Acquired: Online breeder / seller
Posted May 14, 2016
Leopard Geckos are one of the most popular reptiles to keep as a pet. Dedicated breeders and keepers have worked with this animal for over 30 years. The result is a lizard that comes in a variety of morphs (colors and patterns), and even size variations.
Because of it’s long stay in captivity, the Leopard Gecko also makes a great first reptile.
Leopard Geckos can be purchased in a variety of ways. You can buy one from a pet store, a reptile show, or order one from a breeder online. My personal suggestion is buying one directly from a breeder at a show or online. These breeders often take special precautions to ensure the animal you receive is healthy and happy. Because the breeder worked with the animal in-depth, they could also provide you with useful information like what the animal’s preferred prey is, or if it exhibits any unusual behavior or health issues.
A 20-gallon aquarium or terrarium is large enough to house a hatch-ling to adult Leopard Gecko. However, if you want to ensure your Leopard Gecko stays in the best health possible, it's recommended that you offer the animal caging that is at least 30-feet long. Because Leopard Gecko’s are cold-blooded and crepuscular, they have to regulate their body temperature a lot. A longer terrarium gives the Leopard Gecko more freedom is regulating it’s body temperature, and helps it fend itself of disease or other issues.
Leopard Gecko’s don’t require any fancy substrate, you can use simple paper towel for example. I use paper towel with my Leopard Gecko Rorschach, and it works just fine. If you do wish to use substrate, avoid sand. Using sand as a Leopard Gecko substrate is a common mistake. But the problem with sand is Leopard Gecko’s often ingest it by accident when they hunt. An overabundance of sand inside a Leopard Gecko’s body can be fatal. If you do use sand, it’s wise to use playsand and mix it with a more stable substrate like coconut or Zoo Med’s Excavator Clay. A great alternative to sand that looks better than paper towels is tiles.
Because Leopard Gecko’s aren’t active during the day, they don’t require any special lighting. However, like most reptiles they do require a heat source. You can provide heat with undertank heat pads, heat tape, or ceramic heat emitters. You should also connect a timer to whatever heat source you use, so the heat comes on during the day and goes off at night.
One of the best things about Leopard Gecko, and a great reason to use paper towel as substrate, is the fact that they usually pick one area of their cage to defecate in. This makes cleaning extremely easy, as all you have to do is remove the soiled area and place fresh substrate down.
Leopard Geckos are insectivores and should be treated as such. Rorschach is not a finicky eater, and will eagerly devour crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. I also raise Dubia Roaches to feed him occasionally, and if you plan on keeping several reptiles, investing in a Dubia Roach colony is not a bad idea. Superworms can also be fed, but use caution as they have powerful jaws that can bite a Leopard Gecko. If you do feed superworms, it’s advisable you smash their heads first.
Overall Leopard Geckos are the best beginner reptile. Though they can be skittish while young, they usually grow accustomed to handling with time. I can pick-up Rorschach with no trouble 99% of the time.