Introduction: How to Care for a "Leopard Gecko"

Picture of How to Care for a "Leopard Gecko"

Hi, this is my first instructable, and it is my entry for the pets challenge. The pictures i took with my phone were not great so some are off of google image. Anyways, heres some background information

The Leopard Gecko, or eublepharis macularius, is a small, easy-to care for pet. "Eublepharis macularius" roughly translates as
eublepharis; True/real eyelids
macularius; spotted

Unlike other geckos, the leopard gecko (And relatives) have moveable eyelids, and lack the special toe pads to climb up vertical places.. instead, they have small claws.

Step 1: How to Create a Good Home.

Picture of How to Create a Good Home.

To give a leopard gecko a good home, you first will need a few things.

Depending On How Many Geckos....
1 Gecko - 10 Gallon Tank
2 Geckos - 15 Gallon Tank
3 Geckos - 20 Gallon Tank
Never, put 2 males in one tank, they will fight and could end up dyeing

Ground material (Sand, moss, wood chips) enough to cover the bottom with a few layers and have extra

Rocks & Hiding places - Leopard Geckos are Nocturnal. That means they sleep during the day and are awake at night.

Food dish & water dish

A Small in-tank thermometer - geckos need to constantly be at 85/90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and can go into the low seventies at night.

A lamp with a heat bulb - Ceramic bulb, heating pads, incandescent lights (During the day only), etc. Do NOT USE A HOT ROCK, your pet will develop heat spots, and could die if it basks on it and falls asleep.

Step 2: Feeding

Picture of Feeding

Leopard geckos are carnivores, which means they eat meat.

They mainly eat;
LIVE Meal worms
LIVE Crickets
LIVE Grasshoppers
and some other insects.

Don't get these insects from your outdoors, they could contain disease, could be poisonous, could be nearly extinct?

Step 3: Male/Female and Hatchlings

Picture of Male/Female and Hatchlings

Though very little difference, you can tell the difference between a male and female leopard gecko.
The male appears to have a broader head and neck than the female and their body is usually larger. However, looking at their undersides, adult males have a prominent V-shaped row of pre-anal pores while the pre-anal pores of the female are not as noticeable.

If you find an egg in the tank/insert where your gecko is here, you will need to do a few things.

1. get another cage to separate the male from the female & her egg(s) with all of the usual stuff i have previously stated in step 1. Although, i wouldn't put crickets in their, use something like meal worms or a food that wont move towards the egg as much.

2. Incubate the egg. An egg will incubate at 79 - 83 degrees Fahrenheit


TecumsehM15 (author)2015-10-24

Hey !! Love the Instructable. I have 4 normal size geckos. Super Hypo Tangerine Carrot Tail 50% het Tremper. Murphys Patternless het 50% Albino. Texas Albino Eclipse het 50% Eclipse. And a Hypo Carrot tail Baldy. I also have 2 Giants. A Raptor with one pure red eye and other half red eye hes my male. And my female giant is tremper albino 50% Raptor. To fatten up my normal size geckos i put... 1 WAXWORM.. A FEW MEALWORMS/SUPERWORMS.. 1 SMALL DUBUA ROACH PER GECKO..... AND TO FATTEN UP AND KEEP MY GIANTS NICE AND HEALTHY. I FEED 1 PINKY EVER 3 WEEKS AND CONSTANTLY KEEP 1 DUBIA EVERY COUPLE DAYS.. AND A BOWL WITH 2 WAX WORMS AND 20 SUPER WORMS EVERY 2 OR 3 DAYS. VERY SUCCESFUL AND HEALTHY. LOVED THIS CARE SHEET.. GAVE THE BASICS TO THE ROOKIES. I Use a heat pad in the middle of my tank and have two cool sides .. One warmer then the other cool side... Never had problems.. I use paper towels.. Or you can go to family dollar.. And but sticky floor tiles for 10 dollars they last and when theyre time to change just throw in a new tile.. Awesome.. But i also love the idea of bigger wood chips. Also i love to keep more natural looking things in my tank also... But have never used sand.. Ive never had a gecko die.. But ive had a large female gecko eat sand and i thought she was pregna t but pooped out a pure sand poop.. Never again.. But really love this thread.. And hope my fattening solution helps everyone out !!

MickeyH3 (author)TecumsehM152016-08-06

Wow, that sounds like a cool setup! How wide is your tank then? Im considering moving the heat mad into the middle of my tank also, since I have multiple geckos in there. But the terrarium is only 29 inches wide, so maybe that is too small to create two cool sides?

Thanks in advance :)

Wynd (author)2011-08-07

20G for 3 geckos is way too small. You want a minimum of 10G per gecko, more being better. These are solitary terrestrial animals that need their own space, each one will also need their own hide (hot hide, cool hide and moist hide). Particulate substrate is not good as it can lead to impaction (even calcium sand is bad, it will lead to impaction and if the animal eats it for it's calcium, it can cause an over-dose of calcium). Just spend the $5 to get the pure calcium without D3 (be sure to have a good vitamin supplement that includes D3 to dust the prey with twice per week).

