Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
Common Name: Leopard Gecko
Scientific Name: Eublepharis Macularius
Leopard geckos enjoy their privacy and can be seen mostly active in the night. With that being said, what you house your leopard gecko in should include enough space to walk as well as a hide to stay in during the day. For those interested in an aquarium type tank, 10 gallons is enough for one leopard gecko. Please note that hatchlings can measure around 3 to 4 inches in length and adults can be significantly longer with females growing to about 7 – 8 inches and males around 8 to 10 inches. Those of the giant line can be as long as 12 inches. If you plan to have a number of leopard geckos, we recommend buying a rack system where you can have many tubs to house your leopard geckos in. There are many companies that sell rack systems for reptiles. If you need more info on this, please feel free to contact me. With reference to the hide, I simply bought a couple Tupperware containers with a top, which I cut a hole in so they can go inside. Inside the hide, I put eco-earth substrate so that I can increase the moisture as well as provide something for the females to bury their eggs in.
The enclosure should provide a hot and cool end where the leopard gecko can thermo-regulate. The hot end, which is usually heated via an under tank heater or heat lamp should be 90 to 92 degree F. Some breeders keep their hot end even higher but generally do not exceed 100 degrees F. The cool end will typically be the ambient temperature of the room the enclosure is in. The cool end temperature should be roughly 75 to 85 degrees F with the nighttime temps being slightly cooler than the daytime temp.
Maintaining proper temperatures for your leopard gecko is extremely important to their health. Failure to control proper temperatures can lead to illness and eventually the death of your leopard gecko. It is important to establish these temperatures in its enclosure prior to purchasing your new leopard gecko.
For breeding purposes, leopard geckos are often put through a cooling cycle which exposes the breeders to high 60’s low 70 degrees F. This period of cooling will last about four weeks before temps are raised again to the normal range.
Leopard geckos require humidity levels that are typically between 35% and 45%. If the humidity goes below or above this range for long periods of time, you increase the risk of stress and certain illnesses that come with having too much moisture or too little.
Limiting ventilation, increasing the size of the water bowl, as well as choosing the proper substrate can influence the humidity levels. Lastly, purchasing a hygrometer will allow you to accurately measure the humidity in the tank.
If a hide box is placed in its enclosure, this can be a great source increased humidity, which leopard geckos will seek out when they are in the process of shedding.
There are a few accessories that I highly recommend a person should include in their leopard gecko’s setup. A couple that you should put some thought into is the: The substrate, what it will hide in, a water dish, a way to thermo-regulate, surface temperature reader, and a thermometer/hygrometer device.
With reference to the substrate, there are a plethora of options, but only few I believe work best for leopard geckos. The substrate I prefer to use and recommend is compressed coconut, also known as eco earth. I use this for their hide box and paper towels for the enclosure. The reason I prefer compressed coconut is due to its ability to retain water, which will help maintain a proper humidity level in the cage. It is digestible and eliminates any possibility of impaction. Is this the best substrate on the market for leopard geckos? I believe it is among the best, but there are others out there that are great as well. Newspaper, in particular, has been known to get the ink on your reptiles, which can be rather unattractive. If you happen to decide to use wood shavings, avoid those made from pine and cedar. These woods contain oils that are not good for reptiles. If you prefer not to use paper towels for the enclosure there are other options available, however, would stay away from using sand. It has been known to cause impaction and although I have seen this debated, I like to play it on the safe side.
When it comes to a hide, you can use anything that a leopard gecko can get into and feel safe. There are really nice hides that can make the enclosure really nice to look at while others just use a cardboard box. Realistically, leopard geckos don’t care as long as it’s clean and they can hide in there. A hide of some sort is important because a leopard gecko’s sense of security effects is stress level.
Water Dish & Thermoregulation
A water dish with clean water should be in the enclosure and should typically be changed every few days. The water is generally kept on the cool end of your enclosure, which brings me to the topic of thermoregulation. The hot end should be heated via an under tank heater or heat lamp. I particularly recommend an under tank heater. There are many products that you can purchase that allow you to paste a heating pad to the bottom of the tank. DO NOT use hot rocks! These have been known to reach extremely high temperatures and unfortunately, leopard geckos will sometimes sit on them until they are burned.
Surface Temperature Reader
A surface temp reader should also be acquired so that you can accurately measure the surface temperature of the hot end. You will always want to be in control of the temperatures and this is a great tool to ensure you have that control.
Thermometer / Hygrometer Measurement Device
Lastly, it is a good idea to obtain a thermometer and hygrometer measurement device. As mentioned earlier, leopard geckos require an ambient temperature of 75-85 degrees F. Additionally, leopard geckos require humidity levels between 35% and 45%. Being able to accurately control the humidity not only helps with feeding and overall health but also helps the leopard gecko shed properly. There are many products out there that can give you a round-about measurement. Electronic devices are generally more accurate. Here is an example of the device I use and recommend: “Thermometer/Hygrometer Combo Unit”
We feed our leopard geckos primarily dubia roaches and mealworms, which we breed ourselves. It is important to note that leopard geckos require supplementation in order to make up for the lack of food diversity they are normally exposed to in the wild. We gut load our dubia roaches and mealworms with Repashy Bug Burger and also dust them alternating between Repashy calcium plus and a mix of Vionate (Vitamin Mineral Powder) and Repti Calcium without D3. The latter is mixed (4) parts Vionate to (1) part Repti Calcium.
When Your Reptile Arrives
Opening up your box and receiving your reptile is without a doubt very exciting. Prior to your reptile arriving home, you should have already prepared its enclosure with a hide box, established the correct temperature and humidity, and made sure fresh water is available. Although it is tempting to want to spend time with your new acquisition, the first week is a critical time for your reptile to familiarize itself with its new habitat. It is not uncommon for reptiles to stop eating until they have had this time to acquaint themselves with their new environment. Once they are comfortable and have established a feeding routine, it is then okay to handle your new pet. If you need more information about how to care for your new pet, feel free to browse the Learning Center.