Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

Below is a Leopard Gecko care sheet based upon our experiences keeping and breeding this extremely popular pet reptile.

Leopard gecko care sheet

Leopard Gecko
Eublepharis macularius

Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) have been commonplace in the reptile industry for several decades, and for good reason. The below Leopard gecko care sheet will describe just how easy these lizards are to successfully maintain in captivity.

Range: Northern India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan.

Physical Description: Sturdy-bodied with a base coloration varying from yellow to white, with muted purple bands, and irregular black spots peppered throughout. Knobby tubercules cover their body, culminating in a thick tail used to house fat reserves. They also have working eyelids, which is rare for a gecko.

There are many different “morphs” available, which is another way of saying that there are a ton of different colors, patterns, and sizes due to tens of thousands of breedings that have produced some extremely beautiful and unique variants. They can all be bred to each other, which makes breeding them fun because sometimes you get interesting surprises.

Size: These are medium-sized geckos. Hatchling Leopard geckos are approximately 4" in total length, and grow fairly quickly, reaching adult size in less than one year if fed effectively. Adults can attain a maximum length of 8” to 12” and a body mass that can feel substantial, due in part to their bulky tail adding to their volume.

There are three known sizes, including “normal,” “giant,” and “super giant.” Most Leopard geckos available in the U.S. are normals. Super giants are incredibly massive when you’re used to seeing the normals—around twice the mass.

Behavior: Naturally gentle and non-aggressive, these entertaining lizards make excellent captive reptiles. As is the case with most geckos, "Leos" are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. While this is true, in captivity they will also forage during the daylight hours, and will feed actively if food is made available.

One common trait of most all the Leos we’ve kept is their tendency to defecate in the same area of the cage each time. This of course results in easily manageable cage maintenance. They are clean animals and can even lick their eyeballs.

Leopard geckos are slow, and are essentially incapable of darting away like many other species of gecko. They move in a controlled, deliberate manner. Keep in mind that they can drop their tail, so be careful when handling these lizards, and never pick them up or grab them by the tail. The tail
will regenerate, but will never look as stunning as the original.

Enclosure: These lizards do not require a large cage. In fact, a 20-gallon tank is plenty large for an adult, or even a pair. But, it goes without saying that the more space you can provide them with, the better.

Substrate-wise, use a 60/40 mixture of sand and coco husk, respectively. The mixture should never be allowed to become bone dry, but should instead be watered appropriately to help maintain humidity within the reptile cage. This will aid in shedding as well (Leopard geckos eat their shed skin). Avoid using artificial turf as it tends to trap waste and is difficult to clean.

It's important to provide multiple areas of shelter. Cork bark, either flat pieces on the surface or partially-buried tube sections, make
excellent hide spots. The hiding spots should be a snug fit for your gecko (adjust them as the lizard increases in size), and should be placed in both the warm and cool sides of the reptile cage.

Water can simply be provided using a heavy dish a couple inches in diameter. Keep the water clean and fresh.

Heating & Humidity: While a basking light isn't necessary for your Leopard gecko (they are nocturnal, remember?), an under tank heater should be used under 30% to 40% of the cage. Not only will this provide the lizard with a temperature gradient (this is very important), but it will greatly assist in healthy digestion. This allows them to choose what temperature suits them best at the time.

These geckos don't usually soak in the water dish, but if they do, it's a definite sign that your cage is too dry. Humidity levels of around 50% should be maintained at all times.

Lighting: A fluorescent light can be utilized to help with daytime viewing, but it certainly isn't necessary (UVB is not necessary either).

Feeding: Leopard geckos have hearty appetites and, if given the husbandry outlined above, will thrive on a varied diet. These carnivorous lizards relish crickets and small roaches, but will consume most food items including mealworms, superworms, waxworms, and newborn pinkies.

We once had a Leopard gecko that was absolutely ravenous for minnows. In the decades since, we've learned that fish are not a good staple food for reptiles as they deplete Niacin, and can carry heavy parasite loads. Remember to dust food items with a quality reptile supplement such as Miner-all.

Ideally, you will have a shallow dish of live mealworms available at all times. This allows the Leopard gecko to eat when it prefers.

Breeding: No Leopard gecko care sheet would be complete without mentioning breeding. These geckos become sexually mature at approximately nine months of age, and can begin breeding once this milestone is attained. Weight-wise, they can begin breeding at 45 grams, but it’s always best to let them grow a little larger first.

Known for being prolific egg-layers, clutch sizes are generally only two eggs. The good news: they can lay several clutches per year.

It's best to keep one male gecko with two or three females in the same cage. There is no need to artificially manipulate the temperatures to mimic a breeding season. Provide a small dish of calcium in the terrarium year round, as the females will lick it as needed.

