Leopard geckos are one of the most popular reptiles to keep as pets. But are leopard geckos good pets? Advised by experienced keepers, leopard geckos should be the first pet reptile a beginner keeper should keep.
How will you know that only because they are popular, they are the best? Well, no creature exists without fault. You can balance their importance out once you get to know more about their advantages and disadvantages by reading further.
So far, it is guaranteed that leopards geckos are good pets if you are looking for a reptile easy to care for. Give them the right amount of space, some privacy, good food and they will be there living a long time in captivity and being active at dawn and dusk when most people are home able to be with them. They will not let down the sophistication of your room either as they come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Things to Know Before Getting a Leopard: Care Tip
Want to make your gecko a world for it in your home? All you gotta do is provide them an environment to live in as similar as possible to their natural wide environment.
You can just follow some steps for it, be sure you know what you’re getting into, without having to pull of any grand gesture. Your reptile would also appreciate some food associated with its wild life.
Make them feel more at home with your undivided attention and love towards them when they crave it, Understand their wants and needs and be the next best leopard gecko parents!
1. Housing Your Leopard Gecko: Tank or Enclosure
You do not have to worry about your gecko’s enclosure taking up a huge space in your house. These reptiles are relatively small and are not that active, which allows them to live peacefully in moderate sized tanks.
Baby leopards can live comfortably in around 10-sized0gallon habitats, whereas adult leopard geckos can work it out in the 20-gallon ones.
Don’t worry about the price costing you a fortune or the type making you look for it everywhere! Almost any type of enclosures can work out for your pet.
Aquarium are the most popular for their availability and low cost. However, slightly better options would be commercially built reptile tanks.
If you’re looking for the option costing you the lowest, you can always go for storage boxes, but they might not give you the best view to your new pet.
2. Substrate and Enclosure Furniture
Leopard geckos generally don’t require a lot of things, but like all creatures do, they also need some features in their habitats to keep your leopard gecko healthy and happy. These are some things you should provide to take special care of your lizard:
Do not forget to add a substrate to the enclosure of your reptile to provide a comfortable surface which can also absorb any released liquids.
Newspaper can be your first choice as a beginner as it costs almost nothing, easy to to remove and replace and minimises ingestion.
However, some keepers prefers looks too. So, they use a sand substrate. It is a perfectly fine substrate, but it is important to use a smooth-grained one as if your leopard gecko accidentally swallows some, it will prevent from clogging up its digestive tract.
You can even spot clean them, instead having to change on a daily basis as you might have to change newspaper. Apart from all the advantages, it might dry your pet up.
So, another alternative would be using wood chips such as cypress much. With its combination of affordability, safety and good looks, it won’t disappoint you or your gecko. If you are okay with something on a higher price range, a reptile carpet would be perfect too.
Leopard geckos spend most of their times in the wild hiding. If they are exposed for a relatively long time, they can become quite stressed. So, you’ll need to provide your secretive animal some hiding spots in their tank.
Without costing you much, a crumbles newspaper or paper towel tube will suffice as a hiding spot. Place one of the hiding spots on the warm side of the tank an another on the cooler side, while others being anywhere you want to put them.
This way, your leopard geckos won’t have to choose between security and temperature. Just make sure to clean them regularly.
Leopard Geckos like to stay hydrated unlike other lizards. So always make sure to provide a small, shallow dish filled with clean, cool and fresh water at all times so that they won’t have to look for water every time they are thirsty.
3. Heating and Lighting the Habitat
Unlike many other pet lizards, leopard geckos do not require any specific lighting. But to live cozily and comfortably, they need some specific temperature, humidity and heat to feel at home in their tank and be happy and healthy.
It’s a good idea to keep the humidity around 30-40% RH which is close to the wilderness of their natural habit. Also, make sure to keep a hygrometer with you to monitor the levels.
To aid them while shedding, moist hides and a small bowl of water for soaking will be appreciated by them.
Unlike other reptiles, UVB lighting is not mandatory for this one if leopard geckos get enough calcium and Vitamin D3 from their diet and supplements.
Even if there is lighting around them, they should be on a 10-12 hours on/off cycle to maintain normal circadian rhythms.
