How To Set Up The Perfect Veiled Chameleon Cage


Veiled Chameleon Tank

We all know the story: You walk into the pet store, but—to your greatest regret—it sees you. Behind the dreary glass of stacked terrariums, a beautiful Veiled Chameleon sits. You glance away, but that initial eye contact is undeniable. You are entranced. Before even meeting the lizard, you’re convinced it’s your best friend. How could you just walk away, leaving it miserable and alone, without a clue as to where it’ll end up? You couldn’t!

So as simple as that, you arrive home with a new pet and no idea what you’ll do with it. Maybe you packed up an undersized aquarium for the meantime, but you know you’ve done a bad thing. The impulse buy creeps up on even the best of us. Once the claws have dug in, denying it’s requests can be gut-wrenching. But responsible pet owners keep their Veiled Chameleon’s housing at the ready, introducing occupants long after they’re perfected. This article is for anyone seeking the preemptive and planned path, as well as those who need all of the information they can get—and FAST!

The Perfect Veiled Chameleon Terrarium Setup

Veiled Chameleons are arboreal creatures, seeking refuge in the uppermost branches of the treetops. If you assume a tree dweller is equally content in a tall, spacious enclosure as it is in a small, squat fish tank: I have some news for you! Enclosures should never be viewed as containers; your pet will spend the majority of it’s life there. Create a habitat, home, and playground—not a cage.

The minimal dimensions for adult male Veiled Chameleons are 24”(width), 24”(depth), 48”(height). Smaller females can be kept in 18”(width), 18”(depth), 36”(height) enclosures. When offering larger enclosures: horizontal space will be appreciated, but these tree huggers love height—prioritize it. A baby Veiled Chameleon can stay in smaller areas, because it makes eating, drinking, and basking less strenuous. However, if the young chameleon is healthy and monitored closely, adult-sized enclosures are fine.

Even though the video below is showing a cage for a beautiful Panther Chameleon, it is very close to what I am going to show you in this article. So have a look at it to see where we are headed.​

Glass Vs. Screen Enclosures

A screen enclosure’s superiority to glass was a long-standing assumption between chameleon keepers—but now, it’s a hot debate. Maintenance of your Veiled Chameleon’s habitat will differ depending on the cage it lives in, and mistakes happen in both screen and glass enclosures. You can avoid this with just a bit of education. So, what are the true differences between glass and screen enclosures?

Ventilation

The main issue surrounding glass Veiled Chameleon cages is air flow, so minimal at times that it causes stagnation— noxious to any unlucky creature trapped inside. Conditions like this can result in respiratory problems and death for a Veiled Chameleon. But, fables tell of an open-aired savior: the screen enclosure. Screen eliminates the concern for stagnation completely. Does this really mean glass enclosures are totally unusable, though? No, using screen tops and small ventilation fans will push that stale air right out of your tank. Problem solved.

Humidity

For ventilation, screen enclosures are a blessing, but they can be a curse for humidity. Your home’s conditions will set the stage for the climate in your chameleon’s cage. To maintain an ideal micro-climate, you must be cognizant of your location. Screen is perfect in humid environments, but in arid areas, glass may be a better option. With less exposure to air outside the cage, it is easier to manipulate the humidity levels inside these little cubes.

Heat

Glass has a habit of retaining the elements that enter it, while screen releases them. Heat is not an exception to this rule. Depending on your area, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. If your home is 72 to 75 degrees, a single lamp on a screen enclosure will suffice to meet your temperature range. Do the same thing with glass, and the enclosure may overheat. But in cooler climates, that extra heat is more advantage than liability.

So, the battle between glass and screen is not as clean-cut as many people prefer to assume. Your decision should have a basis of climate: Think of the environment your home offers, compared to the environment a Veiled Chameleon requires. Which enclosure will make the conditions easiest to achieve?

Making Your Own Veiled Chameleon Cage


Veiled chameleon habitat

Don’t think commercial Veiled Chameleon habitats are suited for you? If you have ever thought, “I can make a cube as well as any manufacturer,” this section is for you. Custom Veiled Chameleon terrarium setups hold endless potentials; build an elaborate centerpiece for your living room, or a functional habitat to fit snugly into a corner. Instead of settling for sub-par or over-priced, pull out some tools and get creative!

Before starting any project—regardless of the complexity—it is necessary to craft a solid plan: Map out your reptile’s needs, your budget, and your skill set. Make sure to consider the cleaning and maintenance of the cage. Then, calculate which materials are best used. Options that work on your side could just as easily turn against you. Wood can rot, plastic can melt, exposed screen risks injury, and glass is expensive and difficult to work with. Be thoughtful, thorough, and cautious while building a custom Veiled Chameleon enclosure.

Stressed Out Veiled Chameleons ? – A Good Place For The Tank

Keeping your Veiled Chameleon comfortable is more than a matter of setup. Chameleons are notorious for stress sensitivity. Many sudden, unfortunate deaths have resulted from ignorance of chameleon behavior and psychology. Nobody can read their chameleon’s mind, but behavior clues are obvious to those who look. Common signs of stress include pacing the cage, reduced appetite, a dark coloration (or stress marks), etc. Pinpointing the cause of these behaviors is, unfortunately, like playing a guessing game. Make changes to their environment, one after the other, until stress ceases. I suggest moving the cage to a quiet location, providing more shelter for hiding, and keeping other animal’s out of it’s view. A common stresser is rooted in the Veiled Chameleon’s natural solidarity. Never house multiple lizards in the same cage or within view of each other. Enduring the long-term stress of having no escape from an territorial opponent, will cause the decline of an other-wise healthy animal. Fighting, respiratory problems, and unexpected death are the consequences of forcing Veiled Chameleons to live communally.

Lighting

If you think you can’t survive without electricity, imagine what it is like to be physically dependent on the light bulbs hanging from your ceiling. This is the reality for our cold blooded pets. From calcium absorption to thermoregulation, the functions of a reptile’s body require a spectrum of lighting to work. An in-depth understanding of lights is essential to the success and well being of your Veiled Chameleon. So, what exactly is the difference between a regular light bulb and a bulb created specifically for our scaly friends?

Imagine what it is like to be physically dependent on the light bulbs hanging from your ceiling. Do your research properly! #reptilecare



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UVB bulbs

Ultraviolet-B (UVB) is present in sunlight from the wavelengths of 290(nm) to 315(nm), and almost all animals on earth have some level of exposure to it. Reptiles have a particular need for UVB, as the Vitamin D they absorb from the sun is converted into D3, which plays a crucial role in their bodies. In deficit of D3, calcium cannot be utilized in their systems. This causes the bones of your Veiled Chameleon to slowly deteriorate, becoming brittle and malformed. The painful and fatal condition is referred to as Metabolic Bone Disease(MBD). Though it is one of the leading killers in the reptile industry, MBD can easily be avoided.

Veiled Chameleons are native to the Arabian Peninsula, living in sun drenched treetops. Since they’re exposed to more UVB than their friends on the forest floor, you may come to the conclusion that your pet should be under a high-output bulb. But, be mindful that they receive significantly less sun than desert dwellers. Studies have suggested that UVB can become harmful with overexposure: their life spans may even be shortened. To walk this tight-rope of reptilian lights, provide you Veiled Chameleon medium levels of UVB.

Not all light bulbs are created equally. Though scientists have worked hard to develop high quality UVB bulbs for reptile enthusiasts, they’ve only made progression in florescent T5 and T8 bulbs. Almost all of the compact bulbs available offer little to no UVB output.

Full spectrum bulbs

If you have ever faced that towering wall of expensive light bulbs in a pet store, the term “full spectrum lighting” is probably familiar to you. The phrase holds a shimmer of importance that is hard to ignore. But do you even know what they are? Before judging their necessity, lets review some details:

Every major reptile care company sells a version of full spectrum lights. Selling between $10 and $20 per bulb, packaging claims to provide every form of light reptiles can use—heat, UVB, UVA, and more! But as we have already discussed, most compact bulbs are incapable of significant UVB output, and plenty of other heat sources exist. So where does the real worth of these bulbs lay? Maybe with the mysterious UVA.

Ultraviolet-A does not contribute to the longevity of your Veiled Chameleon, but some say that reptiles detect a larger spectrum of lighting than humans can. Basically, a new field of color is unlocked when UVA, invisible to us, is present in a reptiles environment. Without it, vision may be impaired in a way similar to color-blindness. Are we neglecting the psychological well being of our Veiled Chameleons by not offering UVA? The importance of full spectrum lighting is still under skepticism, so I’ll leave you to make your own conclusions.

Basking

Reptiles thermoregulate manually, moving from shade to sunlight as their body temperatures fluctuate. A temperature gradient (think cool on bottom and warm on top) is an immediate necessity in their cage. Ambient temperature is simple to control, but for a complete setup, your chameleon requires a basking spot (a monitored, hot surface) that will serve as it’s primary source of body warmth.

A Veiled Chameleon’s enclosure should stay between 72 degrees and 80 degrees from top to bottom. At night, all lights should be switched off, allowing for 12 hours of darkness and slightly dropped temperatures. Keep a heat lamp on the top of your chameleon’s cage, a basking surface a few inches under it. It should be 95 degrees for adults; babies are safer in the high 80’s. To monitor the temperature, use a thermometer with a probe or an infrared temp gun. Cheap stick on thermometers are highly inaccurate.

Recommended thermometers:

Watering

Now we dive into a critical aspect of Veiled Chameleon care that can make or break your budget: water systems and humidity control. But before that, ask yourself a few questions: How much time do you spend at home? How much money can you afford to spend? And (be truthful) exactly how forgetful are you? These questions are all relevant to deciding which water system is best for you.

Misting and Why It’s Important


veiled chameleon cage

Every living thing needs hydration. In the wild, however, standing pools of water can be dangerous to drink from. During rain showers and early mornings, Veiled Chameleons evolved to sip water droplets off the leaves around them. Since they won’t drink from water bowls, keepers must spray a fine mist over the whole enclosure to mimic rain. In addition to hydration, a chameleon needs an ambient humidity of at least 40% and up to 70%. Misting every few hours durring daylight hours will keep moisture levels on track. The methods of misting include:

Spray Bottles

Simple and sweet, spray bottles are the go-to misters for a number of reptile keepers. An adequate spray bottle can be found for between $1 and $5 at any grocery store. Maybe you have one around your house already, as long as you do not expose your pet to harmful chemicals unintentionally. Alternatively, you can mist with a pressurized spray bottle. Besides saving you the effort of constantly pumping a trigger, they tend to create a finer mist than regular spray bottles. Being sprinkled with light, small particles of water may be preferable to your Veiled Chameleon than the hard drenching that regular bottles emit. Any local hardware or garden store should have pressurized water pumps available from between $10 and $30, or your local pet store may sell Exoterra Misters. I found a small garden sprayer in Dollar General for $4.

Drippers

Drop by drop, a dripper system provides water slowly throughout the day—if you couldn’t guess by the name. They keep a continuous supply of fresh water in the Veiled Chameleon’s cage, so between sprayings, the lizard won’t go thirsty. The most popular commercial dripper is The Big Dripper by Zoomed, coming with a closable top, a nozzle to adjust drip speed, and a tube to direct water where it is needed. It’s a handy product to own, but if the $10 is too steep for you, poke a hole in the bottom of a cup and place it on the roof of your cage: It creates a similar effect.

