Leopard Gecko/Frequently Asked Questions

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What are the ideal temperatures for a Leopard Gecko?[edit]

For a Leopard Gecko you will need to offer a thermal ground gradient from one side of the tank to the other. I find the best temperature for the hot end is 88-92F while the cooler end should be around 76F.

An under-tank thermostatted heating device such as a heat mat is best to provide heat as a lighting device will tend to only heat the air and not the ground.

How often should I dust my geckos food items?[edit]

This question often brings up a variety of answers. The truth is no-one really knows so there are people at each end of the scale, some dust daily while some dust weekly.

In my opinion dusting daily is not necessary, unless it is a weak gecko suffering from signs of MBD. For baby geckos I would suggest calcium dusting at least twice a week and for adults at least once per week. D3 dusting should be done once per week or per fortnight and a few minutes of UVB can be beneficial from time to time.

I find it is a good idea to have a dish of mealworms heavily dusted in calcium available in the vivarium at all times.

What should I feed my gecko?[edit]

Mealworms (not morio) offer a good staple diet as do crickets, locust, cockroaches, butterworms, silkworms and cutworms. Although a mixture is best, most of my Leopard Geckos have a staple of mealworms and a few crickets weekly.

What is an ideal substrate for a Leopard Gecko?[edit]

Loose substrates such as calci-sand and Corn Cob Granules can cause impaction. Slate, tile, carpet, kitchen roll are all good options and will not cause impaction if used properly. Obviously other factors come into play such as suitability, hygiene, cost, aesthetics, and promotion of bacteria or mould growth. You should think about these factors and decide accordingly.

How many hides will a Leopard Gecko need?[edit]

Supply at least three hides per gecko; one humid and two at either side of the vivarium to provide a warm and cool hide. It is also a good idea to provide one in the middle if your vivarium is bigger. If you are housing more than one gecko in the vivarium try to give them three hides each so they can always have somewhere to ‘hide’ from each other.

What are the lighting requirements for a Leopard Gecko?[edit]

They have no special requirements apart from obvious changes from day to night although small amounts of UVB help D3 production and can help a gecko recover from MBD.

What is wrong with feeding a Leopard Gecko too many waxworms?[edit]

Waxworms contain a high amount of phosphorus, fat and are pretty addictive to Leopard Geckos. They can be used as a treat every now and again but no more than a handful per week. Too many will result in the gecko refusing other foods because waxworms taste so good!

The phosphorous in the waxworms also inhibits the absorption of calcium, leading to MBD and growth problems.

What gender is my Leopard Gecko?[edit]

You should refer to the Leopard Gecko page with images of how to determine a Leopard Gecko's gender.

How long do Leopard Geckos live?[edit]

A healthy gecko can live upto and over 20 years old, even as much as 30 in special cases.

How big does my Leopard Gecko tank have to be?[edit]

There are many answers to this question; it all depends on how you want your gecko to live. In my opinion at a minimum a Leopard Gecko should have around two square feet of space and then another square foot per additional gecko.

For example to house:

One gecko you should provide two square feet of space Two geckos you should provide three square feet of space Three geckos you should provide four square feet of space

Bear in mind this really is a minimum and you should provide more space if possible and ensure that the vivarium is not overcrowded. You will probably find that breeders will keep lots of geckos in a small space but I do not recommend this as it may degrade the health of your gecko, leading to stress eating and parasite problems.

Baby geckos can be kept in something small, they like to feel secure and big open spaces will scare the little life out of them. Something the size of a shoebox is perfect.

Can I keep more than one Leopard Gecko in a vivarium?[edit]

Yes, but strictly only one mature male per vivarium. Adult males will fight and you will end up with a very bloody vivarium and a probable death.

Females don’t usually bother each other but some will fight and stress each other out, you should keep an eye out for bullying and separate any problematic geckos.

If you are keeping a mature male with a mature female you should expect to have eggs in the brighter months. Breeding takes a lot out of a female so you must ensure she is ready and can cope with the big task of pregnancy.

