13 things you must know before getting a Leopard Gecko as a pet
Leopard Geckos are one of the most popular pets when it comes to reptiles. They are one of the first domesticated lizard species, which can breed easily in captivity. These adorable lizards are friendly, gentle, and docile pets, which your children would love to play with. But, are leopard geckos easy to care for?
Leopard Geckos are easy to care for pets and make a good starter pet for children. These smart and curious lizards are low maintenance and do not need much attention. They are one of the favorite geckos to keep, as they are easy to tame and do not require much cleaning.
Here are a few things you must know before getting a Leopard gecko as a pet.
1. Leopard Geckos are a long term commitment
All pets need lots of love, care, and attention from their humans. Reptiles may not be as demanding of attention as other pets, but they do need your constant love to remain happy. One of the largest lizards, Leopard Geckos are one of the easiest pets to keep and are usually termed as ‘beginner pets’. However, while keeping Leopard Geckos, you must remember that they are long term pets and need a constant commitment from their owner.
A female Leopard Gecko as a pet can easily live up to 10 years, whereas a male Gecko can live up to 20 years. If you take good care of your pet lizard, they can live more than a puppy. When you bring one home, make sure you know the age of your lizard. Most pet parents do not like to bring baby geckos home and prefer one which is at least 2 years old.
2. Leopard Geckos are a family pet
Leopard Geckos are pleasant and friendly lizards. They are submissive and can be tamed very easily. These interesting reptiles make a really good pet for both adults as well as children. Leopard Gecko as a pet is calm if you treat him with love and respect. They would walk around your hand and sit down when they find a comfortable and warm position.
3. Leopard Geckos are very easy to care
Popularly termed as a ‘beginner pet’, Leopard Geckos do not need any special attention or care from their owner. These exotic pets do not need much cage maintenance and are forgiving if their habitat is not clean daily. It is very easy to create a perfect home for your lizard. Just provide them with the right temperature, and your gecko won’t complain a bit.
Here is a step-by-step Leopard Gecko care guide, to know your pet lizard more.
4. Leopard Geckos need more floor space
Leopard Geckos need a fairly large cage, with more floor space. Geckos don’t like to climb, so buying a tall one is just a waste of money. According to Petsmart, for a single Leopard Gecko, a 10-gallon terrarium is sufficient. For every extra Gecko, you plan to keep, just make the tank 5 gallons bigger. Setting up a cage for your pet is minimal and inexpensive. Leopard Geckos, primarily live on land and do not have clinging toe-pads like other lizards. Thus, they cannot climb up the glass of their cage. However, it is recommended that you cover their cage, so other animals cannot get inside.
Just like other reptiles, Leopard Geckos need plenty of heat to maintain their body temperature. Setting up a UV lamp on one side of your pet’s tank is one of the best ways to keep them warm and comfortable. Also, 50% of humidity is necessary for your Leopard Gecko to keep it’s skin healthy and nourished.
5. Leopard Geckos love to eat live food
Leopard Geckos like their meals fresh and live. Your pet gecko needs to feed on crickets, mealworms, super worms, waxworms, or dubia roaches to stay healthy. Crickets are one of the easily available insects that you can feed your pet with. You can either catch live crickets from your backyard or get them from a commercial store. Make sure you feed the cricket properly before you leave them in your Geckos cage. In this way, your pet would be able to extract most of the nutrients from his diet.
You should feed your baby gecko every day, that is one which is less than 8 inches, and an adult gecko every other day. A simple rule of thumb is to feed your gecko with two insects for every inch of his body length.
6. Supplement your Leopard Gecko’s diet with Vitamins and Minerals
Supplementing your pet Gecko’s diet with enough vitamins and minerals is necessary for him to stay healthy. Along with proper nutrients, calcium should also be supplemented for the stronger bones of your pet. A lack of these vitamins and minerals might cause a serious deficiency in your pet Leopard Gecko. Calcium should be available to your pet at all times. You can just place a dish of powdered calcium in your pet’s cage or mix it with water.
Coating of insects with vitamins and minerals is another easy way to feed your Leopard Gecko as a pet with all the necessary nutrients. For baby geckos and breeding females, coat the insects daily with calcium or Vitamin D before feeding them. For adult geckos, coating calcium once or twice a week is more than enough. Along with this, you should also coat insects with vitamin powder once every ten days.