Automatic Misting For The Busy Ones

Misting a chameleon’s cage two to four times a day is a giant responsibility. To those who’s schedules make it unachievable: consider purchasing an automatic misting system. The high price discourages most people, but the reliability and convenience is well worth the cost to many. How do you plan to mist when you leave town for a weekend? Arranging a chameleon sitter is not as simple as arranging a cat sitter. Still, most people agree that automated systems are not necessary for the average Veiled Chameleon owner. With a cost starting at $50 and scaling up to the hundreds, more than a little pocket change will go into this decision.

Drainage For Your Tank

With so much water entering your enclosure, it is only a matter of time before it overflows. Soaked carpets, rotting wood, and a general mess can be avoided with a small plan. New chameleon owners try to handle this conundrum with heap of towels and frustration. I propose we skip that phase and jump straight into a proper drainage system!

Here is the breakdown: a cage that drains water instead of holding it, and a receptacle for the water that be dumped without hassle. Obviously, this is a pretty broad idea, so there are many different ways of doing drainage. This is where your own creativity will come into play.

Consider the bottom of your cage. Is it PVC, screen, or solid? A solid floor will need holes drilled into it. To ensure the water actually makes it outside, drill strategically in places water will naturally end up. Your potted plant will most likely create a slight incline in the floor, which will cause water to roll towards its base. This is where drainage should be placed. However, when you’re making openings in the cage, don’t forget the creepy crawlers that will wander inside during your chameleon’s meals. If the holes are large enough for escapees, cover them with screen before releasing bugs inside.

Leaving pools of water in the bottom of your enclosure will do more than make a mess. The floor of your cage is where the Veiled Chameleon’s waste is going to fall, so you can see how it becomes a breeding ground for nasty bacteria. And outside of hygienic reasons, it is best to keep feces in tact to be monitored regularly. Even if it isn’t pretty, chameleon poop is a window into your pet’s health.

Plants For A Veiled Chameleon Tank (Including Substrate)

When you snatched that Veiled Chameleon from the pet store, knowingly or not, you also signed up to be a gardener. Now is the time for your green thumb to shine—even if you’re cringing at the long-wilted stems of past endeavors. Before you throw some plastic flowers in the cage and call it good, consider this:

Plants are security and cover to your Veiled Chameleon, so the cage must be packed with them. They add humidity, double as a snack, and are just more natural and pleasant for a chameleon. Because, realistically, anything that lives, eats, and breaths trees knows when they’re plastic.

Be smart when choosing plants, though. They need to be sturdy enough for the lizard to climb on, and will not die in high humidity. Make sure it is completely nontoxic, with organic, unfertilized soil. Lastly, the plants will thrive under your chameleon’s lighting, so don’t try setting the cage near a window.

Regarding the substrate, many people simply do not use substrate for their tanks when it comes to Yemen Chameleons. They simply put their plants in a flower pot into the cage. However you can of course use substrate to create a beautiful looking habitat. Simple organic flower soil without fertilizer will do the job!

Conclusion

A Veiled Chameleon’s cage can be simple or complicated, beautiful or basic—but it is the center of your pet’s well being. Envision the natural world and aim to recreate it, but remember the animal isn’t living in a pristine, self cleaning forest. It is an artificial habitat being controlled by you alone. Your chameleon’s comfort and happiness should be of top priority, but the convenience of maintenance will be a close second. To keep your pet in it’s best state, you must mix the perfect combination of light, warmth, water, and plant life. Once this is present, the bi-products need to be dealt with in a way that suits you best. You have rescued your new friend from the pet store; now it is time to create a home.

Veiled Chameleon Diet Guide – Food List Included


Veiled Chameleon Diet

Chameleons embody an assortment of unusual adaptations: alien feet, panoramic vision, and a record breaking tongue length. Can you blame me for staring? Of course, I can’t ignore their most stunning trait: an ever-changing skin tone, which is used to convey mood, regulate temperature, and sure, some chameleons use it for camouflage. There are over 200 known species of chameleons in the wild, but in captivity, the Veiled Chameleon (Chameleo Calyptratus) rules the reptile industry. If you’ve made your way to this article, you’re probably wondering: What do Veiled Chameleons eat? Well, to understand these glamorous pets, you must start with their wild cousins.

Unexpected Omnivores

Around half the wild population of chameleon is located in the islands of Madagascar, the rest are scattered across deserts, jungles, and mountains. Instinctual insectivores, they launch their projectile tongues at any bug that comes within reach. Except, in the bushes of the Arabian Peninsula, Veiled Chameleons aka Jemen Chameleons have developed a surprising taste for foliage. They wander in a stealthy search for protein, grazing plants and flowers along the way. In captivity, scores of Veiled Chameleons appreciate the variety vegetables add to their diet and benefit from the nutrition and moisture that comes with it.

What Are The Best Greens To Feed My Veiled Chameleon?

By simply walking into the produce section of your local super market, you will see many foods that can be incorporated into your lizard’s diet. But, there are harmful foods as well. Whether they cause gradual or immediate ailment, you should be wary of spinach, iceberg lettuce, avocados, onions, rhubarb, and many more. Before introducing a new item, it’s best to do a little research to ensure the item is safe. Here is a list of healthy foods to feed your Veiled Chameleon:

Veiled Chameleon Food List (plants)

Greens

  • Endive
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Turnip greens
  • Escarole
  • Dandelion greens
  • Hibiscus

Vegetables

  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Watercress
  • Sweet potato
  • Sweet red peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber

Fruit

  • Pears
  • Strawberry
  • Apple
  • Melon
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Grapes
  • Mango

How Often Should I Feed My Veiled Chameleon?

Growing chameleons should be fed insects once or twice a day, greens and vegetables can be offered daily or multiple times per week, leaving fruits as weekly treats. An adult Veiled Chameleon’s appetite won’t be as demanding, so feeding can be reduced to an every other day basis, maintaining the same schedule for plant matter.

What If My Veiled Chameleon Won’t Eat Vegetables?

Insects are the main component of the baby Veiled Chameleon diet. Most hatching chameleon’s refuse plant matter, but offering fruits and vegetables from a young age could help establish the habit of eating them when they’re older. They may start taking to the food more regularly as they grow, some even prefer it to insects. Nevertheless, Veiled Chameleons have been known to continue acting as insectivores their whole adulthood. Your chameleon’s preferences cannot be changed, but don’t worry. Your lizard can be fully sustained from insects so long as you take measures to produce proper nutrition in each meal.

In the video below you can see a Veiled Chameleon that absolutely enjoys every food offered. Fruits, Vegetables and of course insects! It is so cute!

Let´s Talk About Crawlies! – Feeder Insects

The world of reptiles is packed with bug lovers. Meaning: the reptile industry could not prosper without a steady source of feeder insects. Your first thought was most likely of crickets, the top used meal for captive reptiles in the pet industry. Yet, insects are the most diverse group of animal’s on planet earth, surely crickets can’t be the only option? When you’re looking for this type of Veiled Chameleon food, there are a few things to consider:

Size


Jemen chameleon diet

There is no shortage of size options for insects, from fruit flies to super worms and every stage in between. It’s best to follow a simple rule of thumb when choosing what your chameleon will eat: An insect should be roughly the same size as the space between the reptile’s eyes. Feeding anything larger than that space poses the risk of choking.

Digestibility

I’m sure you already know that insects are invertebrates who’s spines have been traded out for a hard outer shell. This shell is made of a substance called chitin, which, depending on the insect, can become an issue upon excessive feeding. Mealworms, for example, are notorious for their highly chitinous shells. After eating them as a staple, your poor chameleon may eventually succumb to impaction.

Affordability

After buying a bag of crickets from your local pet store, it might feel as if your Veiled Chameleon is literally eating your wallet. At $0.07-$0.12 per cricket, each meal they eat will quickly add up to unsustainable prices. But your wallet can avoid such a gruesome fate; online vendors sell a variety of insects for a major discount. Ever receive a box of 2,000 worms in the mail? It’s more fun than it may sound.

Nutritional Value

Moisture, ash, protein, and fat content are the main components of feeder nutrition. Insects that contain more protein and moisture will obviously be healthier than those containing high levels of fat and ash. Unfortunately, many of the most common feeders were bred for quantity rather than quality. It is up to you to decipher what goes into your Veiled Chameleon’s diet. Here I will go over the nutritional value of some common feeders insects:

Veiled Chameleon Food List (Insects)

  • = Okay on a daily base
    (Although I recommend to stick with crickets, roaches and locusts on a regular base.)
  • = Use as treat

Gut loading – Make The Food Healthy!

You’ve learned to judge an insect on size, digestibility, affordability, and nutritional value, but the type of bug you’re feeding will never be as vital as how the bug lived. Gut loading, the process of feeding nutritious foods to insects previous to being eaten, is the most important aspect to a reptile’s diet. Passing the vitamins and nutrition from bug to lizard becomes especially important to Veiled Chameleons who don’t consume vegetables themselves. With an empty stomach, insects are practically junk food.

There are three main methods of gut loading insects. Personally, I recommend using a mix of these. Your local pet store may sell commercial gutloads, such as Fluker’s High-Calcium Cricket Diet. Most commercial feeds are not recommended for use as a main nutrient source, but like I mentioned before, are fine along-side other options. If you’re keen on the idea of buying your gutload, many insect vendors create and sell their own formulas. Some are high quality mixes, created by experienced bug breeders and reptile keepers, but it depends on the individual seller. Use your best judgment when choosing. Alternative to buying pre-made gutloads, you can make your own. Try not to be intimidated by this, as making a gutload is essentially just blending dried vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, or pre-formulated animal foods such as bird and reptile pellets together.

In combination with the dry portion of your gutload, most reptile keepers recommend feeding insects wet foods as well. This means giving the bugs what you should be offering your chameleon: fresh greens, vegetables, and fruits. Gutload 12 to 24 hours before the insects are ingested by your Veiled Chameleon, and, tadaaa!  Your lizard has officially eaten a very healthy meal!

Breeding Bugs – Interested In Becoming A Bug Papa/ Mama?


what do veiled chameleons eat

You can buy from pet stores, order in bulk, or, as I’m about to discuss, breed your own insects. The process of breeding insects can be steadfast or tumultuous, depending on many factors. In the best case, it can save you heaps of money, as well as supplying endless, regenerating meals for your Veiled Chameleon. Is it really worth the effort for you, though, when you can buy relatively cheap insects online?

Should I breed my own insects?

Breeding insects takes time, effort, and a small handful of cash. Maintaining a whole colony (or more) of bugs will be efficient to those who’s reptile collection is large enough to warrant such measures. If you require over a thousand bugs per month, then it would be smart to consider cutting costs through breeding. For the people who only plan to own a Veiled Chameleon or two, the benefits may not outweigh the hassle. There is one exception to this rule, however. Insects that are highly nutritious but too pricey to order in bulk. I believe these are worth breeding for reptile enthusiast with one lizard or ten!

Dubia Roaches (The most recommended breeder insect)

Dubia Roaches are widely considered the best breeder insect, and sometimes the best feeder altogether. These roaches make hearty meals, but can cost up to $1.00 per adult female. This is mainly caused by their indefectible breeding habits. Females can live up to three years, live-bearing nymphs (baby roaches) every month. Their inability to escape caging, infest your house, or fly makes them easy to work with. Not to mention, they lack a stench and don’t lay eggs that require incubation. Dubia Roaches make easy, long-lasting, and ultimately ideal breeders.

A Quick Word On Parasites

Once you buy a Veiled Chameleon, it is safest to run a fecal exam, checking for parasites or viruses which could have been contracted in their previous home. After you’re sure the animals is clean, keeping it separate of other potential carriers (other pets) reduces the risk of infection, but you’re still not in the clear. The insects that you feed your chameleon are capable of passing parasites to your pet without you even knowing. Fecal exams should be run multiple times a year to prevent any parasites from getting out of hand.

