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Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)


This is a very general care sheet and we strongly recommend gathering as much information as possible regarding captive husbandry of Leopard Geckos.  Connecting with other keepers via online groups and social media is a great way to learn more about the long term care of your new pet.  



Temperatures


Hot side: 88-92 F (thermometer placed on the ground, not on the wall)

Cool side of cage 75-80 F (thermometer placed on the ground, not on the wall)

Nighttime temps: 72-78 F on both sides.  


* If the enclosure drops below these suggested temps the gecko may start to brumate(hibernate) and will not eat because they think winter is coming.


Water & Humidity


A small water dish should be available at all times on the cool side of the cage. You should change the water 2-3 times a week even if it doesn't seem dirty. It is necessary that you provide your gecko with a humid hide if your environment is completely dry. This is a hide stuffed full of moist moss/eco earth to promote proper shedding. You should check this hide 3-5 times a week to make sure that it’s staying humid. Depending on what substrate you use you may be able to spray down larger areas of the cage to raise humidity outside of the hide. Substrates that can be sprayed down are Eco Earth, Repti-soil or Bio-Active Supply substrates. 



Lighting


UV lighting is not essential for Leopard Geckos but we encourage people to offer it for almost all reptiles. A 5.0 UV bulb or lower is more than enough. If you offer your gecko UV the lights should be on for 12 hours a day and 12 hours off at night to simulate day and night.  Leopard Geckos are nocturnal and typically hunt at night.



Shelter


Your gecko should have shelter on both the hot side as well as the cool side of the enclosure. You can make both of these humid hides if you wish. If you only use one hide, leave it on the hot side of the cage. The hide should be big enough for the animal to fit inside, but cramped enough that it does not think another animal can easily squeeze in with it. 


Substrate


We recommend putting baby geckos on paper towels or newspaper to reduce the chance of an impaction. Paper towel & newspaper will need to be changed more frequently to avoid mold developing in the environment. If you use paper substrate, above ground hides such as the Repti-Shelter will help you maintain a humid hide without soiling the paper substrate. Juveniles and adults can be kept on loose substrate. Substrates that are finer are generally much safer to use as the animal can pass small particles easily if ingested. Examples are Eco Earth, Repti-soil and Bio-Active Supply.


*Impactions typically occur when a reptile isn’t getting enough Calcium or multi-vitamin. If the animal isn’t getting enough of these minerals in their diet they will look for it in their environment and may attempt to eat the bedding thus leading to an impaction. 


Diet:


Leopard Geckos will eat crickets, Dubia roaches, mealworms, king mealworms, hornworms, wax worms and other small insects. The insect should always be narrower than the gap between the gecko’s eyes otherwise it can be a potential choking hazard.


It’s highly recommended that all feeder insects are “Gut Loaded” which is basically feeding the feeder insects healthy items for 24 hours before offering them to your dragon. All the nutrition the feeders have taken in will be passed on to the dragon.

East Bay Vivarium offers several premixed gut loads for your feeders


Supplements:


No matter how well we gutload our insects they will never offer the nutrition a gecko  in the wild would get, therefore we must supplement their diets with a calcium +d3 supplement  and a multi-vitamin supplement.  It’s advisable to have a small dish of calcium in the enclosure at all times along with regular “dusting” of the feeders with the multi-vitamin.




Vet Visits:


We recommend any reptile you own sees a vet once a year but with appropriate and consistent husbandry you shouldn’t need to consult a veterinarian unless unforeseen health issues arise. 


Examples of health concerns are:  Tumors,cysts, eye infections, rapid weight loss, runny stools/ prolonged constipation, mis-shapen bones, trembles, bubbling/whistling from nose/mouth, missing digits or toes (caused by improper sheds)

See the link below for a couple Vets located in the Bay Area as well as a nationwide reptile vet search

 

Reptile Vets