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How to Set up a Leopard Gecko Tank

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My interests and hobbies include scuba diving, photography, animals, crafting, painting, and the internet.

This is my baby leopard gecko Lucille.

This is my baby leopard gecko Lucille.

About the Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos make great pets for both experienced and inexperienced herptile pet owners. If you're reading this, you are probably about to purchase a leopard gecko or have already purchased one. You may even be an experienced reptile owner just looking through to gain more knowledge. The best way to learn is by doing, but this guide will hopefully help you to get started in your pet-owning adventure.

Are You Ready to Take Care of a Leopard Gecko?

Getting a new pet can be an exciting event, but please make sure you are ready for the commitment. Although leopard geckos are very good beginner pets, they still need a lot of care, maintenance, and love. Here are some things you need to think about before purchasing a gecko:

  • With good care, leopard geckos can live up to 20 years. Are you able to provide the care the gecko needs, and are you ready to take on the commitment of having a pet for 20 years?
  • If you are buying this pet for your children, are they old enough to provide daily maintenance for the gecko and handle it in a manner that is safe for both your child and the gecko?
  • Are you ready for the economic responsibilities that come with keeping a leopard gecko, including the initial setup and the cost of maintenance and feedings?
  • Hopefully, you keep your gecko in good health, but if your pet does get sick, are you prepared to get veterinary help?

What You Need for a Leopard Gecko

So, you passed the test, and you know you're definitely ready for a brand new pet. Now we can discuss tank setup. Here is a minimal list of things you need for your gecko.

  • Tank
  • Screen top
  • Three places to hide ("hides")
  • Substrate
  • Food, water, and calcium bowls
  • Thermometer
  • Under-tank heater
  • Black or red light

Now we can go through the items listed above.

Gecko Tank Requirements

Of course, as with any animal (or human), the bigger the better, but a 10-gallon tank can be sufficient, although it should be the bare minimum! 10-gallon tanks are usually between $10 and $15. You can check for used ones on craigslist, yard sales, or flea markets. Also, if you have a fish tank with a crack in it (one that your animal can't cut itself on), you can use that.

Protective Screen

Although leopard geckos do not have the pads on their legs that enable them to climb on glass, they do need a screen. The screens are meant to keep bugs out, rather than keep anything in. Spiders can be lethal to a leopard gecko, so make sure you have a screen.

Screens are generally between $9 and $20, depending on the size and store. If you cannot afford to buy one, you can easily make one. I bought netting at a hardware store. It was enough to make more than 10 screens, and it was only $2. A lot of people use wood to make the corners, but I used duct tape and it worked just fine! Make sure you add enough to make it sturdy, though.

Places to Hide

Two hides should be the minimum, yet I prefer to have three. One hide should be on the cool side of the tank, while the other should be on the warm side. (I'll talk about cool and warm sides in a little bit.) The third hide should be on the warm side as well, and it should have something moist in it. This can be a damp paper towel or moss that is wet. This hide is to provide moisture for your gecko when they are shedding. It is important that they have a moist hide and that it stays moist, or else their shedding process will be more difficult.

As far as your hides go, it can really be anything you want. You can buy hides at the store or make your own. If you like eating coconuts, you can cut an entranceway for your gecko, and that can be a hide. I often use plastic cups that are dark in color. A paper towel tube is also a good one. For a moist hide, make sure you use something other than paper or cardboard so it doesn’t soak through. A lot of people use a Tupperware container with a hole at the top.

If you have more than one gecko in the tank, they each need their separate hides, so they do not get territorial.


Substrate, which is the material used to line your tank, is VERY important in the care of your gecko. I say this because it is often a very controversial topic, and if you don't have proper knowledge, many pet store salespeople may mislead you. Many people say that the best substrates are either paper towel, newspaper, or pet carpeting. The reason for this is that these substrates cannot be swallowed by your pet.

Many stores try to sell you on the idea that sand, calci-sand, wood chips, or any other type of loose substrate is a good idea. However, these substrates are bad ideas because your leopard gecko can swallow these while trying to hunt for crickets, and it can cause impaction. Impaction is when the digestive tract has solid masses blocking it. This condition can be fatal for your pet. Many people argue that it is rare for leopard geckos to get impaction from these substrates, especially if they are adults.

Here is how I look at it: Your pet's health is more important than the appearance of your tank, so take the safe route!

Three Bowls

You need three bowls for your gecko: a food bowl, a calcium bowl, and a water dish.

