What You Should Know Before Buying a Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos are one of the most popular reptiles kept as pets. Their small size makes them ideal for someone in an apartment, their different morphs ensure that each one is unique, and their behaviour and eating habits can be a good source of entertainment. That’s not the only reasons why these little creatures have become so sought after; leopard geckos can be relatively easy to care for.
There are a number of things to keep in mind when setting up their enclosure; one of the most important being the space required. The general rule to follow is to have at least a 30-gallon leopard gecko tank. If you cannot provide this space, then a leopard gecko might not be right for you.
You will want your leopard gecko to be happy and safe, and you can achieve this by doing your research. There are plenty of factors that can make your leopard gecko live a healthy life, some of which can be read below.
Leopard geckos are terrestrial so they need to be able to absorb heat from the ground and the air. Substrates like newspaper and paper towels are not suitable options for this.
The main questions you should ask when buying substrate are:
- Is it natural and non-toxic?
- Is the risk of ingestion low?
- Is it easy to clean?
- Is it suitable for burrowing?
One choice is a substrate like repti-carpet. This substrate can be easily cleaned (you can even throw it in the washing machine) and it is soft enough for the geckos to dig and create burrows. However, if you are looking for a substrate that mimics a leopard gecko’s natural habitat, you should research your options and even ask on reptile forums.
There are many different things that can be used to make a hide for the gecko. A hide is a place where they can go to feel safe. A hide can be as simple as a plastic container with an entrance hole cut into it. For example, a small plastic deli container with a hole cut into the side is ideal. More natural hiding spots are also available; it might be beneficial if you familiarised yourself with the term “bioactive”, if a more natural enclosure is what you would prefer.
Leopard geckos are nocturnal, so they will be most active at night, but some can be shy by nature. When first introduced to their new environment, they might need a little time to warm up to their owners before they will come out of their hide. By providing hiding spots, this allows them to have their own space.
Heat and lighting
Leopard geckos need a hot spot for basking. A heat lamp can be placed above the enclosure at one end, which will allow the other end to be cooler. This allows thermal variation, as the hotter end should be between 28 to 30 Celsius and the cooler end 24 to 26 Celsius. You can also use a heat mat placed under the enclosure, if it is glass; these are best used during the night, however.
Leopard geckos also need to be exposed to UV light, as this helps them to produce vitamin D3. This vitamin is essential for their bone development.
Diet and water
Leopard geckos are omnivores. Their diet should consist of a good quality reptile food and a number of insects. They are not picky eaters so a number of different types of insects can be fed to them. To help with this, a number of feeder insects can be purchased.
The best way to provide the right type of food is to use a self-feeding dish. This can be made by using a shallow, wide bowl. A piece of slate can be used to hold the food in place so the gecko has to work for its food. This will help to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they need.
Another important thing that a leopard gecko enclosure needs is a good source of water. The best way to provide this is to use a water dish without a lot of surface area. This will allow the gecko the ability to drink without getting water on the rest of their body.
By making sure that the enclosure has everything a leopard gecko needs, they can live a healthy and happy life. That’s the best way to make sure that you get the most out of owning a leopard gecko.