Are Leopard Geckos Good Pets?

Nearly every child wants a pet at some point, and they may ask for a reptile or a lizard. You may find yourself asking, Are leopard geckos kid friendly?

Leopard geckos are generally docile well-tempered lizards and make great starter pets, especially if you are considering a reptile. Consider that a
leopard gecko may live a decade or longer, and make sure your child is
committed to providing long term care for a pet.

If your child is fickle or quickly moves from
one interest to another, please have plans to provide your lizard with the
proper care.

Are leopard geckos friendly?

Due to their docile, placid nature, Leopard Geckos really are a pet for all members of the family. They’re happy to be held by children of all ages and will slowly walk across gentle hands. They’re not aggressive by nature but like all animals should be treated with respect.

Do leopard geckos like to be handled?

Unfortunately, leopard geckos do not like being handled. … At most, leopard geckos are indifferent to being handled. Although it may be a bit sad to know that your leopard gecko doesn’t like being handled, it is important to note that leopard geckos are much more suitable for handling than other reptiles.

Is a leopard gecko good for a beginner?

Leopard geckos are always a good choice for reptile beginners. … Leopard geckos can be easily handled, don’t often bite (but if they do it doesn’t hurt), and are a good size for children to hold: not too small and not too heavy.

Are leopard geckos cuddly?

Leopard geckos, if they are brought up among humans for their whole lives, are friendly, affectionate creatures who are really quite easy to get along with for anyone. … Really, leopard geckos do best when raised in groups of two or more, but even human companionship will help keep your pet happy.

A popular beginner’s reptile, the leopard gecko, is an easily handled, small lizard from Afghanistan, Pakistan, northwest India, and Iran. Compared to other lizards, they require minimal care. They have perky personalities and make movements that are interesting to watch. Leopard geckos are commonly yellow, white, and spotted with black dots. Hatchlings are striped and gradually change to the spotted appearance. There are several colorful and patterned morphs or variations. Certain colors are more desired and valuable, while the typical wild-type or normal coloration is readily available and most affordable.

Old fish tanks that don’t hold water anymore also work perfectly well for leopard geckos. About once a month, take everything out, throw out the substrate, and scrub and disinfect the cage and all the items in it to reduce the buildup of bacteria.

You can use a regular white light incandescent heat bulb to provide a basking spot during the day. If your gecko burrows down to the glass surface of the tank, an undertank heating pad might cause burns. Being nocturnal, leopard geckos are most active at night and do not require a lot of UV lighting.

In the wild, these creatures are also active at dawn and sunset and get UV exposure at those hours of scant sunlight. You can use a regular screen top, coupled with the heat source, to keep the environment dry. Just like humans, geckos become ill if they don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D. Metabolic bone disease causes painful spine and limb deformities.

These bubbles can contain fat, vitamins, protein, calcium, or other minerals and are common in overweight geckos. And like other lizards, leopard geckos that are undernourished or live in a cage with insufficient moisture may develop dysecdysis. Finally, leopard geckos are susceptible to a variety of respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

Wheezing or bubbles of mucus around its nasal passages and mouth are a sign that your leopard gecko is having respiratory problems. These highly popular pets are readily available, but it’s always best to purchase geckos from a reputable breeder which can cost $20 to $40.

More and more people are starting to keep lizards as pets. There are almost 5,000 kinds of lizard and they come in many different shapes and sizes. All lizards have different needs, so you must carefully think about whether you can give the right kind of care to your pet.

Leopard geckos can easily live in the glass-fronted cases you find in pet shops. Lizards will feed well on live crickets, which can be bought from bird and reptile shops.

Crickets should be dusted with vitamin and calcium powder to make sure your gecko is getting all the food he needs. Michael Bradley is a vet with Stanley Veterinary Centre, and also works with local Hong Kong wildlife, as a consultant for groups including Ocean Park Conservation Foundation.

Until recent years its fair to say that the Leopard Gecko was the most commonly kept lizard in the UK. Although it may have been overtaken in popularity by the Bearded Dragon, Leopard Geckos still make fantastic pets.

Due to their docile, placid nature, Leopard Geckos really are a pet for all members of the family. Pure white blizzards to bright orange tangerines are on sale, all have the lovely Leopard Gecko temperament but if you like something a bit different they offer you some choice.

