Ultra Fine & Exquisite Leopard Gecko's
Geckos Of Oz: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
Created By: Aaron Osborne
Expected life span:
Leopard geckos can live 20+ years under good health and proper living conditions. Males generally live longer than females due to the added stress of reproduction.
Leopard geckos may be housed in groups of females never exceeding more than one male as males are territorial and will fight each other. This could lead to serious injury or death. A 20g (long) tank is a good size for housing a pair or trio of geckos. I recommend at least two regular hides and one moist hide. Placement of hides in the tank as follows: One hide on the warm side, the moist hide in the center and one hide on the cool side.
Lighting & Temperature:
Leopard geckos are nocturnal animals that come out in the twilight and early evenings to hunt for prey.
UVA light is recommended to simulate day and night cycles. Personally, I use ambient sunlight from a window to simulate day and night. I prefer to stay away from "direct day" light bulbs as they seem to put unnecessary stress on the animal.
UVB lighting is not necessary in metabolizing vitamin D3 for calcium absorption in leopard geckos like it is needed for other reptiles .
Leopard geckos need to have a warm side and a cool side for them to thrive and be comfortable. The warm side of the housing tank should be in the 98-100f range and contain their hide box, where as the cool side should be in the low 80s never reaching temperatures below 75f and contain their moist shed box (In order to keep the moisture in rather than evaporating quickly). Leopard geckos need a good gradient temperature in order to properly digest food and regulate optimal body temperature.
Heating Pad / Heat Tape vs. Heating Light:
Heating from below with a heat pad or heat tape versus a heat light is highly recommended for two main reasons. First reason being it resembles the most natural way leopard geckos thermoregulate their body temperature. In the wild they will come out in the early evening to absorb heat from the ground. In doing so, this regulates their internal temperature for optimal hunting. In addition, a heating pad will save you more money as you wont have to replace them as often as a burned out light bulb and reduces the risk of a potential fire hazard.
Paper towels are the safest, cleanest, and most cost efficient way to go. I personally recommend staying away from sands which can get into their eyes causing possible infection, eye irritation and become unsanitary due to lack of ability to discard all fecal matter which leads to bacteria and poor health for you animal. Barks, coco fiber, or any other such material could become ingested while hunting/feeding and cause blockage or impaction in the geckos belly. Leopard geckos are very smart and clean animals, you may find that they use the bathroom on just the cool side of the tank and it tends to be in the same general spot each time. This is common, leopard geckos generally will not use the bathroom near areas they use to hide. In my case, my adult female breeders do this and I just use paper towels on 1/6th of their tank and ceramic tiles for the rest. This makes spot cleaning simple and maintenance down to less than 5 minutes a day per tank. I use ceramic tiles (found at home depot - near bathroom/kitchen replacement tiles area) that have a little bit of roughness to them on the heated portion of the tank. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons. While hunting they can keep their nails trim when they pounce on the prey and it helps to keep the heat trapped at the base of their tank from the heating pad. They really seem to enjoy the ceramic tiles as I will often find them "basking" with their little bellies flat against the tiles and all four legs sprawled out.
Food & Supplements:
Small to Giant mealworms, Super worms, Dubia roaches, and Crickets are preferred staple foods for Leopard geckos. I use mealworms and Dubia roaches as I feel they offer the most nutrients. They are also much easier to maintain and breed compared to crickets.
These are key to completing your geckos needed nutrient intake. I dust all of my feeders with Repashy’s Calcium Plus a 'all in one' vitamin/calcium powder. It is also a good idea to leave a small dish of calcium without D3* in their tank as they will lick it up as needed.
* Leopard geckos CAN NOT overdose on calcium, BUT they can overdose on vitamin D3.
Once your geckos are comfortable and settled down in their new home, which could take up to one month, it is ok to handle them. While handling them always remain calm because they can pick up on anxiety or uneasiness and avoid sudden movements as this can startle them. Try to keep handling them at a minimum until they are adjusted to their new home. If your gecko appears to start showing signs of being stressed (heavy or rapid breathing, tail wagging, or chirping) place them back in their home as soon as possible. Just remember to take it slow, your a giant to them. Over the next several weeks of handling them you will notice they will become curious and crawl right onto your hand. They will love coming out for another exploring adventure.