Leopard Gecko – Terrarium Dweller for Beginners

Leopard geckos are among the most popular terrarium animals because of their eye-catching patterns and their relatively uncomplicated keeping. But even if the reptiles are suitable for beginners, you should inform yourself well about the animals before buying. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the leopard gecko.


Name: Eublepharis macularius;
Order: scale creepers;
Body length: max. 27 cm; Head-torso length: max. 16 cm;
Life expectancy: 20-25 years;
Distribution: Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India;
Habitat: rock steppe, semi-desert, dry forest;
Posture: Group posture, twilight, and after-active become tame, suitable for beginners.

General and Origin

The leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) lives in semi-arid and rocky areas. Its distribution area extends over Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. The sociable gecko, which belongs to the Lidgecko family, got its name because of its color. Because the light basic color with the black dots is reminiscent of the fur of the leopard. However, there are now many different color variants from cultivars. The leopard gecko can shed its tail in danger, which is why you should never hold its tail. Unlike most geckos, it does not have adhesive lamellae on its toes, but rather claws. This peculiarity makes him a very good climber. In general, the leopard gecko is very lively and agile during the active phase – an exciting terrarium inhabitant!

Acquisition and Keeping

Leopard geckos are sociable reptiles and are best kept in small groups. Since disputes can arise between males, it is recommended that one male be kept with two or more females. The small geckos have relatively few requirements in terms of care and husbandry. In addition, unlike most reptiles, they even become tame. For these reasons, leopard geckos are the perfect beginner animals for newcomers to terraristics. Their interesting appearance and agile behavior also make them ideal pets for children. Note, however, that the Eublepharis macularius is mainly crepuscular and nocturnal. The geckos need a temperature of around 30 ° C and a humidity of around 40-50% during the day. At night you should regulate the temperature down to about 20 ° C, the humidity should be 50-70%.

Terrariums for Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos live on the ground, which is why you should pay particular attention to the floor space when buying a terrarium. The size should be at least 100 x 50 x 50 cm. The terrarium can be made of glass or wood. You shouldn’t skimp on technology so that the ideal temperature and humidity are always maintained. You need terrarium lighting, radiant heaters, and control devices to check the humidity and temperature. We also recommend using UV light, which has a positive effect on the health and vitality of your geckos. Because even if leopard geckos are mainly active at twilight and nocturnal, in nature they are still temporarily in the sun. You choose a location where the geckos are protected from noise.

Leopard Gecko Set Up Terrarium

Since leopard geckos live mainly in rocky areas in the wild, climbing opportunities and stones are essential for furnishing the new home. Caves are just as important because the lively reptiles like to hide during the day. Caves made of cork or bark are suitable, for example. You can also equip the terrarium with so-called wet boxes. You can build these caves yourself from old plastic bowls and cover them with damp moss. This creates a high level of humidity in the cave, which the geckos prefer especially shortly before molting. Wet boxes are also used by females as breeding grounds. A mixture of clay and sand or coarse gravel is suitable as a substrate. Your new pets will need a small clay bowl for additional food and a water bowl. If you want, you can also decorate the terrarium with artificial plants.

Nutrition and Care

Leopard geckos are insectivores and feed mainly on food animals such as grasshoppers, cockroaches, crickets, and house crickets. Geckos eat an average of two to four food animals per day. You don’t have to feed your geckos every day, however. Regular feeding three times a week is sufficient. Young animals under six months of age only eat one or two insects a day. Depending on the food available, it is advisable to supplement the ration with minerals (especially calcium) and vitamin supplements. The best way to do this is to dust the insects with the mineral powder before feeding them. If you moisten the feed animals with a little water beforehand, this will work even better. There isn’t much else to consider when caring for your pet other than moulting. The skin of leopard geckos does not grow with them, which is why it is regularly stripped and renewed. To do this, the geckos need increased humidity, which they can find in the wet box. The gecko pulls its skin off itself. Your job is to see if he was able to completely remove the old skin. In the worst case, residues of the old skin can pinch off the limbs of the gecko. Of course, keeping the leopard geckos clean also includes regular cleaning of the terrarium.


Leopard geckos are suitable as pets for beginners in terrarium hobby. The sociable reptiles are fun to watch and they have little demands on their care. A desert terrarium with stones and caves is suitable as a leopard gecko terrarium. When it comes to terrarium technology, you get by with lamps, measuring devices, heating technology, and the manual humidification of the air with a spray bottle. This makes leopard geckos much cheaper to buy and maintain than exotic species such as chameleons or iguanas.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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