Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
 

Leopard Gecko Care

Leopard Gecko AnatomyGeneral Information: The scientific name of the leopard Gecko is Eublepharis Macularius. Leos come from the middle east (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India). Their habitat is made of mostly rocky and semi-arid desert areas. The terrain is sandy and desert like. The temperature can range around 105 degrees to as low as 75 at night. The winter in these regions range from 60 degrees during the day and as low as 40 at night. Geckos will go in to a hibernation like manner during December through February relying on their fat reserves during the cool down. In the wild leopard geckos will live in colonies. Geckos are nocturnal preferring to hunt at night for insects. Insectivore diets consists of spiders, worms, and really any small insects. Their homes consist of a holes in the ground or cracks and crevices in rocks. In the wild it is assumed that the sand has something to do with intake of calcium for the geckos. Scientists are still researching this subject. In captivity a gecko's life span is over 20 years.

 

Anatomy: Leopard geckos come as a male or a female. To tell the difference just turn the gecko so that you can see the vent (where the stool comes out). If it is a male there should be two bulges at the base of the tail in between the back legs. there will also be an upside down v ( ^ ). These are called pre anal pores. Males are a dark brown or grey. The female lack the v shaped pores, although I have seen some females that are fat and look like they have bulges, they lack the darker pre anal pores.

 

The geckos use their tail to hold nutrients, that is why they are fat (or at least should have a good size tail). Much like lizards, they have the ability to break away their tails on demand. this is a defense mechanism for predators. They will regrow the tail but it will never be the same. It will be bigger, smaller or a different color. The Leos have great hearing ability, their 'ears' are located right above the neck below the head in a small hole that is some what transparent.

 

Leopard Gecko SheddingGeckos are swift so be careful when you take them out of the cage. They have the ability to bite and yes it hurts a little. They don't have teeth, but hard gums. The gecko has a need to shed, they will shed about once every couple of months or so. I have a nest box or (a hide box) in all of my geckos tanks which makes it a lot easier for them to shed. We use just a Tupperware container with a hole cut in it with peat moss or forest bed in it. I keep its consistency like you would for a plant (not wet), which can cause mouth rot, a fungus that forms at the opening of the mouth. An adult Leo should be about 6 to 7 inches long and weigh around 45 to 65 grams. The standard color patterns are banded (the stripes go left to right not up and down) and they have lots of spots. These are yellowish in color or sometimes brown.  There ae many differnt color patterns for leopard geckos from all white to stripes and random circles all over the gecko. Some with all red eyes others with black eyes and black n white color some pink or lavander and my favorit deep orange redish color. 

Take a look at our Leopard geckos for sale page to see what we have.

 

Health / Diseases: Geckos are a good pet, but they do require some certain things (feed your geckos!!!)  I see a lot of geckos that are not on the right feeding habits.  They need to eat!  I dust my insects with calcium and put calcium in all of my animals habitats. If you just put the calcium in a dish in their habitat that should be good.

 

Some diseases and health issues are as follows:

  • MBD (calcium deficiency)
  • Coccidia (intestinal track parasite)                                           
  • Dystocia (egg binding)
  • Dysecdysis (shedding problems)
  • Pneumonia (respiratory problems)
  • Sand impact (sand is stuck in the gecko)
  • Prolapse (in males one of the reproductive organs has issues)
  • Anorexia (stress cleanliness or too many in one tank)
  • Infections (any kind of wounds from breeding  

 

MBD - Is when the animal is not getting the correct amount a calcium. The bones become brittle, but does not mean that the gecko will die or needs to be put down. Many times it just needs to go to a veterinarian and then needs to be pumped full of calcium.

 

Coccidia - This is a parasite that is in the intestinal track and can be passed trough the stools to other geckos. The parasite will look for new hosts. A veterinarian is needed in this case. They will give the gecko medication. The gecko needs to be separated from the rest of the group and the others need to be checked out as well. A good indication of this sickness is runny stools, shed bulges shedding problems and weight loss. There is no cure for this so far. Some geckos can be carry the parasite and not show sings. This PARASITE will infect you whole collection.  I would recommend asking the breeder if they test or if they have any wild caught animals in their facilty this is common for wild caught geckos to have this not leopard geckos but fat tailed geckos please just be careful not all breeders are out for the hobby.

 

Dystocia - is when the female is either to small or does not have enough nutrition to pass the eggs. In some cases the eggs are too big this requires surgery.

 

Dysecdysis - This is a shedding problem in which the gecko does not shed correctly. This can be caused from not enough humidity or nutrition. The gecko should be put in a nest box for a few days. If that does not work try helping the gecko with some wet paper towels and tweezers to try to peel some of the skin off. If that does not work seek  a veterinarian.

 

Pneumonia - This when the enclosure is too cool or too wet and it causes a bacteria to form in the lungs of the gecko. This will need the help of a veterinarian.

 

Sand Impact - This is when the gecko ingests the substrate (sand) and it becomes impacted. Sometimes it can not pass the sand and they will need surgery to remove it.

