If you have recently acquired or you are planning on owning a leopard gecko for the first time, you need to familiarize yourself with the proper care and housing of your new reptile pet. Because geckos have unique requirements that differ from other household pets, it's a good idea to prepare before bringing home your new lizard. Here are care tips every new leopard gecko owner should consider:
1. The Right Tank (Aquarium) is a Must
If you want to house a single gecko, you might want to opt for a 10-gallon tank. While 20 gallon tanks will be appropriate for housing two leopard geckos comfortably, you might want to shy away from anything larger than that. An over-sized tank may find your pet not utilizing the intended "hide box" or heating source.
The hiding container is necessary and it should contain fresh moss that may be purchased at the pet store. The moss inside the box will aid in the skin shedding process which geckos will do periodically. The box is also excellent for egg laying when housing a male and female together for breeding purposes.
Additionally, a screen for the top of the tank is a must. This will ensure no other pets can gain access or harm your lizard and it will provide a place to house lighting for the aquarium. Light should be provided for several hours a day.
2. Leopard Geckos Require Live Food
Because your leopard gecko will not consume plants, be aware that you will need to provide live food for your new reptile friend. Live crickets are a good choice, and these may be purchased at your local pet store, like Snakes at Sunset. Meal worms are another favored option.
As a newbie, you must realize that your live food needs to be nutritionally optimized before being fed to the gecko. This means you'll need to feed the live insects a nutrition-based food (typically in powdered form) several hours before your gecko consumes its live meal. Alternatively, dusting powder may be used on the feeder insects.
3. Taming Your Gecko for Handling Takes Patience
These reptiles may be tamed for handling, but it may take patience on your part. Learn to recognize the signs of a timid or untamed leopard gecko. If you attempt to handle your new pet for the first time and it omits a squealing noise or hides away in its box, it typically indicates the gecko is frightened. Once your gecko is accustomed to its new surroundings, you may begin the taming process.
Gradually have your pet become accustomed to your hand inside its tank. You might also offer it a live insect from the palm of your hand. Once it accepts hand feeding, attempt to gently pick it up for handling. Be patient and don't make sudden movements that may startle the gecko. In time, your patience may be rewarded with a hand-tamed new reptile friend.