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11/24/2013

Leopard Gecko Care

Care Instructions

Now that you have purchased a Leopard Gecko, it is important that you take the time to make sure that it will be healthy and comfortable in its new environment. Remember a Leopard gecko can live to be 29 years old or more.

There are several things you can do to make sure of this:

Tank/Tub Set Up - For a single Gecko, a 10 gallon tank or approximately an area of about 12inchs X 20 inchs is optimal. For 2 to 3 Geckos a 20 gallon tank or a plastic tub (With a top) with an area of about 15inchs X 20 inchs is good. 

Below on the left is the typical Breeder Housing we use (15 X 20 inch's). This container is housed in a double wide, 12 level industrial rack (Vision). The container in the middle is also a Breeder Cage that we use in another style rack (11 X 16 inch's). As you can see it is smaller.

On the right is a typical grow Out Cage for our Hatchlings. Due to its layout and small size we get unbelievable growth out of these cages from our Hatchlings (8 X 13 inch's).  Note that the water dish, food dish, vitamin dish and hide are all Velcro-ed down so they don't get pushed all over the place by the larger Geckos.

Make a hide Box– 11in L  X  6in W  X  3in H. Use a typical Sterilite or equivalent box. Cut a 2.5in hole in the top.  Place approximately 1.25 inch's of ground Peet Moss typical of what you buy at any home improvement store, in the box. Note: Avoid some name brands that put additives in the pure Peet Moss. You don’t want vitamins or plant grow supplements in the soil.  We acually use Sphagnum Peat Moss, that you would get directy off a tree. You do need to change this moss about 4 times yearly to keep it fresh.

Substrate - Place a Paper Towel in the Tub or a Carpet type material from your pet store in a tank. You can also use a paper towel in the tank,  however I find that the heating pad we talk about below puts out too much heat to use  a paper Towel, unless you also use a thermostat to control the heat that the heating pad puts out. So use a reptile type carpet on the floor of the tank.Your Gecko needs some additional material between them and the hot glass on the bottom of the tank. This is not an issue with the Plastic Tubs as the heat does not transfer through as much.

Cage Top - If you are using a tank make sure you have the screen type top that covers the whole top. If using a Plastic tub get the top that goes with your tub. Make sure to cut some small holes in the top of the tub and a few on the sides for extra air.

 

Heating the Cage/Tub – The only way to heat a Leopard Gecko cage is from the bottom.  You need to have a constant 90 to 95 degree hot spot. It does not hurt if the spot is slightly hotter. Your Gecko is smart enough to move if it gets a little hot. 

  •  Tanks – Use a Heating Pad. There are several brands available. For a typical 10 gallon use the 1 to 5 gallon size from Zoo Med, costs about $15.00 at most pet stores. For a 20 or 30 gallon tank use the 10 to 20 gallon size. They stick on the bottom like a sticker. Stick on the bottom at one end of the tank. See the above diagram for better positioning. Note: the pads put out about 127 degree heat and about 100 of it actually gets transferred into the tank or tub bottom. Then you have some substrate that provides further insulation from the heat like a reptile carpet.  
  • Tubs – Again you can use a Heating Pad in the same way as a tank. Make sure you have drilled or burned (Use a Soldering Iron) holes in the top and sides of the Tub. However if you have several Tubs you would like to heat there are more options. You can use heating cables/Tapes with thermostats to heat and manage several Tanks and Tubs. See our web site for more info on large population caging. 

 

Before you place your Gecko in its new home – Make sure you have tested the heating arrangement you have selected. Make sure the temp on the floor does not exceed 96 degrees at any place and for the most part is about 91 degrees in the back area of the Tank/Tubs you have selected. 

The only reliable way to check the floor temperature is by using a Heat Gun. You can get them at a home improvement store or online for about $40.00.

 

DON’T COOK YOUR GECKO. Managing your heat in the environment is one of the most important skills in caring for most reptiles. Your gecko will eat and go to the bathroom on a regular schedule if you manage the temperature well. This will create a healthy environment for them to grow and thrive. 

 

LightingLeopard Geckos do not require UV light. They are Nocturnal and like it dark. For the most part your Gecko will sleep during the day in its hide box or other nice warn quiet spot. If you want to have a light so you can look into the cages during the day, place a lamp fixture on the top of the screen that is on top of the Tank. If you are using a Tub, make sure you selected a clear one and have a light nearby that allows you to see into the cage. Don’t place any hot light on top of the tub, they are plastic and can melt under high temps. I recommend a 40 Watt Infrared bulb only, and then only at night. Unless you live in a very cold enviroment and it is winter and your home gets below 65F.

Feeding your Leopard Gecko 

Typically you should feed your Gecko everyday. We place 40 Meal-worms, standard 1 inch size in a container each day. Note we only expect the Gecko to eat maybe 10 Meal-worms per day if it is an Adult. The reason we place so many worms in the dish is so the worms are providing movement. Movement is the key to your Gecko feeding. They need to see their food moving or they won’t eat.

Place fresh water in the cage everyday. Do not use Chlorinated Tap Water. Use purified Water.

 

You should read our Gut-Loading and Feeding article after reading this.

Vitamins

For adults over 8 months old we use Osteo Form Vitamins, this is a Calcium based vitamin with D3 included. It can be purchased from Healthypets.com. Note this is a horse vitamin. Its the same in every way to the typical Reptile vitamin but is way less in cost and of a much better quality. Almost 25% of the cost.

Place a small cap of this vitamin in the cage at all times. You gecko will lick this up when they need it. Never dust the food as this puts your gecko off the food.

For hatchlings and Juveniles we use Vionate Powder. This is a Dog Vitamin we purchase from UPCO.com. Again way less in cost compared to the typical Reptile Vitamin and is also of a better grade. What makes this vitamin useful is that you can place a small amount in the food each time you feed. The mealworms will actually eat this vitamin and then when you gecko eats the worms it gets all the vitamin nutrition it needs and it will not put your gecko off the food like most calcium based vitamin will do.

Place a small cap of this vitamin in the cage at all times. And also place a small amount in the food.

 

Cleaning

Clean the cage daily. This is what’s nice about using paper towels. Makes for easy cleaning. Do not use any chemicals during cleaning. I recommend a clean hot towel with water. if you want to fully clean the cage/tank/tub, clean with hot water and dish soap.

Find a nice quiet place for your Geckos cage

Your Gecko will be happier and healthier in a quiet place that has a more constant temperature. So find a nice spot in your house to place them.

Handling

After about 1 week try to handle your Gecko. At first they may seam somewhat jumpy. Be patient, they will calm down and become very manageable after a very short time.

 

If are having any problems with your Leopard Gecko, please call or email us. We will be more than happy to be of assistance. Our contact info is on our Contact page.

 

Enjoy your new friend. Remember they live a long time only if you take good care of them.