Leopard Gecko Info

TypeO-

Arachnopeon
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Nov 2, 2002
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I need some basic info for keeping leopard geckos. I'm probably going to be getting one soon, I've looked up some various caresheets and the like, but I'd feel better getting some info from people that currently keep them. Things like housing, temps humidity all that good stuff.

Thanks in advance!
 

roach dude

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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Jan 5, 2005
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Bassically...... I will give you info, ive had my gecko since christmass, and i owuld like to say you learnt alot from just keeping them, whats best for them and stuff like that. Some Pointers and hints would be never ever ever keep a baby/juvinile on sand or anything else apart from paper towels. They are the only thing for it.

Keep a heat mat on about 1/3 of its tank. I would recommend haveing a floressant light bulb in the tank, not for heat but for a decent day cycle for the gecko, otherwise i feel its slighty cruel and must be confusing for your gecko.

Feed him every other day or so, about 2-5 medium crix or if young waxworms. Adults can take pinkies. Always have fresh water avalible, although they do get most of their mousture from the food it should always be present for them to have some if they need it. Same goes with calcium, always keep a small dish with some Calcium power in it (non-phosprus calcium power is vital). Dust crix/wax worms about 2 twice a week when babys/juvs and when they get older you need to do it about once a week.
When your gekco goes a bit dusty/misty white it means they are going to shed, so have a moist box ready, i use a marg boz upside down with a hole cut into it and moss on the bottom, this is to help your gekco shed, if you notice their is still skin left around you gecko feet/botton of thier tail, then put them in a small tupperware box with warm moist paper towels in, leave for about 15 mins and try to peal of the excess shedding skin. though the moist box normally does the job. Also put the moist box in the warm end of you leo's enclosure.

Thats about all the info i can remeber off the top of my head hope its helped.....

Cheers, Conor

P.S good luck with your new PEt if your gonna buy it and also read lots and lots of care sheets!!!!!!!!!!!!!;P ;P ;P
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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Feed him every other day or so, about 2-5 medium crix or if young waxworms.
I just want to note that waxworms should never be anything but an occasional treat--they're apparently delicious, but also the fattiest bug you could possibly find. {D Good for treats or if you've got to get some weight onto a sickly animal (like a leo that's lost its tail, which is where they store all their fat), but otherwise? Not too healthy. :)
 

roach dude

Arachnobaron
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OH.... i feed mine medium cirx 2twice a weeek then waxworms 1 nce a week, i thought they were very good for yound juvs:? this is what the person i bought him from said, and n o hes not some crummy 'pet shop' guy hes been raising and keeping leo's for 15 years.
 

TypeO-

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
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Thanks for all the info guys! I think I have a pretty good handle things now. Thanks again!
 

green_bottle_04

Arachnobaron
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Dec 4, 2006
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use phoenix worms! they are the STINK!!!!! they are high in calcium, not too high in fat and very high in protein! they are a little pricey but well worth it!
 

Thoth

Arachnoprince
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For substrate when they were young I used paper towels but now that they are adults I keep them on crushed walnut shell with no problem for a couple of years now. Others I know use play sand.

Also have some sort of rough item (either hide, decor, plain old rock, et c) in the enclosure they will rub against it when shedding to help get the skin off.

As for humidity what ever the room humidity in my apartment is.
 

Mushroom Spore

Arachnoemperor
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I keep them on crushed walnut shell with no problem for a couple of years now. Others I know use play sand
If you google "leopard gecko" "crushed walnut shell" you'll get quite a lot of sources saying that it's not a good substrate at all. Play sand can be iffy, you just have to make sure they aren't eating it--and of course calcisand is terrible and should under no circumstances ever be used. :eek:
 

Thoth

Arachnoprince
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I agree with the calci sand being horrible should be avoided. It just encourages the leo to eat substrate.

I have both sources saying its bad or its a good substrate. I prefer it to sand because it is coarse enough it does not stick to prey items. Maybe I have been lucky and had no issues with impaction or substrate eating. Then again I did not put them on it until they were near adult size. Just sharing my experience, though probably should have warned there is a risk.
 

rYe

Arachnosquire
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Substrate: Paper towels no matter how old, everything else is a major risk with the the way Leo's eat plus it's easy clean-up.

Food: if feeding crickets keep the size of the cricket the same as the leo's head, if it's younger feed it daily 5-20 crickets, if it's fully grown (has all it's spots) feed it every other day around 3-10 adult crickets. Meal worms are okay and wax worms are a rare treat (or regular feed for a mating female). While I'm not a roach fan they are a better feeder.

