Skip to main content

How to Set up a Leopard Gecko Enclosure

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises, and other exotics since 2003.

How to Care for a Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet reptiles because they are relatively small and docile. Because of their size, they require small enclosures, but that doesn't mean that they can be neglected when it comes to proper husbandry. There are many different opinions about how a leopard gecko should be housed. Some are accurate, some are semi-accurate, and some are just plain wrong.

In order to house a leopard gecko properly, there are just some things you can't do. Neglect of any kind can shorten their lifespan and cause many health issues.

How to House Your Leopard Gecko

Below, I will give you the most accurate way to house your leopard gecko to ensure that it lives happily, healthfully, and safely in your care. We will go over:

  1. Enclosure Size
  2. Recommended Substrate
  3. Unsafe Substrate
  4. Proper Temperatures
  5. Recommended Lighting
  6. Hides
  7. Cage Placement
  8. Calcium

Because leopard geckos are relatively small reptiles, you can get away with a 10-gallon aquarium with a screen lid. A better option would be to purchase a 20-gallon aquarium with a screen lid.

Why I Recommend a 20-Gallon Aquarium

The reason I suggest a 20-gallon versus a 10-gallon is because after you add the hides and bowls, there is very little room left for the leopard gecko to walk around, which can stress them out.

Why Size Matters

Too little room can potentially stress out your leopard gecko, but too much extra room can also potentially stress out your gecko. So, if you choose a larger-sized enclosure, you'll want to add a few extra hides or decoration pieces, such as wood, bridges, fake plants, etc.

The biggest mistake that people make when decorating their leopard gecko enclosure is going with the wrong substrate. Loose substrates can cause impactions, which can be fatal if you don't notice the signs early on. Therefore, safe substrates that you will want to use in your leopard gecko's enclosure include:

  • Paper towels
  • Reptile carpet
  • Indoor/outdoor carpet
  • Slate tiles
  • Rollout liner

Avoid Loose Substrates

In general, you want to avoid any and all loose substrates as they can be dangerous or cause health problems. These can include:

  • Play-sand (often marketed as vita-sand in pet stores; otherwise, regular play-sand in any form)
  • Calcium-based sand
  • Potting soil
  • Silica sand
  • Wood shavings (cedar and pine especially)
  • Cat litter
  • Bark chips
  • Crushed corn cob
  • Walnut shells
Play-sand and calcium-based sand is not recommended for young geckos and is best avoided entirely.

Play-sand and calcium-based sand is not recommended for young geckos and is best avoided entirely.

3. Unsafe Substrate

Many people assume that because leopard geckos are desert reptiles, that they should be housed on sand. Well, I hate to break it to you, but not every desert is composed of loose sand; leopard geckos are actually naturally found in deserts composed of compacted sand and rocks.

Why You Shouldn't Use Sand

You can house older geckos on very fine play-sand, but you want to stay away from housing baby and juvenile geckos on it because they are clumsy when catching their prey and ingest mouthfuls of sand that can compact in their digestive tract (this is still common with older geckos, however). Wood shavings and bark chips, too, can raise humidity levels and offer hiding places for crickets, making it hard for geckos to find their food.

Why You Shouldn't Use Calcium-Based Sand

Calci-sand or any calcium-based sand is another common mistake. Many pet-store employees recommend that you purchase digestible sand (I mean, it even says on the bag that it's good for reptiles). Again, I hate to break it to you, but when calcium-based sand gets wet, it tends to clump and will do the same in a reptile's digestive system. Plus, because it is calcium-based, reptiles tend to lick at it and ingest the sand. Overall, you want to avoid all calcium-based sands.

Safe vs. Unsafe Substrate Types


Paper towels


Reptile carpet

Calcium-based sand

Indoor/outdoor carpet

Potting soil

Slate tiles

Silica sand

Rollout liner

Wood shavings

Cat litter

Bark chips

Crushed corn cob

Walnut shells

The most important aspect of a proper enclosure is to make sure that you have accurate temperatures within the enclosure.

The most important aspect of a proper enclosure is to make sure that you have accurate temperatures within the enclosure.

4. Proper Temperatures

Probably the most important aspect of a proper enclosure is to make sure that you have accurate temperatures within the enclosure. Remember that leopard geckos need temperatures on the hot side—around 88ºF to 90ºF during the day.

Under-Tank Heaters

The best way to provide the correct temperature is to use an under-tank heater (UTH). UTHs are also great because leopard geckos are terrestrial and absorb heat via their bellies. So, by using an under-tank heater, your leopard gecko will be able to get the best heat.

I find that not attaching the UTH to the enclosure makes for easier cleaning. This way, you do not have to worry about the cord getting wet. Also, make sure to prop the aquarium up on something so that you give the UTH room to breathe. By blocking the heat from the UTH underneath the cage, the heat can build up under the cage and cause stress cracks.

Digital Thermometers

Use a digital thermometer with a probe to measure the temperatures in the tank. You can attach the meter on the outside of the tank and have the probe on the hot side of the tank on top of the substrate.

You do not want to use the stick-on thermometers of any size, shape, or brand because they do not read temperatures accurately by any means. When you use a stick-on thermometer, you are measuring the wall temperatures, anyway, which aren't the temperatures that are affecting your leopard gecko. Even if you place these thermometers on the surface of the tank, they are still not accurate.

Zoo Med under-tank heaters, for example, are sized for 1- to 30-gallon enclosures, so make sure that you know which size is recommended for each enclosure as follows:

  • Mini: 1–5 gallon
  • Small: 10–20 gallon
  • Medium: 20–30 gallon

Lighting is an optional feature for your leopard gecko's enclosure. Because they get their heat from the surface of the enclosure, the light really just raises the air temperature a few degrees. The one good reason to opt for a clamp light is to create a day/night scenario.

If you decide that you want to use a clamp light, you will want the light and the under-tank heater on the same side of the enclosure. You do not need to use UV lighting. Leopard geckos are nocturnal, so they do not benefit from the UV rays.

Different types of hides.

Different types of hides.

6. How Many Hides Does My Leopard Gecko Need?

"Hides" are probably the most straightforward aspect of a leopard gecko's enclosure. You want to have at least three hides in the cage: two dry hides and one humid hide. You want to have one dry hide on the hot side of the enclosure and one dry hide on the cool side of the enclosure. This allows your gecko to thermoregulate its body temperature. If they get too hot on the hot side, they can seek refuge in the hide on the cool side, and vice versa.

The Humid Hide

Humidity tends to be caused by moisture and heat. Your gecko will use a humid hide if it wants to (in other words, don't force them to use it). Keep in mind that you do not need to mist the humid hide every day either.

Here's how to create a humid hide:

  • Cut a hole in a Glad Tupperware container.
  • Stuff it with a substrate. You can use peat moss, Bed-A-Beast, or vermiculite within the humid hide, or you can use paper towels or a small piece of a towel.
  • If you use a loose substrate (moss, dirt, etc.), you will probably want to cut the hole in the top of the container because the gecko may dig or kick out the bedding all over the tank. Otherwise, if you use paper towels or a piece of a towel, you can cut the hole on the side.
  • Place the hide on the hot side of the enclosure.
  • The humid hide aids in shedding, so when your gecko is going to shed, you'll want to make sure to mist the inside of the hide. Your gecko will begin to dull a day or so before they turn white-gray in color which is typical of shedding.

7. Cage Placement

The only other thing I should mention is where you place the enclosure. Do not put your leopard gecko's enclosure in direct sunlight, which means that you shouldn't put the cage directly in front of a window. This can increase temperatures in warmer months and create a slight chill during cooler months. In general, place the enclosure on interior walls versus exterior ones.

8. Calcium

Remember to add a small bowl of calcium in the enclosure in addition to dusting feeder insects in calcium because it allows the gecko to get the calcium that it needs at any time of the day.

I like putting calcium bowls near the water bowl, but you can put them anywhere. Also, you may consider keeping the bottle cap to your milk or Gatorade because it's the perfect size to use as a calcium dish.

Share Your Expert Tips

We have covered all of the basics of leopard gecko husbandry. At this point, you should know:

  • What size enclosure to use
  • Proper substrate
  • Proper heating and how to accurately read temperatures
  • Lighting
  • How many, what kind, and where to put hides

Please leave your feedback in the comments section below. If I have missed anything, feel free to share it with the community.

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.


Sw on August 04, 2020:

Can you please help me with two tiny Mediterranean geckos? I am new to the gecko world. I am having trouble getting food that is small enough for these babies. One is about an 1 1/8 " and the other is about 1 1/4". I went to the pet store and the worms were still half the size of the gecko. Crickets were about the same . I did read that they do not eat fruit , only live insects. Any suggestions would be very helpful. My son is 11 and is terribly excited about these two. Thank you.

Vv on July 03, 2020:

last one I read said no reptile carpets so now I'm confused

Tammy Jones on May 05, 2020:

Great advice the only thing that I would disagree with is that uvb is needed 6% would be perfect for them

Crystal on May 15, 2012:

I would like to add, as I've seen in a few comments that ppl say that a heating rock is ok, it is not, they tend to overheat and have caused several burns on reptiles, under tank heater is the best option for leopard gecko's

ryan mills on May 13, 2012:

i have 1 gecko i am thinking of buying another one where can i get the one for the least

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 12, 2012:

an under tank heater is most ideal.

michael on May 06, 2012:

i have a heat lamp is that ok or do i need to get a different heat source

Penny Richardson on April 02, 2012:

It's about time! We need some one someone other than our mostly uniformed pet stores,giving accurate info to their customers concerning this issue!!

Thankyou so much!!!

I will be bringing this info to my local pet store today!


Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 29, 2012:

ceramic should be fine

Joni on February 27, 2012:

WHITNEY, you mentioned using slate tiles for substrate. do they have to be actual slate or can they be ceramic tiles? went to Lowes yesterday and they only had one color and style of natural slate. However, there were many beautiful realistic colors of ceramic tiles. Can these safely be used for the geckos?

eli on February 20, 2012:

Hello again. I have a question about a substrate. I want to use slate because it is very natural looking and is safe for her, but how would I keep it warm? Would an under heating pad keep it warm enough?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 19, 2012:

I'd recommend getting a digital thermometer with a probe. They are about $5-10. Worry more about getting the temperature right than the humidity.

Add a bottle cap with pure calcium in it. Also, dust the crickets before offering to the gecko.

Jen on February 17, 2012:

I just bought a leopard gecko for my son about a week ago having troublle with lighting and humidity mines at 80 right now is that a proper setting for it to be heat and humidity 40 percent should it be higher or lower so much stuff out there I'm confused what to use what not to use and how to set up terrarium and also my gecko is not so active at night is that normal or not . Also the calcium thing everything this lizard is my first one never had one so what can I do . Also I have the stick on thermometer things should I have different one. Can anyone help who's really familiar with it that I can talk to

Kristyn on February 16, 2012:

So I just got my gecko about 3 weeks ago. She just shed last night and when I seen her later on in the day I seen that her tail was shriveled and I think she might of lost blood circulation in her tail. I'm worried about her and I'm wondering what I should do? I'm just leaving her alone for right now just incase but I don't want her to die, she's just a baby. :/

Whitney (author) from Georgia on February 10, 2012:

Nathan, remove the wood chips and remeasure the temperature with a digital thermometer with a probe. Wood chips are not an ideal substrate for leopard geckos anyway, but it could be why you're not achieving proper heat.

Eli, females can fight and bully each other. I'd recommend two tanks. Try another food for the female you have. Not all geckos like the same foods. Try crickets.

eli on February 07, 2012:

also, my leo is worrying me. she is refusing to eat her mealies and its worrying me. will she just eat when shes hungry? am i overreacting? does she need a wider variety? can tank size affect her eating? because i will get a bigger tank for her.

eli on February 07, 2012:

Hello. I am new to the leopard geckos, and was wondering if you could have 2 females in the same tamk without any problems?

Nathan on February 07, 2012:

If using a 2ft fish tank to hous a gecko where do I put the heat mat I have it under the tank with a thin layer of wood chip ins but I'm not getting a nuth heat should I put it in side

Emilyjb on February 04, 2012:

I am planning on attaining the necessary supplies for my very first leopard gecko this weekend and am so excited. The only problem is that there are so many websites that say so many different things. Can they be exposed to regular lighting or should I cover the tank up while I have the lights on? Is it ok to use the moist box for shedding box as well? How often should the substrate be changed and what should I use for substrate? What is the maximum time I can leave the gecko alone? Can he be taken outside? Is it okay to buy him from a pet store (like Petco)?

walker11 on February 04, 2012:

hi i am just woundering if you have to buy the wood from shops for the gheko lizard to climb on or could i go to the woods and get logs and things y self as i have just bought 2 gheko lizards for my son

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 01, 2012:

When the geckos are a little older, it's easier to tell male and female geckos. The male will have distinct bulges and a 'V' above the vent.

I don't use any lighting, only the under tank heater. You can use a night light or a red light for viewing. There's also no reason why you can't use a regular light, but for heat, I recommend an under tank heater.

I'm not sure about the foot.

Chatkat on December 31, 2011:

Thank you for answering my question, I really don't know if we have males or females. I think they are around 5months old now. Is there a way to tell? Also you said you don't use lights, Do you also mean the black light at night,too? one of the Geckos has a front white foot with short toes, does that mean anything to you? It just went thru a shedding a couple of days ago but it's little foot was like this before. I'm not sure what it is, Thought I'd ask you.


Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 30, 2011:

I recommend using under tank heaters instead of lights, and they generally only heat up the air right around the light, versus where the gecko is actually going to be. Use a digital thermometer with a probe to accurately measure the temps on the surface of the tank where the gecko is. Also, keep in mind that 2 males will fight, 2 females may fight, and a male and female will breed.

Chatkat on December 27, 2011:


My son just got 2 leopard geckos for Christmas and I want to know about the lighting. We have 2 lamps on top. One we use during the day which has a white bulb in it and the other lamp has a black bulb in it for night.Is this right? just run the day lamp all day and the black lamp all night? Also would you know what causes a geckos foot to look white? Is it shedding? and how often do they shed? Thank-you!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 04, 2011:

It's recommended.

Peter on November 28, 2011:

Do they need a lid?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 26, 2011:

I would recommend it, but it depends on what your temperatures are. Measure with a digital thermometer with a probe, so that you get the most accurate reading.

big dog upstairs on October 25, 2011:

im getting a leopard gecko soon and wondering should the undertank heater run 24/7

*Leopard Gecko Star 180* on October 13, 2011:

I'm getting a leopard gecko sometime this month or the next for my birthday and I'm SUPER EXCITED!!! Even though I know pretty much everything, I still have a question. I have a night time bulb and an under tank heater. Should they both be on at night and should they be on the same side of the cage?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 12, 2011:

I don't recommend using leaves or dirt from outside. You can use rocks and wood, as long as you bake them at 350F in the oven for at least 30-45 minutes.

Ashlle on October 12, 2011:

Hello I was wondering if I could use logs from my back yard. Also rocks and leaves. I will clean them fist before I put them in the cage. Also can I place actual dirt in my females lay box? Please get back to me I need to know soon.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on October 04, 2011:

The reptile carpet will not melt, as it is carpet. If the under tank heater is registering more than 90F per the digital thermometer with a probe, you should consider purchasing a thermostat to tone down the temperature.

Leopard geckos generally will not eat dead insects. Live crickets, mealworms, superworms, silkworms, butterworms, etc are the ideal diet. They will not thrive in good health with any other diet, as they are insectivores.

Beth on October 03, 2011:

Hi, First, let me thank you, it's awesome to have someone so dedicated to help those caring for these beautiful reptiles! I have just bought a couple of girl leopard geckos and have a tank set up similar to yours. I was going to get the sand but you recommend the reptile carpet. I have some of this now but was worried it would melt with the heat pad underneath the tank? also what else can I feed them as I'm terrified of creepy crawlies! I have mealworms and those moist canned flukers crickets but was worried the latter would be too big for the 3 year old girls. Thanks so much for all your help!!

Lalalalalala on September 07, 2011:

How old should you be to get a leaperd gecko?

anonymus on August 22, 2011:

hey if i feed my leopard gecko in a seperate aquarium, can i have sand in the main aquarium?

ps.horay 4 lizards... idk

mark on August 20, 2011:

how much woulld this all cost

Whitney (author) from Georgia on March 08, 2011:

The pet store employee that you spoke with has no clue what they're talking about. You NEED the under tank heater for belly heat. THe sun glow bulb that you purchased was unnecessary. I would return the bulb and clamp and purchase the under tank heater. DO NOT spray the cage!!! This will cause high humidity which will cause respiratory illnesses and otherh health problems.

holly on March 07, 2011:

hey i just got a leperd gecko and the pet store set me up with everything i need they gave me a 100 w sun glow light and a white swirly light for the back but they said i didnt need a heating pad and the said to spray the cage with water once a day

burgy on February 25, 2011:

i have to agree with most that you say but i have used sand for a long time and never had a problem also i find exo terra provide the best items and decorations and some geckos are just different not always sick. i use a 50 gallon viv a large heat mat the hides i agree with but mine has things to climb as they love to explore.

***888R.B on February 23, 2011:

It is my first time getting a gecko, and I'm superduper excited!! Today is Wednesday,February 2nd,2011!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 18, 2011:

See a vet if the animal lost a foot. The light should not have caused the animal to have lost its foot due to a light or even a ceramic non-light heat bulb.

jess*7 on January 17, 2011:

my gecko was lost for 3 months and we just found him. a couple months before that pet smart gave us bad advice on a heating lamp and he lost one of his hands and the cut opened up again . what do i do?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on January 04, 2011:

I only recommend one gecko per enclosure. They are best housed individually to reduce risk of stress and bullying. At most, if you HAVE to have more than one per enclosure, I recommend only two females in that tank.

megan on January 04, 2011:

how many geckos could i keep in a 2ft X 2ft X 1ft?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 29, 2010:

10 gallon is bare minimum. It is actually cramped for an adult with all the proper hides.

madie on December 28, 2010:

hey i,m geting a leopard gecko would it be okay if i housed it in a 10 gallon tank i already have the tank and the supplies i thought it would br okay beacuse the pet store i went to had geckos in less than 10 gallon tanks just wanted to know bye

Whitney (author) from Georgia on December 26, 2010:

Could be that the one doesn't like mealworms, and prefers crickets. That or it may have parasites and is sickly.

DJ Sammi on December 24, 2010:

Hey i got 2 leopard gecko females about one week ago and 1 is eating like a star and the other is just not

p.s. they are in seperate tanks so 1 anit bullying and the heat is right , they got moss hide and normal hide , heatmat , they got worms in their bowl , water, calcium dish etc even probed the tempreatures

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 27, 2010:

No to reputable if they're telling you it's ok to transport the eggs in a car. The likelihood of them rolling is super high, so more than likely if you sell the eggs to them and they will be duds after someone transports them, and they're wasting their money. No too bright on their end.

Typically bad sheds mean 1) no humid hide, 2) no warm enough, 3) illness.

Micky on September 25, 2010:

Well the reptile is well respected and they breed their own reptiles, also you can sell them your gecko eggs and such and they incubate them for you, also my gecko shed today and he only shed hes head he just left the rest of it on and its not baggy or anything and hes walking around but wont go into hes moist hide

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 24, 2010:

Could be that they got a different batch and the current batch that you got yours from was bad. I don't trust any pet store, not even reptile specific ones. I've been into one that is horrible, housing their reptiles improperly and whatnot. Sometimes you can find good stores, but it's still iffy, especially if they get their reptiles from wholesalers.

Try to bump the temperature up to 90 on the surface of the tank during the day.

Micky on September 24, 2010:

Well my temperature is at 87F and during the nights it can go to 81F and im only useing kitchen roll with no cent on it. and i got my gecko from a place in newcastle called Tropical Team Reptiles. it is a reptile specalist shop which many of my friends have got geckos from their which are now 2-3 years old and had no problems

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 23, 2010:

Reptiles aren't like mammals and birds who need the attention. They actually do better being housed alone. Bullying and stress is a common issue when housing geckos in the same tank together.

Your gecko could either 1) be sick or 2) just be more docile.

What are your temperatures, as measured by a digital thermometer? What substrate are you using? Where did you get the gecko? How long have you had it?

Also, keep in mind that at 3 months old, it is quite hard to tell the gender of a leopard gecko, unless the breeder tells you what temperature the gecko was incubated at.

Micky on September 23, 2010:

Thanks for that, but wont the male gecko get lonley ? i mean he looks kinda lonley, and for some reason he lets my stroke hes nose head and body without flintching unlike my friends when he touches hes gecko it jumps out hes hand maybe hes sick ? but he eats and drinks and sheds

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 23, 2010:

You want to quarantine the new gecko(s) for at least 30-60 days to ensure that they are not sick.

You need to quarantine each gecko separately.

Do not house any gecko together, especially if they're not the same size and age. Bullying will occur. It's best that you don't put any gecko with your current one, being that he may be a male.

Also, keep in mind that females and males should not be housed together year round. That will cause great stress on the females. You also don't want to house them with the male if you don't want to breed. The will breed, and each gecko can lay up to 16 eggs a season.

Micky on September 22, 2010:

Hey ive got 1 male leopard gecko and hes 3 month old i think and they had him sexed and im going to a doncaster show on 26th of september, i was thinking of geting 2 female high yellows would he bully them at all cause hes quite small and ive already got 2 breeder cages so i can make sure they arnt ill or anything then put them in the 60x60x90 exo terra

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 13, 2010:

I'm not a fan of any piece that the gecko can climb. They are not goo climbers, and unless the piece is shorter, I wouldn't recommend it. The higher it is, the more potential for complication.

Claire on September 12, 2010:

I have two leopard geckos in a 60x45x45cm exo terra tank with the fake rock background. The first night I had them they kept climbing the background & one of them fell down. I have since taken the background away as I am worried that that the geckos will get injured if they keep climbing this? Would you recommend this type of background?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 05, 2010:

In most cases the pet store reptiles carry parasites amd illnesses that aren't noticed. they ate not checked by vet as the signs claim. I would not recommend buying a reptile or any pet from a pet store.

As for the kit, most pet stores do not offer kits with proper supplies. They end up adding bad supplies and you will still need to purchase others.

murphy10 on September 05, 2010:

im only a kid and im thinking about getting a gecko from my local pet store they are selling everything you need with one gecko for 100 pound , do you think gecko's are good pets easy to take care of for a 14 year old kid ?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 04, 2010:

It's a case by case basis. Most small pet stores that I've seen are just as bad, if not worse than chains. I trust breeders over pet stores any day.

Arkham on September 03, 2010:

Even if the pet store isn't a chain store?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on September 02, 2010:

Micheal H, what are the dimensions on the 35 gallon. I know that most of the exo terra tanks are taller than long. You want a long tank.

Arkham, a breeder is much better than a pet store.

Arkham on September 01, 2010:

Would it be worth it to pay for shipping to order online, or to go to a local pet store that is more expensive to get a leopard gecko?

Micheal 'H' on September 01, 2010:

Hey just wondering is a 35 gallon exo terra ok for a leapord gecko that im geting soon?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on August 26, 2010:

No need for UV; it's a waste of electricity.

Not sure what the moist paper towel roll is. It will mold if constantly kept moist.

You want two hides and a humid hide.

Micheal 'H' on August 25, 2010:

Hello im geting a gecko on monday ,a baby albino bell leapord gecko from a reptile expo where i live , im just wondering if i have all the right setup so im just gonna show in bullet points :)

.Tank - 20 Gallon Long

.Heater Mat

. Two Houses , + one with moist kitchen roll

. lino for the substrate

. two dishes one for food and water

.two bottles of calci and powder for the food and in a petri dish

.a little log leading to a net to lie on

.a UV lamp

. Thermomeater probe

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:

I wouldn't fiddle with waxworms. They're basically like chips and cookies for people. The gecko may eat them, but some reptiles will easily get addicted to them, and it can be hard to get them back to a healthy diet. Just try the crickets. If that doesn't work you may want to try butterworms or silk worms. These have a strong smell, and will sometimes attract picky feeders.

