Wondering how to take care of a baby Leopard Gecko? This guide is for you!
Leopard geckos have become popular in our homes and offices because they are docile, friendly, and easy to care for.
A good number of keepers prefer to start with babies that they can nurture and see them grow to maturity.
Cultivating a friendly, positive, and gentle relationship with leopard gecko babies is easy. These cute little reptiles become friendlier the more you interact with them. The best thing about caring for leopard gecko babies is that it won’t take a toll on you.
How to Care for a Leopard Gecko Baby
#1 – Know Your Baby Gecko
It’s crucial you get to understand how a healthy and normal baby gecko should behave. This will enable you not to set unrealistic expectations for this little reptile.
For example, did you know that baby leopard geckos shed once weekly? And did you know that your little friend will likely eat his shed skin?
Did you also know that a newborn baby gecko may not eat in the first week of their life? However, your pet has probably fed on his shed skin and is quite okay.
Understanding your baby gecko’s behavior puts you in an excellent position to relate with him meaningfully.
You will appreciate why your baby leo stays hidden most of the day when you understand he’s crepuscular.
This means he comes out at dusk, is active at night and dawn, and prefers to sleep during the day. This informs you of the need to create the proper day-night cycle.
Since this little reptile is in captivity and not the wild, his circadian rhythm will be broken unless you provide the right lighting system.
In other words, he won’t be able to differentiate between day and night, and his behavior will become erratic.
Also, you should understand that leopard geckos need to be handled gently. These lizards are known to drop their tails when mishandled.
Tail dropping is a defense mechanism that allows leopard geckos to escape danger. By dropping the tail, the leo distracts the predator and makes quick his escape.
The good news is that your leopard gecko’s tail regrows after some time.
Once you get to know your baby leopard gecko, you’ll appreciate that they are reasonable reptiles. They are friendly and don’t hurt.
Also, they don’t require elaborate setups and expensive enclosures.
#2 – Know Your Baby Gecko’s Stressors
Stressors are factors that make your baby leopard gecko’s life miserable. Anything out of place can mess up your baby gecko’s life.
Some of the more common stressors include:
- Poor living conditions
- Poor nutrition
- Hostile tank mates
- Other pets in the house
- Noise, scents, and sights from the environment
When you bring your baby leopard gecko home, give him time to acclimate to the new environment. It’s natural for these little reptiles to be scared of new sounds, sights, and scents.
Your interaction with him should be limited to providing food and water for him. This should continue for at least 7 days before you attempt any bonding session.
If he is eating and pooping fine by this time, you can make your overture. Things will be easier for you because your little friend already associates you with the food and water he’s been taking.
#3 – Create a Suitable Enclosure for Your Baby Gecko
Start your baby leopard gecko off on the right footing by providing a big enough enclosure. For example, starting this pet in a 10-gallon enclosure is okay.
However, you should be conscious that you must upgrade this to a 200-gallon tank once the baby becomes a juvenile.
Most keepers prefer to start their baby leopard geckos in a 20-gallon tank so that they don’t have to upgrade later and incur the attendant costs.
Ensure that your baby’s enclosure is well furnished with the following:
- 3 hides: one for the cool side, one for the warm side, and another for the humid hide.
- Appropriate terrarium décor – plants, logs, rocks, etc.
- A water dish – shallow enough not to drown your baby leopard gecko.
- A secure locking lid.
- UVB lighting (optional).
#4 – Set the Appropriate Temperature Gradient
In the enclosure, you should have three distinct areas.
The first is the basking spot. In this area, the enclosure is heated to the maximum appropriate temperature. The ideal maximum temperature for your baby leopard gecko is 320 C to 350 C (900 F to 950 F).
The second is the warm zone of the enclosure. Here, the temperatures are not as high as those on the basking spot. The warm side should have 270 C to 320 C (800 F to 900 F).
The third zone in the enclosure is the cool side. In this zone, the temperatures should be 210 C to 270 C (700 F to 800 F).
The differences in temperature in the 3 zones allow your leopard gecko to adjust its body temperature using its environment.
This is what ectothermic animals, such as your baby leopard gecko, do.
#5 – Choose the Proper Substrate for Your Baby Gecko’s Enclosure
In setting up your baby leopard gecko enclosure, your first priority should be comfort and safety. The substrate you choose for the enclosure should provide these.
Unfortunately, some commercial vendors nowadays market construction sand as reptile sand. This sand is not only uncomfortable for your baby gecko, but is also likely to cause impaction.
Impaction happens when a leopard gecko ingests anything that blocks the intestines. This condition is so severe that it turns fatal if urgent medical interventions are not taken.
This is your cue to take precautionary measures as you shop for the right substrate. First, opt for substrates that have minimal to zero risks.
Such substrates include non-glossy newspapers, paper towels, kitchen towels, shelf liners, and reptile sand mats.
You can turn to safe particulate substrates as the baby gecko grows and becomes less fragile and clumsy.
