INTRODUCTION TO LEOPARD GECKOS

Available in a wide assortment of colors and patterns, leopard geckos are a well known species of lizard naturally found in Afghanistan, India, and other parts of the Middle East.

Written by Andrew Aldred & Alex Green

ENCLOSURE

GoHerping recommends keeping your leopard gecko in a 15-20 gallon plastic tub or glass aquarium, with an additional 10 gallons for each gecko. An important note is male leopard geckos should never be housed together, as it's very common for individuals to fight or kill one another. Females can generally be housed safely together, however, they should be supervised until you are assured they can co-exist in the same enclosure safely.

 

 

 Substrate 

You have many options when it comes to leopard gecko substrate, including various loose substrates, carpets, and a few others. Some of the easiest substrates include simple materials, such as newspaper and paper towels. If you want something more aesthetically pleasing, "reptile carpet" comes in multiple varieties and colors. The downside of reptile carpet is it requires thorough cleaning to ensure that all bacteria is removed, which can be caused by droppings, dead feeder animals, and simply spilled water. Excavator clay is another great option, and also offers a naturalistic feel.

As mentioned earlier, loose substrates are also available, for example, coconut fiber. However,  it is important that the loose substrates you use are digestible, as indigestible substrates can cause impaction--a potentially deadly problem that can happen to any reptile on poor substrate choices.

 

GoHerping recommends to always avoid sand, calci-sand, pine, cedar, and walnut shells with most reptiles, and all amphibians. Learn more about poor substrate choices here.

 

 

 Hide 

Leopard geckos, being nocturnal creatures, need places to escape the light associated with day time and to feel Comfortable. This is where hides come into play. Firstly, they require a simple hide like any other reptile, preferably over their heat mat (learn more about heating below). This hide is must be available to allow the gecko a safe place while providing heat, which reptiles need to digest their food. Secondly, they require a "humid" or "moist" hide. This hide mimics a burrow in the wild, which typically are more humid than the surface of the area in which they live. The purpose of this hide is to provide an environment where the gecko will be able to shed its skin without any problems, as well to hydrate, if they drink the droplets from the walls of the hide. This hide can be as simple as a plastic container, or as elaborate as a burrow dug from excavator, both filled with moss, paper towels, coconut fiber, or moisture holding materials. This hide should stay damp all the time, even if you don't think your gecko is in shed. Some people also recommend a third hide, on the cool side of their enclosure. This allows the leopard gecko to thermo regulate, which basically means adjust their internal temperature so they are always comfortable, just as humans do with thermo stats in houses.

 

 

 Water 

Leopard geckos aren't good swimmers, so make sure your water bowl is small enough for your leopard gecko to get in and out of safely. Unlike some other reptiles, leopard geckos do not need to soak in their water bowl, meaning a smaller size is adequate. Tap water often has chlorine and other chemicals, which can be dangerous to reptiles. However, there are many ways to ensure your water is safe for reptiles. Filling a jug of tap water and leaving it out for 24 hours will allow harmful chemicals  to evaporate. You can also use "ReptiSafe" water drops made by ZooMed, or similar products, to remove these chemicals.

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contents
1. Introduction
2. Enclosure
     a. Substrate
     b. Hide
     c. Water
     d. Heat pad
3. Temperature & Humidity
4. Feeding
5. Handling
6. Overview