More than likely, the lack of hunger last night was from shedding and the stress of you helping him along.

kojak1974 on July 28, 2010:

Yeah, i just finished taking all the skin off his toes last night - he's walking a bit funny and tends to lie on his belly. I tried to put worms in front of him and he wants nothing to do with them - which could still be the stress of shedding and me manhandling it (not sure if it's a male or female) I'll try and get a few crickets for the weekend or someone also suggested wax worms? and see what he does, but i'm assuming it's best to get him eating again before i transfer him to a bigger tank? Then i'll set the tank up a bit better for it.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 28, 2010:

The people in the reptile department, don't always give the best advice. I have talked to people in the reptile department of many pet stores, and they will flat out tell me false info, but I know better than what they're saying. These people "specialize" in reptiles, and some even have one or two, but they're basing info off inaccurate information. Not saying the people you're talking to don't actually know what they're talking about, but so many people who work in the reptile department have no clue.

The larger tank will be so much better, as you are missing the humid hide as well as a hide on the cool side, both you need to have.

Try the crickets... I've found some geckos don't like worms. I've also found that some geckos fed soley on worms will eventually stop eating, until you provide crickets. Not all are like that, but I've had many stop eating because they decide they don't like worms anymore. Try the crickets to see if the gecko will eat them.

I have a male who used to love superworms, decided he would only eat crickets, and now eats super worms now. He lost a lot of weight refusing to eat super worms.

Sometimes reptiles don't care what you prefer to feed them.

kojak1974 on July 27, 2010:

The temp in the tank is closer to 90. I checked on it last night and it was shedding again. I don't have a humid hide for it. It's in a 10 gallon tank with one of those half logs, water dish, food dish and fake leaves. I was offering it mealworms, and it was eating them fine until the shed. It won't eat any of them right now as I try to have them offered to it all the time. I hadn't gotten to putting the undertank heater on yet - but now my bf is getting rid of his tank from his snake and is going to give it for the gecko and it has the tank heater with it (it's bigger so i can add more things. like a humid hide as i don't think my 10 gallon is big enough.) but i don't want to move him into the new tank till he's eating. The people at the stores i have been talking to specialize in reptiles and have ones of their own. Most say just to give it another week and see. It doesn't seem to be losing weight, it's tail seems the same thickness. I really don't want to get into crickets with it, would prefer to keep it on worms.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on July 26, 2010:

The color of the carpet wouldn't matter. What are the temperatures in the tank? Are you using an under tank heater? Do you have a humid hide to ease shedding? I wouldn't ask a pet store, unless you know the person you're asking has experience, as most employees at pet stores have no clue what they're talking about. A reptile vet would be good, though. I would say it's worth it to have a reptile vet check out the gecko, especially if you got it from a pet store, as many pet store reptiles are sickly.

It's possible it's going to shed again, but if it's not eating, the only reason it would shed is because it's sick. I've seen sick geckos shed a ton. Is the gecko losing weight? What have you offered as food?

kojak1974 on July 26, 2010:


I have a leopard gecko - i've only had it for about 2 months now? It shed over a week and a half ago and hasn't eaten since then. I had to help it get the skin off it's head and toes. It's walking around fine (a little funny probably b/c his toes) but it's just not interested in eating. I haven't changed anything in it's tank - i cleaned it not long after it shed and put another carpet down, but a different colour ( i don't think it should matter?) I've talked to many petstore and reptile persons and they all say to wait another week and see what happens. I did noticed that it looks a little pale right now (maybe going to shed again?) It's tail is still fat so I'm not sure if i'm just worrying for nothing?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 26, 2010:

Slate is a great choice! I would have the tile cut to size. It'd be safer for the gecko. The cord to the prob should be fine. I've never had any geckos or reptiles try to bother with it. If you wanted, you could take a little piece of tape and tape the cord down to the tank so that it's out of the geckos way. I know most of the digital thermometers come with the suction cup that's supposed to do that, but they never really worked right for me.

GatorGirl on May 25, 2010:

Thanks so much for all the great advice! We are in the process of setting up our leopard gecko habitat and I have a few likely dumb questions--I'd hate to do it wrong and learn the hard way once we bring the little guy home. I'm planning on using slate tile for the substrate. Is it ok for the tiles to overlap or should I have them cut to the exact size of the tank? I'm worried that there might be an issue of feet getting caught in any overlap. Also, I've got the digital thermometer with the probe, and am wondering...might the gecko mess with the probe wire? Should I have it under the tiles or over? Thanks so much again!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 13, 2010:

I live in a high humidity area, and never experience that high humidity within my home, much less within my enclosures.

That's a problem... Don't use a soil-type substrate. You're increasing the humidity using soil. Use paper towels, reptile carpet, slate tile, or rollout shelf liner. These are much better options that won't cause higher humidity.

Sounds like the breeder has NO clue what he's talking about. Wax worms are aweful foods for reptiles. They are very fatty and addictive; once fed a steady waxworm diet, the gecko will be hard to get one a healthy food. Only offer crickets, mealworms, superworms, silkworms, discoid roaches, dubia roaches, or lateralis roaches, of appropriate sizes. You obviously don't have to feed all these, but these are the best options as a staple diet. Most people opt for crickets or mealworms as the main diet. Waxworms should never really be a part of a diet, not as a staple food or a treat.

