Leopard Gecko ( Eublepharis macularius )

About the Leopard Gecko.

The Leopard Gecko can be found throughout Pakistan, in the north western parts of India and southern Asia, primarily in the rocky, dry grasslands and desert regions. They are nocturnal and spend most of the day hidden under rocks to escape the heat of the day. When in captivity they have an average lifespan on between 6 – 10 years, however in a number of cases they have approached and exceeded the age of 20. Leopard Geckos are ectothermic, this means they are able to absorb warmth and energy during the day when they are asleep, allowing them to hunt and digest food during the night.

Leopard Gecko As An Exotic Pet
Notice the wide tail used to confuse predators

What does the Leopard Gecko look like?

They are typically large compared to most geckos and have a fully grown length of between 8 and 10 inches. They have an overly thick tail which is designed to confused predators as to which end is the head, like most lizards they have the ability to drop their tail to confuse attackers and give them a chance to get away. They have small bumps covering most of their body and what sets them apart from most other geckos is the fact they possess movable eyelids. There is a huge range of colours and patterns (known as morphs) and more and more are being bred every year.

How to keep Leopard Geckos as pets.

Leopard Geckos are relatively easy to care for and are among the most popular species of lizard kept as pets. They are widely available both through exotic pet stores and through online breeders. You can keep them individually or as part of a group, though male Leopard Geckos will fight to the death so you should never have more than one male in any enclosure.

Housing.

Leopard Geckos are terrestrial and floor space will be much more important than height, a 10 – 20 gallon tank will be adequate enough to house a pair of adult sized geckos. Plastic storage boxes are also used as housing, although these should be at least 1ft in height. Leopard Geckos also require a separate box within the tank, filled with moist moss to allow them to shed their skin properly, this is known as a hide box.

Substrate, hides and scenery.

For an adult Leopard Gecko the best substrate is children’s play sand, not only is it easy to clean and attractive to look at, it also best resembles their natural desert habitat. For baby Leopard Geckos this type of substrate could lead to impaction and instead you should use flat stones or paper towels until they are at least 6 inches long. You should always check that the substrate you choose has not been exposed to any pesticides as this can be harmful to your gecko. Hiding places should be made readily available through the enclosure and you can best achieve this by including cork bark, driftwood, hollow logs, and plastic hides, as well as adding live and artificial plants.

Leopard Gecko Habitat Log
Logs will give your Gecko a chance to climb

Lighting and heating.

Leopard Geckos will need a regulated temperature of between 80 – 90F at one end of their vivarium, with the heat dropping down to around room temperature at the other end. This will allow them to move A heat mat placed under half of the enclosure can help with this, as can a basking lamp, either one should be controlled using a thermostat. The humidity needs to be quite dry to replicate their natural desert habitat and lighting is not important as they are nocturnal and obtain their vitamin D3 from their diet. Important: Heat rocks are dangerous and should be avoided, they can become too hot and burn your Leopard Gecko.

What do Leopard Geckos eat?

A Leopard Gecko will enjoy a diet primarily of insects and worms, as well as the occasional pinky mouse when they are fully grown. Prey will need to be live as they will almost always refuse dead food, they like to hunt and it is always preferable to create their recreate their natural way of life as closely as you can. Juveniles will need feeding on a daily basis while adults can be fed every two days, wax worms are a particular favourite but should be offered as a treat because of their high fat content. A shallow dish of water should be available at all times and changed once a day, make sure the dish is sturdy as the substrate should be kept dry at all times.

Leopard Gecko Shedding Skin
A Leopard Gecko halfway through shedding


Leopard Geckos need both calcium and vitamin D3 in their diet to both maintain health and properly digest their food. A number of calcium powders and vitamin supplements are available and the best way to ensure they get this nutrition is to feed it to their crickets, locusts, etc. This process is called gut-loading, you can also lightly coat them in calcium powder.

Do Leopard Geckos shed their skin?

Juvenile Leopard Geckos can shed their skin as often as twice a month, while adults will only do so once a month. It is not unusual for them to eat their freshly shed skin as it is a good source of obtaining proteins and minerals needed for growth. They will need the hide box as the humidity in their will help them shed their old skin, you can usually predict a shed as the skin of your Leopard Gecko will turn to a dull, whitish grey.

Bookmark and Share

Related Articles: