Leopard Gecko


Leopard Gecko Greenwood AR

Juvenile Leopard Gecko

Leopard gecko have a well-deserved reputation for making excellent pets. Their ease of maintenance, moderate size and attractive appearance have earned them high praise and popularity in the pet industry. Unlike may other geckos, leopard geckos possess movable eyelids and lack the sticky toe pads that enable many other geckos to cling to glass or walls. A leopard gecko should not be caught or lifted by the tail; the body should be fully supported when it is handled.

Male or Female?

As juveniles, there is little difference between male and female leopard geckos. Interestingly, leopard geckos undergo temperature-dependent sex determination, which means the sex of the gecko can be predicted based on the temperature at which the egg was incubated.

Leopard Gecko Greenwood AR

Critical Care for even the Tiniest of Our Patients

As adults, males have a V-shaped row of enlarged femoral pores along their inner thighs, whereas females have only small pre-anal pits. Males also have paired hemipenal swellings at the base of the tail, which females lack. Males are slightly more heavy-bodied and robust with a broader head and thicker neck than females. Both males and females make equally good pets.

Diet

Leopard geckos feed primarily on live, moving insect prey. Commercially available diets have emerged that include dried insects and frozen prepared meats; however, leopard geckos need to be conditioned to feed on these items ands some are hesitant to adapt to them.

The diet may consist of commercially raised crickets with smaller numbers of mealworms, superworms (Zophobas), waxworms, silkworms, roaches and other live insects. Prey items should be fed a high quality diet (“gut-loaded”) for at least 24 hours before feeding.

Live prey should be offered in shallow containers, which will prevent mealworms from burrowing, reduce cricket dispersal in the enclosure and reduce accidental ingestion of substrate by the gecko.

Appropriate-sized prey items should be offered every one to two days for juveniles, and two to three times a week for adults. As a general rule, feed crickets with a body length no greater than the length of the gecko’s head and about half the width of the head. Feed no more than the animal will consume within 15 minutes, which usually amounts to 4-6 food items. Beware that hungry juveniles housed together may nip toes or tail tips off their cage mates.

While vitamin and mineral supplementation is controversial, leopard geckos will tolerate a wide range of supplementation regimes. Consult with Dr. Block, your exotic animal veterinarian. Dusting prey items with a calcium supplement is beneficial. Prey are dusted daily for juveniles, while prey are supplemented every 2-3 feedings for adults.

Housing

Be at least 200 square inches (floor space) and 6″ high for a group of 2-3 animals.

Be easy to clean with a good ventilation (provide a screen top)

Include clean fresh water provided in a shallow container and changed daily

Include acceptable substrates such as paper towel, newspaper, orchid bark or fine sand (sand is controversial), corncob and walnut shell should be avoided.

Provide a moist hide box filled with sphagnum moss, cypress mulch or vermiculite

Include a rough stone or bark for the leopard gecko to rub on during shed periods

Tips

Avoid

*Information on this page is reprinted from information provided by the Zoological Education Network under the “Fair Use” Act.

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