Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

By Aliza Arzt (artport@rcn.com)

I.  What you need:
Things you must have:
Do not get a “leopard gecko starter kit” from your local pet store.  You don’t need most of what is in there.
1.  Cage:  An aquarium is best.  It should be at least 10 gallons.  It does not need to be waterproof.
2.  Cage cover:  get a screen or mesh cover to fit your cage so there is some ventilation.  These are available at your local pet store.  The best kind has a hinge in the middle so you can lift up part of the top to interact with your gecko.
3.  Flooring (substrate):  You need something on top of the glass floor of the tank.
Do not use sand (even if you see geckos on sand at the pet store).  Geckos can accidently     swallow sand when they’re catching their food.  This can be fatal.
Here are some things you can use:
–paper towel, cardboard or newspaper:  these are cheap but cannot be cleaned, so must be replaced periodically.  Also, the bugs they eat can sometimes hide underneath.
–repti-carpet:  this is sort of like astroturf and is sold  at pet stores cut to size for different size tanks.  This looks nicer.  It needs to be washed periodically.  Geckos can sometimes get their toenails caught on it.
–linoleum or vinyl tile:  Easy to cut to size, available in many colors and patterns, easy to clean
–ceramic tile:  strong, durable, looks nice.  My first choice.  A 10 gallon tank can be covered with two 8”x10” tiles and one 3”x10” tile.  There will be about a 3/4” gap left at the edge.  These are standard size tiles and are available at Home Depot for very little  money
4.  Heating:  Leopard geckos are nocturnal, desert dwelling animals that get their heat from lying on rocks that have been heated during the day by the sun.  Consequently, they need a heat source at the bottom of the tank, not the top, and the temperature has to be measured on the floor, not in the air or on the wall of the tank.
The best heat source  is an under tank heater (UTH).  These are usually rectangular heat mats which stick onto the outside floor of the tank and plug in.  They are available at pet stores.  Place it at one end of the tank.  The gecko needs a variation in floor temperatures (heat gradient) so it can move around the tank and adjust to the temperature where it feels most comfortable at different times.  The temperature at the hot end of the tank should be about 90ºF on the floor.
Get a digital thermometer with a sensor so you can keep track of the temperature.
Do not use a heat rock.  It will burn the gecko

Problem:  The UTH often makes the tank floor too hot, especially in the gecko’s hiding places (see below).
–The best solution is to get a thermostat, connect it to the heater and set it for 90º.  These are     available at some pet stores and can be ordered online.  I have some for sale at a         reasonable price.
–put several layers of substrate on the hot side of the tank to insulate against the heat.  Check     with the digital thermometer.
–check the temperatures at several points in the hot area and find a place that’s the right         temperature.  Put the gecko’s hiding area there (see below).
–get a UTH that’s rated for a smaller tank than the one you have.  This may put out less heat.

It is sometimes difficult to maintain the correct heat during the winter.  Here are some solutions which may help:
–make sure the tank is not in an area where there are drafts (near a door or a window)
–If you are using a thick substrate like tile, consider removing the tile over the heat source and replacing it with paper towel so the heat doesn’t have to penetrate through so many layers.
–use a heat light and place it on top of the cage on the warm side.
–tape some aluminum foil on top of the under tank heater.  This seems to reduce heat loss away from the tank and directs it up toward the bottom of the tank.

Other heat sources besides UTH:
–heating pad:  you have to check electrical and fire safety before using one of these constantly
–hot lights on top of the tank.  These mimic the sun by shining on the floor and heating it. If you     do this, you will probably need a light/heat source for the night which is black or red light      since the gecko needs it to be dark at night (it can’t see red light).
5.   Hiding spots:  geckos in the wild spend a lot of time hiding in caves or crevices, especially during the day when they sleep.  You will need 2 kinds of hiding places:
–dry hiding area:  Pet stores sell a variety of these, usually made from fake rock plastic or 1/2 coconut shells with a little door cut out.  It’s best if they are opaque to give the gecko some “privacy”.  You can also make your own out of just about anything including wood, plastic, broken flower pots, etc.  It just has to be big enough for the gecko to get into and curl up.  Put the main hiding area on the hot side of the tank.  You can also put another one on the cool side.
–moist hiding area:  This is especially useful when the gecko sheds its skin and needs more humidity.  The easiest method is to take a small tupperware or gladware type plastic container with a lid.  Turn in upside down so the lid is on the bottom.  Cut an opening on top or at the side so the gecko can go in.  Line the bottom with paper towel. peat moss, sphagnum moss or coconut fiber and keep moist (especially when the gecko is going to shed)  by spraying periodically with water.
6.  Food dish / water bowl:   You can buy these at a pet store or make your own.  Make sure the water bowl is shallow enough for a small gecko so it won’t fall in and drown.  It’s best if the food dish has smooth sides so the mealworms don’t crawl out of it.
7.  Food:  Geckos eat live food.  Most of them will not eat the dead food that is sold at some pet stores.  Most people feed their geckos mealworms and/or crickets which can be purchased at the pet store.
Mealworms:  These are beetle larvae and after awhile they will start to turn into beetles, at which point most geckos won’t eat them.  Any stories you hear about mealworms eating their way out of a gecko’s stomach are false.  The geckos chew them up; they don’t get into the stomach alive.  They are easy to keep and feed because they don’t jump around or smell.
Crickets:  Many geckos like crickets because they jump around and stimulate the gecko to hunt.  Crickets are smelly and can get away if you’re not careful.
Other bugs that geckos eat: superworms (look like huge mealworms), silk worms, butterworms, hornworms, roaches (not the type we sometimes find in the house), waxworms (these are not recommended as a staple; they’re sort of like gecko junk food).  You will not find most of these things besides the superworms at pet stores.  They can be ordered online if you’re interested.
Don’t feed the gecko bugs you have caught outside; they may be poisoned by         pesticides or have parasites
7a. Food for your feeders:   the bugs you feed your geckos are only as nutritious as the things they eat.  Mealworms come from pet stores packed in bran which is not very nutritious; crickets come without food.  Feeding your bugs well so they are nutritious for your geckos is called “gutloading”.  Here are 2 methods for feeding your bugs:
Basic:  look in your kitchen for a variety of grains including oat meal, bran, wheat germ, multigrain cereal (don’t use frosted or highly sweetened cereal), bulghur, rice, etc.  Take some of each and mix it together.  You can put it in the blender or food processor to make a fine meal out of it.  Put it in your worm or cricket container
Special:  go to a whole foods store and get a variety of grains and dried greens.  I used the following for my gutload:  mixed nuts (unsalted), bear mush, multi grain cereal, oats, powdered milk, sunflower seeds, flax meal, dried powdered kelp, dried alfalfa, spirulina, baby cereal, coconut, brewers yeast.  Make  a power by putting it in the blender or food processor.  Keep the extra in the fridge.
Bugs also need a source of moisture.  This could be a chunk of apple, potato, carrot or other fruit/vegetable.  Make sure it’s not too wet; moisture on grain leads to mold which can poison the feeders.  Throw out any gutload that looks moldy green.  For crickets you can buy “cricket water” from a pet store.  This is jello- consistency moisture with vitamins.  Keep it with the crickets in a small dish.
7b.  A place to keep your feeders:
Mealworms:  these can be kept in the container you buy them in or any other container such as a deli cup or tupperware container.  Make sure to put some airholes in the cover so they can breathe.  Put the gutload right into the container with them along with some fruit/vegetables.  Mealworms can be kept (in their container) in the refrigerator to slow their metabolism and make them last longer.  Be sure to take them out a day in advance so they have time to eat and be properly nutritious.  Also take them out every week for a day so they can wake up and eat.
Crickets:  Crickets are fine in a small container, a plastic “kritter keeper” that you can get from a pet store, or a special cricket keeper which has tubes to make it easier to get the crickets out.  Put a layer of gutload at the bottom and a small bottle cap or dish with cricket water or some fruit/vegetables.  Crickets like to hide; put a piece of egg carton in there with them.  Get small crickets for baby geckos (<5” long) and medium or large crickets for bigger geckos.
8.  Nutritional supplement:  Geckos need calcium and to a lesser extent, vitamins.  They will get sick without the calcium. Calcium and vitamins are sold at the pet store in powder form.  For the best supplementation, you need to get 3 products, although you may be able to get away with two: plain calcium without additives, especially without vitamin D3; calcium with vitamin D3; reptile vitamins.  Often it is easiest to get the calcium with D3 and vitamins all together
Here’s how to supplement: (this is different from what I have been recommending before  6/08;  I will include my original suggestions below):
–Get one of these 2 groups of products:
a. Rep-cal calcium with vitamin D3 and rep-cal herptivite (vitamins):  mix these 1:1
b. Repashy’s calcium plus (can be ordered on-line at http://www.pangeareptile.com/products.htm)

–coat the feeders with calcium “a” or “b” each time: sprinkle it on the mealworms in the gecko’s dish.  For crickets, place some crickets into a plastic bag or plastic cup with the mixture.  Shake it all together (like “shake and bake”) and the crickets will turn white from the calcium.  Then feed the crickets to the gecko.
Additionally, especially if you’re worried that the calcium will rub off the feeders before the geckos eat them, you can leave a small dish of calcium in the cage.
[This is what I was recommending previously, which will also work:
–coat the feeders with calcium with D3 (if you have a separate vitamin supplement, use once every 2-4 weeks; otherwise, use the calcium with D3 and vitamins at least weekly:  sprinkle it on the mealworms in the gecko’s dish.  For crickets, place some crickets into a plastic bag or plastic cupwith some calcium and vitamins.  Shake it all together (like “shake and bake”) and the crickets will turn white from the calcium.  Then feed the crickets to the gecko.
–leave a dish of calcium without D3 (use a bottle cap or small lid) in the gecko cage at all times.  They will help themselves.]

