Wondering if Leopard Geckos are good pets? This guide is for you!
Before you keep any pet, you must understand as much as possible about that particular animal. Take the time to acquaint yourself with the pros and cons of keeping it as a pet.
Leopard geckos are easy to keep because they are docile and agreeable. However, to enjoy having a leopard gecko, you must familiarize yourself with his habits and needs. This puts you in an excellent position to determine whether you have what it takes to keep this lizard happy and healthy.
Sensitive people find it easy to keep leopard geckos, as do those that love children. These pets are not aggressive or hostile and will readily fit into your home environment.
However, leopard geckos are good escape artists. Therefore, ensure its enclosure is comfortable, safe, secure, and escape-proof.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Keeping a Leopard Gecko?
- Easy to handle and take care of compared to some animals
- Won’t take up too much space in your house or premises
- Can live for more than 15 years – giving you adequate companionship for years
- Don’t need much attention during the day – allowing you to attend to other matters
- Active during the evenings when you’d like to rest and relax with them
- Are readily available in live and online stores
- Can be bred; thus no need to interfere with ecosystems
- A wide range of colors and patterns to choose from
- Are not hostile or aggressive
- Are not particularly lively or active
- Need special care in terms of food, lighting, water, etc.
- Some are quite expensive because of their unique color morphs and patterns
- Tend to lose tail when mishandled. However, a new tail grows in place of the old one.
- Can pass zoonotic diseases to humans.
- Are known to spread salmonella
- Are not affectionate and will not reciprocate your show of love and care.
What Should I Consider Before Keeping a Leopard Gecko as a Pet?
A number of things will attract you to leopard geckos if you’re considering keeping a lizard pet. First, leopard geckos are easy to find in live and online stores.
Compared to other geckos, these pets are relatively easy to care for.
However, leopard geckos have unique needs that you should be ready to meet if you want them for pets.
For example, they require special lighting and housing arrangements. You also have to take care of their special feeding requirements.
Being picky pets, your leopard gecko will not just eat anything presented on their feeding dish.
Special care should be taken to ensure that this reptile does not gorge itself on fat-rich foods.
Consuming fatty foods should be discouraged as it’s likely to make your pet overweight and unhealthy.
If you are looking for a pet that loves water, you may have to reconsider choosing the leopard gecko. These reptiles want nothing to do with water.
They turn to water for hydration and temperature regulation as a last resort.
Also, you have to consider that this animal is not as affectionate as some pets. Therefore, this reptile also needs a particular combination of insects and nutritional supplements for its diet.
There is a lot going on for your leopard gecko to make you want it for a pet. For example, they are relatively easy to care for compared to some lizard species.
They are not hostile, and are unlikely to bite your children. Leopard geckos are generally docile; they have this quiet demeanor that makes them adorable.
However, you should not stress your leopard gecko with unreasonable demands. Don’t expect it to display enthusiasm during your bonding session.
As long as it allows you to pet it gently, be content. It would be unfair to expect your pet to jump or run around whenever it sees you.
To have a fulfilling life with your pet, ensure its enclosure is safe and comfortable. Have good lighting, proper heating, and separate water dishes for drinking, soaking, and bathing.
Also, ensure that your pet has proper bedding. Most importantly, feed your pet proper meals for strength and health.
Although most of the feeds are readily available, some supplements require digging into your pocket a little deeper.
Why Are Leopard Geckos Such Good Pets?
They Are Easy to Care for
It is easy to create a little home for your leopard gecko at home. This is important, considering that reptiles do not acclimate to our world.
To make any lizard pet comfortable, you need to recreate its wild environment. This is easy for the leopard gecko as its needs are not so demanding.
You can opt for a naturally bioactive setup that mimics the gecko’s natural world or an artificial enclosure.
Either way, ensure that the enclosure is safe and secure enough to keep the leopard gecko comfortable.
It should have good ventilation so you can easily control the humidity to the desired level. Ensure that sources of light and heat are on point.
Also, the enclosure should consider your leopard gecko’s water and feeding needs. It should have enough space for everything your gecko requires.
They Are Easy to Feed
Leopard geckos do not require elaborate feeding arrangements. However, most reptiles require a drip system and a mister in their cages.
Your leopard gecko will need a good lighting and heating system and dishes for food and water. You’ll also need to provide UVB light to help them convert calcium to D3 vitamins.
You can install some of the fancy equipment other reptiles require.
They Are Easy to Breed
You don’t have to raid the environment for a supply of leopard geckos. These reptiles are easily bred in captivity.
