Having the proper setup for your gecko is key for a happy and healthy animal. Unlike the crested gecko, the leopard gecko’s setup will cost a little more as this species requires some specific needs. Don’t get me wrong here, it is not difficult to care for a leopard gecko, but you need to make sure it has what it needs to thrive.
What you will need:
- Enclosure, at least 20 gals or about 24″ x 18″ x 12″
- Heat mat (to cover 30% of enclosure)
- Substrate (please do not use loose substrate)
- Thermostat (hydrometer, thermometer also recommended)
- Minimum of 2 hides (3 is preferable)
- Moss or (something absorbent) for the moist hide
- Water dish
- Feeding dish
- Calcium dish
Leopard geckos are terrestrial, they don’t live in trees. That is why you need to consider floor space more than height. I bought for my geckos the Exo Terra Natural Desert Reptile and Amphibian Low Terrarium – Medium which is 24″ x 18″ x 12″. The glass terrarium is nice but can be costly unless you’re lucky enough to find one at second hand. Many people will build their own enclosures as well. The fact that the leopard gecko lives in a dry environment, makes it easier to make something yourself.
Heat Mat, Thermostat and Thermometer
The heat mat should take up about a third of the enclosure. The heat will help your gecko to digest its food and keep warm. You will need to connect a Thermostat to it so the temperature doesn’t burn your gecko. Having a thermometer inside on the mat area will help you regulate the temperature better. This, in my opinion, is the hardest part. Regulate the temperature. Make sure you do the setup before getting your gecko. The temperature on the heat mat should be between 87 and 90°F.
Leopard geckos need at least two hides, but three is recommended. One will be on the heat mat, one will be used as humid hide (a gecko cave with humid moss or paper towel works wonders), and the third one will go on the cool side which should be around 74 to 80°F.
Food, Water, and Calcium Dishes
Although leopard gecko doesn’t require a lot of humidity, they still need to have a water dish in their enclosure in case they are thirsty. You will need to have a dish to put the insects and a calcium dish no bigger than a water bottle cap that you will leave at all time in the enclosure. You can also use the food dish with calcium in it and have the insects dusted with calcium.
Decor & Substrate
The decor is the fun part. It’s mostly for aesthetic, but it can also provide more hiding spots and things to rub against when it’s shedding time. You can use artificial plants, rocks, bark pieces anything non-toxic. You can make it natural looking as you can go crazy and use a theme. It’s all up to you. Although they don’t live in trees, make sure to add little things to climb on. They do like to climb and explore!
For the substrate, many people prefer to use a paper towel, but I find it a bit boring. You can find Reptile Terrarium Carpet, but if you don’t disinfect it properly, it’s prone to bacterias. Something I found that is easy to clean, non-adhesive shelf liner. It comes in a variety of colors and pattern and you can wipe it down easily. You can find some at the dollar store. Whatever you do, just make sure your gecko can’t get stuck somewhere and swallow anything. 🙂
Have fun with your setup!
**** If you have any questions about leopard geckos don’t hesitate to comment below or send me a quick message through my contact page and I will answer at the best of my ability or will get the answer for you through a proper channel.