Quarantine - What is it and why is it important?

Imagine you're getting a new leopard gecko. You're SO excited and you have the most gorgeous setup for them.

You finally get your new baby and all is well. But then it isn't. You notice they're losing weight really fast. Or maybe that they regurgitate every meal. Or maybe that they're just refusing all food. One trip to the vets and you find out your gecko is ill. Now you have to throw all of that things in your beautiful vivarium away, or you risk the decorations harbouring bacteria or viruses.

Yes, I'm talking about the importance of quarantine!

The first six weeks of your geckos time with you are important. This is when you will be getting them on a feeding and dusting schedule, acclimating them to your habits and where they fit into your life, and most importantly, finding out if they're healthy.

So, what is a quarantine tank?

Quarantine tanks are usually very bare, with everything in them either disposable or easy to boil and COMPLETELY disinfect.

The substrate for a quarantine tank should be paper towels. This makes it easy for you to see any issues with bodily fluids (runny or parasite ridden poop, vomit, complete lack of poop etc) and also reduces your geckos risk of impaction to near zero.

Enrichment can still be offered through small throwaway items, like that log (baked at 120°C for 30 minutes to sanitise) or even a fake plant, but just be prepared to throw everything in the tank away it your animal gets sick.

Can you quarantine animals together?

Firstly, leopard geckos should NEVER be in tanks together. Even if they're babies, even if they've been together their whole lives, and even if they're mates. It is never acceptable.

BUT if you're talking about social animals (or animals who can safely co habit) like poison dart frogs, the general rule is that if you got them at the same time at the same place then you can quarantine together, but if you got them at different times, quarantine separately.

Where should I put my quarantine tank?

If you don't have other reptiles, then you can put it wherever you want.

However, if you're like me and you have other reptiles, it's very important that your new animal is as far away from them as possible. If possible, the other side of your house/flat.

When you have handled your new animal, wash you're hands thoroughly after to avoid cross contamination, and do any feeding or weighing of them last. You want to avoid your current animals having any contact with your newbie.

The basic facts

  • Quarantine for 6 weeks

  • Paper towels as substrate

  • Keep the new animal away from other reptiles

  • Track your newbies weight and feeding schedule