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 - 25 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.
Leopard geckos thrive in a large tank. I recommend giving a leopard gecko a 90 x 45 x 45cm tank.
Glass tanks available from Pets at Home for £261, and wooden tanks available for £90 are both appropriate. Despite the large price difference, there is no difference other than aesthetic between the two tanks 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.
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.
ORGANIC TOPPING SOIL
This is what I use for the majority of my own animals. It is cheap, safe, and if ingested, it passes right through them (provided your husbandry is correct).
It's also pretty to look at!
HOMEMADE BIOACTIVE 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!
ARCADIA EARTH MIX ARID
This is a commercial bioactive mix, which can be used as a normal substrate.
It's expensive in comparison to others on this list, but safe and from a reputable company.
NON ADHESIVE SHELF LINER
This is a non-loose substrate that's better for the environment. I personally use this with my special needs animals or just geckos that don't seem to enjoy loose substrate.
Leopard geckos need a humidity of 20%-55%, ambient temperatures of 23 - 26C, and a hot spot temperature of 30 - 34C.
These should all be measured by a digital thermometer and hydrometer.
If you decide to go for a Deep Heat Projector, make sure you have slate, or a rock hide underneath it which will act as a basking platform for your gecko.
I would highly recommend avoiding red bulbs, basking lamps, and heat rocks. All of these are either inappropriate or dangerous for Leopard Geckos.
I feed my adults 2 or 3 medium Dubia Cockroaches every 2 - 4 days.
Healthy staples include crickets, Dubia roaches, locusts, and grasshoppers.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leopard Geckos London does not condone cohabiting