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Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

Sammy

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5 Year Member
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Common Name: Leopard Gecko
Scientific Name: Eublepharis Macularius

Origin: Leopard Geckos come from the high mountain desert regions of Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

Lifespan and Size: Leopard Geckos are a very hearty species of gecko that can live 15 to 20 plus years when properly cared for. Hatchlings are usually between 3 and 3 1/2 inches and weigh 3 to 4 grams. Adult females usually reach 6 to 7 inches with weight ranges typically between 60 and 80 grams. Males usually reach 8 to 10 inches with weight ranges typically between 75 and 100 grams.

Housing: Your Leopard Gecko's enclosure can be as simple or as elaborate as you care to make it. Regardless of how your enclosure is set up there are a few essentials it must have. First is that your enclosure must be big enough to provide a proper temperature gradient. This is vital to the health of your Leopard Gecko. Being cold blooded they will regulate their body temperature by alternating between the warm and cool ends of the enclosure. Baby and juvenile Leos tend to do better in a somewhat smaller enclosure than adults would be kept in. Too much space can cause them to stress. Enclosure height is not as important as floor space since Leopard Geckos are ground dwelling geckos, although having tall enclosures will allow you more freedom of imagination when setting up your enclosure. With that being said the following heights listed are just a minimum. An enclosure that is roughly 20"L x 10"W x 6"H would be ideal for babys and juvis. It is my opinion that adults should be housed in an enclosure that is at least 30"L x 12"W x 6"H. There are a variety of enclosure types that you can choose from. Aquariums/Terrariums, Sterilite/Rubbermaid containers, rack systems and plastic caging like Animal Plastics and Boaphile Plastics to name a few.

Hides are vital to the health and well being of your Leopard Gecko. You should have at least three hides in your Leos enclosure. One on the cool end and one on the warm end. That way your Leo will not have to choose between security and temperature. It will have a hide to feel secure in in both temperature ranges. You will also need a humid hide. Humid hides are hides that are kept moist to create a contained high humidity area that will enable your Leo to have problem free sheds. They humid hide should be placed in the middle or warm end of your enclosure. You can learn how to easily and cheaply make a humid hide here.

Substrates: For babies I recommend paper towels. Adults can use a variety of substrates. Paper towel, slate or ceramic tile (make sure it is textured and not glassy smooth), solid non adhesive shelf liner and reptile carpet to name a few that are good choices. Adults can also be housed on fine non silica playground sand, although that comes with a risk of impaction and not recommended for novice keepers. Aquarium gravel, Calci-Sand and walnut shells should not be used. If ingested it can cause serious health problems. I personally advise against using any type of substrate that is capable of being ingested, including play sand.

Water needs to be available 24 hours a day. I can't stress enough how important it is to keep fresh water on hand at all times. I change my water dishes every other day at least. Often every day. The size of the dish is really up to you. Although I personally like a small dish that is about an inch deep and around 3" in diameter.

Calcium Dish:
You should provide a small dish of Pure Calcium for your Leopard Gecko inside its enclosure. Something the size of a gallon milk jug lid works just fine. This way a Leo can help regulate its own calcium as needed.

Temperatures, Heating, Humidity and Lighting: Your Leopard Gecko needs a hot spot (warm side) of 88-92 degrees. The cool side (ambient) temperature ranging anywhere between 72-80. Another thing I can not stress enough is how important it is to KNOW your temps. Do NOT guess and do NOT rely on analog or stick on thermometers. They are unreliable at best. I recommend using a digital thermometer with a probe and/or a digital temp gun. Those are the only ways you are going to get accurate temperature readings. Again I can't stress enough how vital this is to the overall well being of your Leopard Gecko.

Heating: You can heat your enclosure a variety of ways. There is not a one size fits all solution. There are just too many variables. From the temps and draftiness in your home, to the enclosure location in your home, to the type of enclosure you are using, etc. I find the best way to provide heat for Leopard Geckos is to use a under tank heating device, be it a traditional UTH, Flexwatt, heat rope, etc. You can also use Ceramic Heat Emitters, Radiant Heat Panels and Heat Bulbs in reflector lamps to name a few. In some cases you may need to use a combination of heating devices to achieve ideal temps. Also, it is my opinion that ALL heating devices should be used in conjunction with a thermostat or rheostat. With a little trial and error you should be able to maintain your temps in the ideal ranges.