Things that are optional:
–lighting:  geckos in the wild are exposed to very little light.  If you like to have the tank lit, or want to heat with lights, set a clamp lamp on top of the screen cage cover.  Put the lights on a timer so they go off at night.
–plants:  you can put desert plants in the cage if you want.  Don’t use plants that require a lot of water so you don’t raise the humidity too high.  Don’t use plants with spikes or thorns.
–climbing structures, artificial plants, etc.:  a lot of this stuff is sold at pet stores.  Any of it is OK as long as it is solid and won’t fall apart or fall over if the gecko climbs on it.

II. Basic Care information:
1.  Set up the cage before you bring your gecko home if possible.  Make sure to give the heater enough time to reach maximum heat (overnight is good).  Check the temperatures and do what is necessary to get the hot side to the correct temperature (approx. 90ºF).
2.  When you put the gecko in the cage, it will probably walk all around licking things to check them out, and will then most likely go into one of the hiding areas.  You may not see your gecko out and about for anywhere between a day and a week.  It may come out at night when it’s dark in the room.  It may not eat for the first week or so.  Continue to make food available and eventually, as it acclimates to its new home, it will eat.
3.  For the first week, it’s best to look at your gecko and talk to it, but not to pick it up.  It is probably somewhat stressed out by being in a new environment.  See below for activities to do with your gecko.
4.  Feeding:  For young geckos less than 6 months old, it is best to feed them every evening and to make mealworms available in a dish all the time.  Put some of the mealworm food in the dish with the worms so they have something to eat.  Older geckos can be fed every 2-3 days.
5.  Bathroom: Geckos tend to go to the bathroom in the same place each time.  Once you and your gecko figure out where that is, put a piece of paper towel, tile or slate on that spot.  Then, when the gecko goes, you can simply throw away the paper towel or wash off the tile/slate.  Gecko droppings have a dark brown part which is the solid waste and a white or yellow part which is the urine.  There may also be some watery liquid nearby, especially if the gecko has just gone.
6.  Illness: If the gecko has diarrhea day after day (loose, watery stools), or stops eating for a long time and seems to be losing weight (tail getting thinner), it is a good idea to bring it to the vet.  It may have parasites and need some medication.  It is not unusual for geckos to eat less during cold weather and after they get to be 7-8 months old and are closer to full-sized.
7.  Cleaning:  Clean out the water bowl periodically by washing it in hot water.  You can use some soap or very diluted bleach solution; wash all the cleaners out of the bowl.  The cage should be cleaned periodically –some people do it every week, others every few months.  Take everything including the substrate out of the cage.  Rinse everything.  You can get special cage cleaner, or just spray with hydrogen peroxide, let stand for 30 sec. then spray with vinegar and let stand before washing everything off.

III. Resources:
1.  Books:
The Leopard Gecko Manual by Philippe de Vosjoli with Roger Klingenberg, Ron         Tremper and Brian Viets (this is the one available in most pet stores)
The Leopard Gecko in Captivity by Robbie Hamper, ISBN #0-9713197-8-2
The Herpetoculture of Leopard Geckos by Philippe de Vosjoli, Ron Tremper, and Roger Klingenberg ISBN-10: 0974297127
2.  Internet:
http://www.drgecko.com/  lots of information about care, illness and breeding
http://www.kingsnake.com/  info about reptile related events, classifieds, forums for         each of a variety of reptiles including leopard geckos
http://www.faunaclassifieds.com/forums/mainpage.php  an excellent forum with         information by many experienced keepers along with other stuff
http://www.geckoforums.net/  a new forum as of June 2006.  Many former posters        from fauna have moved over to this set of forums
geckos and kids:

IV. Kids and geckos; activities (This section is particularly for kids aged 6-10.  Feel free to skip it if you are not a kid)
When you first get your gecko, you need to give it some time to get used to its new home.  At first, it may wander around the cage licking everything, but then it will probably go into its hiding area and may not come out for a long time.  When it does come out, it will probably come in the evening because geckos sleep during the day and come out at night.  Here are some things you can do while you are waiting for you gecko to get more comfortable:
1. Before the gecko gets into the cage, set up the hiding areas so you will be able to look into them from the side of the cage.  That way you can see your gecko easily when it is in the cage.
2.  Feeding:  count how many worms you put in your gecko’s dish.  Every day, count how many worms are left.  That way you can see how much your gecko is eating.
3.  Getting your gecko used to you: talk to your gecko so it can get used to your voice.  Look at your gecko in its hiding area and see if it’s looking at you.  Put your hand in the cage where your gecko can see it.  Don’t try to touch the gecko, just let it see your hand.
4.  Observing your gecko:  if you see your gecko come out, here are some things you can look for:
–find your gecko’s ears.
–find its tongue.
–how many toes does it have on each foot?
–find its toenails
–how many stripes does it have?  What color are they?  Does it have any spots?  Learn         where all the stripes and spots are, because the coloring will change as the gecko         grows up.
–how does your gecko eat?  How does it get the food into its mouth?
–how does your gecko drink?
–has your gecko chosen a poop spot?  Where is it?
–look at your gecko’s poop.  What 2 main colors do you see?  One of those colors is     actually the gecko’s pee.  Which do you think it is? Do you know any other kind of animal whose poops and pee look like that?
–if your gecko comes out, do you notice it licking things?  Why do you think it’s doing     that?

After you have had your gecko for at least a week, you may be able to start to handle it.  Keep talking to your gecko.  Keep putting your hand in the cage for a few minutes at a time.  Eventually your gecko should come out to investigate.  You can try putting a mealworm on the floor in front of the gecko.  It might eat it.  Put another mealworm a little further away and maybe your gecko will come out a little to eat it.  Eventually it may begin to connect your hand with food.  At first your gecko may be shy.  If you move your hand a little it may zip back into its hiding spot.  Some geckos are more friendly than others.  As the gecko gets more comfortable it should come over and check out your hand.  After awhile it will climb on your hand and then you can take it out.  This may take awhile.  Be patient.
Taking your gecko out:  different geckos behave in different ways.  Some like to burrow, some like to climb, some like to sit and watch things and some like to explore.  Most young geckos (less than 6 months) move very quickly and can get away from you before you know it.  Most adult geckos move more slowly and are easier to control.
Young geckos:  to play with a young gecko, make sure to put it in a place where you can keep it from getting away.  The best choice may be a large box or bin.  You could also play with it on the couch, bed, or table, but young geckos will walk right off the edge of these things, so you have to be ready to put your hand in front of it to stop it.
Here are some activities you can try with your gecko.  They are probably best to do when the gecko is at least 4-5 months old:
–let your gecko walk on you and explore you.  It could walk up your arm, ride on your     shoulder or even sit on your head.  Remember that especially young geckos will just walk     or jump off you, so always be ready to trap it with your hand before it gets away.
–crumple up a large towel or some clothing and put it on the bed or the couch.  Let your     gecko explore the nooks and crannies that you’ve made.  Some geckos like to crawl all over and find their own caves and hiding places.
–put your gecko on the couch and let it explore behind the couch pillows.  Geckos like to     crawl behind the pillows and also to climb up the back of the couch.  Watch it carefully     when it does this.
–put your gecko on the stairs.  Sit with it and see what it does.  This works best if the     stairs are carpeted.  Some geckos will actually climb up or down the stairs.  Some will peer over the edge but won’t go down.  Some will just crouch in the corner of the stairs.  See what yours does.
–make a “gecko carnival” for your gecko.  Get a large box or a bin and put some “gecko     toys” in there like paper towel tubes, climbing branches, pieces of carpet.  Let your gecko     explore and see what it does.
–some people put their geckos in a hamster ball, which is a clear plastic ball that can     come apart.  The animal is put in the ball and then the ball is put on the floor.  When the animal walks, it rolls the ball and can move around safely that way.  Try it out in a box first to make sure your gecko likes it.  Never do this around stairs or any other place     where your gecko can fall.
–see what else you can think of to do with your gecko
DO let your gecko get used to the sound of your voice and your hand
DO wait until your gecko has had time to adjust to its new home before picking it up
DO make sure there are no other animals around (like cats or dogs) when you take your gecko     out of the cage.
DON’T pick up or hold your gecko by the tail.  The tail may come off.  This will not kill your     gecko but won’t feel good for either you or the gecko.
DON’T leave your gecko out of the cage unsupervised or let it roam through the house
DON’T take your gecko outside in cold weather (it should be at least 70ºF)