If you dont want to explain to your kids why Hammy the hamster has gone to the big cage in the sky, get a Leopard Gecko instead! A lot of the time you will literally find a couple of unexpected eggs in their nesting box without even knowing your girl was gravid.

How old is the leopard gecko?

Young leopard geckos will have more energy and may not be used to handling. Due to their smaller size, they are also more fragile and will not do well with rough handling. Though we recommend getting your pet gecko as young as possible, juvenile geckos may present more of a challenge for young children.

How old is your kid?

Young children should not handle pets unsupervised. Too much excitement (or enthusiasm) could stress or scare your gecko, which may lash out in defense if cornered or threatened. Young children may not recognize the signs your gecko gives to indicate stress or fear. Leopard geckos are not aggressive by nature and will usually flee, choosing flight over fight. Leopard geckos willIf your child is a little older and more responsible, they may be able to care for a leopard gecko on their own.

Kids and Leopard Geckos

In general, a leopard gecko is a low maintenance pet that is quiet and undemanding. Since they usually choose one spot in the tank to consistently use as a bathroom, they are easy to clean up after. Once their habitat isMy sons enjoy watching our leopard gecko eat, finding where he is hiding in his enclosure, and watching him move. I know that when they are watching our gecko, they’re imagining him as a small dinosaur, a living example of their picture books that they can touch and interact with. It makes them feel like our little lizard is their very own prehistoric pal.Owning a gecko helps me teach them about the responsibility of feeding and caring for an animal. Kids are inquisitive, and our gecko has served as a teaching tool about diverse topics like anatomy (Not only does our leopard gecko make a cool pet, but he sparks my son’s imagination. Our leopard gecko is like a springboard for interesting discussions. It give us something to connect over as we spend time together caring for our gecko.

Leopard Gecko Behavior and Temperament

Leopard geckos, affectionately called leos, are generally easy to care for. They do not require a lot of cage maintenance, and they are hardy and forgiving if their environment is not perfect.Leopard geckos are mostly nocturnal, ground-dwelling geckos that are generally docile and easy to tame. They do not have the sticky toe pads like other geckos, so they do not climb walls. But unlike other geckos, they do have eyelids.Leopard geckos are not prone to biting and are usually slow-moving. They are known to be very vocal, especially when they are hungry, and they make chirps and squeaks.When you first bring home your leopard gecko, you can socialize it by gently handling it. They will tolerate a certain amount of contact, but don’t overdo it or your leopard gecko may become stressed.Geckos use their tails to communicate. If you have more than one leopard gecko in an enclosure, keep an eye out for tail-waving. It’s a slow, back-and-forth motion. The gecko often raises it, too. This sign means a leopard gecko feels threatened and is about to attack, so separate them right away.Leopard geckos also are tail rattlers, similar to rattlesnakes. If you see your gecko rattle the tip of its tail rapidly, that means your leopard gecko is excited to eat or to mate.And just like a lot of other lizards, when they feel threatened, leopard geckos can self-amputate their tails as a defense mechanism.

Housing the Leopard Gecko

A 20-gallon tank is large enough for two to three leopard geckos, but there should only be one male per habitat, and a bigger tank is preferable. Only keep males and females together if you want to deal with breeding. Old fish tanks that don’t hold water anymore also work perfectly well for leopard geckos.Provide half logs as hiding and climbing space. Commercial reptile caves and simple cardboard boxes are also good options. A damp hide box can help with shedding.Spot clean the cage once a day to remove feces. About once a month, take everything out, throw out the substrate, and scrub and disinfect the cage and all the items in it to reduce the buildup of bacteria.

Heat

You can use a regular white light incandescent heat bulb to provide a basking spot during the day. A red heat bulb, blue, or purple heat bulb, or ceramic heat emitter can provide supplemental heat at night.Undertank heating pads work for heating, but they may not be the most effective for regulating your gecko’s temperatures properly. If your gecko burrows down to the glass surface of the tank, an undertank heating pad might cause burns. Never use hot rocks.As cold-blooded creatures, reptiles need to regulate their own body temperature. Reptiles like a range of temperature or thermal gradient, so they can adjust their body warmth. Provide a daytime basking spot of 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 degrees Celsius) with a thermal gradient down to about 75 Fahrenheit (around 24 Celsius). At night the temperature can drop to a range of 70 to 75 Fahrenheit (21 to 24 Celsius). Make sure your gecko is not exposed to any drafts, and do not place the tank next to a window or door.