Humidity:
Leopard Geckos come from an arid (dry) region and do just fine with normal household humidity. Too much humidity is not good for Leopard Geckos and can lead to respiratory infections. Never directly mist your Leo, they really do not like it nor are they a species that needs it.

Lighting: Being a nocturnal species, special UV lighting and other overhead lighting is not needed for Leopard Geckos. What is needed is a well lit room, be it from natural sunlight or lamps, that will properly simulate a day night cycle for your Leopard Gecko. For most keepers a 12 hour day and a 12 hour night cycle works just fine year round.

Feeding:
Leopard Geckos are insectivores. Their diet is completely made up of insects and worms. Roaches, Silk worms, Butter worms, Phoenix worms, Super worms, Crickets and Meal worms all make for good staple diets. While using just one of the listed insects/worms can provide a healthy diet for your Leopard Gecko, offering a variety of each is always best. Wax worms are ok for an occasional treat, but should not be offered on a regular basis because of their high fat content and overall lack of nutrients.

I can not stress enough how important it is to provide your insects with a high quality diet (aka gutloading). The healthier your feeder insects are the more nutrients they pass on to your Leopard Gecko. After all, you are what you eat.

Baby and juvenile Leos should be fed appropriately sized insects on a daily basis, as much as they want to eat. Typically babies and juvies will eat anywhere from 4 to 12 appropriately sized food items a day. Adults can be fed every other day. Typically an adult will eat 4 to 10 appropriately sized food items at every feeding. An appropriately sized roach or cricket would one that is roughly 3/4 the length of your Leo's head. Worms can be approximately 1 1/2 times the length of your Leos head.

Supplements and Dusting: There are many different dusting strategies that people use. Here I will discuss what has worked for me personally. I personally only use supplements from Rep-Cal. The three different products from Rep-Cal. Pure Calcium, Calcium with D3 and Herptivite. For babies and juveniles I dust daily. 5 Days a week I dust with Pure Calcium, 1 day a week with Calcium with D3 and one day a week with Herptivite. For adults I dust with Pure Calcium twice a week, Calcium with D3 and Herptivite once every two weeks.

Cleaning: I spot clean my enclosures on a daily basis. Feces, urates, excessively urine soaked substrate, insect body parts, etc are removed immediately upon being noticed. Any hides that may have feces or urates on them are also cleaned immediately upon being noticed. Water dishes are cleaned and sterilized on a weekly basis or sooner if needed (water itself is changed every other day). The entire cage itself and all furnishings ( hides, branches, logs, etc) are cleaned and sterilized every 4 to 6 weeks. I use a mild dish soap for cleaning and Nolvasan to sterilize. A 5% bleach solution works too. Be extremely cautious when using a bleach solution and make sure it is thoroughly rinsed and allow to air dry completely before exposing it to your Leo again.

Quarantine: I can not stress enough how important it is to quarantine any new addition to your collection. You should quarantine for at least 30 days, although I personally quarantine for 90 days in a separate room from the rest of my herps. There have been some very unfortunate people out there who have lost their entire reptile collections by not practicing proper quarantine procedures. It does not matter if your Leo came from the most respected breeder on the planet or your local pet shop, you NEED TO QUARANTINE. Also, if you are feeding multiple Leos from multiple enclosures I advise not to return uneaten feeders to your feeder colony. If one of your Leos are sick this is a very common way of spreading it to your other Leos. Washing your hands between handling each Leo or between doing any kind of work in each Leo's enclosure is another way to prevent spreading parasites from one Leo to the next.

In closing I would like to recommend that you get your enclosure completely set up a week in advance of getting your Leopard Gecko. That way you have time to establish and maintain proper temps before welcoming your new Leopard Gecko to its new home. He/She will thank you for it. Also I would like to say that if this is your first reptile you should really look into getting your Leo from a reliable breeder and not a pet shop. A reliable breeder is going to offer you a Leo that is already well established eating and has been given the proper care and attention it deserves.
 

Tux

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5 Year Member
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389
A couple years late kazzy but ya he did, the 1 thing I disagree on is the line "While using just one of the listed insects/worms can provide a healthy diet for your Leopard Gecko" that is like saying "and as a human a diet consisting of only cheeseburgers will be fine"
 

Kazzy

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5 Year Member
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613
Yeah, that's one thing I don't like either. My leos get three different kinds of roaches, meal worms, and super worms.
 

Tux

New Member
5 Year Member
Messages
389
I recommend not housing them together, leo setups are cheap.
 

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