 

Prolapse - It is when one or more reproductive organs prolepses (it will not go back in ). Put them in warm sugar water (only enough water to cover the belly) for a few hours if that does not work take them to the veterinarian.

 

Anorexia - I have had some of my geckos do this before. This is caused by stress. Geckos are all different just like people. Some don't mind others in the enclosure with them and some do. This is something you will have to watch. If you see them not eating and/or not being active, separate them from the other geckos and provide the gecko with wax worms and lots of calcium for about a month or so. Once you get some weight back on them try to put them back with other geckos. Additionally there might be a dominate female in the tank you might have deal with.

 

Infections - All living things have the ability to get an infection and basically the only thing to battle from wounds or breeding wounds. Sometimes husbandry can cause an infection. If there is a wound take the gecko out of the tank and put it by itself and clean the wound with water and apply Neosporin once a day until it is healed.

 

Leopard Gecko Habatat TankHousing: Housing your Leo is easy. A 10 gallon can hold an adult leopard. for two leopards I would put them in a 20 gallon. this is better for them. I put a nest box in all of my tanks and it helps them shed. In my opinion you need three dishes; 1 for worms, 1 for water, and 1 calcium. The substrate can be sand, paper towels, newspaper, or forest bed. I personally use forest bed by Eco Earth. It's easy to clean up and it holds moisture, plus it is cheaper than sand.

 

You will need a screened lid for the tank as well as a heat light or heat pad. that should be a good little set up. Of course you can get cage furniture if you would like for some curb appeal. Temperature for the geckos needs to to be around the high 80s during the day and should be in the low to mid 70s at night. It is also important that the geckos are on a 12 hour light schedule. Humidity is ok at the 50% mark but if you have a nest box you don't have to worry about it. Geckos need to be fed every couple of days. Worms are the easiest as they live longer, do not make any noise, are cleaner, and do not stink. Crickets carry parasites and are dirty and I do not like them, but I still use them for fat tailed geckos and crested geckos as they prefer them.

 

Gecko Heat Lamp and PadsIf you want to handle your gecko, take your time and let it get used to you. Geckos are like a dog at the park, they want to run! Do not hold them tight, hold them loose like sliding your hands over a rope. I keep an open hand and let them walk hand over hand.  Dont tighten your hand around your ecko they might bit or eject their tail. The good thing is that they always go to the bathroom in the same part of the tank making it easy to clean! I clean about every 3 days to a week depending on the habitat. Its up to you and how many geckos you have in the habitat. Having more than one gecko is a good idea as in the wild they are found in colonies. So I believe they do better with a buddy. One rule is to not house two males together. I have talked to a few people that have done it for years and have had no problems, but I wouldn't risk it. Getting two females would probably be a wiser choice. I have found that they are less aggressive. When you clean your tank or handle your geckos I recommend using rubber gloves, especially to clean. I handle my geckos, but always wash your hands before and after with antibacterial soap.

 

Buying a Leopard Gecko: Buying a leopard gecko is a good idea, they are easy to care for and fun, plus they look cool! If you decide to get a Leopard gecko; here are a few point to keep in mind:

 

  1. Does the gecko look healthy?
  2. Is its tail plump? It doesn't have to be massive, but at least the size of the ones in the pictures you have seen?
  3. Look at its stool, if you can. Make sure it is not runny.  It should be dark brown or black with a white portion in it. 
  4. Look for shedding problems.
  5. Look for missing toes this is not a big deal but when they have a hard shed it can cause dismemberment.
  6. Eyes should be clear and free of any discharge.
  7. See if the gecko is impacted sand. a lot of pet shops just read the book on the shelf and don't have the same amount of experience or knowledge as some. Try to buy from a breeder as they know a lot more about the gecko than a pet store does. Additionally there are usually too many in one enclosure and they do not know what is best for the animal. I suggest to buy from a reputable breeder. The geckos from a breeder are much better quality and they usually have a better selection.

 

Leopard Gecko Calcium SupplimentFood / Diet: Leopard geckos are insectivores (they eat insects, live prey)

 

  • meal worms
  • wax worms
  • silk worms
  • butter worms
  • super worms
  • crickets (remember to try to gut load your crickets this can be accomplished by placing fruit or an orange in the cricket tank the night before. I also put calcium in there as it helps to supplement the geckos diet and the crickets love it!

 

*The most important thing to remember besides feeding is a calcium supplement.

 

You can find some of these insects at your local pet store. The others you can get online. I feed my geckos crickets once in a while but mostly meal worms. Once a week they get a few wax worms. I have read that it is not good to have your gecko on a complete diet of wax worms because they are high in fat and can cause liver and kidney problems;  although it is good to use them on a female that has just laid eggs to get her back to the correct weight so she will be ready for the next clutch. I like meal worms as they have less maintenance. If you see your gecko eating their skin its ok there are supposed to do this. It allows them to absorb the nutrients from the shed. If you get a loose cricket in the house a little trick of the trade is to use a wet paper towel or wet toilet paper it works best.

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