Leopard geckos are very beautiful lizards, and are very interesting to watch. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, which can be quite striking. Leopard geckos can grow to be about 10 inches long. As long as they are handled gently and frequently, they are typically quite gentle, which is one reason they are quite popular pets. However, it is important to realize that they do live quite a while: up to 20 years, in fact. Before you adopt one of these fascinating animals, make sure you are ready to commit to caring for the little guy for his entire lifespan.
Making sure your gecko is comfortable in his tank is very important. I recommend getting a tank that is at least 20 gallons, though your pet will appreciate a bigger habitat. Add a suitable substrate, such as Turf, flat stones, butcher paper, or pea gravel. Your gecko will need some hidey-holes, including one that contains moss or vermiculite, which will help your pet shed. For decoration, you can add rocks, plants, driftwood, and/or climbing branches. You won’t need special lighting, so a low-watt tank light is fine. However, I do recommend using a timer that is set to a 12-hour cycle.
Leopard geckos have some very specific temperature requirements. You’ll want to set the tank up so that one end is cooler than the other is. That way, your pet lizard can stay comfortable by moving from zone to zone. The cooler end should always stay between 73-75 °F, while the warm end should remain between 85 90 °F. Opt for under-tank heating, which is safer than heating rocks.
Before adopting a leopard gecko, it is important to realize that feeding them is not for the squeamish. Leopard geckos eat live bugs, including waxworms, mealworms, and crickets. You’ll also need to dust your pet’s food with a nutritional powder. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about caring for a gecko? Contact me, your Marion, IA veterinarian, anytime!