Leopard Geckos hatch out at approximately 3-4 inches inches in length. Like many species of lizards, males tend to be larger than females. Adult males range from around 8-10 inches in size. Females tend to average 7-8 inches.
In captivity, with proper care, Leopard Geckos can live 10-20 years or more. There have been records of Leopard Geckos even living over 30 years old.
When designing your Leopard Gecko’s enclosure make sure to remember that they are native to arid, dry rocky regions. Hatchlings can be kept in a rack system or 5 gallon tank. Adults can be housed in 16 quart racks or 24”L x 12”W x 12”H tanks.
Temperature & Humidity:
Providing a heat gradient with lows in the mid to high 70s and a basking spot of 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit is very important as reptiles are cold blooded and must be able to regulate their body temperature. Humidity should be kept around 30-40 percent and increased during shedding.
A great way to help control and maintain humidity during shedding and make your Leopard Gecko’s enclosure more natural is with mosses. Golden and Green Sphagnum Moss are all excellent at storing and maintaining humidity to ensure a clean, perfect shed. Remarkably, leopard geckos eat their shed so do not be alarmed if you cannot locate a shed.
Newspaper, paper towels, and terrarium liners are the best substrate options for leopard geckos. Avoid using substrates with larger granules as leopard geckos can accidently ingest bedding and this can require a vet visit. No matter what substrate you decide to use make sure to keep an eye on humidity as too much or too little can cause problems.
Providing a safe hiding place for your Leopard Gecko is extremely important to the overall health of your reptile. Leopard geckos need a secure, dark cave or hide that they can retreat to in order to reduce stress and feel safe. It is best to have two hides in the enclosure with one placed on the hot side and one on the cold side. This is so the leopard gecko can properly control its temperature and feel safe no matter which side they choose.
Leopard geckos also need a humidity hide during shedding (this can be one of the two hides in their tank). A “humid hide” is a hide that has damp moss inside to increase moisture in the hide in order to aid in the shedding process. There are a variety of hides available on the market. Sapa and Moss Domes are popular naturalistic options and are made of moss to help with humidity.
Lighting is not necessary but can be used if desired. However, only use lightning up to 12 hours a day as too much lighting can be stressful.
Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning they only eat insects. Dubia Roaches, crickets, and mealworms are the main staple of a healthy leopard gecko. Waxworms and superworms can be fed on occasion as they are higher in fat.
All feeder insects should be dusted with calcium and multivitamins, as well as gutloaded. Simply place the feeder insects and a small amount of powder into a plastic bag and shake lightly. Gut loading refers to feeding the insects nutritious food, generally powder or gel, for at least 12 hours before feeding to the leopard gecko.
Feed leopard geckos every 1-2 days. Offer approximately two insects per inch of leopard gecko and remove any insects that have not been eaten within 24 hours.
Always provide fresh, clean water for your Leopard Gecko. Make sure the water dish has steps so crickets can climb out and do not drown or contaminate the water.
After the necessities, Leopard Gecko enclosures can have any variety of decor that help to add enrichment. Spider Wood, Grapevine, and Driftwood are popular climbing implements that provide a different texture and aid in shedding. Natural stones and mosses are also a great addition for general stimulation and enrichment with the added benefit of a naturalistic look.
- Unlike many other geckos, leopard geckos do not have adhesive lamellae on their toes, therefore, they cannot climb glass or other smooth vertical surfaces.
- All species of the Eublepharis genus have movable eyelids, which is uncommon among other species of geckos. Their eyelids are such a distinguishing trait that the genus name Eublepharis comes from the Greek works eu (good) and blepharos (eyelid).
- Leopard gecko color comes from cells known as chromatophores. These pigment containing cells come in a variety of types that are based on what color they correspond to. Wild leopard geckos commonly contain melanophores (black spots) and xanthophores (yellow).
- Leopard geckos have excellent sight and hearing abilities that they utilize in the wild to avoid predators such as snakes, birds, and foxes.