  • The food bowl can contain mealworms and other foods that you plan on feeding your gecko. Crickets should be kept running around the tank so your gecko can get exercise.
  • The calcium bowl should just have a little bit of calcium powder that your gecko can lick whenever they want. I use a lid from a water bottle for this.
  • The water dish should be washed daily and filled with water at all times.

Make sure all dishes are shallow enough for your gecko to be able to reach them. Some good ideas to make inexpensive bowls would be lids of jars, terracotta pots (75 cents at Wal-Mart), or plastic condiment dishes.


The thermometer is best if it is electronic. This is the most accurate way to measure the temperature in the tank. If you buy a stick-on thermometer (it is a lot less accurate), do not stick it on the tank. This will prevent you from checking temperatures on both sides of the tank. You can also add a humidity gauge, but it is not mandatory for a leopard gecko.

Under-Tank Heater

An under-tank heater is very important. This will help you create the warm side of your tank. If you are using paper towels as substrate, make sure you add an additional layer (or two) of paper towels on that side so you do not burn your gecko. Place the appropriate sized under-tank heater on half the tank. The other half of the tank will be the cool side, and it will allow your gecko to choose what temperature it wants to hang out in.


Because leopard geckos are nocturnal, they do not require special UV lighting. What I have for my leopard gecko is a black light. You can get these lights with either a blue or red light bulb. This provides additional heat for your gecko.

Additional Accessories: Rocks and Twigs

Above, we discussed the general setup for the tank. You can add different accessories to the tank as well. If you plan on using rocks or twigs you found around your yard, you will want to sterilize them. The best way I find to do this is to bake them. A rock can be baked for 15-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Twigs can also be fired, but they need to be soaked in water so that they don’t catch fire.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2009 mayyam


Gabbriella on October 06, 2019:

Hi sorry smart said wood chips are the best for geckos cause geckos can’t really swallow wood chips yeah

Lucia on May 26, 2019:

My leaped gecko skittles looks very cute and I wanna play with him. Are there ways to do that? Also petamrt said that the mats are bad for your gecko so you should use sand instead. Is that true?

ben on December 30, 2018:

where should I buy a gecko in Scotland

not telling on August 20, 2018:

my petsmart people say DO NOT get and under the cage heater!! they say terrible things go wrong with it and it could fry ur gekco

Janet on April 13, 2018:

Are Leopard Geckos more work than Bearded Dragons?

Morghann on November 01, 2017:

I am 12 and i broke my geckos tank a bit i need a new one badly

Nanis on September 23, 2017:

I'm 12 i just bought everything for a leopard gecko that I'm getting but I didn't bought a red light because I thought if u had a heat pad it would be ok but is it nessesary cause I don't what nothing to happen to the leopard gecko

Bianca on June 30, 2017:

im 10 going to get a leopard gecko is it okay if you use a rapper towel roll as one shelter?

Sydni Juice on February 08, 2017:

I have been told not to use an under tank heater because it can burn the gecko if the burrow.

Christina on December 06, 2014:

Hey! I've been reading your posts for the past 15min! Looks like you know a lot! I just bought my set up and I'm buying a baby albino leopard gecko in about 2 weeks. I'm real excited and have done a bunch of research:) I have a heating pad and want to put it under the tank. I'm using aspen substrate. I'm wondering how much space I should have between my dresser and the tank(because of the heating pad)?

Madison on August 19, 2014:


This is really late bit the most important thing in the heating in the heating pad. Since leopard geckos are nocturnal, they hate bright lights, so instead if you really want one or the heating pad is not very hot then get an incandescent red or blue light.

Ching on July 30, 2014:

Is it okay to feed a juvenile Leo 5 crickets and 5 mealworms every other day? Of course they will be gutloaded and calcium dusted:)

Thank you!

Chloe on July 30, 2014:

We are moving over the next couple months and I am worrying about stressing my gecko out when the big move comes. What can I do to help?

Eric H. on January 01, 2014:

Okay so, my dad and I got this reptile starter kit thing 10 gallon tank come with white heat lamp reptile substrate(the carpet material), thermometer and the guy at petco told us we needed to buy a uvb lamp. We also have an under tank heating pad but didn't put it on. What we did was have the uvb and the white lamp on until 9 at night and turned those two off and put on the blacklight for the night. The guy told us nothing about lighting patterns or where to place certain things just told us what we "needed". I'm not sure but the thermometer is stuck in the middle of the inside of the tank and says 24% humidity and about 80° so I figure we have an okay difference in the hot and cool side. Please let me know what you think we should do about arranging the lights and changing the heat set up. I may forget to check this at another time so just in case I never answer your response on here my email is Please and thank you for a response.