Is it true that mealworms will burrow through a Leopard Geckos stomach?[edit]

No. A mealworm would never survive the acids of a geckos stomach long enough to do any damage, that is of course if its head is still attached to its body after its been munched on. The myth probably came around after a mealworm burrowed out of an already dead gecko.

My Leopard Gecko fell, what should I do?[edit]

Depending on how far you should probably seek medical advice. Sometimes geckos will damage a limb and maybe break it, and sometimes they can drop their tail in fright. It has been known for a gecko to begin the process of dropping its tail but not fully drop it, this will lead to the tail staying attached but losing blood support and nerve connections. It will eventually shrivel and fall off. Make sure you keep an eye out for any damage the fall could have caused and if you are worried seek medical advice.

What Morph is my Leopard Gecko?[edit]

You should refer to the morph and genetics guide here.

Is it possible to over feed a Leopard Gecko?[edit]

Yes and no. A Leopard Gecko will probably not eat too much it becomes a health risk but they can get pretty fat. A gecko with full fat sack under its armpits is a well fed gecko and you are probably feeding it a bit too much. You may notice the fat sacks on some geckos, they are like holes when empty but disappear when full.

If a Leopard Gecko fills its stomach too much then it will not fully digest its food, this can be a problem with its food items being almost whole in its feces. If you are worried you gecko is over eating then try feeding fewer food items or even seek out a less fatty diet.

How does a Leopard Gecko get parasites?[edit]

Parasites are passed on through faeces.

Do Leopard Geckos bite?[edit]

Yes, a Leopard Gecko will bite if it feels threatened or confused. Leopard Geckos tame very quickly so there is really nothing to worry about, a younger gecko will probably be more "bitey" but even then, they don't really pack much punch. I wouldn’t worry about it too much, they have really small and relatively unnoticeable teeth.

How old before my Leopard Gecko is sexually mature?[edit]

On average Leopard Geckos reach adult size and sexual maturity within 8-12 months. Both will be ready to breed as soon as they are mature but females should be allowed at least 4 more months to gain more weight so that they are not at unnecessary danger.

How can I tell if my Leopard Gecko is shedding?[edit]

In pre-shed, a Leopard Gecko will go a milky white colour where the old skin is separating from the new skin. You may also notice that the gecko spends a few hours in the humid hide. When the gecko is ready it will begin to rub against surfaces until it breaks the skin and then chew the rest off.

Why do Leopard Geckos eat their shed skin?[edit]

There are two reasons that are reasonably valid. The first is so that they do not waste calcium and the second is to prevent predators from being able to locate them.

How old before I can sex my Leopard Gecko?[edit]

Leopard Geckos can be sexed to a good degree of certainty at 2-4 weeks of age.

Why does my Leopard Gecko wag its tail in the air?[edit]

They do this to attract attention away from their heads as if to confuse predators and prey.

What should I do in the event of my Leopard Gecko losing (“dropping”) its tail?[edit]

You might want to isolate the gecko and clean the wound. With the tail missing it is important that you provide a good nutritious diet and lots of clean water. If the tail does not heal properly and looks infected take the gecko to the vet immediately.

How long does it take a Leopard Gecko to produce and lay eggs?[edit]

Egg production takes anywhere between 10 and 35 days depending on the females age, health and nature. Once a female is fertile she will lay eggs regularly until her season has finished.

How long is a Leopard Gecko breeding season?[edit]

A season can last as long as 8 months and under normal circumstances will begin in the spring.

How many eggs do Leopard Geckos lay?[edit]

Per clutch usually there are two. On occasion there may be just one egg, sometimes there is a problem with one and it gets rejected or reabsorbed. A healthy gecko will lay nearly 20 eggs over a season.

Does a Leopard Gecko need to mate after each clutch?[edit]

A female Leopard Gecko can store sperm for up to two years. So one successful mating is usually enough to secure her fertility for the entire season.

How long does it take eggs to hatch (incubation period)?[edit]

Incubation time is based upon the temperature that the eggs are kept at. 80F : 65days

85F : 55days

88F : 45days

What incubation temperature will produce what gender?[edit]

78-80F : 95% females

85F : 50% of each

88-90F : 95% males