A constant supply of water is also necessary for your Leopard Gecko to stay healthy. Your Gecko should remain hydrated at all times. Place a separate bowl of water in his cage, which should be changed daily. If your pet is not drinking enough water, you can also leave the insects in water so they can hydrate themselves, and in turn hydrate your pet Leopard Gecko.
7. You can easily tell the sex of your Leopard Gecko
It is very easy to tell the male and the female Leopard Gecko apart, by a single look at their heads. Male Leopard Geckos have a broader head and a thicker neck as compared to female geckos. Female Leopard Geckos are slightly slender, while males have a healthier built. The male gecko has a wider tale base and a V-shaped row of preanal pores.
8. Leopard Geckos don’t like to bathe
Leopard Geckos are relatively clean animals, and should not bathe unnecessarily. You should only bathe your pet geckos if they are having trouble shedding their skin, or if it is recommended by your veterinarian. If it is necessary to bathe your pet, you should do it very carefully and gently.
Prepare lukewarm water in a shallow container, and add mineral oil or the medication suggested by your veterinarian. If your pet is having trouble shedding his skin, the mineral oil would soften up his scales. Now place your pet gently in the water and pour some on his back as well. After bathing your Leopard Gecko as a pet, dry him gently with a cotton ball or a soft cotton cloth.
9. Leopard Geckos can grow back their teeth and tails
Like other lizards, leopard geckos can also grow back their tail as well as their teeth. Your pet Gecko has a set of 100 teeth, which are replaced every four months. A smaller replacement tooth grows right next to the older one which eventually falls off. So don’t be scared if you see your pet’s teeth fallen all over the place.
Leopard Geckos store fat in their tails, which are used as an emergency supplement for fat and water. However, if your Gecko is attacked or feel scared it will drop off their tail to distract the predator. Their tails grow back after a while just like their teeth. So, while holding your pet, make sure you never touch their tail too hard, or they will immediately snap it off. If such a situation occurs, you should take your pet to the veterinarian to ensure your pet is safe, and no medical care is needed.
10. Leopard Geckos shed their skin periodically
Just like other reptiles, Leopard Geckos shed their skin every four to eight weeks. When your pet Gecko is all ready to shed off his skin, he will turn milky white. Once your Gecko changes its color, it is often recommended to raise the humidity of their cage, to help them speed up the process. Most pet Leopard Geckos can shed their skin all by themselves without the help of their owners. You just have to make sure that they have a hard log or rock in their cage, against which they can shed.
The skin shedding process might take up to 48 hours, depending upon the humidity of the cage. Juvenile geckos shed their skin more often than adult ones. Leopard Geckos also tend to snack on their shedded skin. So, if you don’t find their skin lying around while cleaning their cage, do not get all worked up. Geckos eat their shedded skin to make up for the calories lost within the process.
11. Leopard Geckos are not affectionate pets
Leopard Geckos are not as affectionate pets, and generally prefer to live by themselves. Reptiles are not prone to love and affection as they lay eggs and not give birth to live babies. However, if Leopard Geckos are kept among humans, they tend to associate with their owners and can easily get along with you. It is necessary for you to interact with your Leopard Gecko as a pet, to bond with him. Once your Gecko trusts you, it would become easy for you to hold him and cuddle.
12. Leopard Geckos are easy to breed
Leopard Geckos need no external help from their owners to breed. When kept under the right conditions your pet Geckos would breed on their own. There would be times when you find a couple of eggs lying in the corner, without you even noticing. You should not keep two males in the same tank, as they might get aggressive during the breeding period. However, you can keep a pair of females and one male in the tank, and they will live happily together.
13. Leopard Geckos are very pretty and adorable
All Leopard Geckos look extremely adorable. Generally, geckos have yellow skin and are spotted, but they also come in different colors and patterns. You can get a Leopard Gecko with slightly orange skin, or one with white skin and dark spots, which looks very pretty. Young Leopard Geckos have alternating bands of colors which eventually breaks up into spots as he ages.
No matter which Leopard Gecko you bring home, all are adorable, beautiful, and understanding creatures who would create a special bond with their human.
By now you might have made up your mind whether a Leopard Gecko is the right choice for you or not. While thinking to make them a part of your family, it would be nice if you adopt them from shelters rather than buying one from a breeder. Before buying a Leopard Gecko do check our in-depth guide to turtle care, to make sure your turtle as a pet stays healthy and happy.
Thinking to adopt a pet that is easy to handle and care for? Check out 7 best low maintenance pets you can own in 2020.