Supplements – Overview

By providing a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, greens, and gutloaded insects, your Veiled Chameleon will have ingested numerous vitamins and minerals. In an artificial environment, however, diet alone isn’t always enough to sustain health. I suggest you utilize to a schedule of supplements in addition to their meals.

Calcium deficiency and MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease) is common in the reptile industry, making calcium an essential supplement for your chameleon’s well being. You should look for a powdered calcium supplement that lacks phosphorus, and usually vitamin D3. While both vitamins are necessities in their diet, each can be hazardous when too much is present in the system. Phosphorus binds to calcium, making it unusable and D3 becomes toxic in excess. Most insects are high in phosphorous and if your Veiled Chameleon is exposed to proper UVB levels, it should be able to produce D3 itself. A multi-vitamin supplement should also be added to their meals. Keep note that while excess calcium can be expelled through liquid in a reptile’s stool, your chameleon could over-dose on multi-vitamins. To ensure the health of your Veiled Chameleon, dust insects lightly with calcium three times a week, and multi-vitamins twice a month.

Now that you know everything I can tell you about the Veiled Chameleon Diet, what will you do with the information? Whether you stash it in the back of your mind, dive into a rabbit hole of further research, or rush to find a chameleon of your own, I hope you remember the wild cousins of these glamorous pets. From specialized panoramic vision, to a tongue that’s longer than the length of their bodies, the Veiled Chameleons of the Arabian Peninsula really are one of the most unique creatures this world has to offer. Sometimes I wonder: Do they have dreams of the juiciest bugs and freshest greens being served to them by human butlers as they sleep, clinging to the twigs of treetops? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean our pets don’t deserve the best they can get.

I´d love to read from you in the comment section below if this Jemen Chameleon Diet Guide has helped you 🙂

The Ultimate Leopard Gecko Care Sheet


Leopard Gecko Care Sheet

Bringing a leopard gecko into your home is a day you will remember fondly for years to come. If you grew up with cats, dogs or other pets, you know how much joy pets bring to life. Some aspects of feeding and caring for pets are universal such as the need to pay attention to them on a daily basis and check on their health. However, there are some special considerations to keep in mind when it comes to caring for leopard geckos. To start your new life as a leopard gecko owner, you need to get prepared with this leopard gecko care sheet.

To better understand your leopard gecko as a pet, let’s contrast them to cats and dogs – two of the most common pets. At first glance, the most significant differences are visual: cats and dogs have hair while geckos do not have hair. Further, geckos tend to be much smaller in size than cats or dogs. Their small size makes them ideal pets for smaller living spaces like residences, apartments and condominiums. Compared to dogs, geckos are low maintenance and do not require daily walks or similar guided activities. The lack of hair and dander means geckos are relatively easy to care for: no extra vacuuming is required. While geckos have many fine qualities, they are less well known than other pets. Let’s review a few key facts that reptile enthusiasts and scientists have discovered about reptiles over the years.

5 Key Facts About The Leopard Gecko


how to care for leopard geckos

As one of the most popular reptile pets, leopard geckos are becoming more available to reptile enthusiasts. Whether you are adding a leopard gecko to your home for the first time or shopping for accessories, it makes sense to start with understanding where your gecko came from. As leopard geckos rarely exceed ten inches long when fully grown, they fit well in most homes. Female geckos tend to be slightly smaller with a maximum size of about eight inches.

1. Geographic Origins

The first known mention of the leopard gecko dates from the 1850s when Edward Blyth described them. The first geckos were discovered in central Asia covering Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan and other countries. Their natural habitat is best described as relatively dry grassland. When winter temperatures of 50 F (-10 C) arrive, geckos seek out burrows to stay warm.

Over the past forty years, geckos have been bred for captivity and kept as pets throughout the world. It’s worth keeping their origins in mind as you create a safe and comfortable living space for your gecko. If you happen to live in a very cold place like Alaska, remember that geckos are used to being able to burrow for warmth. Therefore, you need to keep your gecko’s needs in mind.

2. Climbing Ability

Leopard geckos are known for their skill and fondness for climbing. In the right context, it’s fun to watch your gecko explore and move around. However, keep in mind these creatures love to explore so they may get loose within your home. If you’re not paying attention, a leopard gecko might end up on top of a bookcase or somewhere else quickly. Note that leopard geckos cannot easily climb smooth surfaces so keep that restriction in mind as you arrange their environment.

3. Shedding Skin

Unlike humans, leopard geckos shed their skin in large pieces. As a general rule, adult geckos tend to shed their skins once per month while their younger brethren shed more frequently as they grow. If you notice the gecko’s skin start to change color, that may be a sign that they are about to shed. Geckos need to shed their skin to stay healthy and avoid uncomfortable irritations.

You may notice that your gecko eats its skin after it is shed. This is perfectly normal behavior – there’s no need for concern if you see this happening. As a result, your gecko’s appetite may temporarily decline. If your gecko is healthy, you can expect their appetite to return after the shedding process is complete.

4. Leopard Gecko Colors


how to take care of leopard geckos

Did you know that there are multiple breeds of leopard geckos? The main difference between the breeds comes down to colors. For example, tangerine geckos are mostly orange colored. Most geckos have patterns of color like “leopard spots” (i.e. black spots on white). However, there are some gecko breeds that have relatively solid colors. The type of gecko you select will depend on your personal preferences and your home. After all, you don’t want a gecko that blends in too easily with your furniture!

5. Typical Illnesses.

Like any living creature, geckos sometimes suffer from various illnesses and diseases. Happily, geckos are not associated with transmitting illnesses to humans. Some gecko illnesses like anorexia (i.e. not eating at all or very little) can be prevented by maintaining a clean, low stress environment. If you take the time and effort to regularly clean the gecko’s living space and provide quality food, you will probably not have to worry about most gecko diseases. IF you are particularly concerned about a health situation, do your research for a veterinarian to find one with experience with this type of reptile.

Conclusion

Leopard geckos are a great introduction to the world of reptile pets. Unlike snakes, few people are afraid of geckos so you don’t need to worry about visitors having a bad reaction. Leopard geckos originate from a part of the world known for extreme temperatures so your gecko will be comfortable in your home. As the leopard gecko has been bred in captivity in recent years, you have your pick of a selection of color patterns. If you remember to regularly check on your gecko and keep their living space clean, you have the basics of gecko care handled.

What You Need To Know About Reptile Behavior


keeping leopard geckos

It’s time to explore the world of reptile behavior! While every gecko has unique qualities, there are some basic patterns you can expect. Unlike cats and dogs, geckos and reptiles have not been kept as pets for thousands of years. That means you and your pet reptile will need some time to get to know each other. Taking the time to understand your gecko’s eating habits, special abilities and biology is a great way to make sure the relationship starts off on the right foot. This leopard gecko care sheet gives you the overview you need to get started.

What exactly do geckos like to eat? The ideal gecko diet is live insects – anything else may be refused. The most popular food for leopard gecko pets are mealworms and crickets. If you want your gecko to thrive, stay focused on the insect diet. Attempting to switch your gecko to a vegetarian diet is likely not a wise idea. If you’re looking to enhance your geckos diet, consider other small insects like super worms or wax worms as an alternative. The best practice is to provide live insects for feeding – other options may be refused by your gecko. Fortunately, leopard geckos are a popular pet so you should have no trouble getting the right food.

Leopard geckos have some notable behaviors when it comes to their tails. If they are under attack or feel they are under attack, they have the ability to drop their tail. If your gecko’s tail falls off while you are playing with them, that’s a sign your actions may have been perceived as an attack. Fortunately, the tail will grow back over time thought it may not look the same. This ability to regrow a body part is found in some other animals. For example, some sharks have the ability to regrow teeth. That said, losing a tail is not exactly a pleasant experience for your gecko so strive to avoid those kinds of stressful conditions.

Temperature appears to play a major role in influencing the sex of leopard geckos. For example, breeders seeking to obtain mainly females usually keep the incubation area warmed to approximately 79-81 F. In contrast, if you are seeking predominantly male geckos, aim for a higher incubation temperature such as 88-91 F. As these facts suggest, there’s a “sweet spot” when it comes to breeding geckos. Stray to far from these ideal ranges and you may not like the results.

What have we learned so far about reptile behavior? First, you learned about your gecko’s special dietary needs – it’s all about the insects. That might sound monotonous for a human but that’s what geckos are used to and best suited for eating. We also learned about the gecko’s unique abilities when it comes to their tail – they can shed it and regrow another one. Finally, you learned how temperature during incubation influences whether you end up with female or male geckos. Of course, you will learn more about your individual’s geckos preferences over time. That said, you can’t expect too much change like your gecko suddenly decide to become vegan.

How To Interact With Your Pet Gecko: Handling and Temperament

Over the past fifty years, more and more geckos have enjoyed long lives as pets. That means there is great information available today on how to care for leopard geckos. The good news – that past experience means you don’t have to guess too much about how to play with your gecko. Now for the bad news – geckos have certain expectations when it comes to handling. If you mishandle your gecko, you may lead them to panic. Just like us, an upset gecko may stop eating for a while, try to hide or may even experience anxiety related health problems. Don’t worry – a few simple tips will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Getting to know a young gecko is a bit like dating: it’s best to start slow. Take your gecko out of its habitat for ten to fifteen minutes at a time and allow it to explore. If you would like to be able to handle and play with your gecko, allow it to walk around on your hands. It’s best to avoid gripping the gecko tightly – that’s an easy way to hurt your new pet especially if it is young. Keep in mind that geckos have claws so you might have some discomfort as you get used to handling your gecko.

Your leopard gecko’s temperament and personality will evolve over time. Juvenile geckos are known to be somewhat skittish and scare easily. Given that fact, use extra caution. That means handling them gently and moving slowly – fast movements have a tendency to upset geckos. Adult geckos tend to be calmer yet some geckos are more friendly with humans than others. There is debate on whether gecko friendliness is inherited or not. Over time, researchers may come up with answers.

What does all this mean for your daily interaction with your gecko? It boils down to a few simple principles. First, exercise added caution among young geckos. Second, handle geckos for just a few minutes at first so they can get to know you. Finally, accept your gecko’s personality – some will tend to be friendlier than others.

Where Can You Get The Leopard Gecko?


leopard gecko care sheet

Where exactly can you find leopard geckos? There are two main options available to you: ordering from an online provider and visiting a pet store. The option you choose will depend on your preferences and your geography. Some parts of the world like many large cities tend to be well specialized with stores that offer reptiles. In other cases, local stores don’t have the kind of gecko you’re seeking. A final factor to consider is your experience with geckos and other pets. If you’re unfamiliar with geckos, you may be more comfortable with the traditional shopping experience. If you’re a die-hard reptile fan, the online shopping option is a great way to go. Keep in mind that shipping live animals presents certain challenges, so most companies will not accept international orders.

Backwater Reptiles (http://www.backwaterreptiles.com) is currently an excellent place to buy leopard geckos. With facilities in Florida, Texas and California, the company has its own facilities to breed a variety of reptiles and other exotic pets. For added convenience, the company also offers feeder insects, a gecko’s favorite food. The company’s current offerings include giant leopard geckos, albino leopard geckos, tangerine geckos and other varieties. Some varieties sell out from time to time, so contact the company if your favorite type of gecko is currently sold out. Note that the company is only able to ship to destinations in the United States.