Ozark_Josh on May 13, 2010:

We've been getting a ton of rain here this past week, and with the heat it makes everything super humid. During the summer we usually have 85 to 90 percent. Which can make working outside pretty rough.

I bought them at a reptile specialty shop. The breeder worked there and told me to use a 'gro-brick' with is a type of potting soil for the substrate. If the humidity doesn't decrease by the weekend I'll change it over to some type of astro-turf. And if that doesn't work then I'll go for the dehumidifier.

The breeder also told me to feed them wax worms until they reach six inches in length. What do you think?

Thanks again.


Whitney (author) from Georgia on May 13, 2010:

I'm not sure how many days they can take the high humidity, but it's definitely not good. I've never heard of a reptile de-humidifier, unless you're just talking about a regular human one. You may want to set one up in the room. Other than that I'm not sure how to keep the humidity down in the enclosure, especially if your house has super high humidity. I'd definitely try to figure out why your house has high humidity, as it definitely shouldn't be like that.

Ozark_Josh on May 12, 2010:

Hey Whitney! Thanks for all the great blogs, they've been really helpful.

I live in Missouri and it's really really humid. At the moment it's only about 70 percent outside, but for some reason it's nearly 80 in here.

During the day when I have the light on my gecko's aquarium I can keep the humidity around 45 percent. But, when the light goes off the percentage skyrockets. Presently it's just shy of 80. I've only had these two critters for about three days now. I'm sure that three days in high humidity won't hurt them. But, i'm not sure how long they can take it. I really want to lower the humidity. Do you have any advice. Or am I going to need to purchase a dehumidifier. Any advice?


- Josh

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 28, 2010:

I have not heard of excessive shedding as a sign of stress, but I guess it is possible. Yes, I have heard of geckos that just have shedding problems. You want to keep an eye on it because you don't want there to be a constant problem where the irritations won't heal.

Nicky on April 28, 2010:

I was told by Kennel Shop that shedding too often means stress. I do have a humid hide and spray it most daily, if not every other day. Putting ointment on her tail looks like it helped a bit and she pulled the skin off her tail last night and was in her humid hide this morning. I am not sure if the tip had skin on it but will take her out this afternoon to check. I was also told by Kennel Shop that some geckos just don't shed well. Have you heard this before?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 27, 2010:

The time between sheds will vary. Two weeks isn't necessarily abnormal. It just means that the gecko is growing out of the skin it's in. Make sure that you have a humid hide that is available and humid when the gecko is going to shed, as this will ease shedding and loosen the skin a little.

Nicky on April 27, 2010:

My leos tail is not doing well. her tip is red and there is skin on it but it is only breaking at each segment of her tail and around the tip the skin isn't coming off easily. i put some ointment on it. i know this may seem quite silly but i know this is uncomfortable for her but could it be painful for her as well? she's wicked good about letting me try to rub it off after soaking her in warm water but she still flinches when i've "gotten too close". i'm just wondering if you have any tips to help prevent her tail shedding bad like this so that each time she sheds her tail isn't getting more irritated. i've been marking on a calendar when she sheds and the past three times has been exactly two weeks apart. that seems too often to be shedding. what do you think?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 23, 2010:

Cost of the gecko will will vary depending on where you purchase it. Breeders are generally lower and better quality and more selection. Cost of the setup will vary on what decor and bowls you opt for, as well as what substrate you use (tile, rollout liner, reptile carpet, paper towels). Sometimes where you purchase the materials will cause the price to vary. The most expensive things will be the under tank heater and the actual aquarium, unless you opt for slate which will be more than paper towels.

You can set up the enclosure, following the directions above.

aaron on April 22, 2010:

hello it's just an idea at the moment but how much roughly would it cost for a lepord gekko and a complete setup hides,lamps,etc...

and would i have to ask someone whos knows what their doing to set it up

...thanks :)

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 20, 2010:

Your temperatures are not hot enough. The tank needs to be right around 90F on the surface of the hot side of the tank. The sand or husk is not recommended, especially being that you don't have your tank hot enough. I wouldn't worry about fire, more so than impaction risks. When the temperature isn't appropriate, the gecko cannot digest properly.

Patrick on April 19, 2010:

Re: Leapard Geckos. I have an infared lamp/heat source on top of the screen. Temp in the tank is 75-80 . Humidity is around 45-50%. Should I leave the lamp on 24/7? Also, I have coconut husks on hot side of the tank and white sand on the other half. Apparently the sand is not recommended from reading your posts, but is the coconut husk ok or will it catch fire from being under the lamp for 24/7?. thanks!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 19, 2010:

It sounds irritated. The gecko could be pulling harder on that area.

Nicky on April 19, 2010:

my leo shed and her tail has been shedding a bit later along with her head and her tail about half way down to the tip has a reddish tint to it like it may be irritated. Is that what it is or does it mean something else?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 18, 2010:

Although, typically they eat all of the shed, sometimes they may not get it all. Just keep an eye on it, and if it continues you may need to watch your humid hide a little better.

malco2707 on April 16, 2010:

hey whitney my leo has just shed as i am aware they eat their shedding but i noticed that there is a couple of strands of skin left in his tank he has completely shed but is it normal for them to not eat all of it thanks.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 09, 2010:

Definitely keep them away from the other reptiles taht you have until you can ensure they are not ill and don't have parasites.

