Today, September 1st, is World Gecko Day! Geckos can make wonderful pets. If you are considering getting a reptilian buddy, a Leopard gecko may be a great option for you. Of course, caring for a reptile is quite different than caring for a dog or cat. A Pickerington, OH vet goes over basics of Leopard geckos in this article.
Leopard Gecko Basics
Leopard geckos are quite small, rarely growing more than 10 inches long. This is one reason they are so popular: unlike many reptiles, they don’t need very large enclosures. They’re also quite cute and gentle. Just keep in mind that these guys can live up to 20 years. Make sure you are ready for that sort of commitment!
This is a big one for reptile care. Your miniature dinosaur will need a great terrarium. We recommend getting one that is at least 20 gallons, if not bigger. You’ll need a safe, suitable substrate. Some options are reptile carpet, pea gravel, turf, and butcher paper. Sand is okay for many adult lizards, but can be dangerous for babies, as they can ingest it. Leopard geckos also need hides to retreat to if they get scared or just want to nap. Your reptilian buddy will need at least two, one of which should contain moss and/or vermiculite to help with shedding. To make your pet’s home look and feel comfortable and interesting, add things like branches, driftwood, plants, and rocks.
Geckos don’t have to have special lighting, so you can get a low-watt tank light. However, your vet may recommend a specific setup, so it’s good to check. As far as heat goes, you’ll need to set the tank up so that one end is cooler than the other. This is very important, as geckos regulate their temperature by moving back and forth between zones. One end should be between 85-90 °F, and the cooler end between 73-75 °F. We recommend using under-tank heating instead of heating rocks, for safety reasons.
Diet is also important. Leopard geckos eat things like mealworms, crickets, and waxworms. These should be dusted with a nutrient-rich powder before becoming lunch. Your lizard will also need fresh water, as well as calcium supplements. Ask your vet for specific advice.
Please reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your Pickerington, OH animal clinic, we’re here to help!