Wondering how long it takes for a leopard gecko to reach adulthood? This guide is for you!
Leopard geckos are becoming more common in our homes and offices. If you’re thinking of getting one, consider how big the reptile will be when fully grown.
This will inform you of the space and provisions you need for this pet.
Relatively, leopard geckos are small reptiles. But how fast do they grow, and what’s the full size of an adult?
A mature leopard gecko female grows to 8 inches long and weighs 50g to 70g. On the other hand, male leopard geckos reach about 10 inches and weigh about 60g to 90g. Giant leopard geckos can reach a length of 12 inches and weigh 120g.
How Long Does an Adult Gecko Take to Reach Adulthood?
As hatchlings, both the male and the female leopard geckos are only about 2.5 inches long and weigh about 5g.
However, they grow very fast; by 4 months, they are no longer babies. They are regarded as adults by 10 months, and have grown to full size by 18 to 24 months.
Your leopard gecko’s housing and feeding needs change as they grow. This is because as they age, they also change in size.
It’s evident that baby leopard geckos need a smaller space than adults. Babies also eat less food, although they have to be fed more frequently than juveniles and adults.
Leopard geckos reach their full size by their first birthday. However, some may continue growing slightly until the age of 24.
After this, you should expect any further increase in your leopard gecko’s size. However, your pet will continue growing in other ways, such as regularly shedding his skin.
Here’s a look at a leopard gecko’s average length and weight based on age.
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How Big Are Leopard Gecko Hatchlings?
Leopard geckos are barely 2.5 inches when they hatch, and weigh a paltry 5g.
But don’t be fooled; these little lizards grow amazingly fast, and it won’t be long before they reach their full size of about 9 inches long.
Because they are tiny, leopard gecko hatchlings have special needs. For example, you should feed them younger, more tender insects they can digest quickly.
Also, they can’t eat large portions in one sitting. This means you should feed them regularly with smaller portions they can manage.
Some leopard gecko keepers contend that you shouldn’t keep your baby geckos in a large, 20-gallon tank as you would the adults.
They argue that your baby leopard gecko will get lost in a big tank and experience problems finding water and food.
However, this is debatable. Bear in mind that baby leopard geckos have the whole vastness of the wilderness to explore and find water and food.
Since wild baby leos thrive in unlimited space, they won’t have much of a problem thriving in a 20-gallon tank.
However, if you want to keep your baby leos in a smaller space, a 10″ long by 8″ wide by 6” high container would be okay.
You’ll upgrade this container into something bigger as the leopard geckos grow.
Additionally, baby leopard geckos should use a substrate material that can cause impaction. Because of their small size and inexperience, they are at a higher risk of ingesting substrate.
Male vs. Female Leopard Geckos: Which is Bigger?
Typically, male leopard geckos grow longer and heavier than females. Although they start at the same level, you can discern a difference in size and weight by the age of 2 months.
By adulthood, the male is clearly bigger than the female. He is about 10” long and weighs about 90g. Conversely, the female leo grows to about 8” and weighs about 70g.
The male and female leopard geckos reach adulthood by their 1 year birthday. At this time, they are sexually mature and can reproduce young ones.
Leopard gecko’s sexual maturity depends more on weight rather than age and length. For example, a leopard gecko weighing more than 50g is considered sexually active.
As such, it’s possible for some 6 to 10-month-old leos to reproduce because they are of the ideal reproduction weight.
While you can expect both the male and female leopard geckos to change as they grow, none of the changes are so drastic as to alarm you.
Caring and loving your leopard gecko does not become more demanding. However, you should adjust the tank size and your pet’s feeding schedule.
What’s the Lifespan of a Leopard Gecko?
A well-cared-for leopard gecko lives to a ripe old age of 15 to 20 years. However, whether your leopard gecko lives this long depends on a number of factors.
For example, how reliable is your leopard gecko’s pedigree? If this reptile comes from healthy genes and is well-bred, the chances of him living to the upper limit of the lifespan range are higher.
Also, how well do you take care of him? Your leopard gecko will live a long, happy life if you take care of his nutrition and living conditions.
Basically, this means giving him the right food at the right time. Do not overfeed him, and neither should he suffer malnutrition.
You must also consider the tank parameters – size, temperature, and humidity. Then, help your leopard gecko live a stress-free life by eliminating any stressors that could compromise the quality of his life.
Your leopard gecko will live a vibrant life if you take care of his health. Then, promptly deal with any challenges he encounters along the way.
Give him a regular health check to eliminate the threat of parasites and diseases.
Why is My Leopard Gecko Not Growing?
Leopard geckos get stunted when they experience encounter certain issues in their lives. They may not attain the ideal size and weight by the age they are meant to.
Here’s a look at some of the issues making your leopard gecko stunted.
#1 – Poor Diet
Your leopard gecko will not achieve his ideal weight and length if poorly fed. Therefore, your pet needs an ample supply of quality food and clean drinking water.
Leopard geckos thrive on a varied diet of insects and worms. As such, don’t feed your pet anything else, even if you see it done on videos and other media.
At the same time, the insects you feed your leo should be varied to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Some insects you should consider for your leopard gecko menu include crickets and waxworms.
Others are dubia roaches, butterworms, beetles, silkworms, and hornworms.
Insects and worms rich in fat should be fed in moderation. However, feeding on too many of these insects may cause obesity, something you’d not want on your leopard gecko.