#6 – Create a Proper Humid Hide for Your Pet
Humid hides are essential for two reasons. First, they help keep your leopard gecko well-hydrated, and they help ease the shedding process.
In the wild, leopard geckos burrow into the cooler areas of their environment to create humid hides. Since this is impossible in captivity, you must step in and build the humid hide for your pet.
A humid hide is a high-humidity area where your leopard gecko can retreat to elevate his hydration levels.
This is particularly important just before and during shedding.
Fill the hide with moist paper towels or sphagnum moss to create a good humid hide. Check on the dampness of the medium every day, and sprinkle some water if it starts getting dry.
Change the medium if it has become dirty or soiled. Also, look for any signs of mold growth and replace the medium if you see any.
The humid hide should be about 3 times bigger than your baby leopard gecko. This will give your pet ample room to easily move about the humid hide.
For the humid hide, use a suitable container or buy one from a reputable pet store.
#7 – Feeding Your Baby Leopard Gecko: Variety Matters
Leopard geckos feed on insects. However, the type of insects you feed your baby leo matter. Some insects may be too tough for your baby leo’s tender stomach.
Also, you can expect your baby leopard gecko to survive on one type of insect, week after week.
For a broader coverage of nutrients, introduce a variety of suitable insects into your baby leopard gecko’s diet.
This will boost your pet’s immune system as he grows. It will strengthen his bones and body structure, and he’ll be able to ward off any diseases that may assail him.
At the same time, introducing a variety of insects from the onset prevents your leopard gecko from growing into a picky eater.
#8 – Feeding Your Baby Leopard Gecko: Size Matters
Your leopard baby gecko should be fed insects that are neither too large nor too small. If the insects are too big, your pet may have trouble swallowing and digesting them.
Large insects could also injure your pet, especially if left uneaten in the enclosure for long. Some insects have been known to check on baby geckos!
If too small, the leopard gecko will not develop the hunting skills required of his species. As such, insects for your baby gecko must be the right size.
An insect of about 3/8″ is good enough for your baby leo. A juvenile baby gecko should be fed insects of about ¼ inch, while adults will make do with large insects of about ¾ inches.
For any leopard gecko, the ideal insects should be not more than the distance between the gecko’s eyes.
#9 – Be Careful Not to Overfeed or Underfeed the Baby Gecko
A normal and healthy baby leopard gecko should be fed every day. Give your baby gecko as many insects as possible in 10 – 15 minutes.
After this, remove all uneaten insects from the enclosure, and save them for another feeding session. Although baby geckos are unlikely to become overweight, they tend to overeat if not checked.
This is because they have a very high metabolic rate. So if your leopard gecko’s tail starts getting thicker than its head, he is clearly overeating.
You are underfeeding him if you fail to feed him daily with the right variety of insects. Instead, feed him daily, and boost his body mass by feeding him a few higher-fat insects for a few days.
#10 – Feeding Your Baby Leopard Gecko: Don’t Forget the Supplements
Supplements are an essential component of your baby leopard gecko diet.
Most supplements are sold in powder form, which should be used to dust insects some minutes before feeding them to leos.
Also, gut load the feeder insects with fresh high-calcium vegetables starting two days before feeding them to the leopard gecko.
Not all feeder insects can be gut-loaded, however. For example, you can gut-load Superworms, isopods, roaches, and crickets.
For the others, dust them with a healthy dose of calcium and vitamin powder about 5 minutes before feeding time.
Remember to purchase all your baby leopard gecko products from reputable dealers. Also, carefully read the instructions on the product labels before use.
If in doubt about the quality and safety of a product, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.
Top of FormConclusion…
Because every baby leopard gecko is unique, you can’t learn everything about caring for them in one sitting. It takes a learning curve, a journey you must take with your baby gecko.
We hope the information here will get you started on the right footing, and you’ll enjoy many years of being a leopard gecko pet parent.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do I Provide Heat for My Baby Leopard Gecko?
You should choose a medium that works best for you.
Consider the following: heating pads, halogen light bulbs, ceramic heat emitters, reptile heat tape, deep heat projectors, and carbon filament heat projectors.
What Are the Best Staple Food Items for Leopard Geckos?
Some of the best main food items for your leopard gecko include crickets, farm-raised grasshoppers, and mealworms.
All main food items should be gut loaded before feeding your leopard gecko. In addition, it would be best if you coated them with reptile-friendly calcium.
What Are the Best Treats for My Baby Leopard Gecko?
Treats help a sickly leopard gecko gain weight and resume normal eating. Note that most treats are high-fat foods, and should be offered sparingly.
Some treats you can use are waxworms, butterworms, giant mealworms, and superworms.
What High-Calcium Insects Can I Feed My Baby Leopard Gecko?
Aim to feed your baby leopard gecko food items like silkworms, hornworms, roaches, isopods, earthworms, and black soldier fly larvae.