You could probably split two sections with the 30-40 UTH, and use a 10-20gallon sized UTH for the third section.

Generally, they don't need any form of lighting. If you choose to use supplemental lighting, it really doesn't matter with albinos. Leopard geckos sleep when the light is on and awaken when the light is off. If you're worried about it, you can use a red light, but that won't do much for a day/night scenario if that's what you're trying to accomplish with the light.

Lady Hyena-chan on April 09, 2010:

Oh i know! Thats why ive been so insistant that they give them to me...XD well sell them to me>.> idk if 50 bucks for each is fair since there all under weight and most likely parasite infested but i cant say no. There such sweet leos! I dont feed my leos pinkies. They get Roachs most nights, with crickets a few times, plus meal worms 24-7 and the occasual wax worm or silk worm. well one does the other one will not touch wax wormsxD its a odd leo that way but mine get nothing but the best~

humans demosticated them, its our duties to treat them well(with all demosticated animals) well thats how i see it^^;

one more thing. with the 22x24 will a 20 gallon UHT be good? could i get away with using a 30-40 UTH with two parts of the enclosure?

and with the tremper what light can i use since ive read albinos are albino thus light sensitive. I tend to just use a flash light at night to make sure there eating and during the day i use the ceiling light. Do i need to buy a specail light for it? Sorry for all the questions>.> i just want the best for these 3 girls since theyve had a rough strat to life.

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 09, 2010:

Pinks are very fatty. I wouldn't recommend them at all. There's no reason to offer them as long as you're offering a good staple diet.

Lady Hyena-Chan~ on April 09, 2010:

Thank you so much^^ your very kind to take the time to answer my quesitons^^ im sure my Leos would thank you too if they could!

also thanks for the info on them. Im talking to the breeder now and the one is infact a Tremper Rainbow. A fluke im told she is. The only one theyve had. Either way it doesnt matter i was just curious since her patterns are so neat! but thanks again for the info! now i just got to get the little girls fattened up!!! my friend thought it was ok just to feed them a pinkie every week so they are under weight greatly, so a vet check away we go! thanks again!!

Lady Hyena-chan over and out!^^

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

dead food is generally not accepted by geckos. Live food is the only way to go.

New to Lizards on April 08, 2010:

We just bought a baby leopard gecko. We started feeding it live small crickets, but changed to freeze dried crickets. Since making the change, the little guy isn't eating as much/often. Do geckos adjust to a new diet or should we revert to the live crickets?

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

Dividing the enclosure would be a better idea. 22x24 should be enough room. That's basically between a 10 and 20 gallon tank, closer to a 20 gallon, as a 20 gallon is 30x12.5, so the surface space should even out, and it may be larger just a different shape.

Rainbow is generally associated with normals with different colors- brown, orange, yellow, black, and colors in between. I don't believe I've ever heard of it being associated with an albino.

Leucistic is a patternless leopard gecko. The morph is no longer known as leucistic, anymore, as leopard gecko do not exhibit true leucistic traits. The morph name was changed to patternless many years ago.

Lady Hyena-chan on April 08, 2010:

Hmm thank you^^ youre very helpful. im definatly gonna reconsider it all. perhaps ill devide it all up for the 3. Do you think the 22 inchs long by the 2 feet will be enough room for each of them? would that be the equivlances of a 20 gallon long? I just hate seeing the three females in the tank there in now(a friend has them) there all housed together right now and there doesnt seem like any bulling(not a nip on any of the tails) but then im not there all the time. Also i cant find anything on the web. They got the 3 females(A jungle, a tanrgine, and a tremper rainbow) from a good breeder but i havent found anything about a tremper rainbow online. i know the tremper is a albino strain but never heard of the rainbow coloration. But then ive never seen a snow leucistic online but i own one(from another breeder). But thanks for your insight^^. its very helpful!

Whitney (author) from Georgia on April 08, 2010:

You should really only house one gecko per enclosure. Multiple geckos in an enclosure increases the risk of bullying and stress. Plus, an enclosure of that size is rather large, and can stress out even one gecko.

Breeders sometimes house breeding groups in large totes, but they are closely monitored for signs of stress. Generally, the male isn't housed year round in there though.

Not all females get along, and not all females will accept a roommate. Some females will bully other females just as two males will bully and fight each other.

If you feel that you have to put many geckos in an enclosure, be very careful. The enclosure size (5LX2Hx2W) is equivalent to a 150 gallon enclosure. A 50-60 gallon UTH won't be big enough. You would probably have to buy two and put one on each end, leaving the middle as the cool area.

If you really want to risk the bullying and stress of the large enclosure, you could probably do the 8 geckos with no problems. You would just have a super high risk of problems. Even just 3 or 4 you could run into problems because it's a large enclosure, and in many cases some reptiles can get stressed about large enclosures.