are found in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
your gecko look for obvious signs of health. The gecko should be alert
and if possible try and see the lizard feed. Make sure the gecko is captive
bred and not imported. With the massive quantities of geckos being produced
by captive breeders each year this shouldn't be a problem.
are among the largest geckos with adults attaining a length of around
8 or 9 inches. Most leopard geckos have a yellow background with brown
spots covering the adults. Juvenile geckos have a predominantly striped
pattern that fades to the spotted pattern with age. They also have a very
obvious outer ear and differ from many geckos in that they have eyelids
and lack adhesive lamellae, meaning they can't walk up vertical services.
An aquarium is a perfect home although many people have success
with plastic sweater boxes. Since they are a terrestrial species, a long
aquarium is better than a high one. A 20 gallon long aquarium is adequate
for 3 or 4 geckos. Make sure that you only have one male per enclosure
as males will fight each other. The substrate can be anything from sand
to newspaper. Sand creates the most natural setup, and you can buy playground
sand from any hardware store. Rocks and logs can make the terrarium more
natural looking and they provide your lizards with places to climb and
get exercise. A hide box is also recommended for each lizard for use in
times or conflict and for sleeping.
Leopard geckos are a nocturnal species so no form of UV lighting is
necessary. A simple spotlight with the appropriate wattage bulb can provide
both daytime light and heat. Daytime temperatures should be around 90
and the nighttime temps can go down in the low 70s. When I say 90 degrees
I mean this should be the temperature directly under the spotlight. This
will allow the rest of the cage to remain from anywhere to the 80's to
room temperature. I feel that it's best to provide any reptile with a
temperature gradient and let them regulate their temperature. I have problems
with undertank heating pads and hot rocks as they don't raise the ambient
air temperature in the tank and their surfaces often produce extremely
are relatively easy to feed because they will thrive on insects. A staple
of crickets along with occasional waxworms and mealworms make a good diet.
Adult geckos can also be fed an occasional pinkie mouse. Juveniles can
be feed every day and adults every other day. Supplementation is a must
for leopard geckos. Two supplements should be used: one that is just calcium/D3
and another that is a reptile multivitamin. Juveniles should be supplemented
at every feeding and adults at every other feeding. Gravid females should
also be supplemented at every feeding to make up for the large nutritional
depletion caused by egg laying. Insects can be coated with these supplements
and it's always a good idea to feed the insects a high quality diet so
as to "gut-load" them and increase their nutritional value.
If your geckos don't mind being handled it may be a good idea to feed
them in a separate container. This reduces the chance of impaction from
ingesting the substrate in the aquarium and allows for you to monitor
how much each gecko is eating.
water dish should be provided at all times and changed daily to stop bacteria
and fungus growth. Allowing leopard geckos access to a moist area is a
good idea that aids in shedding. Even though they come from arid climates
their burrows tend to have moderate humidity. People can supply this humidity
by moistening the area under their hide boxes. Make sure that the overall
cage isn't wet or overly humid.
are relatively easy to breed. One male will mate with several females
so people tend to keep them in groups of one male to 3 or 4 females. Pregnant
females can usually be detected because of a bump on each side of her
abdomen. If provided with a laying box females will tend to use it. Something
like a cool whip tub with a hole cut in the side that is filled with moist
moss or vermiculite will provide an attractive place for the females.
Females will usually produce multiple clutches of eggs during breeding
season. The eggs should be removed from the egg laying box and incubated
in vermiculite with a 1:1 ratio of water to vermiculite by weight. The
plastic shoebox inside of a ten gallon aquarium makes an adequate incubator.
If incubated at 85 degrees they should hatch in around two months. A higher
incubation temperature will produce more females although de Vosjoli mentions
that this may result in overly aggressive females. The newborn geckos
will not eat until after their first shed (usually after about a week).
they can then be started on appropriately sized insects. It's also best
to house them separate, such as in plastic shoeboxes.
With so much
captive breeding going on the price of leopard geckos has decreased dramatically.
In pet stores they still usually cost between $60 and $70, at least they
do in Maine at the moment. They can be purchased much cheaper directly
from breeders or at reptile expos. It's not uncommon to see them for $20-25
is an overview of leopard gecko care. Some recommended reading is:
Bill. "Leopard Geckos" Reptiles, pg. 16-22, April 1994.
John. Snakes and Lizards...Their Care and Breeding in Captivity. Tetra
Philippe. The General Care and Maintenance of Leopard Geckos and African
Fat-tailed Geckos. Advanced Vivarium Systems.1990.
Hermann. Keeping and Breeding Geckos. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. 1991.
A Note From the Webmaster...
The above article was
written by Chris Norman. Based on email I've received and posts I've read
through the the years, I have appended the following excerpts are from
de Vosjoli's book, The General Care and Maintenance of Leopard Geckos
(1990, Advanced Vivarium Systems, Lakeside CA):
There is little sexual dimorphism between males and females.
In general, males are more heavy-bodied than females, with broader heads
and thicker necks. The best way to sex them is to look at the ventral
side. Males have a V-shaped row of pre-anal pores which exude a waxy substance.
Hemipenal bulges can be seen at the base of the tail of sexually mature
males. Females have pre-anal "pits" - pores which are not filled
nor exuding the waxy plugs. Juveniles can be sexed as early as one month
of age with some degree of reliability - if you use a 10X magnifying glass.
Sex Determination in Leopard Geckos
have confirmed that the sex of leopard geckos is temperature determined.
If the eggs are incubated at a temperature of 79F, virtually all of the
offspring will be female. At a temperature of 85F, one can expect more
or less equal ratios of males and females. At 90F, the great majority
of the hatchlings will be males. At 92F, the hatchlings are virtually
all males. Furthermore, research has shown that females that have hatched
from eggs incubated at high temperatures, called "hot females",
will be unusually aggressive and demonstrate male behavior traits and
therefore will be unsuitable for breeding. Herpetoculturists, depending
on their goals, will have to determine the preferred incubation temperature(s)
for their purposes. When large-scale breeding for the pet trade is a primary
goal, breeding for females is more desirable because the latter can be
kept in groups. (page 27)
geckos are harem breeders. As such, they should not be kept with less
than 3 females. Being territorial and aggressive over breeding rights,
two males should not be kept together. While females generally get along
with each other and with males, there may be some incompatibility. This
may result in outright attacks, or preventing, actively or through intimidation,
others from free access to food, sleeping, basking, or other areas in
the enclosure. If this occurs, the individuals must be housed in separate
enclosures. For more information, see the Zulich's leopard gecko article.
Geckos, by Al & Billie Zulich
and Fat-Tailed Geckos: Egging and Incubation
Use of Hormone Antagonists to Inhibit Reproduction in the Lizard, Eublepharis