Leopard geckos are amazing beginner reptiles they are full of personality and easy to care for and they come in a variety of wonderful morphs ( morph refers to the different colours and patterns of a reptile) these reptiles can be fairly cheap to purchase depending on what morph you are after, leopard geckos can go for around £30-£400. These geckos are born at around 2-3 inches and can reach a max size of 7-8 inches so these reptiles reach a very reasonable size and can live up to 15 years. A drawback to these reptiles is that like a lot of geckos they can drop their tails.Tail dropping is a strange defence mechanism that these geckos use to distract predators, when a gecko drops their tail it can still move for up to half an hour! This causes a distraction and allows the gecko to escape from being eaten, this can be a concern to new owners however if you are gentle with handling it is more than likely that the tail will stay on but if the tail were to fall of then it doesnt matter as it grows back to a smaller size.
Leopard geckos seem to do well in a enclosure that doesn't have too much free space as this can cause them to move too far away from their heat source and their hides. A 10 gallon terrarium is a good sized enclosure for this gecko but a wooden vivarium is recommended in order to keep the heat contained, a good sized viv to purchase for an adult is 3 x 2 x 2ft. You must make sure that you have good ventilation on one side of the enclosure but are able to maintain the heat and humidity on the other side.
The most effective way to provide heating for your gecko is to provide them with a heat mat, either under the tank or on the side of the enclosure. For lighting you can either have the viv in a spot that provides natural light or buy a low wattage light for inside the enclosure, as leopard geckos are nocturnal they do not require any form of uvb. The warm side of your geckos enclosure should be kept at around 29-33c and the cooler side should be between 23-27c.
A shed box is the best way to maintain a good humidity level within your geckos enclosure, these boxes help your gecko shed their skin without any issue, these boxes can be made either from a plastic box the you make a large enough hole in (be sure to smooth down the hole so there is no risk of injury) or buy purchasing a hide and filling it with moss. While keeping a shed box helps aid your geckos you may also want to mist down their enclosure daily, do this by simply spraying some water from a bottle. The combination of a humidity hide and misting will definitely help maintain your geckos humidity which needs to be between 20-40%.
There are many options for substrate with your gecko however there is one that you MUST NOT use, sand, although sand may sound like the perfect substrate for this animal it is highly dangerous as i can course impaction and can lead to the death of your animal. Some very popular substrate include paper towels, newspaper, artificial turf, flat stones and aspen.
When feeding your gecko make sure to dust the food with vitamin d3 supplements, these are very important for the health of your animal. Leopard geckos are insectivores, they eat only insects, there are a whole variety of insects to feed to your gecko and all have their benefits and drawbacks, such as mealworms these are a very common feeder but they are high in fat, crickets and dubia roaches are also some very popular feeder choices, it is always a good idea to research each food option to find what is best for both you and your animal. For water it is best to provide a bowl/dish of water within the geckos enclosure that you should change every 1-2 days and misting the enclosure will provide droplets for the gecko to drink.
Cleaning out the leopard geckos enclosure if very simple, all you need to do is a quick spot check everyday to get rid of any waste or dead uneaten food and then once a month do a full clean out of the enclosure. The full clean will include removing all decor, binning all substrate and disinfecting the whole enclosure, all decor including fake plants and both the food and water bowl.
Leopard geckos enjoy having a lot of hiding places so you should make sure to have lots of mini caves, hides and logs that they can climb into. It is important to have enrichment in the geckos enclosure so make sure to provide some logs to climb on, some fake or safe live plants, some rocks and some other natural looking decor that can provide your gecko with entertainment and a naturalistic feel.