The leopard gecko happens to be one of the most famous lizards because it is easy to breed and has an easy-going temperament for its owners. In addition, it does not require a large terrarium and its nightlife makes it an ideal animal for those who work during the day. This reptile is also recommended for novices because of its simple basic needs. Now let us know about the best habitat for leopard gecko.
Cohabitation: 4 rules to respect
- Never put two adult males in the same terrarium because they would kill each other!
- Never move a female having previously lived with a male in the terrarium of another male because she would appear to the eyes of the latter as a rival.
- Nevermore make babies, young geckos and adults live together. The smallest would then be devoured by the oldest!
- Never put too many geckos in the same terrarium. This would create stress and develop aggressive behaviors. To find out how many geckos a terrarium can accommodate, just perform a simple calculation. Multiply the length of the terrarium by its width and once the result obtained, keep only the first number. Example for a terrarium of 60 cm in length and 50 cm in width: 60 x 50 = 3000 so it will be able to accommodate 3 geckos at the maximum (so ideally 2).
Heating and lighting
As said before, the gecko is an animal that lives at night. Lighting the terrarium (using bulbs or neon lights) is therefore essential. In addition, it must absolutely reproduce the alternation of day and night that it knows in the wild. Warning: if UV is necessary to allow the gecko to synthesize vitamin D and calcium, overexposure to UV can be the cause of cancer and blindness in certain species, in particular the strains of albino specimens.
The duration of the day-night cycle differs from one breeder to another: some provide 14 hours of heating and lighting against 10 of darkness, others prefer a cycle of 12 hours each.
Regarding heating, it is essential to divide your terrarium into two zones of equal size: a hot zone and a cold zone. At night, set the thermostat between 20 and 22 ° C. It is advisable to place at least two thermometers for your terrarium for perfect control. Also, we advise you to have at least one hygrometer thermometer in order to be able to control, in addition to the temperature, the humidity of the premises.
The leopard gecko is an animal whose temperature varies according to that of its environment. Below the appropriate temperature threshold, the activity of your reptile will be abnormal: inability to digest, functioning of the organs in slow motion, lower performance of the immune system. If, conversely, the temperature is above this threshold, your reptile may well be in danger of death.
The heating mat
For heating in the strict sense, you have several options: carpet or cable, ideally to be completed with a heating lamp. The two devices are indeed complementary: the carpet and the cable directly heat the floor while a lamp heats the ambient air.
The heating mat is generally installed under your terrarium. It can possibly be placed inside, but only on condition of avoiding any contact with the animal, using, for example, a perforated plate placed in front of the heat source. The carpet must be placed in a hot zone, on the same side as the heating lamp. The heating cable is also installed indoors in a hot zone, avoiding direct contact with the animal (risk of burns).
Always choose the number of watts of your carpet, cord or lamp carefully: it depends on the size of your terrarium, 25 watts for a small terrarium, 50 to 75 watts for a medium and 100 watts for a large one.
And above all, whatever the heating mode selected, always couple it with a thermostat to prevent the temperature from being too cold or too hot, which would represent a real danger for the animal.
Layout and decoration
Some breeders adapt to a strictly functional environment but the ideal is still to reproduce the natural environment of the reptile by decorating your terrarium.
First of all, we do not recommend the use of sand. Wood chips are the safest substrate because they avoid the sometimes fatal dangers of sand. Also avoid synthetic grass, which is conducive to the proliferation of germs and bacteria.
A reptile shelter is an essential place because the gecko hides there and rests there during the day. You must provide at least two shelters per animal: one in the hot zone and one in the cold zone. To best reproduce its original habitat, it can possibly be filled with foam.
Do not hesitate to decorate his place of life with artificial plants, stones, flat or large, roots, branches placed vertically to allow him to climb. Like shelters, these elements should if possible be slightly inserted into the ground and partially covered with substrate. Fill the spaces without substrate so as not to leave the floor “bare”.
Finally, maintain good terrarium hygiene by changing the water every day and regularly collecting the excrement. Several times a year, clean the terrarium and its accessories and replace the substrate.
Water and food
Do not forget to place a water bowl where your gecko can drink clean water, to be renewed every day. Next to it, place a bowl full of food. Crickets are the food base of the lizard. Note that it is not recommended to feed them with mealworms (morio worms). Feed them if possible using forceps.
Always remember to supplement your diet with calcium powder, essential to prevent diseases related to decalcification. You can serve him this powder in a dish or sprinkle it directly over his meal. This will prevent the gecko from finding the missing calcium by ingesting sand, which can lead to often fatal intestinal obstructions. Finally, keep in mind that the health of your reptile is measured by the size of its tail. A thin tail will therefore be synonymous with an insufficiently nourished or sick gecko.