any plastic substrates) - there are long term effects of heat on plastic which can cause them to give off toxic gases in small amounts over time.

Reptile Carpet - This provides no enrichment and can be difficult to clean. Fibers can trap toes causing injury.

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HEATING

Leopard geckos need a humidity of 35%-55%, ambient temperatures of 23 - 26C, and a hot spot temperature of 34 - 36C.

These should all be measured by a digital thermometer and hydrometer.

To heat the tank, you will need a Halogen or a Deep Heat Projector


For more information on different heat sources, check out this article.


To control the temperatures of your heat sources, you will need a thermostat. I recommend Habistats.

Make sure you have slate, or a rock hide underneath your heat bulb which will act as a basking platform for your gecko.

I would highly recommend avoiding red bulbs and heat rocks. These are either inappropriate or dangerous for Leopard Geckos. 

LIGHTING

Leopard Geckos benefit from UVB. I recommend using the Arcadia Shadedweller kit.

Ensure you are using a 2% bulb for your albino (Tremper, Bell, or Rainwater) Leopard Gecko, and a 7% for your non-albino geckos.

If you use UVB, you will need to use supplements which do not contain Vitamin D3, such as the Arcadia EarthPro-A calcium.

Ensure you are changing your Shadedweller bulb once per year, and are following Arcadia's guidelines on setting up which can be found here.

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DIET

I feed my adults 2 or 3 medium Dubia Cockroaches every 2 - 4 days.

Healthy staples include crickets, Dubia roaches, locusts, and grasshoppers.

I buy live food here, and here.

You can find Dubia Roaches on Amazon here.


Adult Leopard Gecko's tails should be the same width as their necks, and they should have visible muscle in their arms and legs.


Their food should be dusted with calcium and multivitamins that include vitamin D3 (unless you use UVB), according to a dusting schedule.

Please find our recommended supplement schedules here*


As a treat, leopard geckos can be fed wax worms, mealworms, hornworms (illegal in the UK) or super worms. Don't overfeed these insects or your leopard gecko will quickly become overweight.


Once a year you have the option of feeding your gecko a frozen-thawed newborn mouse (pinky mouse). This is entirely optional, but many of mine, especially girls who lose weight during the breeding season, love this yearly treat. After feeding a pinky, don’t feed again for 5 or 6 days, and don’t handle for about 3. These are very fatty and a bit harder to digest than insects, but make a good treat. 


Leo's choose one corner of their Vivarium to defecate and only go there so cleaning up is very easy. Like birds, their urine is solid and white, and it's all together. 


You should make sure the insects you’re feeding your gecko have been fed themselves. You can use carrot, sweet potato, courgette, broccoli or cucumber (raw). 

*Credit: Leopard Gecko Discord

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MISC

SHEDDING

Like most reptiles, leopard geckos will shed their skin about once a month. To help them with this, you just make sure that their moist/humid hide is always damp. They will eat the skin and look noticeably brighter when they have shed. Once they've shed, check their body (especially their toes) for stuck shed that didn't come off properly. If you find any, just give the leopard gecko a bath that's about an inch deep (they can't swim) and fairly warm for about 20 minutes, then gently ease the skin off with a Q tip or your finger.

EGGS

Female leopard geckos will occasionally lay infertile eggs, this is perfectly normal and all you should do is throw the egg out and give your gecko extra calcium to make up for what they lost.


If you notice that she becomes bloated and stops eating, she may be egg bound. This is rare, but if it happens it can be fatal unless a vet surgically removes the egg.

HANDLING

You can handle Leopard Geckos pretty often, just make sure you hold them over a bed or similar soft surface until you understand their body language, as they aren't very good at judging jumps and tend to just fall off of things.


Their predators in the wild are mostly birds, so avoid grabbing them from above. Instead, scoop them up with your hands gently.


They do have the ability to drop their tails, and although it will grow back over about 60 days, it's best not to grab them by the tail.

VETS

The vet I use is CJ Hall Vets which is an exotic vet. Normal vets won’t be able to treat your gecko, as they’re classed as exotic, so you’ll need a special exotic vet. Make sure you’re registered with a vet so if something does go wrong, you don’t waste time trying to find a vet.

COHABITING

Leopard Geckos London does not condone cohabiting

THE FIVE WELFARE NEEDS

  • live in a suitable environment.

  • eat a suitable diet.

  • exhibit normal behaviour patterns.

  • be housed with, or apart from, other animals.

  • be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

All Amazon links are affiliate links, so we make a small amount of money if you purchase off of them. Be assured that the products linked are all either ones we have used for years, or ones highly recommended by science-based husbandry groups.

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FURTHER READING

It's important to research from more than one source, here are some to get you started