What You Need for Your Gecko
(short list)

1.  Tank:  should be at least 10 gallons for one gecko
2.  Substrate (something for the floor of the tank): do not use sand
3.  Tank screen cover
4.  Under Tank Heater (UTH) with thermostat if needed to regulate temperature
5.  Dry hiding area
6.  Humid hiding area (you can make your own from a plastic container)
7.  Food bowl; water bowl
8.  Food (crickets or mealworms); things to feed the bugs and a place to keep them
Gecko Set-up Equipment and prices

Gecko set-up.  Includes:
10 gallon tank
screen cover
ceramic tile floor
under tank heater (UTH)
1 dry hiding spot
1 humid hide
Food dish / water bowl: (1 of each)
2 kinds of calcium and 1 kind of vitamins
small tile for droppings
4 small wooden pieces to raise tank for heat ventilation


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  1. Wow! That’s a lot of info! Thanks! 🙂 So, with coconut fiber as the ENTIRE flooring of the tank, that makes all of the flooring moist-ish. Should I put something under the hide on the cool side to make a “dry” hide? Or should I just keep the hide on the warm side more wet by spraying it?

    • The coco fiber needs to be sprayed frequently or it dries out and gets very dusty. My warm side hides have ceramic bottoms and are buried partway into the coco fiber.

  2. Aliza, I wish I had this information when I started. I knew some of this from the pet-store and basic on-line searches. I didn’t know most of it however. Thanks for an informative website.

  3. Ooh, hamster ball! I never thought of that before – I have about a billion old hamster wheels and hamster balls lying around, though.

  4. Thank you for taking the time to post and share your knowledge. I had some specific questions after having my 2 leopard geckos for a few months, and this article answered those questions andthen some.

  5. Thank you. I am “geckositting” for my friends and the geckos look bored. I’m kinda gone alot. Is there something they can do in their cage?

  6. I know what you mean about geckos looking bored. I hate to say it but to some extent, geckos are boring animals. They get really active when it’s time to eat, mate or shed, and some of them actually come to the front of the tank when they see people, but generally they’re pretty sedentary and can spend most of their days just sitting. If you’re looking at them during the day, they will definitely look bored because they’re nocturnal and aren’t active for the most part during the day. As humans we live in a world where most of us feel pressure to “produce”. Most animals only “produce” when they need to meet their basic needs. Try not to attribute our feelings to the geckos. If, though, you want to play with them and they will tolerate, you can always take them out and follow some of the suggestions I have at the end of my caresheet.

    • Not with my leo gecko. whenever he sees that i am in the room that he lives in, he comes to the front of cage and watches me, and waits so that i can bring him out of the cage to play. also i never thoght of the hamster ball thing but i have thought of putting him in a playpen made for hamsters.

      • It’s great to have a friendly leo. A few of mine are like that and others don’t want me near them.

  7. I really like the way you wrote this! I have had a gecko for about a year and there are still a lot of things I don’t know about her. Maybe you have some answers?
    I have never seen Lil G drink from her water dish (shaped like a water cooler==it refills the dish as the water level goes down). I suppose she could be drinking from it when I’m not looking–do you think this is normal?
    I started giving her calcium in a little dish to help herself. Now her poop looks whitish. Should I restrict the calcium?
    What’s your take on a purely meal worm based diet? She is a bad cricket hunter and often they will die in her cage before she eats them. So I usually just feed her 6-8 medium meal worms 3-4 times a week.

  8. the gecko picture u have in ur blog is the EXACT same as my baby leopard gecko i haave, he/she is 13 weeks old now. cant believe they are the exact same colours in the same place plz reply n give me some info thank you

  9. whats wrong with red bulbs? i like to see my l gecko at night

  10. There is nothing at all wrong with red light. It’s just not necessary

  11. my leopard gecko had stopped eating and although he had interest in his crickets his strikes seemed slow this went on for two weeks so i bought slower food i.e. wax worms he ate all ten then later threw them up with little digestion visabil not one to give up on a pet i’ve had over a year i tried crickets again he again had the same reaction so still not ready to give up i tried wax worms again with some success he ate three but his stool was loose am i still in trouble?

    • are you feeding your gecko mealworms? mine gave up on hunting crickets to. Also your not suppose to feed your ghecko that many wax worms, wax worms are junk food for a ghecko

    • I had a problem feeding crickets- or anything for that matter to one of my 2 juvenile geckos…I tried to isolate him in a smaller container for 30 minutes with a few mealworms and crickets but he was too slow and couldn’t catch them and simply wouldn’t eat the mealworms i resorted to hand feeding. I picked up my baby in my hand sort of cupped so gently so his head is sticking out and using tweezers put the cricket (alive) up to his mouth…he licked it a couple times and then ate 3 in a row! it was a miracle- so try this if your gecko really wont eat anything

      • also there is a big difference between wax worms and meal worms- was worms are high fat and more like junk food that should be treated as a treat for geckos once a week to fatten them up (this is my understanding) so I would go with meal worms. Probably the high fat content made him sick…?

    • Don’t listen to the commenters on this page, they have no idea what they are talking about. I know exactly what happened to your gecko. When a gecko goes off feed, their stomach actually gets smaller, therefore, they can get very hungry, and will accidentally eat way to much in their next feeding. When they eat to much (10 worms is a lot for a small stomach) they will usually regurgitate the food. Waxworms are not very nutritious, but they can help a small gecko get bigger. They are not equivelant to junk food, they are just high in fat and WONT give your gecko a stomach ache. They are actually too high in fat and therefore your gecko can actually get addicted to them if they eat too much. I’d reccomend mealworms as a staple diet. Hope that helps, have a great day.

      • Thomas is right! But also I must advise you to take him to a vet! I have owned several geckos one of which who lived to 14! I,myself, was not in this situation however my best friends son was. In answer to your question,yes, your gecko could be in trouble!

  12. I purchased a baby leopard gecko for my son august 2010 he was eating very little now he’s not eating his tail was thin from the begining what advise you could give me to help charlie the gecko before i take him to the vet new york vets their expensive thank you

    • hand feed him!

      • The poster above me is correct in her advise. Do try and hand feed him! However even though I know vets are expensive in New York, the longer you put it off, the more danger your sons gecko could be in! Please please if he does not get better in a week or so,take him!

  13. Interesting idea with the heating pad, but I think that might burn the geckos, unless you’re suspending it inside the tank somehow. Seems risky either way.

  14. […] gecko creature […]

  15. […] leopard geckos. You can find them by googling "leopard gecko care". My caresheet is here: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet Geckcessories […]

  16. This was AMAZINGLY helpful! Ha! I know people may HATE reptiles, but the others and I who do like reptiles(especially geckos,)like this site too! It’s a JOB WELL DONE! Thanks!

    • I love the fact that Leopard Geckos are so popular…I have three,so your basically right Roberta…HA! Even though others may NOT like ANY sorts of reptiles…at least we do! We also all LOVE the site!!!!



  17. Thank you very much, Roberta.

  18. Wow everybozdy looks like they love this blog. It is a good blog.

  19. Hi i have a 8 month old leopard gecko. She always runs in her hide when i go into my room. I don’t know if she does not like me or is scared. i have had her for 5 months now so i think she is use to the set up. Do you think she likes me. I also think she lookes bored a lot so i though about the hamster ball thanks for the info and please replie back THANK YOU

    • I have to reply here because your email address isn’t working. Thanks for your comment and question on my website. I have found that different geckos have different “personalities”. I have one gecko that spends 98% of her time in her hide and used to have another gecko that would come to the front of her cage to “see” me every time I passed by. I have found that most geckos do like to spend a lot of time in their hides. You could check and see if there is a time when she tends to come out. Many of mine come out and wander around in the early evening. Geckos in the wild spend their energy hunting for food and escaping from predators. In captivity, where food and water are easy to come by and there are no predators, they spend a lot of time just sitting. For humans this would be incredibly boring; for lizards this is the easy life.

      I don’t think it’s a problem to take your gecko out of its hide sometimes. You can sit with it and let it walk around on you or on the couch pillows. After all this time in your care, she shouldn’t be that stressed out and this way you’ll get the satisfaction of “playing” with your gecko and the gecko will get a little exercise.

