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Leopard Gecko Care Guide

(Above) Pictured is my male leopard gecko Kush.

(Above) Pictured is my male leopard gecko Kush.

Quick Note

The leopard gecko makes an excellent pet for beginner reptile keepers. They require minimal care and can be left alone for several days. The animal is quiet, doesn’t smell, and a large amount of space for its home isn’t required. A gecko is inexpensive and easily available from pet stores and breeders. There are a wide variety of color and pattern variations. The reptile is known for its iconic large tail where it stores fat.

Fun Fact

It's skin is bumpy and heavily patterned with spots like a leopard which is where they get there name. The patterns are designed to camouflage them so they are not easily seen by a predators

Juvenile Gecko



Before adopting or buying your lizard it is very important to be prepared. Always do your research on any animal before bringing it home so that you may be prepared. By doing research you are able to learn how to care for an animal along with what supplies you need to properly house it and keep it healthy. Below is a simplified list of some of the things that you will need for your new friend. An aquarium or terrarium with a screen top. The tank size should be about 10 gallons. Try to get a tank that is more long than it is tall as they will need the floor space. A heat pad on one side of the tank covering about 1/3 of the bottom of the tank. This will be for the hot side. Some places say lamps but a lamp is not required. One thing about them is that you are not as easily able to regulate the heat. Geckos need belly heat so a lamp is not so readily going to provide this. Many pet stores will carry heat rocks. Yes, they are for belly heat but they can get very hot and there is no way to regulate them. The issue with this is that many owners have soon found that they can and will burn your leopard gecko. A hide box. This can be tupperware with a simple hole in the lid. You can fill with moss or coco fiber. You will also need two other hides. The hide box with the moss you want in the warm spot of your tank. This hide helps aid in the shedding process for your gecko. You will also need a cool hide and a hide on the hottest side of your tank for your leo. A water dish, food bowl, and a calcium bowl. Substrate for the bottom of the cage. Reptile carpet, newspaper, or paper not use loose substrate. It may say reptile sand but I assure you the only thing it is good for is putting out a cigarette. Any additional decorations you want for the habitat. Since your leo has a Jacobson's organ they are constantly licking everything. You may add decorations like rocks and logs to make the habitat look more natural.


Leopard geckos can live 20 plus years when given proper care and nutrition.

Digestive Tract Obstruction .

This occurs when a gecko eats something it is unable to digest. The obstructions can be sand, gravel, or substrate that the leopard gecko ingested when you were not looking. These things can cause a blockage which can be fatal.

Mouth Infection.

Mouth infections can occur. It can be caused by fighting, a dirty cage, or accidental injury. A sign of infection is swelling around your leopard gecko’s mouth. Treatment involves cleaning the area daily and possibly using an oral antibiotic.

Respiratory Infection.

A respiratory infection can occur if your leopard gecko’s habitat is too cold for long periods. Mucus bubbles on the nostrils and labored breathing is a sign of infection. Increasing the temperature of the cage will usually correct the health problem.

Poor Shedding.

Healthy geckos with appropriate living conditions shed regularly. The geckos will eat there skin after it sheds. There skin after shed is a great source of calcium. Some geckos have trouble with shedding on occasion. Signs of shedding difficulty range from large sheets of shed clinging to the head, tail or limbs to residual shed left around the eyes, on the tail tip or the toes. This shed must be removed as it can cause damage to your leo and can even cause a loss of limbs. You can help with shed by lightly misting your gecko with a spray bottle or bathing it.

Metabolic Bone Disease

All geckos require calcium to maintain strong bones and vitamin D3 to aid in metabolizing the calcium. Geckos that are nor provided with adequate calcium end up with soft, rubbery bones and deformities.


Geckos can become stressed for many reasons such as a new environment, change in environment, cohabitation and new lizards, breeding or change in care.


The term “inbreeding” is often used in a negative way. Inbreeding your gecko can be useful to fix certain genetic traits. However, too much or the wrong selection can cause genetic damage. Typical signs often reported for excessive inbreeding are

  • Small sized hatchlings & adults
  • Low body weight
  • Lower ovulation-rate
  • Lower egg production rate
  • Higher risk of egg binding in females
  • Slow growth

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Food & Supplements

mealworms,superworms, hornworms and crickets.

Make sure to be careful where you purchase your crickets as they are known to carry diseases.

Gut-loaded before feeding is also good. Calcium powder with vitamin D3. Leos are insectivores, meaning the majority of there diet includes insects. Mealworms are a great staple for there diet. You may also feed waxworms, but only once a week as they are more of a treat due to there high fat content. Calcium is very important for a leo, you will want to put a small but favorable amount of calcium powder in a cap or small dish to place in your geckos habitat. Your juveniles will eat multiple times a day but as they grow to adults they will need a mear 1 or 2 feedings per week. Only place what they will eat in there tank and what ever they do not eat is important to be removed from the tank. This will keep the tank clean and when your feeder insects die hey give of a horrid smell.



You will want to wait until they have reached their full adult length. Some females get quite large, 9 inches and 80+g.The best method is to weigh/measure your leos monthly. Once you're sure your leo is reaching its adult size/weight then you can consider breeding her.

  • A distinguishable bulge just past the vent at the base of the tail where the hemipenes are stared
  • Presence of large, prefemoral poresright before the vent )is male
    • Most females have no bulge, some females do have a slight bulge, however, this bulge is never pronounced like that of the male
    • Females do have the row of pores, however they are not dark pores like those of the male.
    • Cooling is the term used to for the process of simulating winter conditions. Some breeders cool their leopard geckos prior to the breeding season.

  • Cooling is most commonly started in November or December. To simulate winter. It is important to change the temperature, the amount of light and the amount of food need to be reduced. Do not change everything right away, it is important to slowly begin reducing these things to help prepare your leo and so that you do not cause them stress or make them sick.
  • Your temperature can be dropped by 2-3 F every 3-4 days until you have reached 65 F.

During this period of time your leopard geckos will be very slow and seem uninterested. You will also find they they will sleep for days at a time. This is called "brumation".

  • At the beginning of January, you will begin to slowly bring back up the tempature for your leo and and ther food intake.

You will notice after this time your female will have laid eggs. You will need an incubator. You may use vermiculite, perlite or eco earth for your containers that you will put the eggs in. Incubation temperatures above 90 F are thought to produce "hot females" which are normally quite aggressive and will not mate. The eggs should be placed in your prepared containers and placed inside the incubator. The containers must be moist inside and in your medium you will make a small thumb print where you are going to place the egg to help keep it from shifting inside the container. In a dark room shine a maglight torch into one end of the egg. If the egg is fertile, you will see a red bullseye somewhere on your egg.


When the leopard gecko egg is ready to hatch, you will see it wrinkle and shrink. This means the baby is getting ready to enter the world of happy baby lizards. The gecko will create a slit using its egg tooth and then force its way out. Do not disturb the egg while the baby is hatching. Once the newborn is free, leave it in the incubation cup until its first shed which usually occurs within the first day. As it sheds the gecko will eat the skin. The shed skin is nutritional and important to a newborn gecko. When feeding your gecko make sure the insect in smaller than its head. Feeding larger insects can cause them to choke and can cause death Stress. Hatchlings quickly scare and can be easily stressed. You will know if you baby leopard gecko is stressed if it arches its back, raises up on tip-toe, or makes a screeching sound. It is important to reduce the stress of your hatchlings. Stress can slow growth and increase aggression between geckos.

Sited Aliza

© 2017 Jessica M Reveal


Krista Sarro on July 05, 2017:

I heart geckos

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