Pet Care Guides Reptile

Leopard Gecko


Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Norhtwest India



Average Size:

6 to 10 Inches


10-15 years

Having a leopard gecko as a pet can be a very rewarding experience! Before purchasing, do plenty of research to understand their behaviors, proper handling and care requirements. Help them live a long and healthy life in your care.

The leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, comes as close to being a perfect pet as a reptile can get. No wonder it is the world’s most kept lizard.


Leopard Geckos are not overly active and usually take light handling in stride. Since they are crepuscular, they are mainly active at dusk & dawn. Reptile night bulbs are a great help in observing their crepuscular activities.


Leopard geckos are best kept by themselves as solitary pets. That Pet Place cannot guarantee that any animal will get along with any other animal, even if they are purchased from the same cage.


Leopard geckos should be provided with as much space as possible. Large enclosures are necessary to establish a thermal gradient. Leopard geckos will move from warmer to cooler areas as needed to regulate their body temperature. This behavior, called thermoregulation, is important to their health and is usually not possible in small tanks.

We recommend:
• 15-20 gallon 30”x12”

Habitat Furnishings

• Ceramic food dish
• Water Dish
• Two Hides (1 for basking side, 1 for cool side)
• Substrate
• Decor

Air flow is important for all reptiles native to arid habitats, so your terrarium should be equipped with a screen top.

While leopard geckos inhabit sandy environments in their native habit, some people like to keep them on a terrarium liner, sand mat or crash pad until they are larger. We recommend having a second liner or mat to swap out in between cleanings. Clean the habitat itself with pet friendly disinfectant every other month and provide a fresh, clean mat.

There is a possibility that captive leopard geckos could suffer fecal impactions due to swallowing too much sand. If they eat sand, it more likely indicates a nutritional deficiency in general. As a result, they have an urge to eat anything, including sand, to make up for the nutritional deficiency. To prevent impaction, provide them with a more well-balanced diet.

TFP-TPP Pro Tip:
Still concerned about impaction? Feed your babies and juveniles using tongs or feed separately in a bin at feeding time.

Leopard Geckos are ground-dwelling but will utilize rocks and stout driftwood. Rocks should always be placed on the terrarium's floor so that your gecko cannot tunnel below them and be crushed.

Light, Heat & Humidity: Even though leopard geckos are crepuscular, mainly active at dusk & dawn, studies have shown that still benefit from some UVB. Providing up to an UVB 5.0 bulb will help your leopard gecko properly use vitamins & minerals from their food to keep healthy. Specifically, UVB helps them synthesize vitamin D3 which allows for them to absorb and use calcium properly. Without proper UVB, your reptile could develop metabolic bone disease (MBD), leading to eventual death

TFP-TPP Pro Tip:
UVB bulbs should be placed within 8-24” of the basking site depending on the UVI your reptile requires & the UVB % of the bulb. For leopard geckos, you can use a timer to turn the bulb on for 1 hour at dawn and 1 hour at dusk. Replace this UVB bulb every 2-3 years because of limited use. NOTE: UVB and UVA are two different kinds of light. UVA CANNOT be substituted for UVB light.

Reptiles need the proper amount of heat to digest their food and maintain their immune system. Each species has its own temperature requirements that must be met by providing the appropriate amount of heat with some combination of heat bulbs, ceramic emitters, and heat mats.

Reptiles cannot maintain their body temperature by producing metabolic heat. They rely on external conditions (i.e., heat bulb) to regulate the temperature of their bodies. Consequently, a thermal gradient must be established in your leopard gecko’s habitat. That means you must provide a basking area (hot) and a cooling area (warm).

Required temperatures for your leopard gecko:

• Basking temperature: 90-95°F
• Cooling area temperature: 80-85°F
• Nighttime temperature minimum: 70°F

To provide the recommended basking temperature, we recommend the use of a heat spotlight and an under-the-tank heater plugged into a thermostat. At night, turn off the spotlight to allow the temperature to cool down to around 80°F. If the temperature at night goes below 70°F, you may need a ceramic heater or reptile night light, which gives off heat but not visible light. Use two separate thermometers to monitor the temperature in the basking area & the cooling area.