      I hope this is helpful.

      • hi i did not know that heat rocks burn them or that they need a hiding spot or that they ate stuff different from crickets this was a big help thanks. my gecko mystery is funny she, is not timid she, likes sitting on my shoulder and sleeping there i set her on my bed and she crawls and plays then when she is done playing she climbs me and sits on my shoulder. i love her dearly i know she loves me and when i say her name she comes but she is not like that with other people she really does not care for them. example me my uncle and aunt owned her after she started liking me my aunt held her guess what mystery bit her same with my uncle and they were just holding her not messing around yet i touch her tail and pet her mouth and head and she has not bitten me so now i have her all to myself. her name is mystery because with brown marking on her head there are question marks and my stupid brother took her out of her tank when every one was sleeping and put her on the ground and she crawled off and he did not care he just left her and this might make me sound like a baby but i cried non stop the whole four days she was lost then on the day i gave up on looking i took a nap and when i woke up she was on my chest but she crawled there every one else was asleep i was so so so so so so so so happy happy. she is different not like how they all have different personalities but she is very special. i love her so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much! thanks. oh and send me your number i want to send picks. my number is 9272727

      • I’m glad you learned so much about caring for your gecko because most of what you learned makes the difference between having a healthy gecko and a non-healthy one. I’m glad you found her again. I once lost a gecko for 3 weeks and he turned up in my downstairs neighbor’s linen drawer.

    • This could just be her distinct personality. I suggest try handling her more often, maybe even watch a short part of a movie together! She will definitely enjoy the warmth of your hand and some geckos have even been known to stare at the screen! Maybe hand feed her once or twice as well! Let her know where the foods coming from!

  20. HI, you’ve helped me in the past so I thought I’d try again.
    The other day my gecko had a small poop, and then later in the evening she pooped something that was half normal and half…undigested meal worm. She has never done this before. She otherwise seems ok. I know mealworms aren’t the best food for her, but she has such trouble with crickets–it seems to take her twenty minutes to catch -one-.
    Do you think I should be worried?

    • Actually mealworms can be quite nutritious for your gecko! However, I think your geckos stomach is too ‘small’ to digest properly and wax worms help widen it up! Might I remind you though, wax worms are not exactly nutritious and I recommend mealworms as a normal,continuous diet!

  21. hi my gecko does not seem him self he keeps sleeping in the warm side of his viv and not going in his hide cooler part which he normally does during the day im really worried

    • Thanks for your question. It can be worrisome when a gecko changes its behavior and some behaviors are cause for concern: losing weight, lethargy, not eating for unexplained reasons, having trouble breathing. On the other hand, sometimes geckos just change their routine and adopt a different pattern of activity. A change from sleeping on the cool side to the warm side doesn’t seem to me to be anything to worry about and just seems to be a normal variant in his routine. He may do this for awhile and then change to something else. If there are other things that seem really different about him, they may be cause for concern, but probably not this.

  22. i have a heatingpad that sticks on the bottom of the tank n i hav sand but sence i read this ima change it to papper towl but wont the papper towl get to hot cuz its thiner then the sand couse i dnt wnt to burn my gecko its 2 are 3 mounths .

  23. ohh and do u think i should take the sand out and why???

    • If you have the heating pad, it’s important to have a thermometer so you can see how hot it’s getting and not get the geckos too hot. You’re right, that with a thin covering like paper towels the floor will get hotter. The best thing to do is to get either a thermostat (reptile stores sell them) or a lamp dimmer (less than $20 at Home Depot or Lowe’s). If you get the dimmer, you would use it to turn the thermostat down until the thermometer tells you the floor temperature is in the low 90’s. You could always get ceramic tile (floor tiles from Home Depot that may need to be cut to fit) which will also help to make the floor temperature lower and won’t tear like paper towel.

      People have different opinions about whether to use sand. Regardless of whether you decide on sand or not, your geckos are too young to be on sand and may more easily get impacted (even people who believe in sand don’t usually put babies on sand). So I do think you should take the sand out.

  24. I had thought of putting my leopard gecko into a hamster ball but wasn’t sure if it was safe so i figured i’d go online. Thanks for the help 🙂

    • I don’t have a ball so I put my gecko in a round tupperware container with the lid off. He rolls around my bedroom

  25. I have this just regular plain baby gecko and he is realy fast and always tries to get away. Should I just keep holding it and keep getting it used to my voice? And also, do these plain geckos get along with room mates? Were can I buy another one like this because I just found this one?

    • I’m guessing if you just “find” a gecko-it’s probably not right to keep it-so I suggest letting it go. If it is a gecko born into captivity-it’s fine to hold it, and when it runs away, continue to handle it so it gets used to contact with you-otherwise when they’re older-they tend to bite when you try to handle them without prior contact. Also, I know a lot of pet stores have a reptile section where you can find geckos which you can adopt and associates at the store will provide you with information you need and whatever things you need for purchase. I did this not that long ago and it’s really cool! just make sure if you get a gecko that’s not from a pet store-let it go and get one from the pet store! That way you’re better off! Haha btw my name is sophia too! lol.

  26. Our gecko has always had a plump tail (about 4 years old) until recently and now it is getting skinny and pooping whole mealworm. Is this something to be concerned about or just a phase? Any suggestions of what to do before considering a vet visit? Thank you.

    • I think you need to take the gecko to the vet.

  27. My loepard gecko loves to climb up the back wall off his cage and recently he has started pooping half way up the wall. Just would like to no if its normal?

    • Yes, it’s normal. Some leopard geckos decide on some really weird spots for pooping, usually places like the humid hide and the water dish. Once they get a habit, they can be pretty persistent.

  28. Hii I NEED HELP SOMEONE!!! im sooo new to this

    so i got a leopard gecko and i feed him mealworms is it bad or good
    and also just recently he started to poo in different parts of his cage…. and the poo is really long is it normal and everytime i pick him up he takes a poo on me
    someone hellpppppp!!!!!!!! im so confused i cant find any info plz help

  29. i just got my gecko today. bought her off someone. she is 2 yrs old and beautiful!! love her already. i was holding her when i got home while the tank got set up and she pooped on me..it was runny tho. not the white waste. i had read above that its not good. but do u think it could just be from where she had a long ride and also a new place? i hope she aint sick..that would suk cause i just bought her!! and also, the woman i got her from sayd she only feeds her once a wk..said 7-10 mealworms a wk. every friday. is that healthy? please let me know. thank u so much!! 🙂

    • For those who are interested in the answers to these questions, I’ve been replying directly to the person asking by email so I can go on at length. Let me know if you’re interested in the answers as well

  30. […] = ''; } Leopard geckos not eating? Make The Slurry, by Golden Gate GeckosLeopard Gecko Care Sheet #content-body,x:-moz-any-link{float:left;margin-right:28px;}#content-body, x:-moz-any-link, […]

  31. Great info! We have two little ones that we just got yesterday. The previous owner had them for a couple months and said they always ate well and seemed healthy. They were on sand. We took them home and they are now on paper towel with a heating pad under tank and a ceramic heat emitter (100 watt). The heat emitter and pad are on separate sides of the 20 gallon tank. We have an infrared thermometer and it was getting way to hot in the hide on hot side. There are areas of the tank that are in 70’s but mostly in upper to high 80’s. Is this a problem? If so how do I correct it? PLUS the vet (for our previous gecko that passed) said they need a day/night cycle and said to just use a regular bulb for that. Do they not need that? They are right next to a fish tank that gives off light but not like “daylight”. I just want these guys to have a long happy life…….

  32. Leopard geckos are a great first time pet my first one was when i was 6 it was a great pet i still have him today and i am 35. I think he’s 38 years of age

  33. i love all sorts of reptiles but geickos are my favorite they are easy cleanup pets that you can find most anywhere like reptile shows, pet stores, and even garage sales even. I want to put out there do not get tanks on the side of the road. They carry deadly dieseis from the first owner… So please don’t get off the side of the road. But them at pet stores, or reptile shows. Oh don’t buy starter kits it’s just a waste of money.

  34. i also have a leopard guecko she sits on my shoulder is this okay for them?

    • It’s fine as long as it doesn’t jump off.

  35. Ok, I have two leopard geckos, Athena and Aphrodite. When I got them at PETCO, they said you cannot distinguish from male or female when they are babies. I am not sure how old they are, but they are about 3″ long. I have had Athena for 1 1/2 months, and Aphro for 1/2 a month. Can I tell if they are male or female yet, if not, when will I be able to tell, and how can i distinguish the two? Also, when can they start mating? I really don’t want them to mate, because I am not interested in a bunch of little geckos. Can I have some help on this matter?