TecumsehM15 (author)Wynd2015-10-24

I have a 29 gal tank.. And for the past year ive succesfully kept 1 male and 4 females in there with no conflict.. Also bred succesfully in the same tank.. I have tons of flat areas.. Multiply hides wood and plastic and 3 different levels so there is plenty of room for them. Its just how you set your tank up.. All are happy and healthy.. Never fighting over food when i have multiple food bowls.

MickeyH3 (author)TecumsehM152016-08-06

True! It's not necessarily the tank-size that matter, but the number of hides. If the tank has 1-2 more hides than it has geckos, it should be fine to house multiple geckos in there -even if it's medium size. I myself, also keep 4 females and a male. I have them in a 30 gallon tank, and I've also bred succesful from them ;)

I hav geko (author)2016-02-15

My Leo's are kind of pale and don't have many spots should I be worried?

Jaklingurian (author)I hav geko2016-03-12

No, depending on the morph a lot of geckos don't have spots

timmerguy200 (author)2009-11-05

Ummm. I dont think you should use bark. although it looks more natural and gives the tanka more natural feeling i think it could harm his skin. a better substrate would be paper towels or newspaper.(yes newspaper) not only does this let your gecko be up to date with whats happening in the Human world it is more economical and i think better for him.  Also like dandaman919 says. thos vents probally could hurt him. a better solution would just be a normal aquariam with a screen top.

Hope this helps!
timmerguy 200


Telvroi (author)timmerguy2002010-05-14

 or calcium sand which is a good alternative were it doesn't harm them when consume it in fact its highly beneficial because when they consume it the pure limestone will ad positively 

TecumsehM15 (author)Telvroi2015-10-24

Calcium sand isnt good either.. It digests to slowly through the geckos tract.. In the long term its bad..

Thoth (author)Telvroi2011-02-10

Actually the calcium sand tends to lead to impaction alot of times because the much of it is too big to fully dissolve in the gut and if your gecko starts eating it as a calcium source, it may lead to problems, Plus it tends to be more expensive than most other substrates.

Use a calcium supplement, also you can use simple cheap play sand as a substrate. Though newspaper though ugly is a very good substrate.

Picothellama (author)2009-09-27

My gecko never basks on his hot side, he only stays on the cool there a reason for this?

TecumsehM15 (author)Picothellama2015-10-24

Probably because your cool sode isnt so COOL.. The hot side may be to hot and the cool side might be hot enough for him. And actually have a cooler sife. Hope this helps.

Thoth (author)Picothellama2011-02-10

Hot side is too hot.

lizard girl (author)2011-02-16

i have a blizzard leopard gecko her name is Katara. oh! and i have 2 male anoles. their names are Dusk and Dawn. what's awsome is they don't fight!

TecumsehM15 (author)lizard girl2015-10-24

In the same tank.?? Thats cool of its working but.. Leopard geckos are from the hot arid middle east grasslands etc. And anoles are from rainforests. With a very high humidity !! Hope everything still works out but just giving a little asvice!!

TecumsehM15 (author)2015-10-24

Male SHTCT.. And my Female Giant Tremper het Raptor

TecumsehM15 (author)2015-10-24

Male SHTCT.. And my Female Giant Tremper het Raptor

oct102775 (author)2015-04-19

I have a gecko and she is on the small side i need help how to get her fater

Vyserii (author)oct1027752015-07-15

Hey there! I would feed her a mix of crickets, meal worms, and a couple wax worms every other day. Be careful though... wax worms are very high in fat; they are like chocolates for reptiles! So don't feed her too many. Meal worms are good too, but their exoskeletons can be hard for smaller geckos to digest so I recommend crickets instead, but gutload them with fruits and veggies 8 hours before feeding them to the gecks! Hope that helps (:

lvcommando (author)2010-01-21

DON'T JUST USE LAMPS! Your going to kill your gecko, They need to be able to thermoregulate and since they are nocturnal they need belly heat, get a Under Tank heater.

airsofter301 (author)lvcommando2015-03-25

I've had my gecko for two years, with out an under tank heater, and she is just fine. She is still as active as ever. You don't need one, but they are useful.

airsofter301 (author)2015-03-24

You guys may have researched this already, but I'd like to mention a couple of things. Evergreen: Don't let it anywhere near your gecko. It is poisonous to them. As in "kill them dead" poisonous, not sick poisonous. And sand: don't use it as a substrate, it is bad for their digestive tract when they ingest it.

