Reptiles can exert their charms on may people. A special favourite is the gluttonous leopard gecko. That’s mainly because these lizards very often become hand-tame. Apart from that, they’re easy to look after and therefore ideal for beginners. According to the vets from Maxi Zoo, leopard geckos feel particularly at home in a terrarium, living as a pair or in a small group.
How to house your scaly friend
It’s not exactly common for geckos to live in groups. Nonetheless, leopard geckos are sociable animals by nature. They are found in India, Pakistan and Iran, among other places. There, they inhabit the dry, step like areas. Correspondingly, they can manage with a relatively sparsely furnished terrarium.
Good leopard gecko substrates:
- Paper towels: Absorbent, easy to replace, and cheap. Must be replaced immediately if wet. Also looks nice.
- Slate tile: Easy to remove, easy to clean, holds heat very well. More attractive than paper towels.
- Reptile sand mat: No risk of impaction since all the “sand” particles are glued to the mat like mild sandpaper. However, this texture can make it tricky to keep clean.
They do like to climb and explore things like rocks and logs. You can put a few dry climate plants for decoration – but its not in any way necessary. On the other hand, a flat water bowl should always be available. A typical gecko group consists of four to five females and a single male. Multiple females can be kept together with a male, but multiple males should not be kept together, even with several females, since they will fight over territory. A female on its own becomes too severely stressed during the mating season, two males don’t get on at all and a single animal will feel lonely.
Because leopard geckos are twilight active, they won’t be jumping around the terrarium during the day. They only come out of hiding around evening to go off in search of prey. Crickets, mealworms and wax moths all qualify. Geckos are prowlers and highly adept at snapping insects. Live food should also be selected according to the size of the lizards which can reach an overall length of 25 centimetres. Geckos are known for their greed, so they shouldn’t be allowed to overeat. Feeding three times a week (dusted with calcium and vitamin powder) is ample for a full-grown animal.
As it’s significantly cooler in their homelands during winter, (healthy) leopard geckos should also hibernate in the terrarium. This is important for their well-being and readiness to mate. During the period from the end of November to the middle of February, the daytime temperature should be reduced from the normal 28 degrees to just 18 degrees. The daylight hours can also be reduced slowly and steadily down to just six hours per day. Feeding can finally be discontinued but fresh drinking water must always available. Change the drinking water unobtrusively as the animals should be disturbed as little as possible during this time.
As the end of hibernation approaches you can slowly increase the daylight hours again (about one extra hour per week). When the normal rhythm has been reached, you can re-introduce additional heat sources such as a warming stone. Now…a point to emphasise: pay close attention to humidity. This must not be allowed to sink too low and can be prevented either automatically by an ultra-sonic mist generator (via a timer) or by using a spray bottle daily.
If you’re not keeping just females, you can introduce mating. But consider this: leopard geckos can live for 20 years so you could soon be in need of a second terrarium.
Call into your local store today to discuss your reptile’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.