Heat: Keep around 85 degrees (They can handle lower) with a heat mat on 1/3 of the tank, but I have a male leo who lives off just a red heat light and loves it.

Housing: two hides, one on the warm side and one on the cold, a water dish on the cold side and a calcium dish (if you feed mealies I suggest making the worm dish/calcium dish one). Keep them in a glass tank with a screen top and humidity shouldn't be a problem.


Leo's are amazing little guys and I love keeping them, I plan on always having two types of pets... Leos and T's. Good luck and if you have any questions feel free to PM me or ask here. If I don't know somebody else will or I can find out.
 

green_bottle_04

Arachnobaron
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i agree witht he calci-sand being horrible. i do, however, use play sand. play sand is similar in texture to what the leo's experience in their natural habitat. and very rarely do leo's die in the wild from impaction. ive had leo's, uromastyx, and recently beardies and have NEVER had any kind of problem what so ever with play sand. im sure there are a few horror stories but they are few and far between. while i agree that paper towels are the safest thing to keep them on...its just not very attractive at all, and i ALWAYS set up very naturalistic terrariums. all of this is just my opinion and things that i have taken from my own experience.
 

HerpCenter

Arachnopeon
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Hello,

Basic care for leos is pretty simple (I have been keeping and breeding leos now for over 10 years.). I wrote up a caresheet on them and that can be found here: Leopard Gecko Caresheet

If you are talking to people that are telling you that crushed walnut shells are safe and good for use with reptiles, you need to stop talking to them and find more reliable sources.

Crushed Walnut shells are one of the absolute worst items on the market. The only "nice" thing about them is how they look. Here are a few reasons why they are not so nice though:

They Mold - When they get wet, they WILL mold if they don't dry first.
Unnatural - I have yet to comes across any part of the world where animals reside on crushed walnut shells.
Hard - These shells are extremely hard and very difficult to digest. If you think the exoskeleton of a mealie is hard (which can be crushed with your fingers), try crushing one of these things between your fingers!
Sharp - Have you looked at the shape of these things? They are sharp and ragged. There is severe potential for them to "cut" the intestinal tract.
Size - These things are MUCH larger than the sand grains that everyone tells you to avoid. When using sand, which also isn't the most favored substrate, it is best to use the finest grain you can find. These things are massive compared to sand grain and thus are even more likely to cause an impaction.

Read this bit about impaction:

Granular substrates have been known to cause impactions in leopard geckos. There are two types of impaction that could occur. The first is called an Acute Impaction. An acute impaction is when the Leo swallows a large amount of substrate and it blocks the vital organs used to process food. (Stomach, intestinal tract, etc.) The results of this type of impaction will lead to lethargy, lack of appetite, lack of bowel movements, substrate in the stool, etc.

The other type of impaction, and often the most deadly form, is the chronic impaction. A chronic impaction is the slow accumulation of substrate that binds to the lining of the intestinal tract. Over time, and often years, it will create a blockage. This blockage will also have the same detrimental effects as an acute impaction. The biggest problem with this type of impaction is that when it is discovered, it is most often too late to cure.

Toss the stuff, it is trash.

green_bottle_04 -

i do, however, use play sand. play sand is similar in texture to what the leo's experience in their natural habitat. and very rarely do leo's die in the wild from impaction. ive had leo's, uromastyx, and recently beardies and have NEVER had any kind of problem what so ever with play sand.
The first thing wrong with your response is that you state sand is similar to a leos natural substrate. That isn't true. Sand makes up a small fraction of a leos natural substrate. Leopard geckos are from the mountaneous and sparse grasslands in their locales. The substrate is actually more along the lines of a hardened clay like substrate. Leos reside where the insects are. That means there needs to be a food supply for the insects. (Which means that the soil has to be rich enough to allow growth.)

The second thing wrong with your post is that "Leos rarely die from impactions in the wild". That comment is completely unfounded. There are no studies to substantiate that claim except you just stating it. Animals die every year from impactions of different sorts. In the wild it would be impossible to document how many animals die each year from any species group in regards to impaction as predators eat the sick, injured, and dead. Not to mention those that die within burrows and just plain "out of sight". You shouldn't post comments like that as uneducated people, particularly newbies, may believe you. If you can't site it as fact, please don't post it. That is how bad information is spread.

The third issue I have with your response is that you state you have NEVER had a problem with sand. I would speculate to say you have never heard of a chronic impaction either, as it alone would deter you from stating that. A chronic impaction is explained above. I highly suggest you read and comprehend the severity of such an illness. I will explain why so I don't come across as a jerk.