Big Apple Pet Supply (http://www.bigappleherp.com/) offers leopard geckos, snakes and other exotic pets. Buyers on a tight budget will appreciate the fact this company offers to beat competing prices and provides free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount. At the time of this writing, most of Big Apple’s geckos are priced under $50. You also have the choice between adult and younger geckos. Some gecko enthusiasts want a mix of male and female geckos – however, this fact cannot be easily determined until the gecko attains a certain age. If you’re open to either gender, go ahead with a juvenile.

GeckoBoa Reptiles (http://www.geckoboa.com/) is a specialized pet supplier that offers reptiles to hobbyists. GeckoBoa is noteworthy for its commitment to international shipping. The company will ship to customers in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and other destinations. In contrast to other suppliers, GeckoBoa offers geckos with unique colors – the kind you’re unlikely to see anywhere else. As a result, many of their geckos are priced over $100. If you need international shipping and you’re interested in an unusual, high end gecko, GeckBoa is the company for you.

Finding a local pet store that has leopard geckos requires some research and patience. Most pet stores in malls and similar settings are a great option if you’re seeking a dog or cat. Reptiles may not be as widely available. To make the shopping experience easier, use the following steps. First, write a few notes on what you’re looking for (e.g. a juvenile leopard gecko who has been bred to be a pet, open to any colors). Second, create a list of five local pet stores by searching on Google for “reptile pets for sale Chicago” (substitute your city). Finally, pick up the phone and ask some questions to see what kinds of reptiles they have available.

How To Set Up a Tank For The Leopard Gecko

Unlike cats and dogs, many reptiles need access to an aquatic environment to thrive. With the right care, your reptile will use the tank for years to come. So it pays to take the time to select the right one for you. Think of it this way – you probably took some time in selecting your own bed so you can get a good night’s rest each day. If you want your reptile to be healthy and happy, they need a good tank arrangement. To keep your heating bills down and avoid injuries, do not use a wire or mesh cage.

I show you step-by-step how you should set up your Leo tank! Click here for my guide!

Start by selecting an appropriately sized tank. A twenty gallon tank is recommended for a single gecko. If you have multiple geckos, you can scale the tank up to accommodate three geckos in a sixty gallon tank. If you have more than three geckos, you will need to look into getting separate tanks for them. Otherwise, your geckos may become unhappy and stressed out with their crowded habitat.

While you’re ordering a tank, do yourself a favor and buy two tanks for your home. Why? There’s a few reasons to have a backup tank in place. From time to time, you will need to clean up the tank or put in new accessories. While you’re cleaning up the tank, a backup tank gives your gecko somewhere to live. The backup tank also comes in handy if your main tank becomes damaged. While your gecko can enjoy exploring your home, there’s also a risk your gecko may get hurt if it gets trapped or if something falls on it.

Secure the top of the gecko’s habitat with a wire or mesh lad to moderate the temperature. With a mesh lid, your gecko will have access to fresh air and not have to worry about over heating. A large enough tank with glass walls will make it difficult for your gecko to escape and go wandering around in your home. Firmly attach the lid to the tank so that young children and other pets do not accidentally open the tank or disturb your geckos. (The tank above comes with a screencover.)


leopard gecko care

Location is a key consideration to keep in mind when you select and set up a tank for your leopard gecko. You will want to put the tank in a stable place where you can easily keep an eye on it. Your gecko will likely enjoy natural light so look for a place in your home that receives sun during the day, just make sure that it does not get too warm in that place, so your tank can´t overheat. If you don’t have an empty table available, look for a tank stand or table. A tank stand often includes storage space where you can easily keep your reptile supplies in one easy place.

Still not sure where to put your tank? Keep these considerations in mind to simplify the decision. First, set up the tank in a pet of your home that you maintain at a steady temperature. Therefore, a corner of your living room or kitchen is a good choice while the unheated shed in your backyard is probably not a good selection. In addition to placement within your home, you can also use heating accessories to keep your gecko comfortable.

Placing your new reptile tank in your home is the first step to making your gecko comfortable. You take the tank out of the box and put it in place in your home. You have it in a place where you can easily monitor your gecko during the day. Hopefully, you also have a spare tank in place so you can keep your gecko safe and sound while you clean its home. However, an empty tank is not enough if you want your leopard gecko to thrive in the long term. Let’s turn to the main accessories that you will want to consider in your home.

Tank Accessories

Imagine you were put in a featureless white room for a whole day – that would quickly become boring or even depressing. In the same way, your leopard gecko doesn’t like a boring environment. Give your gecko an interesting space to explore by adding accessories and other features to the tank. Decoration options on the market vary including images (e.g. a photo of a natural environment to remind your gecko of home) and artificial rocks and trees. If you provide materials for your leopard gecko to climb over, keep in mind that they cannot climb smooth surfaces. Look for a surface that approximates tree bark or the variable surfaces of rocks. Many reptile owners like to use artificial plants because they keep a consistent appearance. We’ll cover decorations and accessories in greater depth later in this guide.

Choosing The Tank Substrate

The substrate you select for the tank goes a long way toward making your gecko feel at home. In simple terms, the substrate is like the foundation of the habitat. This material goes directly on the bottom of the tank. Popular choices for substrate include tiles, paper or reptile carpet. Tiles and stones are relatively easy to clean and they’re easy for your gecko to walk on. Reptile carpet is the premium option if you want to give your gecko top notch comforts. If you’re on a budget, you can also use shelf lining or newspaper. Whichever substrate you use, periodic cleaning or changing will be necessarily to avoid infections. If you select a heavy substrate like stones or tiles, place them carefully in the tank to minimize the chance of breaking the tank’s glass.

Need more information? Click Here For My Leo Substrate Guide!

More Than Glass: Putting A Background In Place

A background image is one of the easiest ways to make your gecko feel at home. If you opt for a natural style, look for an image that corresponds to the arid areas of Central Asia where geckos came from. Alternatively, other natural settings may be suitable such as a forest or a desert. Other reptile owners prefer to use rock style backgrounds that match the rocks or hides they put in place. For the best results, buy a professionally printed color background. After all, you will end up looking at the background each day as you spend time with your new gecko friend.

Let There Be Light: Shedding Light On Your Gecko’s Home

Selecting the right lighting for your tank makes a big difference in keeping your gecko comfortable. Unlike plants, geckos do not like hour after hour of hot light. Choose a medium power light and connect it to a timer. Once you have everything set up, your gecko will have around ten hours of darkness as “night” and about fourteen hours of light for “the day.” A regular incandescent light is the right way to go.

You definitely need more information on that! Click here for My Lighting For Leopard Geckos Guide!

Privacy For Your Gecko: Inside The World of Gecko Hides

From time to time, your gecko likes to be alone. It’s a long established behavior that goes back to the gecko’s life style in arid environments. Whenever the environment became uncomfortable, a gecko would often burrow or otherwise seek shelter. You can make your leopard gecko feel more comfortable by providing a “hide” – a small shelter that hides your gecko from view. Hides are typically designed to mimic the natural features like wood or stones. Remember to choose a hide large enough for your entire gecko to enjoy. Gecko hides often resemble rocks and small caves. Best of all, many hides on the market are affordable – you can often find hides for less than $50.

When it comes to hides, geckos have specialized preferences. It is recommended to have three different types of hides in your tank: a warm hide, a cool hide and a humid/moist hide. The high humidity hide comes in handy when your gecko is looking for a place to shed its skin. The humidity makes the whole process easier. By arranging hides in the hot and cool zones of the tank, you will make life easier for your gecko to manage. Unlike mammals, geckos cannot easily manage their body height. As a result, they need a variety of options in their living environment.

Click Here To Learn How To Create A Moist Hide For Your Leopard Gecko!

Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold: Heating and Temperature Considerations

Leopard geckos expect certain temperature conditions to stay happy and healthy. This fact has direct implications for your tank arrangements. Large swings in temperature during the day and throughout the year is something to avoid. That said, you want to give your gecko some options. The typical practice is to arrange for a warm zone (kept to approximately 90 F) and a cooler zone at about 80F. That way, your gecko can move back and forth between the areas to warm up and cool down as they wish.

A heating device is commonly used to keep leopard geckos at an event temperature. Typically, these devices are put in the bottom of the tank. Be careful to select a heating pad designed with reptiles in mind – there is such a thing as too much heat. The heat pad should be made to emit on half of the tank which leaves the other half as a cool zone. To keep the heat in place, you may want to use several layers of substrate.

Click Here For My Complete Lighting/ Heating Guide!

Natural or Artificial: Plant Options For Your Gecko’s Tank

While leopard geckos do not eat plants, they do like being around plants. You have two broad choices when it comes to plants: natural and artificial. If you use natural plants, you will need to make sure that you water them and clean up debris. Popular plant choices include small green plants and desert friendly plants. On the artificial side, the main advantage is reduced maintenance for you. If upkeep is a concern for you, keep in mind that desert plants require minimal water and care. Just like the leopard gecko, desert plants are hardy and last for a long time under the right conditions. For a single gecko, two to four plants are likely sufficient.

Keep It Clean – The Number One Way To Keep Your Gecko Happy and Healthy

Did you know that public measures like clean water and sanitation management have saved millions of lives over the years? Those same principles directly apply to your gecko’s home. Frequently cleaning and quality food are the fundamental points you need to master in learning how to care for a leopard gecko. The frequency of gecko tank cleaning varies. Cleaning on a weekly basis is a good starting point if you’re not sure. If your tank is home to multiple geckos, you may need to clean more often. Use this process to clean the tank quickly and efficiently.

1. Unplug and remove all lights, heating pads and related devices

2. Take your gecko(s) out of the tank and put them in your backup tank

3. Remove the hides, plants and other permanent items from the habitat

4. Remove the substrate and throw it away if you use a disposable type

5. Remove any remaining items from the tank

6. Wash the artificial plants, hides and related items lightly with soap

7. Wash the inside and outside parts of the tank

8. Dry the tank

9. Reassemble the tank and include new substrate if applicable

10. Plug in and reposition the lights and heating pads

11. Put your gecko back into the tank

Before you get started cleaning, put on rubber gloves set aside just for this task. That way, you will minimize the chance of accidentally cutting yourself or suffering other harm. If you handle the tank carefully and clean it, it can last for years.

Accessories: Finding the Right Heat Products

Keeping your gecko at the right temperature is serious business. If you can only afford one top of the line accessory, make it the heating product. Why is it so important? There are three reasons. First, a poorly made heating pad or lamp may be dangerous to your gecko and others in your home. Second, it’s important to keep your gecko at a consistent temperature range during the day. Finally, heating is an important variable to manage if you are interested in breeding geckos.

Zoo Med Repti Therm Under Tank Heater

This heating pad is made for keeping geckos and other reptiles at just the right temperature. Designed to run twenty four hours a day, you don’t have to worry about plugging and unplugging this device. The product comes in four different sizes ranging from small (8” length by 5” width) to large (18” length by 8” width). The heater is designed to be attached directly to the tank. As the heating pad does generate considerable heat, remember to keep your gecko away from direct contact with the heating element.


Zoo Med Repti Therm Under Tank Heater

Aiicioo 16 Watt Durable Reptile Under Tank Heater

This light weight heater is designed to be placed underneath your reptile tank. Weighing only 1.6 ounces, it is easy to install. Like the Zoo Med Tank Heater, this tank heater is designed to run twenty four hours a day. Measuring 14 x 8 inches in size, this heating product is well suited if you have a single gecko tank. If you are seeking to monitor the temperature closely, consider picking up an additional thermometer and/or thermostat for better control. Precision temperature control makes a big difference when it comes to breeding.


Aiicioo 16 Watt Durable Reptile Under Tank Heater 8x12 Inch Seeding Heat Mat Hydroponic Growth Heating Pad

Zoo Med Ceramic Heat Emitter – Recommended!

