Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
By: Stephanie - BHB Reptiles
Leopard geckos are amazing companions for keepers of any skill level. They are very easy to care for and come in so many fantastic morphs!
Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius
Native Habitat: Found in the Middle East into India in rocky, grassland and desert areas.
Lifespan: 6-10 years normally in captivity, but can go up to over 27 years.
Size: Males 7-10 inches and Females 7-8 inches. (Giants can be larger)
Expert Level: Great for beginners of all ages.
Here's what you will need to care for your new Leopard gecko(s):
Enclosure: Terrarium or (Rubbermaid or Sterlite) tub. You can keep your Leopard gecko(s) in whatever way is easiest for you to be able to provide the best care. We believe that the "size up" method is the best. Meaning, you will make your gecko feel safer and avoid feeding issues associated anxiety from spaces that are just too large. Also, it makes it easier for them to keep warm. This is not an issue with all geckos, but it can happen to some when they are placed into large enclosures as babies. As your Leopard gecko grows you will need to "size up" their enclosure to provide them with ample room move about or to get into mischief. ;) For a baby: 5 gallon to 10 gallon is sufficient. As far as a tub, a shoebox size is probably best. For an adult: It is great if you can get them into at least a 20 gallon or slightly larger tank for extra room. As far as a tub, I would a 28 quart tub or larger is fine.
Housing Multiple Leopard Geckos: Our rule is simple. You cannot house males together. Females can live together if they are of similar size. One male and female(s) of similar size can live together, but probably shouldn't unless you are wanting to constantly have little babies. You will need a larger in enclosure for a group. I would say 10 gallons more for every 1 adult you have.
Water Dish: It is important to have a water dish available at all times for your gecko. Size really doesn't matter, but you want the dish shallow enough for your gecko to reach. Change daily with fresh water. Periodically, do a health check on your Leopard gecko's tail to make sure that it is nice and plump since that is where they store water.
Substrate: NO SAND. Using sand is risky since your gecko(s) has a chance of becoming impacted. Safe options: Repti-carpet, paper towel, newspaper, shelf liners and tiles/flat stones.
Hides: Warm hide (required), cool hide (optional, but strongly recommended, include sphagnum moss as a substrate) and moist hide (required for shedding).
Moist Hide/Humidity: It is extremely important to have a moist hide in your Leopard gecko's enclosure in order to prevent shedding issues with your Leopard gecko(s). There are a plethora of ways you can make a moist hide for your gecko. Some keepers will make their own using small plastic containers in which they cut holes for the gecko to go in and out of. WARNING! If you do that, please make sure that you sand the hole until it is smooth to avoid cutting your gecko. Another way is to purchase a cave style hide. Once you have your container, you will need to put in a substrate that retains moisture. Options: paper towel, soil, coco hummus, vermiculite, CatSpot cat litter or probably the most widely used are sphagnum or peat moss. Make sure to dampen your substrate, but avoid over saturating it so that mold does not occur. Also, occasionally switch out the substrate when dirty with new. As far as humidity, make sure that you keep the humidity ideally between 20-40%. Do not keep the humidity any higher than that as Leopard geckos can develop infections from too high of humidity.
Hygrometer: I am always surprised how many keepers opt out of purchasing this very important tool for keeping most reptiles. A hygrometer is very inexpensive piece of equipment that allows you to measure the humidity in your reptile's enclosure. Strongly suggest purchasing one.
Shedding: Leopard geckos are so self sufficient and tidy by eating their own shed. ;) If your humidity is correct your gecko should be able to have a complete shed with no problems. If your Leopard gecko has any stuck shed try to remove it immediately by soaking them in shallow slightly warmer than room temperature water for 30 minutes and then take a Q-tip and try to remove the stuck shed.
Heating Source: heating mat (undertank or side), heat tape or a basking light. UVB light not required. The easiest and most efficient way to keep a single Leopard gecko is with an undertank heating mat. This can be easily purchased online. For larger groups in a rack system, Flexwatt heat tape is a great choice. You can find this either online or at a hardware store. Do you not use heat rocks in your leopard geckos enclosure as your gecko could get burned.
Temperature: It is important to have the correct temperatures for your Leopard gecko(s). You can do this a couple ways. First, keep "hot side" between 87-90° F (no hotter than 94°F) and "cool side" between mid to upper 70s (°F) all the time and you do not need a UVB light. Second, you can use the same temperatures listed above during the daytime and then at night drop the "cool side" temps to between 70-75°F and use either an under the tank mat or an infrared light for a warm spot for them. Both ways are fine and the first way is easier.
Thermometer: In order to make sure that your temperatures are correct in your Leopard gecko's enclosure, we believe it is a MUST to make sure to purchase at LEAST one. We highly recommend purchasing two so that you are able to measure the temps on both the hot and cool sides. There are many options on the market. Shop around to see where the best deals are.
Feeding: Our Leopard geckos feed on mealworms daily and crickets weekly. We also make sure to sprinkle vitamin powder mix on both. We also encourage supplementing your Leopard gecko's diet with other insects as needed such as superworms, hornworms, Dubia roaches, CalciWorms (add calcium), Phoenix Worms (high source of calcium) and Waxworms (to add fat). There was some studies done saying that you could just feed Superworms as a staple diet instead of mealworms and crickets, but I would recommend checking with your vet or contacting www.TimberlineFresh.com first for more information.
Powder Supplements: Osteo-form SA & Vionate Powder. Use a 1 part Osteo-Form SA to either 3 parts Vionate. Some keepers do a 1:4 ratio instead.
Brumation: We do not brumate or hibernate babies their first year of life. Please wait until there second year. If you are not breeding you do not have to hibernate your Leopard gecko. They still may be a little sluggish during the cycle, but that is normal. Before, you brumate you will need to take your Leopard gecko off of food for about 10 days so that they are able to pass all their food, but continue to offer water. You can brumate for as little as a couple weeks to 2 months. Cool down your Leopard gecko to about 65-70°F and make sure that you have fresh water in the enclosure the entire time.
***Did I forget something or is there some else you feel I should include on this care sheet? Please feel free to email me at Stephanie@BHBReptiles.com****
When You Order A Leopard Gecko From BHB Reptiles
Once you receive your Leopard gecko(s), please inspect your box and the gecko. If there are any problems, please call us during business hours or email us during non-business hours for the fastest service. If there are no issues, please place your gecko directly into their new home and offer water. Wait to offer food until the following day in order to allow their stomach to settle from shipping. Finally, we would recommend extremely light handling or no handling the first week they arrive so that they can become acclimated to their new environment. Most of all, enjoy your new companion(s).