    Also, Aphro has not been eating the mealworms I give her and the book I have says she is mildly malnourished. I can see her spine and she is really skinny, tail and legs included. I gave her some waxworms (3) and she ate those, and I just got some nutrition supplement. I gave it to her and she spit half of it back up. She will eat crickets. I don’t see her drinking but I am sure she does because the watter disappears. What do I do to make her eat?

    I do not have a wet hiding spot for my geckos, but I do spray their environment every other day. Also, when their skin starts to get whitish and they look like they are going to molt soon I give them a bath in my sink. Is that ok?

    Sorry I have so many questions, I am new at this. Thanks in advance for replying!!!!!

  36. hee hee i got a gecko for christmas

    • Congratulations! Read my caresheet.

  37. I got my son 2 leopard geckos the other day. I didn’t know much about geckos so I read up on them online before buying them, but everywhere seems to give different advice. I bough them from someone who had had them for a few months and they said that they are around 8 or 9 months old now.
    The previous owners said that he feeds them 8 or 9 crickets between them every 2 days but I am not sure if that is enough for 2 geckos?
    Also the previous owners said that they had everything for them including food etc so I wouldn’t need to buy anything (except more crickets obviously), but when they got here, they said that they had ran out of vitamins/calcium so I would have to get some and they haven’t had for a good few days. As it was Christmas and all the pet stores here were closed (and still are), I couldn’t go buy some. Will they be ok for a few days without vitamins/calcium until the shops are open and I can buy some?
    Thanks for this great site, I have learned more in 10 minutes about geckos that I have on all the other sites that I have went on over the past two weeks!! 🙂

  38. I bought 2 leopard geckos about a week ago now, they’re male and female, about 3 years old. The previous owner said that he fed them meal worms (by hand) and crickets, and now because the previous owner fed the mealworms by hand they do not eat them from a dish or from the floor at all, will they ever learn to eat them from a dish now?
    Also the previous owner said that they were his breeding pair, but this is the first time i’ve owned a gecko, so i do not know what to do? Different sites give me different information. Can you please give me some advise of what to do when the female lays her eggs, like where to put them and how old they should be when i give them away, and at what age you can distinguish a male from a female. Thanks, your site was very helpful. 🙂

  39. I had 3 questions and a little incident that happened earlier:

    1. Do geckos have really flexible bones?

    2. How long can geckos remember?

    3. I have a fear of crickets and hate picky g then up to feed my gecko crystal so can I use mealworms for her main diet even if she eats crickets since I got her?

    My leopard gecko ran up my arm earlier and I know I shouldn’t but I trapped her back between my arm and the glass on her cage I didn’t want to let her fall she yelped will she be ok or do I need to take her to the vets? She’s sleeping now and moves slowly so I think she maybe just calming down now.

  40. Thanks for all of this info. It helps alot Bcuz I have been waiting to get one and I think that I am getting one for my bday. But I have a question , I’ve got 2 dogs so is it bad if I get one?



    • Just make sure the dogs can’t get into the gecko cage or knock it over and you’ll be alright.

  41. i have 2 geckos. my oldest one, well she was posed to be tamed, but isnt. she hates me lol. so needless to say, she dont get held much. she freaks out and tries to bite me. but i got a younger one and she is tamed. and i have a dog in the house. my youngest gecko (ally) sits on top of my dog. lol my dog hasnt offered to bother her.

    • Thank god everyone posted all this information..I have a gecko n he’s bout a 1 yr old n only 7inches lg. He startd losing weight n not eatn I didn’t kno wut to do…here the person who gave him to us had sand in the tank n idk u couldn’t have sand in it. Here he would catch his food n swollow the sand too. I feel awedul. But thank you so much for all the tips n info.

  42. Hi guys i need to no a website where i can post a pic of my leo tank i got for christmas this is my first reptile i hace a 10gal tanke a basking light and a water and food dish i also have a moist hide and a log hide but please write back thank you

  43. At the end, you list “Gecko Set-up Equipment and prices”
    Where can I get the set up you mentioned?

  44. why does my leopard gecko rub his bottom and his tail against things and my hand when i hold him?? :S

    • Assuming it’s a male, he is “marking his territory” and rubbing his scent on things. The V-shaped pores on his belly near his tail secrete a waxy substance that has a scent –at least to leopard geckos; I’ve never smelled anything.

  45. […] pet laws dangerously lacking in OklahomaBasic Care For Leopard Geckos: All About Leopard Gecko CareLeopard Gecko Care Sheet ul.legalfooter li{ list-style:none; float:left; padding-right:20px; } .accept{ display:none; […]

  46. All throughout the years, mainly because breeding has grown to be a lot more extensively applied, the number in vibrant colors and feel of leopard geckos are so wide you’ll definitely have the best pet for your color preferences.

    • Real green and blue are still a long way away.

  47. Leopard geckos are great because they’re so easy to handle.  This is an excellent low maintenance pet, and that’s one reason they are so wonderful.  Let’s look at the basics of leopard gecko care.

  48. Thank you very much for all this information. Got a question, the last couple days our leapard gecko has been acting weird.. Opening her mouth extremely wide and kinda falling all over the place… And making noises. The cage has been in the 70’s ( way to cold I know now) could that be the problem?

  49. how old should geckos be before you put them on sand? I have a leopard gecko and right now were using shredded paper and when she is older Im thinking of putting her on sand.

    • **Brianna, my email to you bounced, so if you want the full info, you need to email me at artport@rcn.com**

      I have already sent a full reply to the questioner, but here are notes based on my reply:
      About 40 grams is a good size to transition to sand if you really feel you have to do sand.
      Sand is generally not adviseable due to danger of impaction, but some do use it.
      If you have to use it, use play sand

      In my opinion, preferable alternatives are:
      Ceramic tile
      “bioactive substrate”: coco fiber, small amounts of desert sand, leaf litter from outside. Some wouldn’t want to use anything from outside, but by doing this you bring in little critters which will eat the geckos’ poop.

      • ok thanks and if the meal worms turn into beetles, will they hurt my baby gecko?

      • The mealworms will not hurt your gecko.

      • At what age would 40 grams be?

      • It’s not a question of age, but size. I guess the average gecko should reach 40 grams by 7-8 months or so.

  50. ok thanks for the info

  51. […] Leopard Gecko Care GuideLeopard GeckoHow old does a male leopard gecko have to be to start breedingReptiles, Amphibians, Invertebrates & Modest Pets : Leopard Gecko FactsLeopard Gecko Breeders[3 Tips When Preparing For A Leopard Gecko Incubation]Leopard Gecko Care Sheet […]

  52. […] make sure that the redder animals leopard gecko action from leopard gecko world; fattening conditions. Patternless morph and […]

  53. I was looking to get a leopard gecko because I want a pet but we’re not allowed to have uncaged animals where I live (Sort of like a dorm but smaller…). I was wondering if it was okay to have something like aquarium rocks in the tank? And if you knew a good place to order one (A gecko, not a tank~). I don’t have access to a car where I am and going directly to a breeder/store would be difficult for me. I’ve seen a few breeders who will do overnight shipping so I was wondering if that would be okay for the animal? And what is the best age to get a gecko? And are crickets a must? Because I don’t think I have anywhere to keep crickets AND a gecko… Sorry for all of the questions, I just want to make sure my gecko, if I do end up getting one, has the best life a gecko can have..

  54. I made the mistake of taking Oz out to early because I was so excited about him :/ Now he does not like me. He’ll hide whenever I come in the room.

    • It may not be because you handled him too early. Especially if he’s young, he’s probably “programmed” to hide because in the wild the little ones have to hide to survive. Expect him to be in the hide asleep all day and more active at night. Sometimes geckos go through a period where they behave one way for awhile and then change, so don’t worry and give him time.

  55. My geco ate a moth that flew into his tank will the dust and jerms that was on the moth affect my geco

  56. I live with my mom and she wont let me get a leo because she doesnt want to look after it while im gone (usually longer than 2 weeks). I dont know anyone else willing to care for it so would it be safe for me to take it with me? it is a 5 hr drive and happens every couple months. please reply back so i can convince her to let me keep one.

    • Your best bet is to have a complete set-up in each house. Buy a small “kritter keeper” at the pet store and put your gecko in there when you travel to take it with you. It should be fine if you’re driving, but if you fly you will not be allowed to take it on the plane. If you can get permission to have a gecko, try to get it at the beginning of a time when you’ll be in one place. If you have a choice between a baby or an older one, get an older one that’s more settled. Good luck.

      • Since I am hardly ever at the other place and not for very long, does it mean i can have a smaller terrarium? can it even stay in the travel case with a small heater??

  57. I am curious to find out what blog system you happen to be using?
    I’m experiencing some minor security issues with my latest blog and I would like to find something more risk-free. Do you have any suggestions?

    • As you can see, I use wordpress (wordpress.com). I have not had security issues that I’m aware of.