At the same time, use the proper supplements such as vitamins, calcium, and Vitamin D3 to fortify your pet’s immunity.
#2 – Bullying
Male leopard geckos never see eye-to-eye. Therefore, it would be a serious mistake to house any two or more males together.
They have an instinctive rivalry over territorial rights, and male leopard geckos have been known to fight to the death because of this.
Although this is not common with females, they sometimes become aggressive in a bid to assert hierarchical dominance.
Your leopard gecko could be stunted because of harassment and intimidation from his tank mates.
If you’re housing a number of leos together, ensure they have adequate resources. They need enough water, food, and hiding spots so that they don’t fight over these things.
Additionally, you should house them in an appropriate tank size.
#3 – Tail Re-Growing
Leopard geckos have a unique defense mechanism – they can drop their tail when they sense danger. They leave the tail writhing to distract a predator as they flee the scene.
Fortunately, a leopard gecko’s tail re-grows after some time. But unfortunately, the healing tail can create discomfort and stress, making your pet lethargic.
He may fail to eat, further slowing his growth and weight gain. So keep enticing your leopard gecko with nutritious food during this period.
#4 – Health Complications
If your leopard gecko looks emaciated and stunted, he could be battling a serious health issue. Eliminate other reasons for this condition, such as poor diet.
If the problem persists, take your leo to the vet for a medical checkup. The vet will examine his stool and urine to diagnose his problem.
Your vet will advise you on sound husbandry practices to keep your leopard gecko healthy and happy.
#5 – Poor Living Conditions
Leopard geckos are very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. A slight temperature change can make your pet sick or lethargic.
Being cold-blooded, leopard geckos need heat to digest food. As such, you should provide your pet with the correct temperature gradient in the tank.
A leopard gecko tank is divided into warm, cool, and basking areas. Temperatures in the warm should range between 270 C and 290 C (800 F and 850 F).
Those in the cool zone should be between 240 C and 270 C (750 F and 800 F).
Temperatures in the basking area should be between 320 C and 350 C (900 F and 950 F).
The optimal humidity level for your leopard gecko tank is 30% to 40%. Higher humidity can lead to respiratory infection and skin disease.
A lower humidity level causes dehydration and impaction.
You may have to install a thermometer and a hygrometer to monitor temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure.
Also, this reptile requires proper lighting. Provide him with about 10 to 12 hours of light every day, depending on the season and time of the year.
Switch off the lights at night to maintain your pet’s circadian rhythm. Using light to create the day-night cycle, you help your pet lead a well-balanced life.
Encouraging Healthy Leopard Gecko Growth
If you have realized your leopard gecko is not growing as well as it should, do not worry or panic. Worrying will not in any way help you solve the problem.
Instead, have a positive mindset and work on helping your pet get back on the right track. Here are pointers to encouraging your leopard gecko to thrive:
- What’s the cause of the problem?
Identify why your leopard gecko is stunted. This will determine the actions you’ll take to resolve the problem.
Unless you know what’s ailing your pet, you can’t help him.
- What’s the tank size?
Is your leopard gecko adequately housed? Is the enclosure of the correct dimensions? An adult leopard gecko should be housed in a 200-gallon tank, nothing less.
- How rich is the diet?
Your leopard gecko needs a diet of varied insects and worms. You also should provide him with the right supplements for proper growth.
Avoid overfeeding him with high-fat foods, as this may compromise his health.
- Have a proper feeding schedule.
Your grown-up leopard gecko should not be fed every day. Instead, he should be fed 3 to 4 times weekly with various insects and worms.
Have this schedule and follow it.
- Monitor his living conditions.
Closely monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure. Then, adjust them whenever necessary to ensure they operate optimally.
- Track your pet’s health.
Regularly weigh your gecko and measure his length to know whether he’s growing properly. Also, take him for regular medical checkups at your vet’s.
Your leopard gecko grows very fast from the hatchling stage to the end of the juvenile stage. After this, his growth somewhat slows down.
By the time he’s around 1 year old, don’t expect him to grow as fast as he did as a youngster. But he continues to grow and will reach a length of 10 inches and weigh about 90g by the age of 2 years.
The female will reach 8 inches and weigh about 70g.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Long Does It Take for a Leopard Gecko to Mature?
A leopard gecko reaches sexual maturity by the age of 8 to 10 months, when they attain sexual maturity. However, a leo is considered an adult after attaining the age of 1 year.
Leopard geckos keep growing in size and weight until 18 to 24 months. By this time, the male weighs about 85g while the female weighs 65g.
Can a Leopard Gecko Outgrow Its Tank?
It depends on the size of the tank you start with. For example, if you start with a 10-gallon tank, you’ll have to upgrade when your leopard gecko becomes a juvenile.
However, if you start with a 20-gallon tank, you will not need an upgrade. A 20-gallon tank is big enough for a fully-grown adult leo.
How Often Should I Feed My Leopard Gecko?
It depends on the age of your leopard gecko. Baby leopard geckos should be fed daily. This is because they are fast growers, have high metabolic rates, and can’t eat much in one session.
Juveniles need to be fed at least 5 times a week, while adults should be fed every other day or 4 times weekly.
Why is My Leopard Geckos Tail Fat?
Your leopard gecko’s tail is a reservoir for storing fat and water. Your reptile calls on these food reserves in times of scarcity.
You should be concerned if your leopard gecko’s tail is thin, which means this reptile is not eating well. However, you should also watch out that your pet does not become obese from overeating.