Designing a Gecko's Vivarium

The bare minimums of a gecko enclosure are a basic substrate, one or more shelters and a water container. However, to enjoy watching your gecko in it's enclosure you can really go to town and design their vivariums with much more imagination and natural accessories.

With a more plentiful and interesting vivarium design, a gecko will be more more entertaining and fascinating to observe. Here are some tips to creating a stunning habitat for your gecko.

The enclosure

The vivarium should be at least 36 inches in length, ideally longer. Try to avoid vivariums with thin glass as the base will need to take the weight of the substrate and accessories inside it.

You can either choose a vivarium with a screen top or a sliding front panel for even easier access.

For a really natural looking substrate use a soil and sand mixture about 3 inches deep. If you choose to do this, ensure it is one part potting soil and two parts sand. The sand should be something like decomposed limestone, granite or calcium carbonate.

Creating the landscape

Dry wood and rocks help to create attractive and natural climbing apparatus and shelters for your gecko. Remember rock are heavy and will need to be position carefully so that they don't collapse inside the vivarium.

Using rocks and wood are the totally natural options. Otherwise there's plenty of artificial alternatives when it comes to shelters for geckos.


For the extra natural touch, you can place plants inside the vivarium too. Pony-tailed palms tend to thrive in natural vivariums when potted at shallow depths directly in the substrate. There's plenty of other plants that will flourish in a natural vivarium - just as an expert in your local reptile shop.

Remember, your vivarium will need plenty of daytime light to keep plants thriving.

Can I keep other lizards with my geckos?

Many expert lizard owners do successfully keep other reptiles in the same vivarium as adult leopard geckos. These include South African flat-lizards, collared lizards and smaller girdle-tailed lizards.

If you are planning on keeping other lizards in the same vivarium as your leopard gecko, they must all be of a similar size. You should also keep a close on all inhabitants of your mixed vivarium. If there's any problems, they should be separated immediately.

We've also got an introduction to vivarium decorations which will help you ensure your gecko's environment is natural, stylish and fascinating to live in!

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