LEOPARD GECKO CARE SHEET
Eublepharis macularius aka leopard gecko
Hardy geckos which come in a variety of colors, patterns and sizes. This is a care sheet which discusses the minimum requirements for keeping a leopard gecko, along with how I house my own.
Your leopard gecko is a terrestrial species and will require more floor space than height. Ideally a minimum vivarium size of 24x15x15 or 20-gallons is required. This will house your Leo in to their adult years. My leo’s are housed in 34x15x15 where possible as I know they utilise the extra space. I have also found I can provide them with more stimulation.
My preference is wooden vivariums to retain heat and provide more privacy with dark areas. Other owners use a variety of glass aquariums, rubs and rack set ups. Glass can be more difficult to retain heat so this is just something to bear in mind.
I personally use non adhesive vinyl/lino as substrate (non adhesive to ensure no glue fumes - personal preference). Vinyl/Lino is easy to clean, hygienic and transfers heat amazingly. Your leo needs the heat on their stomach to aid digestion.
Other substrates such as paper towel, ceramic tiles or flat stone; as long as heat can be transferred at the correct temperature.
Heat can be supplied with heat mats, undertank heating pad or tape. Heating needs to cover between 1/3 - 1/2 of the vivarium floor, this provides a hot side, cool side and a nice variant in between. When inside the vivarium the heat mat should be placed underneath the substrate to avoid burning.
To maintain the correct temperature you need two things: **Thermostat; this will control the heat mat and regular the temperature to your desired choice. **Digital Thermometer; to aid you in ensuring you maintain the desired temperature. **Both of these have probes - mine are placed on the hot side under the hot hide.
Ideal temperature on the hot side is 30-32.2 Celsius or 86 to 90 Fahrenheit at all times. This is the recommendation I have from Ron Tremper. I do however know hobbyists and breeders who keep their leo’s between 33-34 Celsius. My advice is to ask the breeder what temperature they kept your leo at, some of mine are 32.4 max and another likes 33 max.
Leo’s require three hides minimum. **Hot Hide; where the probes are placed, aiding digestion and keeping them warm throughout the day. **Moist Hide; pref place half on/half off the heat supply. This needs to be moistened with water daily and will aid shedding. I have recently found its a great way to help hydration as well as them drinking. I moisten my hide with thick kitchen towel changed weekly. Also used is specific mosses and eco earth. **Cool Hide; at the opposite end to the heat source. Leo’s can variate their own body temperature and the will do so using each hide.
Leo’s need live food and will not eat or survive on anything else. **Regular Mealworms, Crickets, Dubia Roaches, Morioworms are all used as staple diets. My preference is Mealworms which can be fed in a bowl, by tong, hand or let them give chase. **Locust can be fed, they appear to be less of a recommended staple and obviously size is a factor; you don’t want the food out sizing your leo. **Waxworms and Butterworms are more of a treat - they are high in fat and very addictive. I recommend no more than once a week.
All insects must be gut loaded at least 12 hours before being fed to your leopard gecko. Gut load can be purchased in pet stores or you can make your own with bran, a mixture of fruit and veg. Place insects in a tub of gut-load and add a piece of potato or carrot as a source of water.
Before feeding insects require “dusting” with a vitamin supplement, I use Repashy which has been made especially for leopard geckos. This can be done with the “shake and bake”method - I use sandwich bags which I pour some Repashy in, add the mealworms and holding the top closed shake it about so they are all coated.It’s also recommended to provide pure calcium in a separate bowl for leo’s to lick as and when they need. Juveniles will eat daily and adults I feed every other night - some choose to go every two nights. I leave mealworms in their bowls on feeing nights and some are tong fed too.
Provide a shallow water bowl with fresh mineral water at all times.We want the bowl stable to avoid spillage and shallow so any swimming leo’s can get back out.
x3 **Food **Water **Calcium
Fake plants and vines are great to add depth and extra hiding places. I also use cork bark, logs, rocks, slate, natural and fake hides.
Lighting is not a necessity for leopard geckos, providing their home receives natural light during the day. Lighting can be provided with a low level bulb or led which people use to aid feeding time.
Although leo’s are terrestrial they do climb and enjoy to do so. Providing safe places to climb and a variety of levels aids stimulation and creates space. Each one of my vivariums has a second level in the form of a shelf. Shelving, platforms and ledges can be created with wood, cork bark or hammocks. Bridges also with cork bark, playstix, logs or hammocks. Providing tables between the floor and shelf can break up the climb. All you need is the basic tools: hammer, screws, brackets, possibly a hand saw and sandpaper.
With the extra space you can provide more hides and foliage so your leo can explore and exercise.
Any DIY needs to take place before the leo moves in.
Eventually your leo will pick a place to poop and stick with it, this means you can spot clean the area daily. Beware they may pick a hide or bowl, I have now provided a picky girl with her own poop bowl and paper.
Twice weekly a deep clean is recommended, at least once a month minimum. You can purchase reptile safe disinfectant such as F10, but remember to remove your leo first. Clean everything inside the vivarium, rinse clean and dry.
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