With some tank arrangements, a heating pad is not the right solution. For instance, you may have limited space underneath your tank. Or the tank stand will not tolerate a heating product beneath the tank. In that case, you may want to put a heat lamp in place. This durable heat device is made out of ceramic materials so it will last for years to come. The product comes in three different power types (60 watts, 100 watts and 150 watts). Note that you will need a light socket compatible with ceramic light bulbs. Like other heating products, you will need a thermometer to monitor the environment.

Most of the entry level heating products on the market for reptiles do not support programmable heat settings. What does this mean for you? Left unmonitored, there is some risk that your gecko will suffer from too much heat if the heating device runs all the time. A small thermometer in the tank will give you a better understanding on whether or not more heat is needed. Remember – your leopard gecko cannot sweat to reduce excess heat.


Zoo Med Ceramic Heat Emitter

How To Feed Your Gecko Well: A Short Diet Guide

How to take care of a leopard gecko? Feed them a diet of quality insects. Unlike other pets, leopard geckos have a simple diet – it’s all about insects. This makes sense when you consider that geckos originated in arid environment with limited food options. Most gecko owners buy live insects in bulk because that’s what geckos like to eat. There’s two issues to keep in mind with your gecko’s food. First, you need a secure place to store your gecko’s food supply. Second, you can enhance the nutritional value of your gecko’s meals by using the gut loading process. Fortunately, there are several suppliers who can give you all you need to keep your leopard gecko fed and happy.

The Top 10 Foods For Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are known to enjoy a pure insect diet. That said, gecko dietary preferences change over time. That means you should keep more than one type of gecko food in your home. With a selection of goods, you’ll be all set to provide leopard gecko pet care.

Special Note: Reptile specialists recommend that you use a “gut loading” process to make the most out of your feeding activities. Let’s say you have a few crickets you want to feed to your gecko. If you take them directly from the package, those crickets may not be very nutritious. Instead, give the crickets some food to eat like spinach and lettuce first. That way, your crickets will be “loaded” with nutrients which will keep your gecko in good condition.

1. Crickets

Far and away, crickets at the most popular and affordable food choice for geckos. The good news is that you can buy them in bulk from a variety of suppliers. Be sure to ask in advance about sizes. If the crickets are too large, your leopard geckos may struggle to eat them. To address this issue, work with suppliers who are familiar with the gecko diet. There are two major drawbacks to crickets to keep in mind. Many people find the crickets have an unpleasant smell that is difficult to ignore. In addition, crickets have an unfortunate habit of being able to escape and disappear. That’s why many gecko enthusiasts like to use other foods from time to time.

2. Mealworms

Mealworms represent another good “staple” choice for feeding your gecko. Similar to crickets, there are multiple suppliers who can take care of your mealworms needs. You can order mealworms packaged into one pound containers. Unlike crickets, mealworms do not usually escape and disappear! In contrast to crickets, mealworms don’t have a small like crickets.

Note: some geckos don’t like mealworms because they don’t move very much which makes them less challenging prey to hunt. If your gecko repeatedly refuses to eat mealworms, switch to a more “active” option.

3. Waxworms

Many geckos enjoy eating waxworms tremendously. Why? They’re high in fat. Just like us, high fat foods are often fun to eat. However, it’s easy for a gecko to eat too many. Therefore, limit this type of food to monthly or less often. After all, you don’t want to end up with an obese gecko.

4. Silkworms

Silkworms are an excellent option to add some variety to your gecko’s diet. These small white creatures only live a few weeks. Therefore, you will probably want to order them in small quantities. These are somewhat less common than crickets so you may have to do some hunting to track them down. In addition, they are relatively more expensive than other feed options on the market.

5. Dubia Roaches

Less well known than crickets and mealworms, Dubia roaches are quickly becoming more and more popular. They bring several advantages for the gecko enthusiast: they live much longer than worms and don’t bring an unpleasant smell into your home. Some people choose to breed them at home in order to have a steady supply. Before you commit to insect breeding, start small by ordering a small quantity to see if your gecko likes them.

6. Locusts

Yes, those insects from the famous Biblical plague are sometimes used to feed geckos. They are similar in appearance to some of the other options on this list. However, locusts can be more difficult to find. If you want to move forward with locusts, choose carefully in the size department. The best locusts for your gecko’s dinner measure no longer than the gecko’s head. Any larger and you may end up with a frustrated gecko.

7. Roaches

Ever asked a friend what they think about roaches? They’re not exactly the world’s most popular insect with humans. Geckos sure like them though! If you buy roaches for your leopard gecko, you must handle them carefully. To make life easier on yourself, look for small, non-flying geckos. After all, your geckos do enjoy a bit of a chase but they can’t hunt a flying insect! If you live in an apartment or other rental property, take extra care before bringing roaches in your home. Many landlords will struggle to understand why you are bringing roaches in the building.

8. Phoenix Worms

To add variety to your gecko’s diet, you may want to add phoenix worms to the mix. Unlike crickets, phoenix worms are known for being small. This means they can be a good fit for smaller geckos to eat.

9. Butterworms

At first glance, butterworms look just like waxworms. In fact, they are a completely different species – butter worms are the larval version of the Chilean moth. Reptile experts suggest that butterworms can be stored in a refrigerator for several months.

10. “Pinkies”

Traditionally, geckos eat a 100% pure insect diet. That said, some gecko enthusiasts have detected an exception: “pinkies.” These one day old mice are sometimes a good option for geckos. Generally speaking, “pinkies” are best considered as an occasional treat food.

Get Some Food For Your Leopard Geckos!

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The Top 3 Supplements For Your Leopard Gecko Definitely Needs

To keep your body and mind working smoothly, you may take daily supplements. For example, some people like to take Vitamin D during the winter months. Similarly, adding a few supplements to your gecko’s diet is a good way to keep them healthy and minimize the chance of disease.

1. Calcium

Calcium comes highly recommended as a supplement for your gecko. Just like other animals, calcium plays a key role in keeping your gecko’s bones strong and healthy. Calcium supplements often come in a variety of doses. That’s helpful because you can customize the serving based on your gecko’s age and status. For example, you will want to give a juvenile and adult geckos different amounts of calcium based on their needs. Giving too much calcium to a young gecko may lead to unpleasant side effects.

2. Vitamin D3

In small quantities, this vitamin is helpful to your gecko. If you’re gecko was outside and exposed to sunlight all day, this supplement may not be necessary. To keep your gecko feeling well, a small dose of Vitamin D3 is helpful. If you’re in doubt about the proper amount of vitamin to provide, consult a specialized veterinarian for advice.

3. Combination supplements/ Multivatmin

For added convenience, you can also buy supplements that combine calcium and vitamin D. It’s a good way to simplify your gecko’s feeding process. Keep an eye on the dosage though – you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to supplements. Further you should powder your Gecko´s food with multivitamin powder from time to time.

You can buy supplements from both traditional and online providers. Make sure you look for supplements designed for reptiles. Attempting to feed human sized supplements to an eight inch gecko is begging for trouble. Leading brands on the market right now include Health Concerns and Exo Terra. The last point to consider for supplements is whether you want to use tablets or drops. The advantage with drops is that you can add the supplement to the gecko’s main food and ensure they consume it.

Mating Behavior Guide and Breeding Guide

Leopard geckos are fun creatures to have around your home. Alas, they don’t live forever even with the best care and attention. That’s why more and more hobbyists are getting interested in breeding their geckos. If you’re just getting started with geckos or reptiles generally, you can consider this an advanced topic. Don’t worry – you can always come back here later when you’re ready.

Leopard geckos generally observe certain patterns and routines in mating behavior. First of all, they like a calm and safe environment. If you have just moved the geckos to a new environment, expect that they may take a few weeks to become comfortable. Finally, you will need to have one adult male and one adult female gecko in the same tank for mating to be a possibility. As a general rule, adult female geckos tend to be shorter in length than males. If you’re looking for further confirmation on gecko gender, consult a veterinarian or breeder.

When male and female leopard geckos mate, here’s what you can expect. Let’s assume you’re starting the process in mating season – usually January to September in the USA and ther countries in the Northern hemisphere. The male gecko generally makes a “rattle” sound with its tail to signal interest. If the “introduction” goes well, the male will hold the female in place by grasping her neck. This is a natural behavior for geckos. The mating process generally takes just a few minutes from start to finish. Once they are done, removing the female gecko to a separate location is a good idea.

Assuming the breeding is successful, diet and temperature become key factors to consider. Keep up a steady diet of quality foods and supplements for the mother as per the normal routine. If all goes according to plan, you can expect to see eggs about three weeks after mating. Over a life time, a female gecko may lay up to one hundred eggs if the mating process goes smoothly. For the best results, put you’re the female gecko in its own hatching location.

To keep your new mother leopard gecko and the eggs in good shape, here’s what you need to do. After a successful mating, put the female gecko in its own space (many people use a shoe box. Keep the environment warm and moist by using a product like peat moss. With this setting in place, you can expect new geckos to emerge from their effs in one to three months. Keep the hatching area and expecting mother in a safe and quiet place so that the hatching process goes smoothly.

If you’re particularly keen to have male or female geckos, temperature is the key variable. As a general rule, males are more likely with an incubation temperature of in the low 90s Fahrenheit (You might need an incubator to make sure the temperature is stable). Females are more likely with temperatures above 80 Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that these temperatures are statistical generalizations – your gecko breeding experience may be different. In any case, you will not be able to determine the gender until the new born geckos reach a certain age.

Leopard Gecko Baby Care Guide

Rejoice! Your new baby leopard geckos have hatched and are starting to grow up. While the gecko parents will play a role, many of the critical steps are up to you. After all, you directly control the environment, the food and more. If you follow these simple directions, you will raise the odds of your new geckos growing up to be healthy and happy in your home. Let’s start with the basics – how do you feed a baby leopard gecko?

As a general principle, you can feed your baby geckos the same foods as adults by adjust the portions. For example, if you are feeding crickets to your adult geckos, you can also feed crickets to the babies. Simply keep in mind that your baby geckos will only be able to manage very small crickets and may not be up for “the chase” like adult geckos. To add some variety to the diet, add mealworms as a weekly diet. They are an excellent source of fat which will help your new gecko to brow and add some variety to their diet. Leopard geckos do not like fruit and vegetables so avoid those foods with baby geckos.

The right environment makes a difference in keeping your hatchling gecko in good condition. When the eggs hatch, experts recommend putting the young geckos apart from the adult geckos. Why? There have been reported cases of adult geckos eating new hatchlings. Fortunately, you can reduce that risk by keeping the hatchlings in their own environment for the first two or three weeks. Physically, the young geckos tend to thrive better when they are in a small enclosure. You don’t want them to get lost especially when they’re trying to feed. It’s also important to keep their environment moist and warm. To keep moisture at an acceptable level, you could run a humidifier nearby or a water spritzer. Remember that your gecko wants moisture, not water to go swimming in.

Let’s close with a few final thoughts on baby geckos before we move on. It’s perfectly normal for baby geckos not to eat anything for the first few days – that’s normal and there’s no reason to become concerned. As a result, the baby geckos will not defecate for a short period of time. Generally, baby leopard geckos will be ready to eat by day three or four. If they don’t start eating by that point, offer a variety of foods. If that approach doesn’t work, get in touch with a qualified veterinarian for additional advice.

5 Most Common Diseases For Leopard Geckos

Certain diseases are known to afflict geckos so it pays to understand some of the warning signs. If you see any hints of these symptoms appear, play it safe and take your gecko for a checkup.

1. Metabolic Bone Disease


Leopard Gecko with Metabolic Bone Disease

Cause: Insufficient nutrients like calcium and vitamin D3.

