Taking on a leopard gecko is a responsibility, just like any other animal, but what is involved?
For reptiles the environment is very important:
Temperatures will need to be checked regularly with a digital thermometer. Make a note of the highest and lowest temperatures in the vivarium during the day and again at night and check these are within the right range.
Leopard geckos spend a lot of time sleeping in hides, so make sure that there are plenty of hides in different areas of the vivarium, and that at least one of these is kept nice and humid.
UV lighting is also very important. Make sure your gecko has easy access to UV and that the bulbs are replaced as required, as the UV lighting will fade over time – we can’t see this happening. Most bulbs will need replacing every 6 to 12 months, depending on the type of bulb and the quality (some brands are better than others!). Did you think that leopard geckos didn’t need UV lighting? Read this: UV lighting for nocturnal reptiles
Feeding: Leopard geckos will eat everyday, sometimes lots and other times not so much. Offer a range of insects to ensure they are getting a range of nutrients and dust them with calcium supplements and vitamin and mineral supplements.
Cleaning: Leopard geckos tend to use one area as a toilet. Spot clean this daily and clean the whole vivarium every 4-6 weeks – don’t forget to use a reptile safe disinfectant. Water bowls need to be cleaned daily.
Handling: Once a day handling is enough for any gecko. It is easy to over handle them and they won’t be upset if you miss a day or two – just don’t forget to do your daily checks!
Reptiles are great at hiding illnesses but there are usually signs.
Do the eyes look nice and full?
Is the gecko maintaining, increasing or losing weight?
Does the gecko feed well ?
Is the gecko active (at night – they are are nocturnal) and moving freely?
Does the gecko shed its skin well?
Do you know what a healthy gecko looks like?
If you have any concerns – seek advice from a vet who regularly sees reptiles. You can never be too early to go to the vet but you can be too late!
Keeping geckos is fun, but make sure the environment is right so your gecko will thrive – not just survive.