TFP-TPP Pro Tip:
To properly use a heat mat, provide a thick substrate or a mat so your gecko will not burrow and come in direct contact with the glass that the heat mat is adhered to.

Humidity should be kept low to moderate, (30-40%) and the substrate kept dry. Use a hygrometer to monitor your tank’s humidity.

All reptiles shed their skin as they grow. Incomplete shedding may occur because of incorrect humidity, malnutrition, dermatitis, or trauma. If your leopard gecko gets bits of shed stuck, it may need your delicate help to carefully remove it. Otherwise, a small bit of stuck shed will build up with each shed and could eventually cut off circulation to that body part.

TFP-TPP Pro Tip:
Since proper humidity can help with shedding, provide a cave stocked with moist sphagnum moss. (A dry hiding spot must also be available.) 


• Juveniles- feed daily
• Adults- feed 3-4 times a week.

Your leopard gecko's diet should consist of a mix of roaches, crickets, sow bugs, butter worms, waxworms, silkworms, tomato hornworms and other commercially available invertebrates. Use super and regular mealworms sparingly. If you are feeding crickets, the size of the cricket should be no larger than the space between the geckos’ eyes. You can feed approximately 2 insects per inch of body length each day.

A powdered calcium supplement should be added to most meals, and a multi-vitamins mineral supplement should be provided 2-3 times per week.

TFP-TPP Pro Tip:
Leopard geckos store their excess fat in their tails. Thickness of their tail and neck should be about the same.

Some leopard geckos drink water from a bowl, but most prefer to lap water that has been sprayed onto a small section of the enclosure.

Daily Care & Maintenance:

Leopard geckos require attention and care every day.
You will need to:

• Feed and provide fresh spring water.
• Spot clean, remove waste and uneaten food.
• Complete health checks
• Complete heating checks.

Check your leopard gecko often for signs of injury and disease, including missing toes, mites, and white/gray patches of skin. Observation can be as simple as looking at them closely while they are in their habitat. Continual handling is not required as that can cause undue stress.

You can tell a lot about your leopard gecko’s health by its tail. The tail stores essential fat and fuel to keep them going. A healthy leopard gecko has a tail that is about the same thickness as their neck. If the tail is skinny, it may be unhealthy. If it is fattened, your gecko is generally healthy.

Something else to know about its tail, Leopard geckos will drop their tail due to fear and stress. They lose their tail to set themselves free of a predator or obstacle. Their tail will regenerate, but you want to avoid causing them this trauma. If they lose their tail, they lose their fat storage, which could also lead to poor health or even death.

Leopard geckos should always appear alert. Any reptile that seems limp or does not hold themselves erect when active are likely in poor health. Very commonly poor health can be caused by an issue with their heat. Check the following daily:

• Basking temperature in their actual basking spot
• Cool temperature in the cooling area of their cage.

Watching your reptile’s behavior & movement can indicate whether your temperatures are correct. For example, if your reptile always stays on the heated side means it’s never hot enough. Always staying on the cool side means the heated side is too hot.

Health & Sanitation Considerations

Salmonella bacteria, commonly present in reptile and amphibian digestive tracts, can cause severe illnesses in people. Handling an animal will not cause an infection, as the bacteria must be ingested. Salmonella infections are easy to avoid via the use of proper hygiene. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before and after handling any animal. Please speak with your family doctor or veterinarian for more tips on preventing Salmonella, or please read our care guide
Cleaning and Disinfecting Recommendations for additional instructions.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about your new family member.   We recommend having a check-up at veterinarian that specializes in exotics soon after you bring your new pet home. It is helpful to keep a medical record about your pet should an emergency ever occur.


Please enjoy this video on Leopard Gecko care from one of our pet experts!

Pet care is always evolving & changing- Please continue to research and monitor your pet’s behavior to assure they are thriving.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our reptile room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1240 or