Caring for a Leopard Gecko
Origin: Southwestern Asia/Pakistan
Lifespan: 8-10 years for males, 10-18 years for females
The small size and simple care requirements make this little Gecko one of the easiest reptiles to care for. Capable of being bred in a variety of colors and pattern variations, Leopard Geckos are very attractive pets and their charismatic personalities make them highly desirable. Baby Geckos may be nervous and very energetic at first but with regular, gentle handling they will become very tame and easy to manage. Children should be supervised during handling and taught never to pick up the gecko by its tail, as it is liable to break off.
A 10 gallon glass aquarium with a secure screen lid is a good starter home for a single Gecko, upgrading to a 20 gallon (long) aquarium as the Gecko matures or at the addition of another Gecko. Paper towels and reptile carpet are recommended over sand or gravel substrate to avoid life threatening ingestion and impaction. Since these little reptiles are native to desert environments, humidity should be kept low but a moist hide should be available at all times to help with shedding. Rocks and logs are great resting areas that add interest to the tank.
Leopard Geckos need a daytime temperature of about 85-95 degrees, which can be provided using a basking bulb and under-tank heater. At night, the temperature should remain stable at about 70-75 degrees. A UVA/UVB bulb of 5% is highly recommended for baby Geckos to ensure proper growth. To avoid overheating, keep the tank out of direct sunlight.
Leopard geckos are insectivores. A good diet for a Leopard Gecko is protein based, meaning lots of crickets, cockroaches, mealworms, waxworms, small hornworms and superworms for full grown Geckos. Some adult Geckos even enjoy the occasional pinky mouse. It's essential to dust your baby Gecko's feeder insects with calcium powder at least three times per week. If UVB is not provided, calcium powder with vitamin D3 twice per week to aid in bone growth and once per week as adults to maintain it. Fresh water must be available at all times in a heavy shallow dish.
Wash out the water and food dishes daily. Both the tank and washable floor coverings should be washed weekly with terrarium cleaner and hot water, then thoroughly dried.
Leopard Geckos become sexually mature at about 10 months of age, males being larger and heavier with thicker necks and a line of pores on their belly between their hind legs. Females and males breed fairly easily in captivity, so it's best to separate your Geckos if you do not want to deal with fertile eggs. Females can also become calcium deficient from laying too frequently. A healthy Gecko will have a fat tail and be very alert and active, with a hearty appetite.
ALWAYS wash your hands after handling reptiles!