Afghanistan, Pakistan & India
Semi arid areas, rocky outcrops and animal burrows
Originally yellow background with black spots, although babies are banded on hatching. There are many colour morphs now available.
Size & Lifespan
Up to 8 – 9 inches, females are generally smaller.
Lifespan is regularly 15 – 20yrs, with 25+yrs exceptionally!
18” x 15” vivarium, or terrarium minimum for a single adult. 24” x 15” minimum for 2 (2 females –males CANNOT be housed together!) Dry substrate is required. We use Aspen or hemp bedding as this allows natural burrowing behaviour and reduces the risk of compaction (sand has been proven to cause this when ingested in large amounts). Provide hides at both ends of the environment as well as a low water bowl & food bowl. Artificial plants provide extra cover, & low shelving will also readily be used. Also it is important to provide a ‘humid-box’ to aid shedding. This can be a purpose-bought resin item, or created using a small plastic tub with a hole made in the lid, & filled with damp moss.
An ambient temperature between 22 - 27°C (75 - 80°F) and a ‘hot-spot’ up to 32⁰C (90⁰) at one end, allows for a temperature gradient which allows thermo-regulation. Leopard Geckos are active at dawn and dusk (crepuscular) but will become more active during the day if fed or handled. Heat can be provided using a high-powered heat mat, mounted on the roof at one end.. or by a low wattage heat mat placed under the terrarium. Always use a thermometer to check temperatures at the hot and cool end, & use a Thermostat to control your heating devise if in any doubt.
This is a matter of opinion, & a lot of contention! I do not believe Leopard Geckos need UVB lighting. And, notably, neither do two of the biggest breeders of Leopard Geckos in the world. While writing this caresheet I referenced Ron Trempers article for Reptile Magazine, and he states “Because leopard geckos are active at night (notice their vertical pupils), they do not need to bask under a special UVB light.” This being written by one of the worlds leading Leopard Gecko breeders, & the man responsible for the Tremper-morph!
So we do not insist on OR recommend UVB lighting in our enclosures. That said, I have nothing against an enclosure set-up with a low-percentage UVB light –so long as it isn’t the length of the entire enclosure & the gecko can choose to sit near it or not. We supply our vivariums with 8W T5 covered UVA tubes, for visible light only.
Autumn/winter – 10 hours light – 14 hours dark Spring/summer – 12 hours light – 12 hours dark
Hatchlings will eat small crickets, locusts, mini mealworms or occasional wax worms, but vary as much as possible. As the lizard grows, introduce bigger sized food.
It is ESSENTIAL to gut-load all food for your gecko prior to offering it. Leopard Geckos are very prone to MBD (metabolic bone disease) when fed only crickets or mealworms straight from the tubs. Therefore it essential to ensure they consume sufficient calcium from hatchling size upwards to prevent this. Gut-loading the livefood with specially designed food, containing all the calcium & minerals ideal for your gecko will prevent this. Adding a small bowl (milk bottle lid) with powdered cuttlefish is worthwhile because the gecko will lick this as and when necessary.
Leopard Geckos usually shed their skin in one go. They will become dull, almost milky-looking, in appearance. They then tear the skin off with their mouths and usually eat it all! They struggle to shed the skin from their toes without having a humid hide to sit in and soften the skin first. Failure to shed the skin from their toes can cause the unshed skin to dry and constrict the toes -and this can, in time, cause the toes to fall off. Providing a humid hide of damp sphagnum moss in the vivarium at all times.
Adult males are generally much larger than females, with bigger heads too.
Sexing is usually obvious by looking at the vent – with males having a ‘V’ shape just above the vent.