LEOPARD GECKO CARE GUIDE
Facts & Information
Origin: Leopard geckos are native to Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Iran, where their are found in harsh, arid mountain and desert regions. They are nocturnal, ground dwelling lizard and they take cover during the heat of the day. They do not have the adhesive toe pads of other geckos.
Leopard gecko are about 6 cm long when they hatch and grow to an adult size of 20-25 cm. their common name comes from the adult colouration of the wild species, which is normally yellow/cream with black spots. A healthy gecko has a fat tail, and you should avoid buying one with a thin tail. Their life span is 8 years or more.
Housing: It is possible to start with a small pen for a hatchling d then upgrade when they grow larger. They can be kept singly, in pairs, or in groups, but as males are aggressive, only 1 male per group. There is only slight difference between male and female in appearance. Males are slightly more heavy-bodied and have a row of enlarged femoral pores running along the inner thigh.
Benefits of keeping: Leopard geckos are ideal lizards for the first time keepers as Theydon not grow particularly big, are very hardy, easy to keep and very attractive looking. They are ideal for older children as they are placid and soon become accustomed to handling. They require little maintenance and the overall costs involved are low which is also makes them highly recommended for beginners.
Leopard geckos have been bred in captivity for many years resulting in many interesting colour variation. Rough handling can occasionally cause a Leopard gecko to shed its tail and while this will re-grow in time, it will not look as nice as the old one.
Substrate and furnishing: As these geckos originate from very arid conditions it is important to provide a suitable environment. Sand is ideal as a substrate. Larger stones can be added to create a more realistic rocky, desert terrain.
Leopard geckos need a hide box to make them feel secure so they can hide during the day since they are nocturnal. There should be one hide box on the warm side and one on the cold so the gecko can hide in peace if it gets to hot in the hide on the warm side. Remove all droppings and clean the terrarium on a regular basis to prevent disease.
Diet and Feeding: Feeding Leopard gecko is very easy. They will take a wide variety of insects, crickets are their main food but they will also eat small locusts, wax worms and mealworms ( only feed the latter in small quantities). Feed baby geckos a good meal every other day and adults two/three times a week. Mealworms are the easiest food choice since they can be feed all the way from hatchling to adult. Mealworms can be kept in a dish so the gecko can eat when they wish. Baby geckos can eat 3 1'' long mealworms every other day, juveniles geckos can eat 5-6 1'' to 1 1/2'' mealworms daily, and adults can eat 10-12 1'' to 1 1/2'' mealworms daily. Crickets can be an alternative of mealworms. They come in three sizes that are all work for a certain age group of leopard gecko. Baby geckos can eat 5 small crickets daily, juveniles can eat 5-7 medium crickets every day to every other day, and adults can eat 3-4 large crickets daily. Treats can be offered occasionally to your gecko. Waxworms are like donuts to us but for them. Waxworms are very fatty so they are usually a good weekly treat. 3 waxworms are a good amount to feed your gecko. Super worms are like big mealworms but they have a softer outer shell
Water: Geckos do not require much water, but a shallow bowl of clean water should be provided. Young ones cab be gently sprayed and will drink the droplets.
Lighting: Unlike many reptiles, they do not need special UVA or UVB lighting as they have developed to be mostly nocturnal. In fact, too much UVB can cause them eye problems. An incandescent daylight bulb set on a timer to give 12 hours daylight, can be used. A night bulb could be used to assist nocturnal viewing if desired.
Heating: Leopard geckos need a hot area of about 90F (32C) with a background day time temperature of 80F (27C). At night, temperature should drop to about 70F (21C). This is when they move about most and feed.
One of best methods of heating for leopard geckos is a heat rock. Choose an appropriate size for your terrarium and position towards one end of it, underneath the basking lamp if used. This allows for the required temperature gradient. A digital thermometer should be placed near the hot end and one at the cool end of the terrarium to check the temperatures are correct. A light source could also be used as a eat source. This should be fitted to a timer to give 12 hours day light. And this will help with the temperature drop required at night time.
and they are much bigger. Super wroms are a good way to get your gecko fattened up for breeding. Don't feed more than 2-3 every few days because if there are to many superworms in there stomach they might regurgitate. Other worms like butter worms, silk worms, and pheonix worms can also be fed to the geckos as treats. One food item that female geckos that are just about to breed or have just laid eggs are pinkie mice. They are a great source of fat and nutrients that are very good for a skinny gecko. Frozen thawed are the best way to get them but live can also be fed.It is important not to over feed and to make sure that all the food is eaten before you offer more. Make sure the crickets you feed are not too big, a good guide is to feed ones no bigger than the distance between the gecko's eyes.
All insects should be well fed so that they contain maximum nutritional value when fed to the geckos. Once or twice a week , before offering them to the lizard, insects should be dusted with good quality reptile mineral/vitamin supplement powder. Leopard geckos will benefit from having a small dish of calcium ( calcium carbonate powder of grated cuttlefish) in their terrarium.
Shedding: The most common problem with Leopard geckos is with skin shedding. Like all reptiles, Leopard Geckos shed the outside layer of skin regularly but, unlike shakes, the discarded skin is normally eaten and is rarely seen. On occasion, however, the skin can become stuck around their eyes or toes. If you see your Gecko is having a problems shedding give it a spray with tepid water, or place it in a separate box with some damp kitchen roll. If this doesn't work seek further advice from your pet shop, reptile society or reeder. A shedding box with damp moss or vermiculite should be provided and could also double up as an additional hide.