  58. […] […]

  59. This particular posting, “Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
    Geckcessories” reveals the fact that u actually know exactly what u r writing about!
    I personally 100 % approve. With thanks -Stephania

  60. […] "Leopard gecko care" so you can read some care sheets. You can find my caresheet here: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet | Geckcessories I don't think I talked about cleaning, but in general, you can take everything out and wash it […]

  61. I was recommended this blog by my cousin.
    I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody
    else know such detailed about my trouble. You are amazing!


    • If you mean the care-sheet, it was written by me. It’s not surprising that there is detailed info about your problem since it’s a really detailed caresheet. I hope it helps.

  62. […] to GF! Research is good. You're welcome to read my care sheet here: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet | Geckcessories The biggest tip I can give you is that if your gecko doesn't eat every day, it's not the end of […]

  63. […] have a section in my leopard gecko caresheet (Leopard Gecko Care Sheet | Geckcessories) about observation questions and activities for kids to do with leopard geckos. One note–if you […]

  64. my gecko isn’t doing to well. She is lethargic and has been rolling over onto her back. I’ve tried soaking her in warm water in case she is impacted but that didn’t do anything. I haven’t been good with the calcium so I hope things can be reversed, but i don’t know what to do… Can you please help me??

  65. I have a gecko and a family friend has two geckos that they want to give away. They are healthy as is my gecko. I question if it is okay to put the two other geckos in with my gecko. Will they fight?

    • Here are the things you have to consider when putting geckos together:
      1. Are they males or females? If you put males together they will fight. If you put males with females they will breed. No one wants fighting and you need to be prepared for breeding. If you don’t want breeding, don’t put males with females since they can’t “just say no”.

      2. Have the new ones been quarantined? It’s common practice to quarantine new geckos from the current ones for at least 1 month

      3. Do you have a large enough enclosure? A 20 gallon long (30″x12″) is good for a maximum of 2 geckos. You’ll need a bigger enclosure (or a second level)for 3 geckos

      Even if you’ve dealt with all these issues successfully, there’s still a chance they’ll fight. For best results, clean the cage they will all share, rearrange the “furniture” so it’s a new space for all of them, put them together and watch for signs of bullying or fighting. Be prepared to have to separate them in case this ends up being the best choice.

  66. Hay I’m thinking of getting a leopard gecko I’m 14 years old BTW I was just wondering where should I place a heating mat in 10 gallon aquarium for my gecko? BTW How should I feed my gecko some meal worms.

    • Put the heat mat on the bottom (outside) of the tank at one end. Put the mealworms in a shallow bowl with a bit carrot or powdered grain. Read my caresheet again and you’ll probably find these answers in there. Good luck on getting your gecko.

  67. I currently use sand as my substrate but to prevent my gecko from eating the sand I have bought and placed rocks everywhere he will walk so when his crickets are running about he does not pick up the sand by mistake. I have found that this does fine and doesn’t cause him any problems. In the wild they live in rocky and more dirt like areas and sand and rock really have that. I use desert sand.

  68. We bought a 3 month old leo from PetSmart on July 16th for my daughter. We currently have a 3 year old leo and he has been quite easy and enjoyable to take care of. Not being familiar with juveniles, I didn’t realize the new one was so skinny until after a week of not eating, I started researching more about them. We tried crickets and waxworms, but he has showed no interest. I realize he is probably stressed from the move, but with his super skinny condition I’ve been getting more worried. On day 7 I was able to get him to eat 1 waxworm by cutting it open and wiping some of the juice on his face. On day 9 I got him to eat 2 small meal worms by doing the same thing, and today I got him to eat one Phoenix worm by again, squishing it and wiping some juice on his nose. If i try to get him to eat more, he gets irritated. I went to a better pet store today and saw what a healthy fat juvenile should look and realize we are a long way off.
    So my questions are:
    1) Is this normal?
    2) Do I keep hand feeding him?
    3) Will he ever eat on his own?
    4) Is there something else I should be doing?

    • Congratulations on your new gecko. I hope you’re not keeping them in the same cage. Sometimes geckos at the big name pet stores are not in very good health to start with because they’re bred in “gecko mills”, are often shipped too young and kept in crowded conditions. If your new gecko is that skinny, it may be ill. I hate to say it, but you need to take it to a reptile vet (this same thing happened with my first geckos which I got from a big pet store. The vet determined that it was both impacted from sand and had parasites, all of which was treated). If you’ve had the gecko for less than 2 weeks, if you can bring yourself to do it, I recommend that you bring it back to PetSmart, which I think you can do that soon after purchase. Geckos from Petsmart can turn out to be good and healthy pets, but there’s less of a guarantee than a gecko you get from a reputable breeder.

  69. My leperd geco has a eye that is white and is not skin from shedding. I looked at it and every time she closed her eye white liquid came out. I’m worried do you know what’s going on.

    • Sometimes leopard geckos can get a bit of shed stuck in the eye and it may eventually lead to an infection. You could try gently washing the eye with a q-tip and warm water, but really the best thing to do is to take it to a reptile vet because it may need antibiotics and that’s something a vet has to decide about.

  70. […] about leopard geckos because the pet stores often have poor information. For a start, here's mine: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet | Geckcessories […]

  71. You can use sand it will not hurt them they are from the dessert.

    • Leopard geckos do come from dry climates, but they don’t come from a place with deep sand like at the beach or in the African desert. The ground where they live is hard-packed dirt with some loose soil. Calci-sand or play sand does not really represent their native substrate. People do use sand successfully but it’s not recommended for novice keepers and no one uses it for juvenile leopard geckos.

  72. You are meant to put them in a vivarium .
    Not a tank.they need calcium sand and if they poo you have to clean it up as soon as you spot it.and you are meant to put a calcium sand down not coconut fiber.

    • There is more than one way to do things. Actually, most people don’t recommend calcium sand because it more easily causes impaction. They recommend play sand instead. Coco fiber has worked fine for my retired breeders for the last 2 years. I don’t see the difference between a vivarium and a tank unless you mean front-opening vs. top opening.

    • Actually you are wrong. A vivarium means a terrarium with living plants. Leopard geckos do not have living plants in their tanks. A leopard gecko should be housed in a terrarium. A terrarium (Called a tank for short) is a glass tank used to house reptiles or insects. (You can also use a plastic bin. There are many ways to do it.) The best substrate is tile, or reptile carpet. These keep your leopard gecko from getting impaction. Calcium sand is probably the most dangerous substrate ever made in the industry. Calcium sand is regular sand with added calcium. The gecko knows that it has calcium, and if your gecko eats the sand for calcium, the sand will get stuck in his or her stomach and the gecko will not be able to digest it, and then your gecko will die. This is called impaction. You are correct though, coconut fiber is also a bad substrate, but probably better than calcium sand will ever be. I don’t mean to be rude, I’m just trying to explain what you can do better. 🙂 Have a great day,


  73. I got a leopard gecko for Christmas this actually my third, how ever, this one named Courtney, loves to hide in her turtle rock I bought her same day I got the gecko, she eats, goes to the bathroom, but most of the time, she hides 95 percent of the time, I actually have to put the lid with the mealworms right by the hide before she will even eat. is this okay? because other geckos I havehad not hidden this much, is this just the personality of the gecko? as I am totally blind, and do quite well, with geckos, the last one I had lived to 8 years old, and this one is a juvenile still. and she is eating large mealworms is this okay as well? thanks, Ron.

    • Yes, it’s normal. I have one gecko that’s 10 years old that I named Cameo because she was always in the hide and only made “cameo” appearances. Some of it has to do with the gecko’s “personality” and some may have to do with the fact that she’s a juvenile; juveniles tend to hide more, for protection I guess. There are differences of opinion as to how nutritious mealworms are but I know of other geckos fed almost entirely on mealworms and they do fine so I don’t think you have to worry.


  74. […] also google "leopard gecko care" and read a bunch of sheets. I have a 10 page one here: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet | Geckcessories. It's too much to type up the whole care in a thread, so read the caresheets and then come back and […]

  75. wow, thanks form article
    i like leopard gecko because nice skin
    plus knowledge of the gecko
    fact gecko

  76. My husband had a gecko about eighteen years ago when he was ten years old. Six month in his care. They did what pet store said to do it seemed fine and healthy. Then one day his mom got some more crickets and fed iggy. Ighy died shortly after. Reason. The cricket were too big and he choked. She felt bad and he was upset. I got him a betta and everything. Got the frog in it too. Frog few days later. Feltt bad. He started saying how he wanted another gecko and when his betta eventually died he would get another one. Been saying it alot lately so I went to PETsMART and noticed a five gallon starter size terrarium on sale for half price. So I got it and then decided to ask for help with getting supplies for a gecko. I got what was needed. Went to petco and got the gecko signed the ownership paper and brought him home. Got the tank setup and then put him in it. When he got home and found his surprise he was like a kid at Christmas. LOL the pet store person said use sand cuz they live in the desrt and she also said what you said about the sand being harmful. So she said buy the vita sand cuz it has calcium and vitamins in it so that if they eat it they will fine. Should we still use or use something else. We will be upgrading later to a ten gallon. Also since he eats the crickets after they run around in the sand do we still need calcium supplements or no. I am new to this and it has been along time for hubby. Plus he was only ten at the time. So this info u posted is a good refresher course for him with a few new tips. Thanks for putting it up.