Symptoms: The details vary in each case. Usually, symptoms include difficulty eating or chewing (due to chaw problems), a kinked tail or spine and bowed limbs.

Treatment: The first level of treatment is to immediately provide more vitamin supplements to your gecko or even an UVB lamp. Given the critical nature of the condition, you may want to rub some supplements on your fingers and let your gecko lick it off. Alternately, you need to seek advice from a vet who can assist with other measures like injecting supplements.

2. Poor Skin Shedding

Cause: Not enough moisture in the gecko’s living space.

Symptoms: You may notice bits on unshed skin “stuck” in place that have not come off. In many cases, this is unpleasant for your gecko. You may observe incomplete shedding on the head, tail and other places on the body.

Treatment: Start by adding more moisture and humidity to the gecko’s living space. That may help the gecko to shed more easily. If that doesn’t work, you can try to gently pull the skin away. If you’re in doubt at the right move, seek out the advice of a reptile veterinarian. Also read my article on moist hides for Leopard Geckos.

3. Wounds and Injuries

Cause: Your gecko may get into a fight with another gecko. Other causes include scarping against something sharp in the tank or being mishandled. Dogs, cats and children can easily injury geckos if they’re not careful.

Symptoms: If you see exposed bone or organs, there is a serious injury that requires professional treatment. Less serious wounds at the skin level are also possible.

Treatment: Serious wounds are best treated by a veterinary professional to prevent infection and other problems. In the case of mild injuries, you can use hydrogen peroxide to clean the injury. In each case, carefully inspect the tank or cage to see if there are any unsafe materials that might cause further injuries. If you suspect the injury was caused by another gecko, you may need to separate them into different living spaces.

4. Parasites

Cause: An unclean living environment and/or contaminated food.

Symptoms: IT varies depending on the situation. Warning signs to watch for include significant weight loss, a noticeably bloated belly or unusually smelly feces.

Treatment: Start by taking your gecko to a veterinarian for a full treatment. Next, take the time to fully clean the gecko’s living space. To be extra careful, you may want to put in new substrate. Also Reptaid, which you can see on the right, helped my Geckos to get rid of parasites.

5. Stress Illness

Cause: An unstable living environment including uncomfortable temperature, not enough quality food, and rough handling. Moving the gecko to a new place can also trigger heightened stress.

Symptoms: A reluctance to eat is one way that this condition may manifest. You may also notice shedding

Treatment: It depends on the situation. At first, you may simply wait a few days to see if the stress is reduced. If you notice the gecko getting into fights, you may need to separate your geckos into separate spaces.

The Top Books To Understand Your Gecko

Even with the greatest attention and monitoring, your knowledge of geckos can be enriched by reading books. There are two types of books for you to consider. First, there are books written for the reptile enthusiast – those who are curious about geckos as pets. Second, you can also find scientific books that provide additional depth on the origins, behavior and activities of your gecko. It is best to start with books aimed at reptile enthusiasts. If you’re looking for scientific suggestions, get in touch with a reptile researcher or veterinarian.

The Leopard Gecko Manual: From The Experts At Advanced Vivarium Systems by Philippe De Vosjoli, Roger Klingenberg, Roger Tremper and Brian Viets

Are you interested in breeding leopard geckos? This is the book for you. It’s a small book that provides an introduction to geckos which will be great for novices. If you’re seeking an advanced book, consider one of the other options in this section. The book covers key topics such as breeding, basic health treatments and the types of patterns you can expect. For the curious, the book also includes a section on skin shedding and tail loss.


The Leopard Gecko Manual From The Experts At Advanced Vivarium Systems

Leopard Gecko by Lance Jepson

Written by a veterinary professional with a specialization in exotic pets, this book dives into detail for pet owners. You will find detailed guidance on feeding, heat and environmental factors. Other topics covered in the book include tips on buying a leopard gecko, feeding behavior, sexual behavior and natural history.


Leopard Gecko by Lance Jepson

Leopard Geckos by Gerald Merker and Cindy Merker

Get all the basics you need to understand your leopard gecko with this book. You will find chapters covering health care, breeding, feeding and housing issues. In addition, the book also discusses other types of geckos like cat geckos and African fat-tailed geckos. These additional chapters help you better understand your gecko by comparing and contrasting it to other varieties.


Leopard Geckos by Gerald Merker and Cindy Merker

Conclusion

Keeping Leopard Geckos is not hard, but you have to do your research before buying one. The fact that you did your research shows that you most probably will have no problems with your beautiful gecko.

However if you have further questions or if you face any problems, simply leave a comment in the comment section below and I will answer your question as soon as I can. I always get back to my readers. You can also have a look at my other articles on Leopard Geckos here.

So did you get a Leopard Gecko in the end? Or do you already have one or more? Tell me about your awesome geckos in the comments below 🙂

The Best Reptile Incubator In 2017 – Happy Breeding!

Breeding reptiles takes a lot of work, but it can be an enormously rewarding experience for adults and children. Witnessing and partaking in the great circle of life is not only highly educational, but a powerful way to emotionally connect with the animals we share this planet with.

However, breeding is a major investment of time, money, and energy. Providing your reptiles with a mate and a safe environment for pregnancy, maintaining the reptiles’ home, and managing an ample food supply for the parents and the babies are all going to cost a significant amount of money.

The time it takes to raise reptilian babies and to care for their parents can be quite consuming. This makes a lot of sense; if you choose to breed, you are placing lots of scaly lives in your hands. Reptile eggs aren’t toys; they’re organic carapaces containing living beings. And this is why purchasing an excellent reptilian incubator for poultry or exotic reptiles is so important.

Most incubators on the market are absolutely worthless. They aren’t reliable, and when dealing with something as sensitive as the preservation of life, that is a huge problem. I’ve taken a close look at only the best reptile incubators currently available, and I’ve gathered the results here for your convenience.

This guide will help you find the best reptile incubator for your reptilian-loving family. First, I will explain the most important criteria you should consider when seeking the best reptile incubator, then I will give an overview of the three best reptile incubators on the market today, and, finally, I will leave you with my concluding recommendations.

Let’s begin by evaluating the four most critical criteria you should deliberate when considering the purchase of a reptile incubator.

Criteria For a Great Incubator

The following criteria are the most important that you should consider when searching among the best reptile incubators for the perfect purchase. Remember, there aren’t a lot of great products out there, so it’s essential that you do your research. Reptile lives depend on it.

Breed—Every reptilian breed has different incubating requirements. For example, python eggs require an incubation temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of 90%, while bearded dragon eggs require a constant temperature of 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity of about 75%. Even slight variations in these numbers can result in killing the eggs, so it is critical that you carefully research your breed and your incubator before beginning the process to ensure that the incubator can accommodate your reptilian eggs’ needs.

Temperature and Humidity—Reptilian eggs require a certain temperature and humidity level in order to properly incubate. The incubator you purchase should be able to mimic a natural environment without substantial variation. If you cannot rely on the temperature and humidity levels to stay consistent, you should not purchase the incubator because shifts in temperature and humidity will leave you with heartbreaking results.

Thermostat Accuracy—This goes hand in hand with temperature and humidity. In order to guarantee consistent temperature, you must be able to trust the thermostat that comes with the incubator. This breeder had the tragic experience of losing hundreds of lizard eggs because the thermostat had failed over night, and the temperature had risen to a fatal degree.

Size—An incubator that is too small can be very limiting, but a large incubator comes with certain risks. If you put all of your eggs in one incubator and something goes wrong, the loss is total and crushing. The safest bet is probably to have more than one small to medium-sized incubator.

Remember, so many of the incubators being sold today are not safe to buy for your reptiles, and because these products are meant to nurture life, it is so important that you find an incubator that meet these criteria. Here are three products that, for the most part, do.

Little Giant 9300 Still Air Egg Incubator Kit for Reptiles

  • Digital control board for easy temperature setting
  • Built in digital hygrometer measures humidity
  • Self-regulating temperature control helps maintain a consistent temperature
  • LCD display with LED light shows accurate readings instantly
  • Rust and warp resistant plastic screen for easy cleaning
  • 41-120 egg capacity when used with Little Giant 6300 Egg Turner
  • Housing made of recyclable and insulated polystyrene foam

The Little Giant 9300 Still Air Egg Incubator Kit for Reptiles, specifically designed for reptile eggs, comes with a built-in digital, LCD thermostat reading both temperature and humidity levels and built-in moisture rings that enable breeders to easily add water to maintain optimum humidity. The incubator uses thermal air flow, drawing fresh air in through the bottom vent and out through exhaust vents located at the top of the incubator. The incubator’s two 4” x 8” windows give the breeder easy viewing access while the high sidewalls keep the reptiles safely inside of the unit when the lid is removed.

Pros and Cons

How does the Little Giant 9300 stand against the criteria? Let’s take a closer look.

Breed—Because the Little Giant comes with an adjustable thermostat and humidity rings, it can accommodate most breeds quite easily.

Temperature and Humidity—The Little Giant includes moisture rings, which allow breeders to easily introduce water to maintain proper humidity. Customers said that the temperature remained relatively consistent with a variation of +/- four degrees.

Thermostat Accuracy—The digital thermostat is easy to read and uses reliable technology. Breeders can trust that the thermostat will remain consistent.

Size—This is not a huge incubator, but remember, that’s okay. Putting too many eggs in ”one basket” is a huge risk. Depending on the breed, this incubator can accommodate a variety of clutch sizes.

Pros

Breeders of small reptiles can trust the Little Giant 9300 to maintain consistent temperature and humidity for their reptiles for an affordable price.

Cons

The incubator does not come with a fan, so the circulation is not the best. Additionally, it is not large enough to accommodate an entire clutch of every breed.


G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator

  • Wafer thermostat you can trust
  • Polystyrene case
  • Built-in humidity channels and plastic sanitation liner
  • Includes bulb thermometer
  • Two 4” x 6” viewing windows at the top of the incubator
  • Rubber coated mesh floor

G.Q.F Manufacturing Co. boasts the Hova-Bator Incubator as the best and most economical small incubator around. The Hova-Bator uses thermal air flow, allowing the radiant heat to warm the eggs and air inside of the unit. The bottom vent brings in fresh air that flows out of the exhaust vents located at the top of the incubator. Two windows on the top of the incubator provide easy viewing access.

Pros and Cons

Does the Hova-Bator meet the most important criteria? Let’s find out.

Breed—While the company advertises this for poultry use, customers indicated using this for a range of reptiles demonstrating the incubator’s versatility.

Temperature and Humidity—Customers complained the most about this. The temperature does not self-regulate, so it requires quite a bit of adjustment and monitoring on your end. If you are willing to invest that time, then the incubator will, with your attention, keep a consistent temperature.

Thermostat Accuracy—The thermostat was hit or miss with some customers. Most customers were satisfied with the thermostat’s ability to maintain a consistent temperature, but some complained that it shifted if the house temperature fluctuated at all.

Size—This is a small incubator, so it will not be able to hold full clutches for every breed.

Pros

The Hova-Bator has a solid reputation and has been around for years. Most customers indicated successful hatching of a variety of reptiles after following the incubator’s instructions.

Cons

This is a small incubator, so it will not able to hold an entire clutch depending on the breed. The incubator requires a lot of monitoring and adjusting in order to maintain a consistent temperature, especially if the temperature in the home fluctuates. Some customers complained that the price was excessive given the simplicity of the materials. Finally, the incubator does not have the best circulation as it does not include a fan.


