- 10- to 20-gallon size habitat can house one or two leopard geckos from hatchling to adult size.
- Leopard geckos actually have a “bathroom” in one corner of their cages, and that area can be spot-cleaned without disrupting the entire system.
- Substrate Newspaper, pea gravel, artificial turf, flat stones
- Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting
- simple low-wattage light can be placed overhead on the screen-cage top and left on 12 hours a day.
- ideal temperature in the hide box is 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, The ambient air temperature of the room they are housed in should be above 73 degrees.
- mealworms or crickets, waxworms or superworms on occasion
Notes on Enrichment & Training
- Check out the Reptelligence Facebook page and Reptelligence website for enrichment and training inspiration.
Colony or Breeding Management
Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.
Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).
Tips on Presentation
Tips on Handling
- Desert and Dryland species have specific adaptations for the temperature and water availability in their natural habitat and may not be able to adjust to the drying effects of climate change. Hotter conditions promote wildfires. More extreme drought conditions kill plants that hold the soil in place and occasional extreme rain events wash that soil away preventing them from growing back in a process called desertification. Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Please ask guests to walk, bike, or take public transportation when possible and to reduce their use of fossil fuels when they do drive by buying a fuel economic car, carpooling, combining errands, and keeping vehicles properly tuned up and their tires properly inflated. At home and work, purchase Energy Star appliances, turn off lights when they are not in use, and use heaters and air conditioners sparingly. The principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle will also help by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions involved with the manufacture and disposal of unnecessary goods. http://www.unep.org/geo/gdoutlook/045.asphttp://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/https://biomesfirst09.wikispaces.com/Desert+Conservationhttp://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov/pdf/Desert_Ecosystems_Paper.pdf
- In general, animals seen at the zoo do not make good pets. Most have specialized dietary, veterinary, housing, and social needs that are difficult or impossible for even dedicated pet owners to meet. Always ensure that your future pet has not been taken from the wild. Capture of wild animals for the pet trade has significantly damaged the survival prospects of species such as sloths, tamanduas, and many parrots. Captured animals are typically mistreated by profit-motivated traffickers and dealers, resulting in many animal deaths; well-meaning animal lovers may feel like they are rescuing animals by purchasing them but are really perpetuating the cruelty. In addition, many exotic pets are released by their owners when they become too dangerous or demanding, often with devastating effects on local ecosystems. Animals that should never be kept as pets include all bats, primates, and exotic carnivores. Birds, fish, and reptiles have specialized needs, are frequently wild-caught, and damage the local environment if released; guests should be advised to educate themselves and proceed with caution. Domestic dogs and cats are almost always the best option! Many deserving animals are available for adoption at animal shelters. http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/Save-Wildlife/Images/PetWalletBro2012.aspxhttp://pin.primate.wisc.edu/aboutp/pets/index.html
Comments from the Rating System
- Buffalo Zoo: Prevalent pet trade animal
- Oakland Zoo: Small animal and common as pets
- Philadelphia Zoo: Some individuals can be quick and difficult to handle
- Pittsburgh Zoo: A little small for most of our classes, but great personalities and temperaments.
- Zoo New England, Stone Zoo: Small, so it is hard to see them when presenting to large groups; it is good to use to teach adaptation. Ours can be presented and touched for small periods.
Natural History Information
Range and Habitat
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Northwestern India
Rocky deserts and semi-arid grasslands
length: 7-9 inches
weight: 1.5-2.5 ounces
Neonates are independent at hatching. They have black bands surrounded with pale pink and lavender. As they mature the bands are replaced by black spots on a yellowish background. They are fully mature at 18-24 months.
Female mates once a season and stores the sperm. If conditions permit she will lay up to six clutches of two eggs each over the next five months.
On average you can expect your gecko to live six to 10 years, but many males live 10 to 20 years.
Males are highly territorial, but females are more tolerant.
Leopard geckoes are nocturnal. They do not bask, but rather absorb heat ventrally by laying on warm sand or rocks.
This gecko can autotomize its tail to escape a predator.
If the temperature gets below 50 degrees the gecko enters brumation.
Threats and Conservation Status
The status of the leopard gecko in the wild is unknown.
Did you know…
- The leopard gecko eats its shedding skin. It is a source of protein and moisture. This may also act as a way to avoid detection by predators.
- the leopard gecko will lick its eyes to remove debris
- Choice, Control, and Training in Ectotherms, By Carrie Kish
- Ambassador Animal SAG Newsletter Vol. 2, Issue 3: Temperature and Transport: Welfare Implications for Ambassador Ectotherms
- Stress Management in Reptiles and Frogs
- Reptile Lighting Information
- Reptiles Magazine has good general information on the care of this species.
Contributors and Citations
Cover Photo: GINA CIOLI/I5 STUDIO
- Baton Rouge Zoo
- Houston Zoo, Natural Encounters