    • I’m glad he was able to get another gecko and that you’re both enjoying it. My advice for the moment: get rid of the sand now. Use paper towel, or go to Home Depot and get some ceramic tile (you may have to cut some of it to make it fit). I’d actually stay with paper towel for the 5 gallon. The calci-sand will not supplement the gecko properly and especially if it’s a baby he can get easily impacted (not even people who do keep their geckos on sand do it with babies and they use play sand, not calci sand). Get some Repashy Calcium Plus or some Rep-cal Herptivite and Rep-Cal calcium with vitamin D3 and dust the crickets with each every week. When you upgrade, go to a 20 gallon long instead of a 10 gallon. It will give the gecko more room and you’ll all be happier.

      • Thanks we get paid on the thirtieth so we will get some calcium. And some other substrate. Probably get some reptiturf or whatever its called. If we use that how long can we continue to wash and reuse of before we have to replace it. Thanks again for the help.

      • Oh and how often should we wash it? Thanks

  77. Ok so we did what you said. We got rid of the sand and replaced it with zilla brown substrate stuff of some kind we bought a ten gallon aquarium and and a new wire mesh lid. Then we put the heater on the bottom from the smaller tank and laid down the substrate. Then slowly put all his things in it one by one so as not to stress him out. When it was done hubby put Godzilla in it. We bought some calcium supplement powder and sprinkled some on the mealworms in the dish. Then we caught 2 crickets in the scoop thing that came with the keeper and coated them too. We put them in the cage. He has eaten the two crickets and one mealworm so he must like his new home okay. He has a rock stack to make a cave like thing on the cool side along with his bowls. Then on the opposite side he has his log cave thing and a tree branch thing attached to the side of the glass which is on the hot side. If he chooses to only eat a couple of crickets and one mealworm is he getting enough? Also how long can we leave the uneaten worms in his bowl before getting rid of them? Thanks for your advice so far.

    • Godzilla tank has a dual gauge thing from PETsMART. The humidity level is way above the desert setting. He seems fine considering that we just got him a few days ago. He eats one to two mealworms and two crickets every evening when he gets fed both foods now coated with calcium and d3 powder supplement. Are these kind of gauges accurate and how do u lower humidity level. We live in a humid climate. Thanks

      • Those humidity guages are seldom accurate. Don’t worry about the humidity; he should be fine. You can leave the mealworms in the bowl all the time. If he doesn’t eat them, eventually they’ll turn into pupae (“aliens”) and won’t move around so he won’t be so interested in them.

  78. Thanks so much im getting a gecko soon and this completley made my life so much easier!

    • I’m glad I was able to help! Enjoy your gecko.

  79. There’s a section up top that shows information about a set-up kit. Are those still available? If so, how much are they and where would I go to purchase one? My 11 yr old is dying to purchase a gecko and I keep asking him to wait until we have the supplies…..Thank you so much for all of the information above.

    • I actually have mine in a 20 gal tank, and he loves it.

  80. Hi Aliza, your article is really informative and I definitely agree with most of it! My only concerns are that you’re recommending a 10 gallon tank for a leo. A 20g long should really be the standard for one adult so the right heat gradient can be achieved. Also I’ve never ever heard of someone using a hamster ball for a reptile, I believe there’s a reason why they’re not marketed for reptiles. I can’t see how it would be safe, honestly they’re not even that safe for hamsters. It would be so easy for a Leo or other rep to get a toe stuck in one of the air slats and have it break or tear off. Plus being in such a small confined space like that would stress any animal out. I hope you’ll reconsider and update your caresheet (:

    • Very good feedback. Yes, I do now recommend a 20 gallon for an adult (and the hamster ball was kind of a crazy idea). I’m planning a “makeover” of the care sheet soon.

    • I have my leopard gecko in a 30 Gal tank, and have a big heater on one side, and a UVB bolb and a basking heat lamp on as well, do I really need the UVB and the basking lamp? thanks, Ron.

      • I don’t think leopard geckos, when properly supplemented, need the light at all, though some people feel that their leos are more active when there’s a light.


      • You only need a heat mat for Geckos. They need a cool area aswell as a warm area.

      • I now have two geckos now

        Thanks, Ron

  81. I think the tank size depends on the size of the gecko. Some are the ‘giant’ morp and over 12″ and large frame. My gecko is a 6.5″ 40 gram adult female and I think the 10 gallon tank is fine for her. Do you agree?

    • In general I do agree, though it is sometimes difficult to fit all the stuff that’s needed in a 10 gallon tank.


    • as long as she likes it. mine loves the extra space.

  82. Really good to recap myself on things I’d forgotten. I now have 3 newborn baby Geckos. So it was good to recap on what a youngster needs. Thankyou. Very informative and helpful. X

  83. Hi, I’m getting my first ever Leo in 2 days, his viv is all set up and running. I live in the uk in a flat which generally has room humidity of 65%-80%. The viv is in the lounge and the temp on the warm side is 30c which the breeder I’m getting the Leo off said is perfectly fine however I can’t seem to get his tank humidity level below 80% I’m not sure if this is due to the general room humidity. His water bowl doesn’t yet have water in as he’s not in there yet and the moss for his humid hide is also not in yet as I dread to think how high that’s going to push the humidity levels!

    I have searched the internet, care pages, forums etc and have tried everything suggested to reduce humidity yet nothing is working. Iv got a digital hygrometer on order as I’m not trusting the reliability of the dial one iv currently got. I’m starting to panic now as he will be here in 48hrs and my humidity levels are over double what he needs. How can you reduce it to the 20%-40% that’s recommend?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    (Tank info below)
    The viv is glass 2ft long 1.5ft wide, reptocarpet as substrate and under tank heater for heat source. The viv is open top. Digital probe thermometer monitors temp in warm hide. Small water dish on cold side.

    • The short answer is –don’t worry about the humidity. I will send the longer answer via email.

  84. Thanks! There’s so much conflicting advice on the internet for a new owner like me it can get really confusing and worrying when you just want the best for your gecko x

  85. You mention that you sell thermometer s if so for how much?

  86. I’m having a hard time keeping my humidity between 10-40% I have a reptile carpet and was wondering if that could be the problem. I have a closet dehumidifier next to the tank, have taken out the moist moss I had in there, have a small probably 5″ fan pulling air out of my room and only have a small water dish in his terrarium the only thing that seems to help sometimes is having my window open but then sometimes it makes the humidity as high as 55%. could it be where I live ? (Foothills of Washington state) just wondering if there is something else I could do, he has a screen top and plenty of ventilation in his terrarium.

    • Hi I wouldn’t overly worry about the humidity, it worried me as mine rarely dropped below 65% (I live in the uk) I have several Leo’s all surviving perfectly well in a slightly higher humidity, they all came from breeders who kept them in rubs without even monitoring humidity. They need a moist hide to enable correct shedding. I have lots of breeder friends who all keep them at room humidity and only monitor their temps. None of mind have had respiratory infections or any ill health kept at a slightly higher humidity so I wouldn’t worry about it too much as long as their viv isn’t running in water they should be fine

  87. What if they don’t eat? Mine doesn’t seem to be, and is sand that dangerous?!

  88. I just found a gecko in my garage, it’s not a leopard though it looks mostly like this but bands all the way to tip of tail and tail is much thinner http://www.californiaherps.com/lizards/images/cvabbottisdns910.jpg

    Would all of this apply to the one I found as well or are there differences in care?

    • If the link is what you actually found it is a SW banded gecko of the species Coleonyx. They are much smaller than leopard geckos but their care is very similar. I keep them the same way. They do seem to like to dig a bit more, so I keep their hides on top of a small dish of coco fiber. They eat small 1/4″ crickets and mealworms.

  89. I have an adult female Mack Snow, in which her name is Queen. I have had her for about two months now, and is very healthy. Loves to hide, drinks a lot of water, eats great, and climbs rocks. She is okay with my hand and lets me pick her up, so I decided I should see if she liked my shirt. I had her in my hand and tried to lay her on my shirt, but swung her head back and nearly bit me. What should I do? Thank you, Sam.

    • She was probably scared and didn’t feel secure. This will cause many animals to bite. Next time you hold her, be sure to support her body. If she gets lifted up and her feet are dangling, it feels to her that she’s been picked up by a predator who is going to eat her, so of course, she gets defensive. As you get to know her better, you’ll figure out what she likes and doesn’t like.