GeckoLizard on March 20, 2013:

I have a a tank 30x18x20 is it ok? for 1 gecko

jpetri3902 on December 15, 2012:

How do you tell a male leopard gecko from a female. We have 2 and don't know the sexes.

Satchin on August 07, 2012:


I am soon planning on buying a leopard gecko here is what i have so far...

- a zoo med heat pad

-2 hides small size is one and medium another

-a gecko dish 2 in 1 water/food bowl

-10 gallon all living things tank

-fake star cactus - a moist hide -the gecko -repti carpet -and a lizard ladder IS THIS GOOD DO I NEED TO IMPROVE please email me quickly at asap

wendy on June 01, 2012:

Hi I had 1 gecko in a vivarium and now have brought another gecko I have also brought a 4 ft viv but it has no mat or bulb could someone please advice me on the length of bulb i need for it and the watt and size heat mat please thanks

laith.hamed on April 12, 2012:

Hi i'm thinking about getting a leopard gecko and i was wondering if just feeding it mealworms is a good idea. I've been reading and it says that you should alternate between crickets and mealworms or else your gecko could get fat. If i could just feed it worms that would be great.

zachkiddder on March 09, 2012:

hey i just got 2 baby leapord geckos there in a 10 gallon they have a good hide to hide in but they never come out

Colby on February 28, 2012:

For some reason my light burnt out the first day that is why i am asking the first question and the last one about its feeding i ask because i just got it and it eats like it hasn't in a long time it has already eaten almost 20 crickets in 2 days is this normal?

Colby on February 28, 2012:

I just got a gecko and would like to know if a normal house hold light buld would work in my lamp

Also i have a heating pad should i have both on in the day or just the light in the day and heating pad at night

My gecko is only a couple of weeks old and eats lots of crickets... How much should i feed him/her a day or week

Jesse on February 23, 2012:


Leopard geckos would do better with an under then tank heating pad, they get their heat from the ground so a light would not be as good. If you got a red light it would be more or less for you to see him at night and he wouldn't be able to see the light .When you get him don't put him on sand or any other loose subsrate.

ibby on February 22, 2012:

im thinking of buying a blizzared leapord gecko does that need a heating light and could i use my lamp wich as a red bulb please reply need to no thanks guys !

Maekwill from Pennsylvania on December 06, 2011:

Hello my name is Karli and i have been doing resurch on Leopard Geckos for like 2 weeks striaght because i am hopefully going out to get a Leo from Petsmart some time this week and this hub page is very very very helpful. I live in a college apartment and am not allowed to have anything but fish...ehehe ;) not that they will know i have a gecko. So, i have a huge list of what to buy for the lil guy and how much itl all cost. So, because i live in a dorm i will have to feed him/her worms because crickets are messy and make noise. Also lol here is my question, i am going home for christmas break on the 16th and i really don't want the 4 hour ride to kill the baby Leo!!! i read that putting her/him in a dark contaner will help relive stress but the travel wont kill the leo right?! i am sooooo worried about that, my dorm neighbor is a leo expert as well so will and can help me while im at college but not home. Also, ill be takin the leo home with me Dec 16th then bringing her back with me Jan 14th...she should be ok right if i get a healthy one and make sure i do everything correct? :} sorry for the rambeling and worrying, thanks

Crystal on November 29, 2011:

Hey we just got our daughter a Leo Gecko a few weeks ago and bought everything new from the store for "Twitchy" what she named her Gecko. The bedding that came with the cage is coconut husk and has to be misted daily ... now my question when we feed Twitchy the crickets he usually gets a mouth full of cricket and coconut husk, can that hurt him or is it ok? The lady at the pet store said everything we needed for him was in the box but there is nothing for him to hide in only open terrain and hanging plants on the side where he spends alot of time. Should i go get a hiding rock for him?

taylor on November 13, 2011:

