Leopard Gecko Care Guide
Gecko Park Leopard Gecko Care sheet / Guide
A Little bit about Leopard Gecko’s:
Leopard Geckos are among the most, if not the most popular reptile pets today. Easy to care for, maintain most have a calm temperament which makes these docile creatures an ideal first reptile. They can live for up to 20 years in captivity so if you do commit to owning one then be ready for a long term commitment.
They come in lots of different colours, patterns and sizes, we call these Morphs in the hobby, and can be great fun to work with if you decide you want to breed or collect them.
Leopard Geckos are best kept in a vivarium with glass sliding doors at the front to gain access. A good quality wooden vivarium will be well sealed, ventilated and have a level of security to stop your Leopard Gecko getting out and any other nasty’s access in.
Vivariums come in lots of shapes and sizes. We recommend an enclosure of around 3 x 1 ½ x 1 ½ foot for a single Leopard Gecko. This will give your Leopard Gecko plenty of space to roam around and will be an adequate size to achieve the required temperature variant for your Gecko to thrive and live a long and happy life.
Unlike other reptiles, Leopard Geckos prefer to live on their own and do not require the company of any other Geckos. You will hear stories of how some people keep them together without a problem. While in some cases it can work we would strongly advise against it. If this is what you would like to do then further research will be needed as we will not cover this aspect in this guide. Housing them together can cause a great deal of stress on your pets and can lead to fighting, injury and even death.
In the vivarium, you will need to provide a heat source with a suitable thermal gradient from one end to the other. The goal here is to have one end ‘the hot end’ reaching a stable temperature of around 30 – 32.5 degrees and a ‘cool end’ a temperature of about 24 – 28 degrees. This gives your Gecko temperature variant to choose where they are most comfortable. Both sides should have a suitable hide in for the Gecko to take cover and relax in away from prying eyes.
At night time you can lower the temperature to give your Leopard Gecko the sense of a night and day cycle to mimic a more natural environment. Nighttime temperatures should be set to around 24 – 26 degrees throughout the vivarium.
There are many different ways to provide the heat required, new products are coming out all the time to achieve this goal. In our option, a good quality heat mat on a thermostat set to 32.5 degrees in the ‘hot end’ covering 1/3rd of the floor space is the easiest way. This, in turn, should go some way to achieving the 24 – 28 degrees throughout the rest of the enclosure. A good quality digital thermometer is the best and most accurate way to check the temperature at both ends. Regular checking of the temperatures is always recommended.
Another option which a lot of keepers are having great success with is the use of a relatively new product called an Arcadia Deep Heat Projector. These are controlled with a pulse thermostat set to the same temperatures as the heat mat method but hang from the roof of the vivarium over the Leopard geckos ‘Hot end’. The benefit of this type of heat source is it provides a more natural kind of deep, tissue penetrating heat (Infrared B) which is more like the natural warmth we all get from the sun. It also heats the area and air around it more effectively than a heat mat. As it provides heat from above it can stop the issue of accidental burns that sometimes occur from faulty or misused heat mats.
The lights you provide your Leopard Geckos depend on whether or not you want to provide UVB for your pet. As they are nocturnal some owners and breeder feel this is not necessary as they mostly come out at night. Supplements such as Repashy Calcium Plus will provide your Gecko with the vitamin D needed when dusted on their food to keep your Gecko happy and healthy.
If you did want to provide the UVB by the way of lighting then we recommend the Arcadia Pro5 Shade Dweller UV light placed on the roof of your vivarium around 25 -40 cm from the floor. Be sure to provide shaded areas as well throughout the vivarium. Keeping the light on for 12 – 14 hours a day will also mimic their natural environment and give them a good day/night cycle.
Coming from areas with relatively low humidity Leopard geckos require a dry well ventilated set up in their vivariums.
A moist hide should be provided preferably in the middle of the vivarium between hot and cool ends. This can be a small butter tub or similar with a big enough hole cut out of the top to allow access and with damp moss or eco earth in the bottom. This greatly aids the leopard gecko when shedding but also gives them somewhere to go and cool off.
Substrate and Decoration:
There are many different forms of suitable floor substrate, we have always had great success with kitchen paper as this is easy to clean and replace. If you wanted to go for a more natural look then we can highly recommend Leo Life. It is very much a matter of personal preference, researching into what works for you is always the best idea.
With decorating your vivarium it can be as full or minimalistic as you like.
As said previously, 2 hides, one in the hot end and another in the cool end plus a moist hide in the middle are essential. Whatever else you have in there is completely down to personal preference again. There many suitable fake plants, branches and resin hides to pick from so I little research always goes a long way.
Food and Water:
Being insectivores Leopard Geckos will eat most insects that will fit in their mouth. A good rule of thumbs is if the insect is wider than the space between the Geckos eyes then it’s too big for them to eat. A varied diet is beneficial with plenty of reptile shops and online reptile stores providing a wide range for you to pick from. We get our food supplied to us by The Live Food Hub which we are happy to recommend.
We have found a staple of mealworms with a rotation of Dubia roaches, Locusts, Mario worms and Crickets works very well. We also offer up Wax worms and silkworms as an occasional treat. All our live food is gut loaded for 18 – 24 hours with fruit, vegetables, oats and tropical fish flakes before feeding to maximise the nutrients the Leopard gecko receives from the live food.
A shallow water dish should always be available with fresh clean water in.
As well as gut loading the live food, a bowl of calcium should always be provided 24/7. If UVB is not provided then the food should be dusted with calcium / d3 supplement every feed which we also mentioned in the Lighting section. We have found Repashy Calcium Plus is a good and well-trusted supplement.
Cleaning and Hygiene:
We recommend spot cleaning your Leopard Geckos Vivarium at least 2 or 3 times a week. You will find most geckos pick a spot in the vivarium and use that as their toilet. This makes it even easier to keep clean. With our paper towel flooring, we remove and replace and with substrate flooring scoop out the poop and throw away. Every 4 – 6 weeks we replace all substrate/paper towels and thoroughly scrub the vivarium, decorations and hides out and deep clean using F10 disinfectant.
This is a short leopard gecko care sheet/guide on what we have found works and in no means covers every topic of owning and caring for a leopard gecko. We recommend you research every aspect of owning a Leopard Gecko before purchasing. Every breeder and keeper has his or her methods. We advise you to take in as much information as possible.