      • Thank you. I took Queen out of her tank yesterday for the first time. She was terrified at first, but after me handling her, she calmed down. Approximately how many times a week should I take her out? Thank you again, Sam.

      • You can take her out as often as you want. As you’ve probably realized, short excursions are better than longer ones. Also, it’s best to take her out at night oct in the evenings when she’s normally active. Some geckos seem to enjoy being out of the cage, especially when it’s cool out and our hands are warm. Other geckos don’t seem to enjoy it. I’ve had both kinds among the geckos that have hatched in my own house. You’ll discover what her preference is as you get to know her.

  90. I just got my Leo today and she’s so cute. I just grab her and she don’t care and she just sits in my hand but if something moves or if someone else talks she will start squirming and will try to jump out of my hand. My parents are scared of her. Lol but she’s so cute. ☺️

    • We have one named chipper, she so friendly.

  91. I have some questions. I’m about to get a baby gecko from Petco, is eco earth an ok substrate for a baby? How big should the crickets be, small, pinhead, or another size? My apartment doesn’t have heating and can get really cold in colder seasons, is there a good way to keep the cold side of the aquarium room temperature? Can I only feed him crickets? Should I let the mealworms out into the wild if they become beetles?

  92. What is your opinion on this.. I have an adult leopard gecko named Stella for 3 years now and I put a baby leopard gecko from my front porch in the same aquarium today along with a green house lizard/chameleon. Is this okay to do or should I remove them in the morning?

    • I need more details. A green house lizard/chameleon is a chameleon or an anole? There was a baby leopard gecko on your front porch? In general, it’s not a good idea to put reptiles of different species in the same enclosure because they usually have different requirements for housing and/or they may eat each other. I would have more information if I had more specific details.

    • remove as soon as possible

  93. Okay so I have stripped leopard gecko. Someone else bought it for me and the pet store clerk said that he’s not allowed to bath or lay in water so is the moist hiding place still a go or should I not do that?

    • You should have a moist hide for it anyway. If the gecko gets shed stuck on it, or if it becomes impacted (don’t worry about that, it usually only happens if the gecko is kept on sand and eats a bunch of it) it’s OK to soak it for a few minutes in about 1/2″ of warm water. It is true, though, that leopard geckos are dry climate reptiles, so they shouldn’t be kept all the time in a moist environment.

    • a moist Hide is a Must, if you want to avoid shedding problems.

  94. I’m planning to get a leo but I’m not sure if a pet store is the proper place to purchase it. Is their a good breeder out there or would getting it from the store be fine. I just want it to be healthy.

    • It’s possible to get a healthy gecko from a pet store chain, but it’s risky. If you have a petstore near you that specializes in reptiles or a “Mom and Pop” store where the geckos look healthy and aren’t housed on sand, that’s probably a better bet. There are many good breeders out there as well as frequent reptile shows where healthy geckos can be found. I’ll contact you privately about where you’re located to see if I can be of assistance.

    • get it from http://www. reptmart.com, they are great.

  95. Hi other than lowes or homedepot where can I buy real slate tiles? Canada

    • You can probably get them from any garden store or tile store. Be aware that they tend to be heavy. I prefer creamic floor tiles, but it’s up to you.

  96. Does the sex of the Leo matter when it comes to hostility? I’ve heard that they’re overall pretty tame and relaxed but I don’t know if different genders behave differently.

    • I have not experienced differences in temperament due to gender, but there does seem to be a lot of variation from gecko to gecko since hatchlings reared in the same environment range from seeming to enjoy being held to hating it.

    • Hi there, I don’t think it matters what sex they r, it depends on the individual gecko. At first they will b very shy until they get to know u and their new home. Mine is a female, she was 2yrs when I got her and it took a little over a month for her to walk on my hand, and not flinch when I rub her back. She’s so friendly now, and loves coming out for cuddles!

  97. I have mine using a fan and overhead heat lamp system to maintain temperature is this okay? Also I have been moisturizing the tank with a spray bottle every few days or so but last time I did this he hissed. I only have one hide, but I put a damp washcloth in it when he is getting ready to shed. I have had him for a month or two and he is about eight months old, so is feeding him every other day too much or should I change it to every three days? We have to keep him in the basement because it is too hard to maintain a steady temperature upstairs as we use a wood stove to keep it warm in the winter. I manually turn a light on and off every twelve hours or so. I keep him in a ten gallon with a log hide and a stick and some rocks he can climb. I normally maintain temperatures around ninety degrees on the warm side though it occasionally gets down in the eightys. I have heard that you can keep the temperature at fifty and they will go not hibernation for a few months and be fine. Is this true? Is there anything I should be doing differently and does anyone know why he hissed at me? He isn’t the most social gecko but he does climb on my hand when I keep it in his tank for a few minutes. Any help is appreciated, thanks.

    • Here are my thoughts:
      If you can keep the floor of the enclosure (not the air) in the low 90’s all the time, that’s probably best. Usually people do this with an under tank heater for 2 reasons: when you turn the light off at night, it can get pretty cold if that’s your only heat source; the light can heat up the air a lot and a constant hot air temperature can dehydrate the gecko.
      That said, some people heat with an overhead light and swear by it. In my opinion an under tank heater is best (I use Zoo-med heat cable which I tape on with Nashua tape so it can be moved from tank to tank and reconfigured as needed.
      I feel that if the temperature in the room is reasonable for humans, usually in the low to mid 60’s, the gecko should be fine with only the under tank heat. It seems to me that the warm hide will trap warm air and in the winter the gecko will probably spend most of his time there and be warm.
      Some people do lower the temperature and “brumate” (similar to hibernation, but not as deep a sleep) their geckos. The gecko will sleep for a few months. It should only be done with full grown geckos in good shape. Generally, you gradually lower the temperatures and stop feeding so the gecko has an empty stomach when it’s ready to brumate. Drinking water should be available.
      Leopard geckos are desert creatures, so it’s not wise to mist them. Your gecko probably hissed because he was surprised and didn’t like the water hitting him. I have a different species of gecko that needs more humidity and they freak out every time I mist them.
      I feed all my geckos Tuesday, thursday and Saturday. They don’t all eat at each feeding.
      I think in the long run a 10 gallon tank is kind of small for an adult gecko and you may want to consider upgrading at some point to a 20 gallon long 930″x12″x12″)
      Let me know if you have any more questions.

  98. My friend has 2 leopard gecko in separate tanks. He went overnight and when he returned 1 of the Geckos tails were off. Unfortunately he didn’t know about the no sand and to watch him eat. He did clean out the tank but put new sand in the tank the gecko soaked its tail in the water bowl which was filled with spring water. The next day he died. My question is what would have made the tail fall off when he was in the cage. Also should he be worried about the other one going threw the same thing. Thank you for your time and information on here just wish we read about it first and maybe could have prevented this. Signed Sad.

    • Sorry another question about the misting on the question above says not to spray the leopard gecko. I am very confused about this. What is the best set up and what way do you actually do moist the tank. Thank you again for your time very helpful information.

      • I’ll reply to both questions here (sorry about the gecko):
        Tail: I think it’s likely that the gecko had some sort of extreme discomfort or internal trauma that caused it to drop its tail and ultimately caused its death. I once cared for someone’s gecko that had also dropped its tail in the enclosure for unexplained reasons. The first day I had her, she passed some pieces of walnut bark (which the owner had been using for substrate). My theory is that she had ingested some and it caused so much pain going through the digestive tract that she dropped her tail. I don’t know if it’s that usual for sand to cause such an extreme reaction, but it could have been that, or there was something else going on. If he had just gotten the geckos, the one that died may have been ill from before he got her. I don’t see any reason to assume something will happen to the other one, but it would be a good idea to get it off the sand just in case.

        Misting: since leopard geckos are desert creatures, they don’t need the cage to be misted every day like some other species. Even desert creatures, though, find humid micro climates when they need them. The way to do this for leopard geckos in captivity is to provide them with a humid hide: get a square or rectangular Gladware (or equivalent) container. Put some coco-fiber (aka “eco earth”) in it and moisten it (you can also use paper towel, but you’ll need to moisten it more frequently). Cut a hole in the top. The gecko can climb in and have a humid area whenever it wants to. Some leopard geckos love their humid hide and spend a lot of time in it.

        Feel free to ask more questions if you have them. I’ll reply as soon as I can; I’m out of town this weekend and don’t always have time for the computer.

      • Thank you for your reply. He had the Geckos for yrs but had moved the cages from his room to the kitchen. I am guessing to much noise they weren’t use to well the one who passed. I will definitely help him make the changes. With all the advice hopefully he will live for yrs more. Ty again.

  99. Amazing!! Just coming into the reptile community and have been doing a lot of research and needed a place with all the info I’ve collected and finally I’ve found it!! I agree with everything on here and all of the resources used. Thank you so very much!

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