Best Gecko pets
History and Biology:
Leopard geckos are small, nocturnal lizards native to the deserts of Asia, Pakistan and northern India. During the day, these lizards sleep in burrows underground, which stay relatively humid as compared to the dry desert air. Leopard geckos have slightly lumpy, yet regular heavily patterned scales on the back which aid in camouflage.
Leopard geckos are generally friendly, and are easier to keep in captivity as compared to other lizards. Leopard geckos can live from 8 – 15 years in captivity, although ages as old as 20 years have been reported.
- Leopard geckos can be housed in a 10 gallon aquarium designed for reptiles. Generally, these are longer and less tall than those made for fish. Lids should be used and should be closed down with aluminum foil or plexi glass to help trap heat and humidity. Up to 75 percent of the top can be closed off.
- Substrate in the enclosure should be artificial turf or reptile carpet. Coconut husk, corn cob and play sand are not appropriate, and may cause gastrointestinal obstruction if ingested. Reptile sand, even if it is dissolvable, should also be avoided as it can also cause gastrointestinal obstruction, cause mouth rot, an infection of the mouth, and can scratch the eyes.
Heating and Lighting:
- Day-time ambient temperatures inside the habitat should be kept between 77-85 degrees F as measured by an accurate thermometer, such as a dial or mercury thermometer. Temperature readings should be taken at several areas in the enclosure.
- Temperatures that are too low will cause decreased immune system function and metabolism, which leads to disease and failure to thrive.
- Heating for the habitat can be achieved through heat lamps or reptile heating pads placed under the terrarium. It is best to use heat lamps which emit no light, or emit a dim purple or red light. Ceramic heat lamps are readily available at most pet stores in the reptile section, or are available on-line.
- Even though Leopard Geckos are nocturnal, daytime lighting should be provided for 12-14 hours during the day. Ultraviolet light is not required.