Light

Being nocturnal, leopard geckos are most active at night and do not require a lot of UV lighting. In the wild, these creatures are also active at dawn and sunset and get UV exposure at those hours of scant sunlight. A small amount of UVA and UVB light (2 percent to 7 percent) can go a long way to keeping leopard geckos healthy and may reduce the risk of metabolic bone disease.Your lizard will need incandescent lighting and heat from that source to mimic the sunlight. In the summer, give them about 14 hours of “sun” per day. And, in winter, the lizard will need about 12 hours of that light. For ease of care, you can automate the cage lighting by putting the lights on a timer.

Humidity

These lizards are desert lizards, so they do not need a highly humid environment. If the humidity is too low (below 20 percent), the gecko might have trouble shedding. Keep the humidity level about 30 to 40 percent, which is similar to the humidity level in your home. You can use a regular screen top, coupled with the heat source, to keep the environment dry. To check on the humidity level, get a hygrometer or humidity gauge for the cage.

Substrate

Young leopard geckos shouldn’t be kept on a sand substrate, even if it is calcium sand. They may ingest the sand and suffer an intestinal blockage. Paper is absorbent and easy to change, and indoor/outdoor carpet works well, too.Avoid wood shavings, since they can cut your gecko’s tiny feet. The volatile oils in the wood shavings may be irritating. Whatever substrate you use, make sure your gecko is not ingesting it.

Food and Water

Leopard geckos are insectivores. Feed a variety of crickets, waxworms, and, in moderation, mealworms. On occasion, you can try to feed a pinky mouse to an adult gecko. To make sure that your gecko does not ingest any substrate, you can feed your gecko in an empty tank.Juveniles need to be fed several crickets every day. Adults can skip several days between feedings. Before you feed the insects to your pet, they must be gut-loaded or fed a nutritious meal 24 hours before feeding. You will also need to coat the insects with a calcium/vitamin D3 supplement before you feed them to your lizard. To do so, put the crickets or worms in a ziplock bag with some of the powder supplement. Shake the bag quickly and drop the insect into the tank with your lizard. Hatchlings and juveniles need the calcium/vitamin supplement at every feeding; adults only need it at every other feeding.Provide a shallow dish of fresh water for your leopard gecko at all times. The water bowl will help add some humidity to the enclosure, and your gecko will drink from the bowl. You may even find a gecko voluntarily soaking in its water bowl.

Common Health Problems

One of the most severe conditions that can affect leopard geckos is metabolic bone disease. Just like humans, geckos become ill if they don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D. Metabolic bone disease causes painful spine and limb deformities. Signs of this disease include poor appetite and tremors.If you notice your gecko developing armpit bubbles, these are not dangerous. They are a sign that your lizard is storing something. These bubbles can contain fat, vitamins, protein, calcium, or other minerals and are common in overweight geckos. Usually, these bubbles go away when the lizard returns to a healthy weight.Leopard geckos also are prone to gastroenteritis, which comes from a bacterial infection. If your gecko has watery stools or its tail shrinks, these may be signs of gastroenteritis. This condition is potentially fatal but is treatable if caught early.And like other lizards, leopard geckos that are undernourished or live in a cage with insufficient moisture may develop dysecdysis. This condition, which looks like dry skin, causes the gecko to have difficulty shedding and can affect its vision.Finally, leopard geckos are susceptible to a variety of respiratory infections, including pneumonia. Wheezing or bubbles of mucus around its nasal passages and mouth are a sign that your leopard gecko is having respiratory problems.All of these conditions should receive treatment from an exotics veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.

Choosing Your Leopard Gecko

Since they are long-lived lizards, be sure you’re prepared to care for a leopard gecko for an extended time. These highly popular pets are readily available, but it’s always best to purchase geckos from a reputable breeder which can cost $20 to $40. Rare morphs may cost up to $100. You might be able to find a good reptile breeder at a reptile expo or reptile show near you.When choosing your pet, look at its tail. It should be plump and fat, preferably as wide or wider than the space between the gecko’s shoulders. Its eyes, nose, and mouth should appear clear and not runny. It’s vent, or opening for urinating and defecating, should look clean and not swollen.