6PackMe (author)2013-01-19

I have had mine for about a year now. Got her at petco while she was small, made sure she was the most active and alert, and now she is as big as my hand. Her name had been Alexa but omy parents started calling her Godzilla. She is very active at night. She likes to climb on the rocks I have set up in her tank to bask in the night light. She is quite fun to watch. I like to watch her hunt down the crickets, and she has become friends with the cat, by teasing her, but we make sure the cat doesnt get near her even though she no longer takes notice of her. Alexa only allows me to hold her and tries to run from anyone else. She also has a habit of tapping her tail against the tank when she wants my attention. She also likes to watch the tv while sitting on her rocks. I really like to watch her and she is a great pet.

craig1992 (author)6PackMe2015-03-23

When can I introduce another gecko to my tank does my gecko have to be a certain age thanks

craig1992 (author)2015-03-23

What age can I introduce another leopard gecko to my tank please my gecko is 6 months and in a 3ft by 2ft viv thanks

lizard girl (author)2011-02-17

OK. i have a little advice for all us leopard gecko owners out there. DON'T USE SAND AS SUBSTRATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that's the worse thing they can have. and, make sure the lamp is on one side of the tank so they can have a warm and cool side. also, keep them clean and change their water. the tempature should be about 80-100 degrees and i'm pretty sure you guys know the rest.

ToddisI (author)2010-11-02

Can you use just a heat mat for heat???????

Been thinking of getting a leopard gecko for a while, but am not positive on heating....


dioblo2345 (author)2010-09-03

my leopard gecko`s tail fell off :( :( . i have one ten year old leopard i just wanted to know a few things,how long does it take for a tail to grow back, and what about fisrt aid tips.thank you...p.s nice instructable.

imthatguy1125 (author)dioblo23452010-09-06

Around 40 days

HubertF (author)2010-04-07

a heat mat is very importent

mtm101097 (author)2009-11-05

Great instructable.
I have 1 question.You can have 2 female geckos in the same cage, right?
because i dont want to have to care for 4 more geckos than i bought.

bassmonkey (author)2009-05-11

this is a long story, but please reply! I have a brother that goes to servite high school, and he met a friend there. My mom became close friends with his parents,and just last Saturday it was the mom's b-day, so me and my dad went to her house, and I got bored so I went up stairs and looked in my brother's friend;s room, and saw a lizard of some sort, and thought it was awesome because I've only had fish for pets. (and a dog, but you no) So a week later, we had a party and they were invited, and I was talking to the dad and I brought up the lizard and right out of the blue he said "You can have it, we've been trying to give it away!" and I was like "seriously? with the cage and everything?" the answer was yes and my mom said OK. I asked the dad how often you feed them and he said once or twice a week, then i went online and they said two crickets a day, then i called the pet store and they said twice a day!, so please help!!!

There probably are a couple of variations as to how you should go about feeding them. It really all depends on the age of your gecko. As young babes I fed my own litle gals mealworms (preferably the soft ones that have just shed) their easier for the little guys to chomp on. In their young juvenile stage I fed them every other day. Adult stage you can be a bit more sporadic about every two days. But dont "underfeed" or "overfeed". Gutloading helps gives them a meatier and a more nutritional diet and an occsional dusting of vitamin powder is also benificial, do this sporadically as well I usually do it once or twice every other week. Othewise goodluck and I hope this helps.

cool, thanks a lot, do you know about fish?

Depends what kind of fish are we talking about?

I might actually be able to help you just send me your questions in a pm. :)

tropical freshwater community ,like molly's platy's gourami's etc.

i wuv my gecko (author)2009-05-24

ive had dreams that my leopard gecko has eggs but they all die! but last night after i looked at this info, i dreamed that they lived forever!!!!!! THANKS!!!! p.s.-i only have one gecko in my tank so i diont know why i dremt that? but then i found out that my mom said that when we get the new house next week i could get another one (female so they can mate) i m gonna use your info!

dandaman919 (author)2009-03-21

cool i have leapord gecko too

The Fishfrog (author)2009-03-01

Leopard geckos are funny..... Had two, a boy named gary and a girl named georgina. 2 bearded dragons as well, baandit and bella.

pilis (author)2009-01-15

ventilation is alway on the top of the terrarium,for gekkon never side.because he can hurt him self when he climbs.

Der Bradly (author)2008-10-22

I had a leopard gecko, but it died...

n00bcakes_x (author)2008-10-09

I love these things! I work at petco and they are the best things we have there. for realz..

halo-knex-gr8 (author)2008-08-07

hey guys, my leo is about 2, should i move him in a 30x13x12 or a 24x16x12,hes doin gr8, ive almost got him to go on my shirt =)

the first is a 20 long

im moving him into the second one, we had a baby snapping turtle there but he got to big so we let him go today at a lake nearby where we found him. were washing the cage thuroly and moving him in the next day.

monkey666 (author)halo-knex-gr82008-08-07

thats great, mines 7 weeks old. hes still trying to escape my hand and freaks out when i pick him up. but hes young he dont know better. :)

halo-knex-gr8 (author)monkey6662008-08-08


erick.mendes (author)2008-04-22

Very nice instructable! I like the images... IMHO, I think you should talk a little more about the gecko's childhood... is there any special treatment the young geckos need, or it's treated just like an adult? How long it takes for the young to become full-grown?

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