Zoo Med Reptibator Egg Incubator

  • Digital controller with LCD display and LED indicator light
  • Pulse proportional thermostat for stable temperature regulation
  • Temperature control range from 59 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Humidity display range from 10% to 95% relative humidity
  • Rigid 55 watt heating element Programmable temperature alarm
  • Built in memory stores settings in case of power failure
  • Clear cover for easy egg inspection without disturbing environment
  • Multiple water reservoirs molded into incubator base and incorporating flow through ventilation and sponge insert for even evaporation and optimum humidity

The Reptibator Digital Egg Incubator includes features meant to give the breeder freedom and the eggs the ideal environment. The Reptibator comes with a programmable temperature alarm, built in memory stores to compensate power loss, a clear cover for easy egg monitoring, a flow-through ventilation system with a sponge insert meant to allow even evaporation and the best humidity levels for your breed.

Pros and Cons

Let’s evaluate the Reptibator Digital Egg Incubator against the most important criteria.

Breed—The Reptibator offers wide temperature and humidity ranges, making it an excellent option for breeders of any reptilian species.

Temperature and Humidity— The customer reviews for this criterion was a mixed bag. Most customers agreed that the right temperature and humidity could be maintained given certain conditions. One, customers complained that the lid was placed a bit too lightly to keep in the heat and humidity, but adding a layer of insulation around the lid solved that issue. Two, some customers mentioned water spilling out of the bottom of the incubator, so they opted to use water trays instead.

Thermostat Accuracy—Despite the many positive reviews that this incubator received, almost every customer mentioned a slightly inaccurate temperature reading. The Reptibator’s heating element is located at the top of the incubator which is where the thermostat is located. Consequently, customers found that the temperature reading could be as much as 6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the actual temperature since the heat did not travel all the way to the bottom of the incubator. Customers solved this issue by using an additional thermometer closer to the eggs and adjusting the thermostat to accommodate the temperature difference. For example, one customer kept the thermostat at 95 degrees in order to make sure her eggs were actually incubated at 89 degrees.

Size—Most customers seemed pleased with the size of the Reptibator. One customer breeding ball python eggs was able to fit an entire clutch in the unit. Of course, depending on the breed, you may be able to fit more or less eggs.

Pros

For an afforfable price, the Reptibator Digital Egg Incubator self-regulates the temperature for the breeder’s convenience and provides ample space for most breeds.

Cons

Given its proximity to the heating element, the thermostat is not extremely accurate, and, unless the breeder finds a way to work around this issue, can lead unsuspecting breeders to keep their eggs incubated at fatally low temperatures.

Recommendation

Searching for best reptile incubator can be difficult when there aren’t a lot of options available to consumers. In this guide, I describe the three best reptile incubators out there today.

Given its wide temperature range, space, and ability to self-regulate, the Reptibator Digital Egg Incubator is the best option for someone who is interested in hatching multiple breeds. However, it is important for you to remember that the thermostat will read a higher temperature than the actual temperature of the eggs since it is placed so closely to the heating element.

If you are interested in breeding, but will not be able to constantly monitor your eggs, the Little Giant 9300 Still Air Incubator Kit for Reptiles may be your best bet. This incubator’s self-regulating feature and reliable thermostat make it an option the busier breeder can rely on.

If you want an incubator with an established reputation for an affordable price, the G.Q.F. Manufacturing 1602N Hova-Bator Incubator is the best reptile incubator for you. This manufacturer has been around for three decades, and while it does not have very fancy features, customers continue to return to this product and praise its economic utility.

As long as you pay careful attention to instructions and monitor your eggs closely, all three of these incubators can produce successful hatches.

If you know what your breed requires for its eggs to thrive, and if you are willing to invest time and money into your reptiles, soon after you make this important purchase, you will experience the joy of bringing life into this world.

How To Set Up The Perfect Leopard Gecko Lighting

Leopard Geckos can be found in Western India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. As you might know, those countries are sunny places most of the time and you probably know that you need some kind of lighting for your leopard gecko if you want to keep it in a tank.

The problem with that is, that there is so much misinformation on the internet when it comes to Leopard Gecko Lighting (and reptile info in general.) That is why I created this website. I want to help people who are confused by all the information about reptiles they found on the internet. 

So if you are frustrated and exhausted from reading tons of information about lighting for Leopard geckos and just want the right answer right now, don´t worry! In this article I will show you exactly which bulbs you need to create the perfect environment to keep your Gecko healthy and happy.​

Do Leopard Geckos Need Light?

That´s a good question! Leopard geckos are active at twilight/ nocturnal. That means that they sleep during the day and almost see little to no sun at all. However they actually do need light and that for 12 hours per day. As soon as they wake up, they need to get their body on temperature and that requires a basking spot.

I have seen some people on Youtube who do not use any lighting at all for their Leopard geckos and use only heat mats instead. This will hurt your Leopard gecko in the long term. Even though they are nocturnal, you will see them very often during the day heating up their body under the basking spot. Not simulating a normal day with lighting most probably will let your Leopard gecko go in a “half dormant state”. That means it might be awake sometimes, but it is never fully active like a normal Leopard gecko should be. Please keep that in mind.

And does a Leopard gecko need UVB light? Well, that´s a different question and I will come to that later in this post.

Leopard Gecko Lighting and Heating

Lighting for most reptiles are seperated in three sections: Light, Heat and UVB.
Light and heat is actually pretty easy. I know that you most probably heard everywhere, that you should get one of those very expensive reptile basking bulbs, to create a good basking spot. While it is true, that Leopard geckos need a basking spot, by no means you have to buy one of those very expensive reptile bulbs for that.

The problem with those reptile basking lights of the most common manufacturers in the reptile scene is that most of them burn out really quickly. I tested a lot of those bulbs and it was really frustrating to sometimes buy new basking bulbs every two weeks.​

I recommend the bulb you can see on the right. It is cheap and it definitely does the job. It provides a good light and it provides the right temperature for the basking spot and the rest of the tank.

In fact, the setup you can see on the right is all you really need for the right lighting for your gecko. I bet you did not think that lighting can be so inexpensive, right? However there is definitely more you should know about lighting for your habitat. Which leads us to the next point: Temperature!

The Right Leopard Gecko Temperature


Leopard Gecko Temperature

I remember when I started with reptiles, lighting and temperature and all that stuff was my biggest obstacle. Since most people say that most reptiles need a couple of different “temperature zones”, I always asked myself how I could reach the exact temperatures.

You know there is the temperature under the basking spot and you need to have a cooler zone and all that. It was really confusing. Most probably you are confused as well. I am going to tell you something that most probably nobody told you before: Don´t worry too much about it. – I mean, don´t get me wrong, your gecko needs a basking spot and you need to have the right temperature, but if you get, let´s say a 60W basking bulb and you have a 30 Gallon tank, everything falls in place.

However, for all of you who want to know the exact temperatures you should reach, I created the chart on the right.

The Hot Spot

Ask Leopard gecko owners what their basking spot temperature is and you will receive tons of different answers. The truth is, that Leopard geckos are okay with very high temperatures when it comes to the hot spot. They just need the hot spot to get their body on temperature. As soon as they reach the right temperature, they will leave the spot.

95 – 100 °F is definitely okay for a hot spot. Some people even have higher Leopard gecko hot spot temperatures and that is okay as well … as long as the overall temperature in the terrarium does not get too high, which leads us to the next zone.

Around The Hot Spot ( Warm Side)

As you have seen, the hot spot temperature can be a little bit higher, it won´t hurt your Leopard gecko at all. However the temperature around the hot spot, which is also called “the warm side” should not be above 94 °F. This is simply too warm for Leopard geckos and your pet would probably be in the cooler zone in its moist hide the whole day.

The Cool Zone

To regulate their body temperature, Leopard geckos also need a zone with lower temperatures. The temperature in the cool zone should be between 74 – 80 °F. You will also need a moist hide in the cool zone. Of course, I have written a guide on how to create a moist hide as well. You can read it here – the article will open in another window, so you can continue to read here after reading the guide.

Temperature At Night

I never had any problems reaching the right temperature at night, which sould be between 70 – 75 °F. With my lighting setup I simlate a normal day, so it is very natural. Due to this my tank is always warm enough, even during the night, as rocks and substrate were heated up during the day.

However some people who do not use any light at all for their Leopard geckos (not recommended as you have read above) and due to this they have bigger temperature drops at night in their terrarium and need some additional tools to keep their terrarium temperature in the right zone. For this, I recommend getting heat mats / under tank heaters for Leopard geckos.

Most of the time, I do not really use those tools, however Leopard geckos sleep on warm stones in the wild, so getting a heat mat / under tank heater here would contribute to a natural Leopard gecko habitat, especially when you decide to take no lighting at all. Please keep in mind that it will hurt your Leopard gecko in the long term if you use no lighting at all.

Leopard Gecko UVB Light – Do They Need It?

Here we have it! The question of the question. I have seen tons of posts in forums about this topic. Some people say that they kept their geckos for years without UVB and just dusted their food with Vitamin D3. Other people say that their geckos developed brighter colors, because they got some of that good UVB light.

If you are a beginner and you are asking yourself, what UVB is for, I am going to explain it really quickly and understandable for you. The body of reptiles is able to produce Vitamin D3 through UVB light. Further reptiles need that to process calcium which they need to keep their bones strong.

If a reptile is not able to produce Vitamin D3​, their bones will get soft and that will ultimately lead to deformity and without medical treatment to death.

They Need Vitamin D3

Is a Leopard Gecko UVB light necessary? There is no real answer to that. I think it depends on your beliefs. Personally, I like to create my habitats as natural as possible and that includes UVB light. However you do not have to do that. Many people keep their geckos without any UVB source, however they use a Vitamin D3 supplement to keep their geckos healthy. 

The supplement on the right is one of the best and of course, a supplement is a way cheaper option than buying a UVB light.​

Why I Think That UVB Light Is Necessary

As I already said, Leopard geckos are active at twilight/ nocturnal. However that does not mean that they sleep the whole day. In fact my Leopard geckos taking sunbaths throughout the day and I know that not only my geckos do this. You can find tons of videos on Youtube of geckos which are active during the day. 

When I realised that my geckos were pretty active during the day, I started to use UVB lights and my geckos were even more active and had a higher appetite. This proved to me that UVB lights have a positive effect on my geckos, so I stick with it. (I never noticed brighter colors though.)

If you want to create a more natural habitat as well and are thinking about getting a UVB light, I have a recommendation. I use the bulb on the right for a very long time now, not only for Leopard geckos, but also for my Bearded dragons and I have to say that this is one of the best bulbs I´ve ever used.

I never had any problems with burned out bulbs. Further it also comes with a fixture which makes it easy to install. Simply place it on the screencover of your tank – that´s it.​

When Do Leopard Geckos Need Light? – The Right Time To Switch Lights On

I was alway a little bit unsure about the right lighting time for my geckos when I got my first geckos. As you know Leopard geckos are active at twilight/ nocturnal, however that does not mean that you should keep your lights on during the night. You just have to simulate a normal day in your terrarium. Sun goes up and shines for 12 hours a day and then you switch it off. So let´s say you switch the lights on at 10 AM, then you would have to switch it off at 10 PM.

Do not switch the lights on and off whenever you want. If you decide that you want to turn on the lights from 10 AM to 10 PM, you should stick with it. Turning the lights on and off whenever you want would disturb their circadian rhythm, whitch will result in health issues.

Switching lights on and off manually at the exact same time every day is annyoing and sometimes impossible. There will always be days when you won´t be at home at the right time. To stick with a light rhythm I recommend to get a time switch here.

Do You Have a Gecko With Red Eyes Or Albinism? Be Careful!

