Leopard Gecko Housing and Habitat Guide
You will obviously need a home for your new leopard gecko which needs some planning and consideration. They need to live in an enclosure as close to their natural habitat as possible. As a desert reptile, this is very important.
Here are our tips and advice on housing your leopard gecko.
Your Leopard Gecko Enclosure
Gecko owners house their little fellas in cages, tanks, terrariums or vivariums. It is important the the gecko can get on with it's daily business of exploring, hiding and climbing. The ideal choice is a glass aquarium with a ventilated lid. It doesn't need to be too tall, but should be long and have a good surface area for the gecko to roam as it pleases.
3 geckos can be happily kept in a 30 gallon tank, and a 15 gallon tank should suit a solitary gecko just fine. Glass tanks are easier to keep at the right temperature, and are easy to maintain.
Substrates for Gecko Enclosures
Substrate is the flooring for your gecko terrarium. There are quite a few options here but you must choose wisely.
Remember your gecko needs to lie on this substrate to gain body warmth, so you must leave an area free for this. Geckos have sensitive skin, so ensure to use something that isn't abrasive or too coarse. You can use artificial grass, paper towels or even newspaper.
These options might not make for a particularly natural looking gecko enclosure. Many pet shops sell reptile carpet which is washable and easy to use. This reptile carpet is available in different colours and styles. You could also use slate, or tiles, for that ultimate natural look! Just be sure to fill the gaps with a bit (not too much) sand.
Gecko Enclosure Temperature
Geckos are unable to product their own body heat, so they get warmth from their environment. Maintaining the right terrarium temperature is a crucial part of gecko care.
The best way to do this is using a heat mat which can be placed under your glass or plastic gecko tank. In your tank is unsuitable to place a heat mat under (for example wooden ones) you can place the heat mat under the substrate. You will then need to adjust the thickness of your substrate so that it meets the right temperature. Ensure that your gecko enclosure meets these temperatures:
- 80-85 degrees F during the day (26.7-29.4 degrees C)
- 70-75 degrees F at night (21.1-23.9 degrees C)
It is best to place the mat at one end of the terrarium so that the gecko can move from a warmer end to a slightly cooler end as necessary. Monitor the temperature in the enclosure with a thermometer, and use a thermostat and timer to make maintaining the right temperature even easier.
Your gecko should have places to hide away, preferably at both the warm end and the cooler end. You can use stones, rocks, log and branches for your gecko hides. You can also use plants, live or artificial. If you intend to use live plants, always ask an expert to ensure they aren't poisonous to your gecko.
Water and Humidity
Your gecko will need water so ensure it is always available. Using a shallow bowl is advisable, and replace and/or replenish the water on a daily basis.
Your gecko enclosure should be kept at less than 40% humidity for a healthy environment. You can use a hygrometer to monitor this.