While some people like cuddly pets like cats and dogs, others require less expensive grooming. The Leopard Gecko is one of those very adorable pets that is much easier to care for and for some, just as rewarding.
If you have decided to adopt a baby Leopard Gecko for the first time, this is the guide for you. You may be a proud new owner or try to gather as much knowledge as possible before you adopt it. Either way, we give you everything you need to know about setting up your leopard gecko’s new home, how to feed them, and the quality time they might need.
Leopard Gecko Facts
The leopard gecko belongs to the genus Eublepharidae. Unlike most geckos, these extraordinary creatures have movable eyelids, but they do not have foot pads like other species. That means leopard geckos can’t climb smooth surfaces.
Don’t be surprised if your leopard gecko molts frequently. It was a positive and natural thing for them to do. They molt as a survival mechanism to stop their scent being picked up by predators.
The leopard gecko is native to arid and semi-desert areas throughout the Middle East in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and northern India. They are hardy reptiles and can live for more than 20 to 30 years if you take care of them properly.
Leopard geckos are one of the few reptiles that like to be handled, especially if they have grown up around humans and in contact with humans. That, combined with their lifespan, means you can have a cuddly reptile companion for most of your adult life.
That said, adopting a baby leopard gecko is a pretty big commitment. Be prepared for the long haul so you can provide your gecko with a good and stable life.
Are Leopard Geckos a Good Pet?
Leopard geckos are considered babies for their first year of life. They are growing rapidly this time of year. They can start breeding at around 12 months of age, but they should not do so for their continued health.
The leopard gecko is generally considered to be one of the best pets when it comes to adopting a reptile. They are easy to care for and foster positive and tender relationships.
Leopard geckos are usually quite docile and happy creatures. They are also one of the most beautiful geckos. The more you interact with them, the friendlier they get as they get older, but they don’t need a lot of your time every day.
Where Can I Get a Baby Leopard Gecko?
You can buy a leopard gecko from almost any pet store that sells reptiles. If you don’t have a pet store near you, you can also order one online or work with a smaller local pet store to have it delivered.
You may also be able to find a leopard gecko from a local breeder. Some people who have had leopard geckos for a long time may also casually breed them. It’s a good idea to google it in your area to see if anyone breeds it locally.
How Much Does Owning a Leopard Gecko Cost?
The initial cost of adopting a baby leopard gecko will cost anywhere from $30 to $100. Their price usually depends on their morph, color and basic pattern on their skin.
In addition to adopting a leopard gecko yourself, you’ll also need to purchase a glass tank that’s between 10 and 20 gallons in size. You can also use a plastic terrarium for very young, newly hatched geckos. However, it is best to give them a large cage in which they can grow so that they grow well.
You can get a new or used tank, which will significantly affect the price. They can vary from $10 to $200, depending on the quality and size.
You will also need to get a substrate for the bottom of their cage and a lamp that will keep their surroundings warm. This will usually cost around $50 to $100. Finally, you will need to feed them regular insect food which you can usually buy from any pet store.
Leopard gecko meals are usually inexpensive, costing around $10 to $20 per week, especially if you buy in bulk.
- Read Related: Why Is Your Leopard Gecko Not Eating? 9 Possible Solutions
What Kind of Home Does My Baby Leopard Gecko Need?
A leopard gecko can have a small plastic terrarium to live in a smaller and less spacious space as they grow into their first few months. However, that’s not necessary if you want them to move into their final home.
Leopard geckos should have a glass terrarium. If you only have one, you can have a 10 gallon glass tank. However, if you think that you will get more than one leopard gecko, you should use a 15 to 20 gallon tank. It’s wisest to only pair leopard geckos of roughly the same age, as some adults will eat baby geckos.
You need to fill the tank with the right substrate and habitat so your gecko can hide things and play around with them. There are many different types of substrate suitable for leopard geckos, including reptile carpets, which prevent them from digesting it while trying to catch their prey. You can also line the bottom of their cage with paper towels, tiles, or newspaper.
Avoid substrates such as small pebbles and sand, even if this is probably what is around their natural habitat. This can lead to impaction if not treated properly.
Lighting and heating are the most important aspects of a leopard gecko’s enclosure. They need strict temperature regulation in order for them to live a happy and long life. You can provide the necessary heating and lighting using a heating lamp. Don’t forget to simulate a day and night cycle of about 12 hours instead of leaving the lights on all the time.
Generally, the air temperature in their cage should be between 77 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The hot side of your reptile tank should be around 85 to 94 degrees, and the cold side should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To keep your leopard gecko comfortable and give them some alone time, you should include tank accessories. This includes things like hiding holes and sunbathing platforms. You can also add small non-toxic plants and other natural additions, such as stones.
What Should I Feed My Baby Leopard Gecko?
A leopard gecko enjoys a varied diet even as a baby. You can feed a baby leopard gecko on the same diet as an adult leopard gecko. They like to eat crickets and caterpillars as a staple food. From there, you can vary their diet by adding super worms, wax worms, silkworms, and hornworms.
Beyond their typical diet, tiger geckos will also require vitamin supplements after every meal they consume. Giving them this is especially important for baby leopard geckos. Without it, they may not develop properly and will not have a strong skeletal structure.
Calcium deficiency is the main thing you should look for in your gecko’s diet. Supplement their diet with calcium powder, and you don’t have to worry about it.
How Do I Take Care of My Baby Leopard Gecko?
Baby leopard geckos must get food every day. They grow rapidly during their first 6 months. After their first year, you just need to feed them every day.
A good rule of thumb for how much to feed them is to give them two insects per meal for every inch of length. It is best to do this in the late afternoon as this is the time when they are most active.
Apart from feeding, you should also be aware that they will shed every 5 to 7 days after hatching during the first month. After that, they will shed at least once every 1 to 2 weeks until they become adults.
You can tell that your baby leopard gecko is about to fall out, as it will become very dull in color. After that, the skin separated and turned white. Once shed, they will not waste the nutrients on the skin and will eat it.
When handling a baby leopard gecko, you should wait at least 2 weeks before starting to tame and handle it. They have to get used to their new home first.
Wait to hold your baby gecko until they start eating. Do the initial treatment gradually. Let them get used to you by placing your hand in their tank at night but not trying to touch it. Make an effort to let them climb on your hands.
How Do I Know If My Baby Leopard Gecko Is Sick?
Although leopard geckos are strong, they are more vulnerable when they are babies. Before you bring a baby leopard gecko into your home, you should educate yourself about how they can get sick if not cared for properly.
Calcium deficiency is possibly the most dangerous for baby leopard geckos. You should either get rid of the bugs or clean them with vitamin and mineral supplements so your gecko can absorb everything they need for proper development.
Another life-threatening disease that is common in baby geckos is gastrointestinal (GI) impaction. Lizards accidentally eat sand flakes while hunting for insects. Gradually, the grit builds up in their GI tract until it becomes blocked. Eventually, your pet will stop eating and will strain to have a bowel movement.
Another disease in baby geckos is retention of peeling skin. Instead of growing from their skin, they become dehydrated and cannot shed their skin. This usually occurs due to lack of moisture. When they can’t shed their skin, they quickly lose weight, stop eating, and eventually die.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your gecko to the vet immediately. Most are reversible up to a point. If left too long, your gecko can die, and results can happen very quickly.
Caring for a baby leopard gecko involves a learning curve. However, once you find out, you will have many happy years with these adorable pets who are happy to spend a lot of time with you.
Featured Image Credit: agus fitriyanto Suratno, Shutterstock