Those geckos have very sensitive eyes and light which is too bright could hurt their eyes. If you have a gecko with red eyes and it is blinking all the time or is hiding the whole day, it might be a sign that your bulbs are too bright. You should definitely switch bulbs then. I never had problems with the bulbs I recommend above.

Conclusion

Creating the best Leopard gecko lighting is not hard at all as you have seen. Just decide yourself if you want to use UVB or not. Now there is no reason to be confused anymore. However if you have any questions, just leave me a message in the comment section below and I will help you asap. I always get back to my readers 🙂

What do you think? Is UVB light for Leopard geckos necessary or is it just a myth? Do you use it? Let´s talk about it in the comment section below!​

How To Create A Moist Hide For A Leopard Gecko


Leopard Gecko Moist Hide

Leopard geckos are one of the most popular reptile pets. Not only because of their cute appearance, but also because they are pretty easy to take care of. However that does not mean that you can go and buy a Leopard gecko and everything will fall in place. You should definitely do a lot of research before getting a Leopard gecko.

Unfortunately a lot of people do not do any research before getting one of these cute little geckos. You can see lots of videos on Youtube of people who got a totally wrong cage for their geckos. The only reason why those geckos survive that is, because they are so hardy.

If you are reading this article you are one of those awesome people who actually do their research, because you really care about your pet and want it to be happy. Congratulations, you are awesome 🙂

In this article I am going to show you why a Leopard gecko humid hide is so important and how to make a moist hide for a Leopard gecko. So let´s get right into things here.

Why A Leopard Gecko Wet Hide?

Most people think that a Leopard gecko´s natural habitat is the desert. While this is true, it does not mean that there is sand everywhere. Leopard geckos come from Asia, you can find them in Iraq, Iran, India and in a couple of more countries. Their natural habitat is the stone desert. 

That means that there are a lot of hiding places between the stones in their natural habitat. Further the humidity in their natural environment is around 60-65 % in winter and around 75 – 80 % in the summer. So as you can imagine, a lot of the holes they hide in during the day are pretty moist.

What Is A Leopard Gecko Wet Hide For?

Leopard geckos use the wet hide to regulate their temperature. The Leopard gecko moist hide box should be placed in the cooler zone of the terrarium. So do not place it right below the basking lamp. If Leopard geckos feel the need to cool down they will hide there.

However there are also other things geckos use this hide for. Female Leopard geckos lay their eggs in the moist hide. It does not matter if the gecko is gravid or not. If you do not have a male gecko, a female gecko will lay unfertilized eggs and therefore it needs a moist hide with a certain substrate (I will come to this later). If you do not offer this the gecko can become egg bound and that often results in the death of the animal.

Besides that a moist hide helps geckos while shedding.

How To Make A Moist Hide For A Leopard Gecko

Creating a moist hide is actually pretty easy. However there are a couple of things you should bear in mind.
Some people just use a cricket box or something similar as Leopard gecko humid hide, however that is way too small. The box should be big enough for two or three Leopard geckos, so do not get a too small one.

Besides that you should not take something like a half coconut. Make sure that you get a box – It is way easier to keep the humidity high in a box.

The Best Leopard Gecko Moist Hide Box

I tested some things as humid hides for my geckos. For example lunchboxes or Tupperware containers. The problem with that was that I always had to cut holes in it, which sometimes had sharp edges. Then I had to make sure that those edges would not hurt my geckos … hah it was just annoying. Half coconuts or other “hide halfs” that you can buy from a pet store did not really do the job since it was hard to keep the humidity high.

This micro – climate cave on the right is absolutely perfect as humidity box for a Leopard gecko. You can easily fill it with substrate and keep the humidity high in there. On top of that you can open this little cave easily and check if your gecko is okay or if it even laid eggs. It fits perfectly into a natural habitat and you can get it in two sizes, so if you have a giant Leopard gecko breed you can use this cave as well.

This cave has 4.2 out of 5 Stars on Amazon at the moment and most people use it for their Leopard geckos. So a lot of Leopard gecko owners are very happy with it, it is not just me :).

There are a lot of costumer images on Amazon where you can see their Leopard geckos in this cave.
Click here to see those images – simply scroll down till you see “Customer images” on the right.

The Right Leopard Gecko Moist Hide Substrate

You definitely need substrate inside of this cave. As I told you before, female Leopard geckos lay eggs in those caves and before they do that, they dig off a little bit of substrate. Some people use kitchen roll inside a humid hide, which is a very bad idea. A lot of geckos do not lie their eggs then, which increases the risk of egg binding.

The best Leopard gecko moist hide substrate is coco hummus or sphagnum moss. Those substrate are normally used for Toads. Both are very easy to keep moist. Leopard geckos really seem to like this kind of substrate, not only for egg deposition, but also for just hanging out. Many Leopard gecko owners told me that their Leopard geckos were more often in their hide after the owners started to use this substrate.

Just be careful that you do not mist it too much. This kind of substrate can get mold, so let it dry out from time to time or replace it with new substrate.

Ah, did I mention that there is no risk of impaction when using this substrate? I am sure you are happy to hear that 🙂

Conclusion

As you have seen, creating a Leopard gecko moist box is pretty easy. Always keep in mind that your Leopard gecko really need this hide.
So I hope that this article was helpful for you. If you have any questions, simply leave a message in the comment section below. I always get back to my readers!

The Ultimate Leopard Gecko Housing Guide


Leopard Gecko Housing Guide

I know from experience that it can be pretty hard to set up a cage for a reptile if you never owned a reptile before. Especially when it comes to lighting, a lot of people get very confused and I totally understand why. When I was a reptile newbie I read tons of articles on the internet on reptile terrariums and every article told me something different than the article before.

I ended up buying completely wrong stuff for my reptile and as you can imagine, my pet suffered and I spent tons of money, because I had to buy a complete new setup after I failed to buy the right setup.
That was a painful experience and I do not want you to make the same experience. So in this article about Leopard gecko housing I am going to show you in detail what you exactly need for an awesome Leopard gecko habitat. ​With this leopard gecko tank setup you will be ready for your cute little gecko to move in.

A 20 Gallon Leopard Gecko Tank

Most people say that a 10 Gallon tank is the right Leopard Gecko tank size. The reason why they say that is because they think that it is easier then for their leopard geckos to find their food. I can only laugh when I hear that. There are numerous methods to make sure that your gecko find its food, but buying a tiny Leopard gecko terrarium should be none of them.

I recommend to get at least a 15 Gallon tank. I know that most people get an aquarium and use it as a terrarium. You can do that, but than you have to grab your gecko from above when you want to get it out of the tank. Please keep in mind that Leopard geckos natural enemys are eagles and hawks, which attack from above. So it can get stressed if you grab it from above.

That´s why I get a Leopard gecko cage with doors. This way I reduce stress and I do not have to take of the lighting setup and the screencover when I want to handle my gecko, which I would have to do, if I would have an aquarium. On the right you can see the tank I recommend. It is a little bit more expensive, but definitely worth the price, since there is a screencover, a background and a integrated air circulation system included.

I do not recommend those plastic boxes, which you can see all over Youtube as a cage for a Leopard gecko. A reptile is a living being and not some old pair of shoes that you stuff into a box with other stuff you do not need at the moment.

The Right Lighting For Your Gecko

Oh man, back in the day, when I started with reptiles, lighting drove me crazy. It was really confusing. because I just wanted to know which bulb I should exactly buy to reach the right temperature and all that, but instead I just found posts inforums on the internet where people discussed which bulbs have a stronger UVB output.

You most probably know that problem. Don´t worry, when it comes to lighting, Leopard geckos are pretty unchallenging. If you get a 20 Gallon tank, a 60W to 75W heating bulb is all you need for a basic setup. Of course you also need a fixture for that bulb which you can place on the screencover. With the bulb and the fixture on the right, you are good to go.

If you need a little bit more information about lighting for your Leos, have a look at my Lighting guide. I explain everything you need to know there, including what the right temperature is and why Leopard geckos do not really need a UVB bulb.

The Right Substrate For Your Leopard Gecko

Substrate is a very important topic. Most people use kitchen roll, reptile carpet, or newspaper for their Leopard gecko cage setup. The reason for that is that especially baby Leopard geckos easily get impacted when they accidentally eat some of the substrate while they are hunting their food.

Sand is most probably one of the most common causes of death of Leopard geckos kept as pets. While I absolutely agree that Sand is the worst substrates for Leos (and for a lot of other reptiles, too), I do not think that kitchen roll, newspaper, or reptile carpet is the best standard substrate for a Leopard gecko enclosure.

When Should You Use Reptile Carpet Or Kitchen Roll?

I would use kitchen roll or repti carpet only if your Leopard gecko is still a little baby. There is no risk of impaction and besides that it is easier to clean for the first couple of months, since Leopard geckos poo a lot when they are babys, because they eat soooo much in the beginning. 🙂

Further I would need that as a substrate for quarantine tanks.

The Best Substrate I Have Found So Far

​Okay, so here is the substrate which I think is the best for a lot of reptiles. I do not only use it for my Leopard geckos. I have a lot of reptiles and I also use it for my Bearded dragons for example. 
This clay gets hard after it dried out. That means that there is no risk that your reptile might eat some of the substrate and get impacted.

Further you can form caves and hills with this clay. This way you can create an awesome looking natural Leopard gecko habitat. You can also put plastic plants or any other good looking stuff in the clay before it dries out. 
The clay is not expensive at all and you can also get a Cavern Kit which helps you to form caves and hills, however, of course, you do not really need that. If you need more information abou substrate for Leopard geckos, have a look at my Substrate Guide.

Hides For A Leopard Gecko

You definitely need at least two hides for your Leopard geckos. One should be more warm and dry and the other hide should be moist and in the cooler zone so that your pet always have the possibility to cool down a bit.

As I said, you can form hides for your reptile with the substrate I recommend above. However if you do not have any hides, you should get a cheap hide, for example the one on the right.

The moist hide in the cooler zone is a little bit different and I wrote a little guide on how to create that here: Moist Hide For A Leo.
The article opens in a new window tab, so you can continue reading here as well.

What You Should Also Get

With the setup above you are actually ready for a Leopard gecko. However you should add some branches or plants to this habitat. I always emphasize that it is very important to create a natural habitat for a reptile. We keep them in captivity, so I think it is our job to create a good environment for our reptiles. So go and get some branches and other stuff, so that your gecko has some more hiding places.

Further you should get a water dish. In the wild, Leopard geckos just lick moist leaves to get water, for that you have to mist your Leopard gecko habitat

and you have to have real plants, since plastic plants dry very quickly. So I think the easiest way to make sure that your Leo is always hydrated is to get a water dish. A food dish is not necessary, by the way.

A Quick Information On Housing Multiple Leopard Geckos

Many people who get a Leopard gecko want a second, third or fourth gecko after a short while and that´s totally understandable, since Leos are so cute and actually pretty easy to take care of, because they are hardy. Housing two Leopard geckos or even more requires a bigger tank. However the tank should not be too big. Why?

Leopard geckos are territorial in the wild. In captivity they do not show territorial behavior, because they do not have enough space for that. However if you give them a really big tank, they will start to show their territorial behavior. So because of that, you should not get a tank that is too big when you get a second gecko. I suggest a 30 Gallon tank for that. OR stick to the 20-Gallon tank above at first if you have one of the smaller breeds.


​I really hope that this Leopard Gecko Housing Guide helped you. I use this setup for a very long time now and I can tell you that I never had any problems with it. Besides that, this is a relatively cheap Leopard gecko setup If you need more information or if you have additional questions, just leave me a comment in the comment section below. I always answer and help my readers, so do not hesitate to contact me. 🙂