Caring for Your New Leopard Gecko
Inside scoop from Aqualand on Eublepharis macularis

 
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Leopard Gecko Factoids

Origin

Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, parts of India

Maximum Size

10-inch maximum, 8 more common

Life Span

20 years

Sexual Differences

Males larger with bigger heads

Day Temperature

80o-90o days, 68o-72o. at night

Winter Temperature

10 o cooler during winter (for breeding)

Water

Needs fresh water

Attitude

Stalkers, observant, territorial as they mature

Eyelids

Movable, unlike other Geckos

No Toe Pads

Cannot walk ceilings like other Geckos

Substrate

Anything except cedar, pine, or corn cobs

Security

Needs hide boxes, tubes, or caves

Humidity

40-45%, mist occasionally, provide “wet box”

Foods

Crickets (canned ones too), pinkies, mealworms

Supplements

Calcium and vitamins, calcium chips for females

Lighting

Full-spectrum probably not necessary

Breeding Season

January thru October

Breeding Age

15 to 28 months

Gestation Period

30 days

Egg Laying Season

December thru March, 8 clutches a year.

Incubation Time

6 to 12 weeks

Incubation Temp

80 o to get females, 91 o for males, 86 o for both

LA
Cute little rascals.

LA
"Got room for one more in there?"  Little leopard geckos pile into caves.

Origins: All Leopard geckos you find today are captive born.  Some sources say Leopard Geckos currently take top honors as the most popular lizard (after green anoles).

  LA
Leopard geckos these days come in a variety of colors. 
 Cool eyes.

Size:  Smaller Leopard Geckos are more common since they cost less.  The adults mature at six to eight inches.

 

LA
With five different types of canned bugs available, you can vary their diet easily.

Foods:  Even little Leopard Geckos will eat non-living prey.  This makes them very easy to care for.  A frozen pinkie per week helps keep them in the “pink.”  However, make sure you thoroughly thaw it, and make sure it is fresh.  Dead pinkies start decomposing very rapidly.  Leopards will also eat the canned lizard foods.  Get yours eating the pelleted foods as soon as possible.

LA
Dust your crickets (lightly) before feeding them to your Leopard Geckos.

Supplements:  Because their bones grow so much, Leopard Geckos need calcium supplements on their insects.  The calcium supplement should also include vitamin D3 so they can assimilate the calcium.  Some breeders give them a small dish containing the calcium/vitamin supplement.  Females need it to make egg shells.  Others use a calcium substrate.  Others warn against small particle substrate which they often eat in search of calcium.  Sand can theoretically clog up their digestive system.  

LA
He's "the king of the world."  Leopard geckos can't climb walls but they do like to climb.

Branches, Rocks, Etc.  Leopard geckos need more than a bare cage.  Add anything for them to crawl on.  They like the challenge and need the exercise.  You need lots of places like this if you keep several together.

Clean Up:  Leopard Geckos produce droppings that quickly dry.  They usually pick the same corner for their lizard latrine -- very neat lizards.  Clean them up often.  A vacuum cleaner wand speeds up the process.  Don’t get that wand too close to your little lizard.

Lighting:  Since Leopard Geckos prefer to come out at night, they do not need full-spectrum lighting.  They do need incandescent light for extra warmth.

LA
Leopard geckos that lose their tails eventually grow them back.  It takes a long time.

LA
Skinny guy shedding his skin (badly).  His toes need extra attention.  See "wet box" below.

Heat:  An under-cage heater probably works best.  Heat rocks take forever to warm up.  Leopard Geckos prefer a warmer temp at one end, so just put the hearing pad under one end.  Check their droppings.  If you notice undigested insects passing through, they need more heat.

Water:  Leopard Geckos drink very daintily from a water bowl.  If you mist them occasionally, they learn to accept it.  At first they will protest the sudden shower by growling at you or chirping.  Big ones protest even louder.

LA
You can always mix the young ones.  Not so with adult leopard geckos.

Mixers:  If you mix large Leopard Geckos with smaller lizards, they may eat them.  Keep yours well fed.  Provide several small hide boxes when you cage several together.  Too many in the same cage will cause them stress.

LA
This guy and his three girl friends were all hiding under half a coconut shell.

LA
Magnetic hide rocks work really great.  Leopard geckos love them.  They pack into these caves.

LA
If you have a crevice, a leopard gecko will squeeze into it.

Wet Box:  Give your Leopard Geckos small containers filled with damp peat moss or vermiculite.  The new coconut fiber media work even better.  They like to crawl into the extra humidity from time to time – particularly at skin shedding time.  Moisten the wet box medium often.  

LA
Lotsa colors in the leopard geckos you see these days.

Tameable:  Leopard Geckos quickly come to realize that you don’t plan to eat them.  They usually learn to sit calmly on your hand.  However, excess handling will sometimes stress them.  

LA
Male above.  Female below.

Spencer Culbertson, July 19, 2010
I noticed that on your page for leopard geckos that you show two pictures of a male and a female, and you say which is which. You don’t say how you got that result. What exactly are you supposed to look for when sexing these geckos?

A:  Good question.  I'll add it and my answer to my leopard gecko page.  Right below the vent on the male you can see two bumps.  These bumps are his hemi-penis.  No such bumps on the female.  LA

Breeding:  Sexually mature males want to fight.  The females co-exist fine.  Keep one male with several females or move him from female to female for stud purposes.  She will lay two eggs in the wet box mentioned earlier.

LA
Here's a couple eggs laid in a water dish after the female kicked it full of aspen chips.

LA
This one was laid on the floor.

LA
Skinny.  Looks hungry.  Get some food and water into this thin leopard gecko.

LA
The skinnier guys need some extra rations.  Sometimes the bigger guys intimidate the others.

Helen Wills, April 25, 2006
Hi, may I ask why your leos look so skinny and unhealthy?
Being a breeder of these myself, I am concerned that you are giving out the wrong advice on the care of these animals and may be causing unnecessary suffering to other animals.

A:  If you mean this series of six skinny babies, we just bought these at a Reptile Exhibition.  We've had them about two hours.  They were in those little deli cups.  We separated them by size and got them fattened up in about four to six weeks.  LA

LA
After they've been around a while, they look like this.

LA
Lotsa colors and patterns available.

LA
Nice, fat tail.

LA
It's hard to tick off a leopard gecko but not impossible. 

In Summary:  If you want a cute, friendly, easy-to-keep lizard that puts up with people, take a look at the Leopard Gecko.  LA

© 1999, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 2007, © 2010  LA Productions

 

 



LA

 

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