Beginners Guide To Leopard Geckos


Leopard geckos

Handling reptiles, particularly geckos, can be a fun experience for anyone. However, the idea can be very daunting if you have no prior experience handling this kind of pet. Thankfully, some geckos can give you a relatively easy start!

The Leopard gecko can be an excellent pet even for absolute beginners. They are easy to take care of compared to other geckos. Even though they are easy to care for, they are fun pets.  

You can have fun watching them in their enclosures as they move perkily. Neophytes will be able to enjoy learning how to keep geckos. Once you get the hang of gecko keeping by taking care of your leopard gecko, you can choose to expand the population of your pets. You can also transition into caring for other lizards or reptiles.

Gecko keeping is a great activity. You can start keeping awesome geckos with these cute and awesome leopard geckos. Even though you do not plan to transition into other lizards, they are great pets by themselves.

Appearance/Size

Aside from being great pets, leopard geckos or Eublepharis macularius look awesome. As the name suggests, their prints look similar to that of fierce leopards. The color of their bodies ranges from yellow, tangerine, and lavender to white. Meanwhile, their spots can be black or dark chocolate brown. These spots can be rosettes or chain-rosette. They can also be stripped and have patches with irregular blotching. There are also cases where gecko lizards can be albinos

Their digits are slender and white. They also have long claws. However, these digits do not have toepads. Therefore, they are unable to climb trees like other popular gecko breeds.

Similar to crested geckos, the heads of leopard geckos are small and triangular. Their bodies are long, while their tails are chunky and segmented.

In the wild, Leopard geckos’ pupils are usually slitted. However, captive breeders can deliberately breed a few mutations. These mutations are the “eclipse” mutation, which results in pupils being entirely covered in a solid shade of either red or black. Additionally, a mutation known as “snake-eyes” results in the pupil having partial leaks to the iris. Lastly, a modification called “marble-eye” results in spots in the eye’s iris.

Compared to many other gecko species, common leopard geckos are more significant. Hatchlings typically range in size from 2 to 5 grams and measure 7 to 10 cm (2.8 to 3.9 in) in length. Adult female geckos are around 18 to 20 cm (7.1 to 7.9 in) long and weigh between 50 and 70 grams, whereas adult male geckos are roughly 20 to 28 cm (7.9 to 11.0 in) long and weigh between 60 and 80 grams.

Habitat (where from in the wild, temperatures, conditions, etc)

In the wild, leopard geckos prefer to live in the desert. They have been found living on rocky deserts found in countries such as Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. They have also been found in other areas, from Asia to the middle east. 

Leopard geckos live on rocky deserts because they prefer rocky substrates over sandy ones. However, they also live on grassy terrain with rocky and sandy soils. They choose to dwell in desert climates that are warm and too hot for the majority of the year. However, cold winter temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) can force the geckos underground into a state of semi-hibernation.

As previously mentioned, leopard geckos do not have toepads and are not great climbers like other lizards. However, they have long, extended nails that make them excellent burrowers. Staying in their burrows helps them regulate temperature and evade their predators.

What they eat

Similar to the substantial fierce animals they are named from, leopard geckos also catch their food in the wild. They eat a wide range of creepy crawlies in their natural habitat. Typical leopard geckos usually feed on crickets, dubia roaches, grasshoppers, giant spiders, small locusts, springtails, wax moth larvae, and other insects. They also eat centipedes and scorpions. There are also times when they consume nesting mice and even lizards smaller than them.

Although leopard geckos consume various foods in the wild, it is not always advisable to give them worms and insects that are lying, crawling, or flying outside. It is always preferable to feed them what you know is safe and won’t hurt them to keep them alive, as they naturally know what foods to eat and not consume when not in captivity.

Live insects such as crickets, “calci worms,” waxworms, and little locusts smaller than your pet’s head make up most of the food suitable for leopard geckos in captivity. Considering that you are feeding live insects to your pet gecko, you should keep them hydrated by providing them with vegetables and clean water.

For the feeding schedule, young geckos should be fed daily, while adult geckos should be fed every other day. You should also know how to care for them.

How long do they live

Despite their robust and resilient nature, wild leopard geckos often only live for 3 to 8 years in the wild. Furthermore, women often have slightly shorter lifespans than male leopard geckos. 

A lot of predators in the wild also threatens them. While they get to munch on insects and smaller lizards, they are also food for many other giant animals. These animals include various species of snakes and other reptiles. They’re also in danger of being eaten by foxes that live close to them. Further, leopard geckos’ lives are threatened by many predatory birds.

However, leopard geckos in captivity are an entirely different story. If you can care for them properly, they will reach their full potential and live very long. Captive leopard geckos typically live somewhere between 10-20 years. There are also records of leopard geckos reaching 28-30 years old. They are fun pets, but they will be long-term commitments. It will take a long time of excellent care to ensure they live their decades with a great quality of life. 

Type of enclosure

When it comes to enclosures, you must first consider the size. One leopard gecko needs a tank of at least 10 gallons. On average, you must enlarge the tank by 5 gallons (19 liters) for every additional gecko. 

Leopard geckos like living in long and moderately shallow aquariums. Avoid tanks that are tall and narrow, s Glass tanks are a traditional choice and mine personally. The most visible materials are chemically stable (it doesn’t leach chemicals) and simple to clean and disinfect; glass also has maximum visibility. It is remarkably resilient if thick enough and maintained adequately; a well-kept glass terrarium may continue to seem brand-new for decades.

Because of their versatility and durability, plastic tanks manufactured with PVC or ABS have gained popularity in the hobby. They are smaller and less likely to break than glass tanks. Further, their sides can be pierced to accommodate cables and equipment.

Either professionally molded terrariums or individual plastic sheets are used to make plastic tanks. Although they are often pricey, it’s possible to obtain one at a reasonable price because you don’t need large tanks when you’re losing.

Breeding

You can introduce the male to the female tank, then see how they interact. You might have to wait to attempt again if the man or female turns hostile. Even though geckos can get territorial and act aggressively toward one another, you can avoid these from happening. 

Sometimes, breeders use a harem set up where one male lives with many females. This could be okay if your cage has enough room and you plan for many eggs. Nevertheless, separating the male outside the mating season is preferable.

The eggs are then laid by the female, and they will hatch into young geckos. It’s interesting to note that the gender of the hatched leopard gecko depends on the temperature at which the egg is maintained. This may be manipulated only to generate female geckos or only male geckos.

Female leopard geckos deposit their eggs behind rocks or logs in the wild. The eggs are not yet hardened when they leave the mother, and it will take some time for them to form a protective shell. Then, eggs are incubated for around 6 to 10 weeks, depending on temperature. But in captivity, you need to prepare a simple egg-laying box. You could then set them at 80-83 degrees Fahrenheit. The eggs will hatch in 35 to 90 days.

Final Thoughts

Gecko keeping can be worth your time. If you cannot decide which one to choose as your first pet, you should look into leopard geckos. They are docile and you should take care of them in leopard gecko hides.

Despite their docile nature, they are still fun to watch in their enclosures because of their beautiful prints and perky movements. 

It can be challenging for an absolute beginner, but it can provide excellent learning opportunities. Besides, a leopard gecko’s life is long. Therefore, you have its early years as your learning curve.

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