Hi. i'm going to be getting a leopard gecko soon and I don't know where to get it from! There is a Pets Smart and a Pet Value and another exotic pet store (Iforget the name)near by but I don't know what place us best to get the healthiest gecko. I'm leaning towards the exotic pet store because that is what they specialize in. Another querstion I have is about the tank, Should I get a 10 15 or 20 gallon tank? Do you need to dust the mealworms and crickets always before you feed the gecko or can you just put in a calcium bowl? Do leopard geckos like being handeled? How long do you think I should wait before tring to pick him/her up? should I get a femal or male? I think i might get a male so there is not a very good chance of breedig it with my friends but I don't wan to breed them so that would be ok. do you think a gecko would responed to its name if you called it? what flooring should i use for its tank? would a repti carpet be best ( I will NOT use sand). do you only need the heated floor on half the tank and should i have lamps on all the timefor all parts of the tank. what i have in mind now for the tank is two hut( one on the right and one on the left), a small branch so it could climb on, food water and calcium bowls,and a small plant. would this be ok anything i need to improve or change? oh and one more thing what thermomiter should i use?

thanks so much pls give me answers thanks!!!!

meagan on November 01, 2011:

hi i really want a leopard gecko and my mom says it's possible were just worried because all the sites I've been on mentions "gutloading" and i was wondering if that's just when you put the insects in the calcium or is it legit food you give them?? pleaz help!

Vincent on October 08, 2011:

Hi What is the best watts for a 10 gal tank and can you make your own hides for leopard geckos

Tony on October 06, 2011:

Hi recently got a gecko and she is 3 yrs old and skinnny she runs away from worms and crickets she does not eat frequently i got a uth bbut i put on side she has a cave and never gets out of it the first night i had the uth she was literally stuck to the glass so she can get warm so should i also purchase a heat emitter or a bulb? email at thx

Rawr on July 08, 2011:

I read prickly plants are bad, why is there a catus thingy?

Eric gilmer on April 28, 2011:

it could be from a belly burn i hear many ppl say not to use one

Joey on April 27, 2011:

Hi guys. this friday i am going to get a snow leoppard gecko. my last one died after 3 years out of nowhere. I was feeding him about 5-7 mealworms a day and calcium dusted crickets every other week. he had plenty of water and heat. he had an electric rock and a heat lamp. he also had a moist hide under a log and his substrate was a zoomed cage carpet. Can anyone help me and tell me if i am doing okay? i will take any suggestions thanks

Eric Gilmer on April 21, 2011:

hi i have a fifty gallon tank and plan on getting one or two geckos prefferrably 2 that are use to each other ive read juss bout every post here and was wondering if my 50 gollon tank is too much or if i can juss get a third at a latter date and separate the 2 from the newer with a plexi glass so they can sll get use to it im trying to learn as much as possible before i get them your hub has been so much help i think i may try the tile idea that way there is nothing there to cause impaction is there ne thing i will need for breeding meal worms ty kindly....

ky on March 29, 2011:

I just recently took in my brothers leopard gecko. She hasn't been eatting much maybe 3 crickets in the t2 weeks that i have had her and ive notice that her skin is starting to look kind of grayish. I wasn't sure if that was something i should be worried about. After talking to my brother he said this has happened before. I have the blue light that i keep on durnig the day. Her take is normaly at 87 degrees durning the day and in the high 70s at night and has the three hids which i keep on moist. I have sand on the bottom... if anyone would know why she would be turning grayish i would love to know or if you think maybe i should bring her to a vet. Thank you!

alyssa on March 29, 2011:

many people say that you need both a heating pad on the warm side of the tank, plus a black or red light on the warm side. wouldn't the light heat the whole tank because it is so bright?

this may be a dumb question but i wanted to know, because im interested in gettting a leo in the next week or sooner.

Faith on March 07, 2011:

How expensive would this all be?

Oyster25 on March 06, 2011:

I just got my boys Leopard Gecko today and he or she is just a baby and I bought the warms for food and I was wondering how many of those should I feed him or her because this is our first reptile and the lady at petsmart said like 5 a day i think it was but i just wanted to make sure and how offten should he or she be fed.

rexgecko on February 17, 2011:

hey i have the red light and do i need the heat pad and this might be normal but my baby gecko is not eating at all just want the best helth for my awesome rex leopeard gecko

Dan on February 12, 2011:

Hello nice people!

I've had my baby Leo for a week nearly now so far hes eating like a champion! and handles even better...

so for am confused about heating/lighting

in the day the warm side is 88-91 and the cool side is 70-82 and that's using a heat pad and a red bulb

i leave the lamp on for 12 hours a day so durring the night the temp drops to aprox 70-75 on the warm side and 70-72 on the cool side...

i know this temp is roughly right but am concerned that that inside the warm hide is just to dam hot... i got my self a digital thermometer and it reads 115 in the day and 95 in the night :S

is that the right temp for inside the warm hide?? or should the warm hide 88-91?

i know am probably worrying over nothing but hey, little Yoshi is awesome!