Good start

A good pet lizard for beginners is the Leopard gecko. They come from India and Pakistan, and are one of the largest geckos. Unlike the wild geckos that can be found in Hong Kong flats, they don’t have the special foot pads that let them climb walls.Leopard geckos are quiet. They only grow to a length of about 20cm, and can live up to 20 years if cared for properly.

Practical matters

Sadly, many Hongkongers buy reptiles from pet shops without thinking about the care they need. Even the best zoos in the world have a hard time looking after many kinds of lizard. If the zoo keepers find it hard, think what a pet owner can do at home.Chameleons have become popular in pet shops but they are very hard to keep. Feeding them is tricky. Chameleons are used to a life in the trees of tropical forests, and so they won’t drink water from a bowl – they will only drink rain droplets from leaves. Such animals are best left in the wild.Green iguanas have also been popular in Hong Kong but people now seem to realise just how large they can become if cared for properly. The 15cm cheeky-faced lizard you take home soon turns into a 2-metre-long extra from Jurassic Park!

Enough sunshine

Reptiles, like people, need sunshine on their skin to make vitamin D, which is very important for their health. Animals kept indoors often don’t get enough vitamin D and this can lead to bone problems.Lizards also need calcium and vitamins in their diet.

Lizard housing

Leopard geckos can easily live in the glass-fronted cases you find in pet shops. As with any pet, the larger the space it has, the better.To keep your gecko happy, you’ll also need a few hiding places. The bottom of its home should be soft and easy to clean. You can either make this look natural and beautiful with sand, rocks and wood, or make it very practical with cardboard boxes for your gecko to hide in. Your gecko won’t mind either way!Leopard geckos are most active at night so they need less light than some other lizards. But it is still important to give them a UV light so they stay healthy. They should have a heat bulb switched on during the day in one corner of the tank. This will make different temperature levels, and allow your gecko to choose the temperature that suits him best.

Food and drink

Fresh water should be there at all times. Lizards will feed well on live crickets, which can be bought from bird and reptile shops.Crickets should be dusted with vitamin and calcium powder to make sure your gecko is getting all the food he needs.

They’re incredibly easy to care for.

All reptiles need specialist care and we should always do everything we can to keep them in the best health possible. But, Leopard Geckos are not very demanding and it’s easy to create the perfect home for them. During the day, we recreate the sun, and heat the air with a light bulb. At night, we recreate heat that is retained in the ground by using a thermostatically controlled heat mat.Leopard Geckos not fussy eaters and will eat a variety of insects that have been dusted in vitamin and mineral powder. They’ll just drink water from their water bowl too, no need to mist the vivarium. For more detailed information, click here to view our care sheet.

They’re a family pet.

Due to their docile, placid nature, Leopard Geckos really are a pet for all members of the family. They’re happy to be held by children of all ages and will slowly walk across gentle hands. They’re not aggressive by nature but like all animals should be treated with respect. I have never seen a Leopard Gecko get upset or try to bite somebody, ever.

They’re extremely pretty.

Big doey eyes, leopard spots and a smile from ear to ear. These guys really are good looking animals. I don’t mean they’re good looking in the same way aAs well as the common ‘leopard’ variety (which are still my favourite) you can now get Leopard Geckos in a variety of different colour morphs. Pure white ‘blizzards’ to bright orange ‘tangerines’ are on sale, all have the lovely Leopard Gecko temperament but if you like something a bit different they offer you some choice.

They’re long lived lizards.

A Leopard Gecko can easily live for over 20 years if cared for properly. If you don’t want to explain to your kids why Hammy the hamster has gone to the big cage in the sky, get a Leopard Gecko instead!

They’re very easy to breed.

In the right conditions, your Leopard Geckos will usually breed, on their own, without you needing to do anything. A lot of the time you will literally find a couple of unexpected eggs in their nesting box without even knowing your girl was gravid. Adult males will not get along but you can keep a harem of females together with one male. It’s very satisfying breeding your own animals so this is a big plus with Leopard Geckos.