Look at it this way. Leopard geckos can and should live AT LEAST 18-20+ years in captivity. If they are being cared for properly, this won't be an issue. The problem though is that people will own a leo for 10 years, and suddenly it dies. They used sand for those 10 years and NEVER had an issue with it. (According to them anyways.) Now, if the leo died at 10 years, and should have died around 20+ years, what killed the leo? If you ask that owner, they will most likely state the leo died from "old age" because yesterday it was in great health. The problem is, the leo DIDN'T die from old age, but a necropsy was never performed so the actual cause of death was and never will be determined. I would literally bank my account on the fact that leos that die under those circumstances have a severe chronic impaction that as a direct, or indirect result, resulted in their demise. That, and you, are the reason why so many people still claim sand as a viable solution as a substrate for leopard geckos. Can it be used without issue? I am sure many people will have, and have had, no issues with it and have had leos live their full life. Does that grouping make it safe? Nope, not even close. The reason it doesn't make it safe is because every leo that dies has not been opened up to see what actually killed it. Most people will never have a necropsy done on their leo.

Everything I know about leos is a result of my own experience (10+ years of it) as well as input from various veteranarians and vet techs. (My wife is a vet tech at the VCA Animal Hospital in South Weymouth, MA.) I am more than willing to debate this if you like, but I ask that you please don't cite information that isn't accurate. (like leos not dieing in the wild as a result of impactions.) If you can cite a source of this information, please share it with all of us. I would love to see the documentation on this study!
 
Last edited:

smrich

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 16, 2005
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43
Any thoughts on proper humidity for leos? I've had good luck at keeping them at about 40%. I have not had any shedding problems at this humidity but have noticed other problems with humidity much higher then 40%.
 

HerpCenter

Arachnopeon
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Most people think that arid regions of the world are "dry". In my caresheet I tell people to get the humidity as low as they can, but this is because the ambient humidity of a house is between 30-40%. If they are trying to keep the humidity down, they should maintain an average of 30-40% and that is sufficient. I recommend the use of a moist hide though for every leo enclosure. They work very well to ensure the shed of toes is successful.
 

roach dude

Arachnobaron
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Yea i always put a moisy hide in what i see that my leo is about to shed, just shed today infact, box went in and out within 10 hours.... their great!;P
 

HerpCenter

Arachnopeon
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I allow the leos the ability to utilize the MH any time they wish. I leave it in there just as I do their other hides. The MH is normally cooler, because of the added moisture content, so they also use it for thermoregulation. During breeding season, it also doubles as an egg laying box for the gravid females.
 

rYe

Arachnosquire
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i do, however, use play sand.
Not to down on something you say, your a smart person and I respect what you have to say but play sand is horrible. I know tons of people who have lost gecko's to playsand (mostly babies and Juvies). at first I always tried to set my tanks up to look good to the eye, but I quickly realized that was not an option when you own everything that goes "Bump" in the night.
 

K-TRAIN

Arachnobaron
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you should feed both small crickets (no bigger then the leopard geckos mouth) and meal worms. some people say babies shouldnt be kept on sand, but ive kept mine on calci sand since i bought it and its fine. you'll need a heat lamp/heat pad for the tank.(i suggest the esu reptile clamp lamp, and a esu 100w red heat bulb. it will keep the cage between 80-90 degrees and seems to last longer). you wont need uvb lighting. also, when you buy one, look at the leopard geckos tail. if its thinner then its hips, its probably going to die. if your getting more then one, remember, you can keep one in a 10 gallon tank, two (male and female/two females only) in a 15 gallon, and three in a 20 gallon (sometimes you can have two males in a 20, its rare though.)
 

Nich

Curator of glass boxes
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Any thoughts on proper humidity for leos? I've had good luck at keeping them at about 40%. I have not had any shedding problems at this humidity but have noticed other problems with humidity much higher then 40%.
FOrget the care sheets...lol. Look at the temp and humidity fluctuations in thier native envirment....IT IS INSANE to say the least. A very hardy gecko that is often killed by "kindeness" and OCD keepers. Jungle earth, coco-fiber substarte, small water dish, keeps mine breeding year round. My temp ranges from 58-90 from winter to summer. THis is no exception to the rule, google them and where they are from. Pakistan is on the cool side, they are very very common there. A heat mat is absolutley not necesarry. They range from areas of over 100-34 F.
 

roach dude

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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some people say babies shouldnt be kept on sand, but ive kept mine on calci sand since i bought it and its fine.

Fine for now, how long is it gonna be fine for. Calcisand is horible please change to somthing better. I.e Reptie Carpet or slate...:D
 
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