Amanda on February 11, 2011:

I see that they have crickets at Petco and Leopard Gecko food at Petco - are these foods good for my Gecko? Or do I have to feed him live crickets? Planning on buying one next week! been doing lots of research!

Please let me know!!!

Elisa on January 23, 2011:

i think it was just the change in diet... thanks so much

Jonatan on January 16, 2011:

Thank you for the answer, really appreciate it! I will transport it in a dark container. That will be no problem. And if I have to move it when it is small I will be very careful.

Ashley on January 15, 2011:

thank you.. but one last question. my geckos are doing great. but they are still slow.. i see them eat both crickets and mealworms.. but should i still try and increase the temp or do you think they will be alright at around 73 degrees..

Ashley on January 15, 2011:

thank you.. but one last question. my geckos are doing great. but they are still slow.. i see them eat both crickets and mealworms.. but should i still try and increase the temp or do you think they will be alright at around 73 degrees..

mayyam (author) on January 14, 2011:

elisa- does he still have diarrhea? it can sometimes happen when there is a change in diet.

Heather- sorry for such a late response. heat pads or putting it by a radiator/or heat source.

Lauren- generally they throw up because they ate it too fast. they were probably hungry from several days of not eating so that could be the reason.

Chelsea-There is not difference between the blue and red bulb. (just preference). your day and night idea is good. I keep my heating pads on all the time.

Jonatan- Don't move them around too much when they're babies but most leos are hardy enough to handle it. put them in a dark container when moving them to decrease stress.

Morgan- there are a lot of reasons a gecko is not eating and is losing weight. You need to go to a vet to find out the reason and for treatment.

Ashley-theres some tricks you can do including putting Styrofoam sheets around the outside of the tank. but really the best option is increasing the temperature in the house.

Emma- You can rest assured that it was nothing you did wrong with the first gecko. Petco really does not keep their animals in good conditions. The first gecko I ever got was from Petco and it died from metabolic bone disease a couple of days after i bought it. This is because they didn't give them calcium in the tank. Anyways, you're doing everything right.You need a heat pad though. and for lighting all you need is a blue or red bulb. Since leos are nocturnal they don't need incandescent bulbs or the benefits that come with them (vitamin d). leos do like to eat at night. You might wanna try putting the mealworm right in front of the gecko, that might spark its interest.

as far as the humidity, What i usually do is when I see that my gecko is turning white, I put in a wet paper towel. All geckos are different and some just naturally have difficult sheds. three of mine are easy shedders, so i add humidity at the last minute, and the fourth gecko has problems even when there is humidity so i do special things for her. The more you'll get to know your gecko the easier it will be for you to decide what to do.

emma on January 14, 2011:

My son got a Leopard Gecko for Christmas and it died a few days ago. We took it back (to Petco) and got a different one (he picked the biggest one this time instead of one of the smallest). Now, I am just paranoid that we are going to do something wrong with how we take care of this one! My son got a basic desert terrarium kit and we have it set up according to the directions, which is like this:

-reptile carpet


-food and water dishes (food is in the middle and water is on the cool side)

-tiered rock hide (we bought it at the pet store and it is on the warm side)

-humid hide (we made it from a plastic container adn it is on the warm side)

-lamps -this is the confusing part for me... the directions said to put the 50wt incandescent white light on the hot side and turn that light on during the day and put the 50wt black light on the cool side and turn it on at night (with the white light off). It seems like this would just create confusion about which side is warm and which side is cool. Should we just be using the lights on the warm side, alternating between the white one during the day and the black one at night? We also don't think the gecko is eating, which I know is normal when it is adjusting to a new home, but when should we worry? The other problem is that the mealworms crawl out of the bowl and we will think they have been eaten, but they just reappear from under the reptile carpet (we put a few crickets in the tank with the first gecko and thought they got eaten, but I saw both of them hopping around today). How many mealworms should we be putting in and how often? Is it true that, because they are nocturnal, the geckos usually eat at night? We have never actually seen either the old gecko or the new one eat. One more thing... the humidity level in the tank is usually very low (5-10%)... it this ok? We do have the humid hide which has paper towel in it and I try to keep it moist. Oh, and how do you know when it is about to shed? Thanks for any help!

