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Adopting a Leopard Gecko

June 15, 2018

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet lizards. These little guys are really quite cute, and can be fun to watch and interact with! Here, a Thorold, ON vet discusses Leopard gecko care.


Leopard geckos are quite small, rarely growing more than 10 inches. These charming lizards come in many vibrant colors, and are quite pretty to look at. They are generally tame, though you’ll need to handle your pet gently and regularly to keep him properly socialized. Don’t rush out to get one, however: Leopard geckos live about 20 years, so adopting one is a long-term commitment.


Your lizard will need a tank or terrarium that is at least 20 gallons. We recommend getting the biggest one you can afford. You’ll need to add a suitable substrate, such as pea gravel, flat stones, butcher paper, or reptile carpet. Your tiny dinosaur should have a few different hidey-holes to retreat to. One of these should have moss or vermiculite in it, to help with shedding. Rocks, safe plants, climbing branches, and driftwood can make your gecko’s home both more attractive and more fun for him. Reptile habitats can actually make very pretty display pieces!


Your little buddy will need some specific environmental conditions. Leopard geckos don’t require special lighting, so you should be fine with a low-watt bulb set on a 12-hour cycle. You will need to make sure the terrarium stays at the proper temperatures, however. One end should stay between 85-90 °F, and the other should be around 73-75 °F. This will allow your cute pet to regulate his temperature by moving to warmer or cooler spots as needed. Get under-tank heating, instead of heating rocks: it’s much safer.


Leopard geckos don’t exactly eat canned pet food or kibble. Your scaled buddy will actually need live bugs, such as mealworms, crickets, and waxworms. (To state the obvious, this is one reason that reptiles are not the right pets for everyone.) You’ll need to dust the bugs with nutritional powder before giving them to your lizard. You won’t be able to get pet food at a grocery market, so you’ll need to go by the pet store regularly. Ask your vet for more information on feeding your pet gecko.

Please contact us, your Thorold, ON pet clinic, for all of your gecko’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!