Female geckos during breeding should be provided with some low-level UVB lighting since their calcium demands are higher and in general, UVB helps to prevent metabolic bone disease.
Leopard geckos needs both warm and cool environments to get a balance. Temperature on the hotter part of the tank should be about 24-26 degree celsius and 21-23 degree celsius on the cooler side.
Make sure temperatures at night do not go below 20-21 degrees. Instead of basking, leopard geckos lie on pebbles that have been heated by the sun to absorb the heat through their bellies.
So, heat mats or ceramic heat emitters work the best for these effects. Do monitor the temperature if you use a real rock under a basking bulb, as rocks tend to overheat easily.
4. Habitat Maintenance: Keeping Your Pet’s Habitat Clean
Just like them, leopard gecko’s habitats are low maintenance too. It won’t take you very long to do so, but it is very crucial to do it.
There are two types of cleaning you should carry on with your pet’s habitat. One is a daily spot-cleaning and another is a once-in-a-month full habitat cleaning.
Spot cleaning is just removing their wastes like urinates, shredded skin, or feces. To be more careful, you should check the temperature and refill the water now and then as well.
This won’t take you more than 5-10 mins. On the other hand, a full habitat cleaning is first taking your leopard gecko out and then just removing all the enclosure furniture and the substrate from the tank.
Clean those decorations and replace the substrate then redecorate the place. Put your pet back in and you’ll be done in around half an hour.
5. Dinner Check: Providing Food and Water
Leopard geckos are known as non-picky eaters. You can easily satisfy these carnivores with 5-10 crickets per meal. You can mix other live insects such as meal worms or was worms to include a variety to their diet.
Also, it will be wise to sometimes dust the insects with vitamin and mineral supplement on a periodic basis. Leopard geckos live in the search for food with heir sense of smell, so the moment you put food in, they won’t miss it.
Reasons Why Are Leopard Geckos Good Pets
1. Easy to care for
Referring to all the points describes above, leopard geckos are the easiest reptiles to care for. Even though just like any other lizards, they need certain circumstances to be comfortable in.
However, leopard geckos can live and tolerate if the parameters are slightly compromised. Measuring only 8-11 inches, they fit well in various living spaces and adjust. These popular pet reptiles are easy to clean, feed and handle.
As they like to feed on living insects, their dietary plan is more cost-efficient than most other reptiles. Leopard geckos require none to very low level external lighting and can live in handmade habitats.
3. Tolerate handling
Leopard geckos are solitary creatures, but they are docile, calm creatures that do not mind handling. Even though you shouldn’t force them, they won’t harm you if you try to seek for company in them.
Leopard geckos are nocturnal a during dusk and dawn too, matching with many people’s routine.
4. Cute and Long life span
The array of stunning morphs and patterns appeals to diverse preferences. This lets you have that cute unique pet you have been looking for.
These beauties can even live up to 25 years with the proper care and love provided. Being hardy, they are not overly-sensitive either.
5. Easy to breed
Breeding these creatures are not that hard either. If you put them together in the same enclosure, they tend to find their way to do it, instead of you having to put a lot of effort into it.
Reasons Why Leopard Geckos Might Not Be the Right Pet for You
Adult geckos tend to shed every 6-8 weeks. This usually happens if your pet is a bit dehydrated or can happen out of the blue too. For some beginners, this might be a lot to take. Young leopard geckos like Hatchling and juvenile might be more disturbing as they shed frequently around every 10 days,
2. Dropping tail
If your leopard gecko is threatened, it might drop their tails. They might require more attention while they are healing.
3. Might carry Salmonella or other infections
If there is any lacks in keeping their tank well maintained or cleaned, reptiles are defenseless against Salmonella and other microbial infections, which may affect the leopard gecko owners too.
Leopard geckos come with both benefits and some drawbacks. Nevertheless, considering their ease of care, ability to adapt in size and ability to be handled, they should be the top choice for those seeking reptile pets.
Leopard geckos make good pets as far as you take the proper minimal care of them. By following the necessary steps, one can enjoy many years with a happy and healthy leopard gecko.