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How Do I Care for a Leopard Gecko?

Crickets are a staple of the leopard gecko's diet.
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  • Written By: Kaiser Castro
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2014
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Leopard geckos are commonly bought by lizard enthusiasts for their easy temperament. Most are easily hand-tamed, making them an ideal lizard for beginners. A leopard gecko will have its own individual personality and specific care needs. You will have to take into consideration their unique behavior, housing, and feeding requirements. Before acquiring a leopard gecko, it is important to do some research to be sure that you will be able to provide for its needs.

When it comes to housing, you will need to purchase at least a 10-gallon tank, with an additional 10-gallons for each gecko housed in the same enclosure. This will ensure that each lizards has ample space. Do not place more than one male leopard gecko in the same enclosure to avoid territorial attacks. There have been cases of leopard geckos fighting to the death which can be prevented by housing a male by itself, or with a female.

The furnishings inside the enclosure will have to be taken into consideration as well. The most important addition is to place a shallow water dish embedded into the substrate. Also, try placing a few hiding spots in the terrarium. There will be many items at your local pet store that can be placed in the enclosure. Alternatively, you can insert your own creations like a flower pot with an opening cut into it to provide ample cover for your pet.

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Leopard geckos are cold-blooded, which means that their internal temperature is highly dependent on external temperatures. Placing a heat mat under the substrate on one side of the cage will allow the lizard to have an area where the temperature will be warmer, while the other side is cooler. The ambient temperature should be between 80° and 88° Fahrenheit (between 26° and 31° Celsius).

Feeding your leopard gecko at the same time every day is extremely important, and most will readily eat crickets and mealworms. Geckos that are a bit underweight can be feed pinkies from time to time to fatten them up. To increase the nutritional content of their food, sprinkle it with a vitamin and mineral supplement.

It’s always best to purchase your geckos from a breeder to ensure genetic health. If that is not an option, always make sure to select a gecko that has clear eyes with taut skin. Loose skin is a sign of dehydration and possible illness.

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