Keep a small nesting box (approximately 9" x 5" x 5") half-filled with moist soil or peat moss in the cage year round. This can actually help
induce breeding (since the female knows she has a place to lay if impregnated). When females are about to lay, you will be able to see the eggs through her abdomen.

Clutches of two eggs can be laid every month, up to 12 clutches per year. This type of constant pregnancy can, however, be tough on females.

Eggs incubated at 81F degrees will yield female Leopard geckos, while eggs incubated at 88F degrees will result in all males. Incubation times range from six to eight weeks in duration.

Price Range: Pure Leopard geckos are usually $20 to $40, while morphs can fetch prices well over $100, depending upon the pattern (or lack thereof). You can buy a Leopard gecko for sale on our main website.

Species Notes: Leopard geckos can live and breed at 20 years of age, so they are unusually long lived reptiles. Virtually all Leopard geckos within the United States are captive-bred.

Any thorough Leopard gecko care sheet should mention one of the most entertaining habits of these lizards: their proclivity for vibrating the tip of their tail when excited. This usually happens when they are stalking prey, or when a male is preparing to mate with a female.

Summary: Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) are one of the most commonly available and sought-after lizards in the reptile world. Beautiful colors, a docile demeanor, modest size, striking morphs, and relative ease of breeding help make them a perfect reptile pet.

Copyright 2015 - BackwaterReptiles.com

  • Why buy reptiles?

    We offer exotic reptiles for sale online at absolute rock-bottom prices, which means we make these fascinating animals available to you affordably as pets, or even to start your own reptile breeding project. We are reptile enthusiasts who believe captive breeding is integral to the future of the market, as it not only helps protect wild herp populations, but is an incredibly rewarding experience that tends to intensify one's passion for these amazing prehistoric creatures. Whether you buy a snake, lizard, turtle, tortoise, or alligator, we are driven to provide the highest quality live reptiles for sale.

  • Why buy amphibians?

    Amphibians are generally slower-moving, and have uniquely moist skin which means they are never far from a source of water. Their life cycle is nothing short of incredible: they hatch in water, spend weeks or months in metamorphosis, then become either terrestrial or remain primarily water bound. Some salamanders even breathe through their skin! Our live amphibians for sale online include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. Some are huge, some are small, and virtually all are amazing to observe in captivity. When you buy amphibians from us, you can rest assured they are fully guaranteed to arrive alive and in great condition. Why not start an amphibian breeding project today?

  • Why buy feeder insects?

    Reptile and amphibian food should be varied, which is why we offer an array of feeder insects for sale. It's always far more cost effective to buy feeder insects in bulk, which often saves up to 70% off pet store prices. Plus, the feeders are delivered right to your doorstep. We offer live crickets for sale, as well as mealworms, wax worms, nightcrawlers, and now even lizards, all at the lowest possible prices. Our reptile and amphibian feeder insects and lizards include a guarantee of live arrival.

Why buy our reptiles?

We offer exotic reptiles for sale online at absolute rock-bottom prices, which means we make these fascinating animals available to you affordably as pets, or even to start your own reptile breeding project. We are reptile enthusiasts who believe captive breeding is integral to the future of the market, as it not only helps protect wild herp populations, but is an incredibly rewarding experience that tends to intensify one's passion for these amazing prehistoric creatures. Whether you buy a snake, lizard, turtle, tortoise, or alligator, we are driven to provide the highest quality live reptiles for sale.

Why buy our amphibians?

Amphibians are generally slower-moving than reptiles, and have uniquely moist skin which means they are never far from a source of water. Their life cycle is nothing short of incredible: they hatch in water, spend weeks or months in metamorphosis, then become either terrestrial or remain primarily water bound. Some salamanders even breathe through their skin! Our live amphibians for sale online include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. Some are huge, some are small, and virtually all are amazing to observe in captivity. When you buy amphibians from us, you can rest assured they are fully guaranteed to arrive alive and in great condition. Why not start an amphibian breeding project today?

Why buy our reptile feeders?

Reptile and amphibian food should be varied, which is why we offer an array of feeder insects for sale. It's always far more cost effective to buy feeder insects in bulk, which often saves up to 70% off pet store prices. Plus, the feeders are delivered right to your doorstep. We offer live crickets for sale, as well as dubia roaches, mealworms, wax worms, nightcrawlers, and now even lizards, all at the lowest possible prices. Our reptile and amphibian feeder insects and lizards include a guarantee of live arrival.

Stacks Image p3294820_n4861970
Buy reptiles and amphibians

Reptiles for Sale

Lizards for sale
Snakes for sale
Turtles for sale
Tortoises for sale

Amphibians for Sale

Salamanders for sale
Newts for sale
Frogs for sale
Toads for sale

Scorpions for Sale

Scorpions for sale

Tarantulas for Sale

Tarantulas for sale

Feeders for Sale

Feeder Lizards for sale
Feeder Insects for sale

Alligators for Sale

Alligators for sale