Ashley on January 14, 2011:

i need to know how to keep my tank up to a higher temp. we have a cool house and the temp is at 73 degrees in the tank all the time. and i have two LG and they are really slow when moving and it kind of concerns me. but i have both a heating pad and a blue heat lamp. is there anything else i can do?

morgan on January 07, 2011:

my gecko is a tangerine leopard gecko and its tail is getting really skinny and its not eating and i have everything you metions any answers?

Jonatan on January 07, 2011:

I'm planning in getting a Leopard Gecko. Anyhow, I have a few questions..

You see, my parents are divorced so I wonder if it is okay to have a leopard gecko and move it from my mom's to my dad's and the other way around?

It is once a week so it is a lot of moving. But can they take it? Or do they get too stressed?

I will have pretty alike cages for them though.

Really happy for answers.

Chelsea on January 03, 2011:

ok so ive been researching and i have officially decided to buy a leopard gecko! =) HOWEVER the lighting and heating pad was a little confusing so I am going to run my idea and ANY suggestions or changes would help.

What is the difference between a blue and red bulb?? does one get hotter then the other?

When i get the heating pad my plan was to keep it on ALL DAY. Then, I would have my lamp (either blue or red) on while it is awake, and i will shut if off at night (too cool down). Is this all a good idea??? I wasn't sure about keeping the heating pad on all the time.

Lauren on January 02, 2011:

Hi. me and my sister got 2 juvenile leopard geckos about a week ago. We had a little trouble feeding them for the first few days but we know that its normal for them not to eat because of the moving process. However its been about 7 days now and we are still having trouble. The pet store gave us dead crickets and mealworms. They never eat the dead insects. About 3 days ago we decided to buy live crickets and as soon as we put one in there they ate them immediately but a few hours later one of them throws it up. Im a little worried and not sure what to do. Do you have any suggestions?

Heather on December 25, 2010:

My son just got a leopard gecko from Santa and is loving it. We just have a red light for heating at this point. We are leaving town tomorrow for 4 days for the holidays and now the red light bulb is not working- uggh!! It's Christmas day so nothing is open to replace it today and we are leaving at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Any suggestions to keep the 10 gallon tank warm while we are gone????

Elisa on December 21, 2010:

Thanks so much for ur help b4.. i switched to mealworms a few days ago, n i was just wondering is it normal that he is having dirreah with the mealworms, does he just have to get used to them? He uses it a lot that night after eating & also it smells a lot..

arron on December 20, 2010:

i wanted to know if you knew anything about breeding geckos

mayyam (author) on December 19, 2010:

"...."-- they are fully grown in about a year.

Elise: Glad to hear he's eating!

Leah: thank you very much! I would imagine that a sub adult would be a gecko that's several months old. (under a year). It would be definitely be safer to buy than a juvenile, and probably easier to handle for your son since juveniles can be very jumpy. Check for health (clear/not foggy eyes, no mucus from the mouth or nostrils, somewhat thick tail, and no large black dots on tummy as a sign of impaction). Happy Purchasing!

Arkham: You can try to hold him daily but try not to do it for more than 10 minutes so you don't stress him out too much initially. You'll learn to know when you should put your gecko back and the amount of time will increase the more he learns to trust you. You've been making great progress though! great job!

Arkham on December 18, 2010:

My Leo is doing well! He let me hold him twice, just by putting my hand in the cage. Should I do this every day? He doesn't seem bothered by it.

Leah on December 17, 2010:

HI! This is such a great hub! I am getting my son a gecko from "Santa". I have read all of the postings and have one question. The local pet store has a sub adult lavendar gecko. What is a sub adult? Would it be safe to buy as far as the chance of it being healthy. The pet store is a good one and specializes in reptiles. Thanks!

Elisa on December 16, 2010:

Thank you very much!.. and he has eaten a few so i'm happy.. i think i am going to switch to mealworms n see how he likes them. thanks again! :)

.............. on December 13, 2010:

when are geckos fully grown

arron on December 12, 2010:

k thanks

mayyam (author) on December 12, 2010:

I use paper towels. its the cheapest and safest. :)

arron on December 12, 2010:

i was also wondering what substrate you use

arron on December 12, 2010:

yah ones small and likes to jump off things and the other will let you walk around with it on your shoulder

mayyam (author) on December 12, 2010:

arron--great to hear that your geckos are doing well! some geckos love to use the water dish. I have 4 geckos now and only one of them does that, the other three prefer moist hides. You've probably noticed already that your geckos have different personalities, so it always depends on the gecko!

arron on December 12, 2010:

mayyam thank you i asked you a few questions 13 months ago and my geckos are doing great. but i have noticed instead of a moist hide i have a big water dish that the entire gecko can fit in it seems to help alot thanks

mayyam (author) on December 09, 2010:

the rule of thumb to feedings is feed them food no longer/fatter than the space between their eyes.

