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Leopard Gecko
eublepharis macularius

Leopard geckos are available in a variety of morphs including luecistic, high yellow and albino. Unlike other geckos, leopard geckos have moveable eyelids.

leopard gecko

Leopard Gecko Facts

average adult size: 6 to 9 inches long
average life span: 20+ years with proper care
diet: insectivore

Will reach adult size in 9 to 12 months, under ideal conditions; upgrade habitat size as your reptile grows.

Diet

A well-balanced leopard gecko diet consists of:

  • Insects, including crickets, small mealworms and waxworms. Use gut-loaded (recently fed) crickets no larger than the space between the gecko's eyes.

Feeding

Things to remember when feeding your leopard gecko:

  • Fresh, clean, chlorine-free water should be available at all times.
  • Feed daily.
  • Sprinkle food with calcium supplement daily and a multi-vitamin supplement once or twice a week.

Housing

  • Size - appropriately size habitat with secure cover; a 10 to 20 gallon tank is recommended for one leopard gecko.
  • Habitat - Provide multiple hiding areas with non-toxic plants, branches, logs and cork. Maintain humidity below 50%.
  • Substrate - Use sani-chips, calci-sand or terrarium carpet.
  • Temperature - temperature gradient (95°F for the warm end/ basking area and 78-88°F for the cool end).
  • Lighting - 10 to 12 hours of light per day is required; because leopard geckos are nocturnal, they do not require UVB lighting. An incandescent bulb can be used for basking area during daylight hours only; can use a ceramic heater or nocturnal heat bulb at all hours.
  • Do not house two or more male geckos together and do not house different reptile species together.

Normal Behavior

  • Nocturnal (active during the night) and hide under rocks or burrow into the sand during the day.
  • Leopard geckos will eat their skin when shedding.
  • Keep handling to a minimum as overhandling can cause them stress.
  • Never grab a leopard gecko by its tail as they may drop their tail.

Habitat Maintenance

Thoroughly clean and disinfect the habitat at least once a week: place gecko in a secure habitat; scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all traces of bleach smell. Dry the tank and furnishings completely and add clean substrate.

Grooming & Hygiene

Leopard geckos regularly shed their skin; ensure humidity of habitat is at appropriate level to allow proper shedding. To facilitate shedding, provide a shed box, a hide box with sphagnum moss, that will aid in the shedding process.

Health

Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active and alert
  • Clear eyes
  • Body and tail are rounded, filled out
  • Healthy skin
  • Clear nose and vent
  • Eats regularly

Red Flags

  • weight loss or decreased appetite
  • mucus in mouth or nose
  • swelling
  • retained shed on toes
  • lethargy
  • bumps, sores, or abrasions on skin
  • labored breathing
  • paralysis of limbs
  • abnormal feces

If you notice any of these signs, contact your veterinarian.

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Gastro-intestinal disease Runny stools, caked or smeared stool around the vent area, and loss of appetite caused by bacterial or parasitic infection. Consult your veterinarian.
Metabolic bone/vitamin deficiency Inability to absorb calcium due to insufficient UVB light or improper calcium/vitamin D supplements. If untreated, can lead to a disorder characterized by deformities and softened bones. Swollen limbs and lethargy. Consult your veterinarian and provide ample UVB lighting and proper calcium/vitamin supplements.
Respiratory disease Labored breathing and mucus in the mouth or nose. Can be caused by a habitat that is too cold or damp. Consult your veterinarian and ensure habitat is the proper temperature.

Sources

Ask a store partner about Petco's selection of books on leopard geckos and the variety of private brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all reptiles are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your reptile or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for reptiles and should consider not having a reptile as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at cdc.gov/healthypets for more information about Geckos and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.