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Caring for a Gecko

June 15, 2016

Are you considering adopting a leopard gecko? These cute little lizards make adorable pets! In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Louisville, CO veterinary clinic, serving Boulder and the surrounding areas, a local vet discusses leopard gecko care.


Leopard geckos are fascinating to watch! These pretty lizards grow to be about 10 inches long, and are available in many bright colors. They can live up to 20 years, so, before adopting one, make sure you’re committed to caring for your scaled pet for his entire life.


For one gecko, you’ll need at least a 10-gallon tank, though bigger is always better. For substrate, you can use flat stones, turf, pea gravel, or butcher paper. Leopard geckos also need a few hidey-holes. One of your pet’s houses should be moist, and should contain vermiculite or moss to help him shed. Leopard geckos don’t have need specific types of lights, but they should be exposed to natural light cycles. We recommend a low-wattage bulb on a 12-hour cycle. To make your lizard’s home more attractive and more fun for him, add rocks and safe plants.


Keeping your leopard gecko’s cage at the right temperature is very important! Your scaled buddy will need separate warm and cool zones. One end of the cage should be about 85-90 °F, and the other end should be around 73-75 °F. Use under-tank heating rather than heating lamps or hot rocks, as it’s much safer.


Feeding a leopard gecko is a bit more complicated than popping open a can of pet food. Your cute little dinosaur eats live bugs, such as mealworms, crickets, and waxworms. (Needless to say, if you can’t stomach the thought of handling these creepy-crawlies, a gecko may not be the best pet for you.) About 12 hours before you give your lizard his insects, you’ll need to dust the bugs with nutritional powder. Your gecko will also need calcium, and, of course, fresh water. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.


Leopard geckos are gentle by nature, but you’ll need to handle your pet frequently to keep him tame and friendly. Talk to your reptilian friend, pet him, and perhaps let him hang out on you while you watch TV.

Feel free to contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Louisville, CO veterinary clinic, serving Boulder and the surrounding areas, anytime. We’re happy to help!