Put a bunch of crickets into the geckos tank. Let him eat for 15-30 minutes. after he stops and decides he is full you can take the rest of the food out. that way you don't have to wonder if you are feeding to much or too little--leopard geckos won't over eat

Arkham on December 09, 2010:

My gecko is about 5 inches long, head to tail. Would 7 small crickets a day be enough? The crickets are about 1/2 in. long. His tail isn't very thick, but he is still very young.

Arkham on December 08, 2010:

I keep posting so many questions! Anyway, when and how should I start getting my gecko used to me? He is still so scared of me.

mayyam (author) on December 08, 2010:

when it comes out its solid with a clear "wetness" over it. so its totally fine.

Arkham on December 08, 2010:

Another question: My leopard gecko hadn't pooped in about 2-3 days, but just now had a big bowel movement! Way bigger than any other that he had done! But it had a lot of water in it, which soaked into the substrate(newspaper). It was still solid, it wasn't like liquidy or anything, I was just wondering if they are supposed to have water in their poop.

mayyam (author) on December 07, 2010:

its perfectly fine. he just likes to stay warm! that's why tanks have two sides, to give him the option to adjust the temperature to his desires.

Arkham on December 07, 2010:

My gecko always stays under his cave on the warm side at night. Is this normal? He still seems healthy, nothing wrong. He will walk around though when the cool side is a little warmer though. Would anything happen to him if he always stays on the warm side?

mayyam (author) on December 07, 2010:

Arkham- Pheonix worms are a great staple for leops--if you can afford them. They have a TON of calcium which helps prevent MBD(Metabolic Bone Disease) and are very easy to digest.

Superworms are ok as a staple BUT only for adult leopard geckos, who are ready to eat such big insects! You can feed him every day if he is willing to eat. Young geckos eat a lot more than adults because they are growing!

Elisa--Maybe you can try offering him different foods(maybe a few waxworms as a treat). Make sure it is the proper conditions of substrate and temperatures in the tank. I feed all my (four) geckos mealworms and they eat them just fine. Some won't even bother chasing after crickets. Geckos also need an adjustment period when they move into a new home because they get stressed out which can cause them not to eat. As long as it looks like its got a healthy tail, it should be fine.

Elisa on December 07, 2010:

That's also another qustion i had... Can i feed him mealworms as his main diet? i've heard you can't because their more of a treat, but then i've heard that you can? and i would much rather swith to those than crickets! if they will be just as healthy for my him?

Arkham on December 07, 2010:

Would superworms be a good staple? I have been feeding crickets lately, and would gladly change to worms! I'm just not sure if small superworms are a good idea. Another question, Im not sure how often I should feed my gecko. He will take food every day happily, so should I feed him every day? He is about 5-6 inches.

Elisa on December 05, 2010:

Hi! I got my leopard gecko nov 27th, and he only ate one cricket the second day he was here... today is one week that he hasn't eaten and i'm worried.. also i haven't seen him drink water at all! wat should i do?

Arkham on December 03, 2010:

Do phoenix worms have the same hard shell as mealworms? I just recently found that my local pet store sells phoenix worms and a variety of other types of worms. Would it hurt the leopard gecko in any way if feeders were changed? Thanks!

mayyam (author) on December 03, 2010:

I agree completely Bryan. I don't think anyone should ever risk their gecko's life for a tank that looks good.

I've been taking care of an impacted gecko recently who i got from its careless owner. After you see the effects of impaction its hard to imagine why anyone would ever take the risk.

Bryan on December 03, 2010:

I don't think it's rare at all for an adult to get impacted. All it takes is one missed attack on a cricket or mealworm, or a little bit of sand to get stuck on the skin when they shed.

mayyam (author) on December 02, 2010:

its normal for the bowel movements to be every other day.

Congrats on him eating.

Don't worry too much about how oftens. Right now is an adjustment period so if he misses a day of pooping or eating, its not a big deal.

You only have to worry if he goes a week or more without food or bowel moments, or is lethargic, etc.

Arkham on December 02, 2010:

I haven't touched him yet, at all. However, he ate 6 crickets last night! I'm just wondering if he will still be as stressed now that he has eaten. How long should it take for him to have a bowel movement?

mayyam (author) on December 01, 2010:

congrats Arkham on getting your little guy!

Geckos need time to get adjusted to you and their environment when you first get them. don't worry too much if its not eating right away. also, don't touch him before you're about to feed him, because it will stress him out more. Once he starts eating you can put your hand in the tank, just to get him used to you, but don't touch him just yet!

Good luck!

Arkham on December 01, 2010:

Would stress be put on my gecko if I try to feed him? He is very healthy, and very active. I caught him while he was exploring, and dropped a cricket in, but he ignored it and went back to his cave. I have had him for a day.

mayyam (author) on November 28, 2010:

arkham- juvenile would be the best. they are old enough to be easy to raise, and fairly healthy and still young enough to watch them grow up. The gecko will always move to the warm side if it gets cooler, which includes night time.

Josephine-20 gallon would be too large and would stress it out.

Josephine on November 26, 2010:

I'm getting a baby leopard gecko soon. I am planning to get a 20 gallon tank. Is it possible that the tank would be to big? PLEASE respond soon!

Arkham on November 26, 2010:

One other thing- if the night temperature drops low, will the gecko move to the warm side?

Arkham on November 25, 2010:

Would it be better to get a baby leopard gecko or a juvenile? I'm against getting an adult right now because they cost much more and I like to see them grow.

mayyam (author) on November 18, 2010:

I've never heard of them but you can google them and read reviews. and ofcourse check the conditions the reptiles are in and how they are being kept. that would be a good indicator of whether the animals are likely to be healthy.

Arkham on November 18, 2010:

I was wondering if LLLReptile is a good place to get reptiles? I heard it was a chain store and was wondering if it would be a better place to go than Petco or Petsmart.

Steve on November 04, 2010:

No Envy is my first and only leopard gecko

Thanks everything I now know about Leopard Geckos are from this web page once again Thanks

mayyam (author) on November 04, 2010:

the decrease in appetite could be just him still being pretty full from previous feedings. so as of right now that's not a problem

They need heat to aid in digestion so that's why he would stay on the undertank heater.

Is envy a different leopard gecko? if so, do they have separate tanks? if not then they need to be. You cannot keep an adult and juvenile gecko together because the adult will bully the juvenile out of food.

leopard geckos need to trust you before they can eat out of your hand so it will definitely take some time.

Steve on November 04, 2010:

Hello I just bought a juvenile leopard gecko from petsmart thusday, after I brought it home and in the tank I waited a few hours and put in dusted crickets about 12 of them he ate like he hasn't eaten like he hasn't ate in a few days.

My question is I feed him last night he only ate about 7; later that night I got outta bed about 2am and he was sprawled out on the side of the tank with the undertank heater, looked as if he was sleeping is this normal?

Also as I was taking the crickets he didn't eat out I had one in my hand and Envy (leopard gecko) ran out of his moist hide and snached it out of my fingers, I was wondering if it is to early to try and get him used to my hands, and what is the best way?

mayyam (author) on October 28, 2010:

glad I can help Sky!

thanks for the kind words!

Sky on October 28, 2010:

Thank you just the addvice i need i just inharated 2 from a friend and have never had one before, =) i did just what you said, =)

mayyam (author) on October 25, 2010:

Hi Kate,

it can really be a number of things and I would need more details to determine what the cause can be.

What is your tank setup?

You said her tail was shrinking. Has she stopped eating?

make sure she stays hydrated. The vet will probably be able to help you determine the cause.

Kate on October 25, 2010:

Ive had my gecko for two years and just this week ive noticed she has defecation stuck on her body and her tail is shrinking and I really don't know what to do and cant find any information to help me. Im going to try to find a reptile vet today but didn't know if you had any ideas?

mayyam (author) on October 25, 2010:

Well, like it says in the hub you need a minimal of

* Tank

* Screen top

* Three hides

* Substrate

* Food, water, and calcium bowls

* Thermometer

* Under tank heater

* Black or red light

Caleb on October 25, 2010:


Aidan on October 24, 2010:

Hey, I'm planning on getting a leapord gecko in the near future. I have been doing a good amount of research and then I found this site and I learned a bunch more! I was just wondering if you could give a list of what I should get when I go to get the stuff. Thanks a bunch!