Also, they find it easy to settle in your home environment if they’ve been bred there. Leopard geckos do not require special breeding care used on other reptiles.
They Don’t Take Up Much Room
Leopard geckos won’t take up much room in your home. Actually, they need less space than most other reptile pets.
A 10-gallon tank is good enough for baby leopard geckos. The bigger geckos need around a 20-gallon tank.
A 10-gallon or 20-gallon tank can fit in most homes.
Ensure that the gallon is longer than it is tall. This is because leopard geckos spend considerable time moving around, and very little time climbing.
Unlikely to Compromise Your Other Engagements
Leopard geckos are most active at dawn and dusk. They mostly sleep during the day, and will not demand your attention at this time.
This means keeping a leopard gecko pet does not tie your daytime. As such, you can attend to your other chores and have enough time to bond with your pet in the evening and early morning.
Having such a pet does not interfere with your work or school pattern.
They Live for Many Years
Leopard geckos in captivity live for up to 20 years. They live as long as a well-taken-care-of dog. This is good news if you seek long-term companionship with a pet.
You’ll have many years to bond and enjoy this life together. But, again, this period is not so long that it worries you about what will happen to your pet when you’re gone.
They Are Beautiful
Leopard geckos come in a wide range of colors and patterns. While some are yellow, tan, or orange, others are black or white.
Some leopard geckos have stripes and blotches spread over their skin, while others are plain. If you’re looking for a gecko to keep as a pet, you’ll find a beautiful one among the leopard variety.
Additionally, these reptiles change color as they grow into adults. A young gecko that starts as white as a baby may end up having green or blue marks on its skin.
This way, your leopard gecko adds ambiance and color to your home.
They Are Easy to Handle
Handling leopard geckos is easy. Your reptile friend will not place too many demands on how to handle him.
Your gecko will be content if you just hold him in your hand occasionally. But, at the same time, this pet will not cause unnecessary drama when you want to hold it.
Most reptiles are averse to being held, which is not the case with leopard geckos.
Why Leopard Geckos May Not Be Good for You
Can Spread Zoonotic Diseases
Zoonotic diseases are types of diseases that jump from animals to humans. For example, leopard geckos have been known to spread salmonella and other diseases.
This disease is common with amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic animals.
Although captive-bred leopard geckos have slimmer chances of getting and transmitting zoonotic disease, don’t take chances.
Clean your hands and clothes thoroughly after handling your pet.
Are Not as Affectionate as Other Pets
Suppose you’re looking for a pet that can appreciate your affection and reciprocate it. In that case, you may have to reconsider keeping a leopard gecko.
Although your leopard gecko will enjoy soaking the warmth of your hands, it is unlikely to return that show of affection.
Don’t expect this animal to snuggle close to you the way a cat or rat would. And don’t expect it to lick your face the way your favorite dog would.
Have Special Needs
To make your leopard gecko as comfortable as it would be in the wild, you’ll have to make some adjustments to your home.
A simple leopard gecko enclosure and setup may cost between $300 and $500 – depending on the number of leopard geckos you want to keep.
Your pet also has some special feeding needs. For example, it cannot eat the food meant for humans in your house.
As such, you have to prepare a special budget for its food supplements and feeder insects. This can be pretty costly, especially if you have to import some exotic insects such as locusts.
The other alternative is to breed feeder insects at home. Unfortunately, this may end up taking most of your time.
They Lose Their Tail
A Leopard gecko’s tail falls off easily, making it not the ideal pet for your child. Because children like grabbing their pets and playing with them, losing a tail may cause the pet unattractive.
Although the tail does grow back after some time, the second tail is less attractive than the first one. Also, re-growing a tail will usurp your pet’s energy and resources.
This may compromise your pet’s health and negate the purpose of keeping the animal in the first place.
Depend on Live Insect Diet
Your leopard gecko pet does not enjoy dead or frosted insects. Instead, it requires a diet of live mealworms, crickets, roaches, and other insects.
This means the leopard gecko may only be the ideal pet if you’re comfortable handling insects.
To replenish your pet’s food supply, you have to cough up some money, and you may find this expensive in the long run.
The alternative is to breed feeder insects for the pet.
This alternative requires expertise and the money to buy fruits, vegetables, and mineral supplements to gut-load the feeder insects.
Some keepers choose to source the feeder insects from the wild. Unfortunately, this is not only cumbersome and time-consuming, but it’s also highly dangerous for your leopard gecko pet.
Insects from the wild are likely to have come into contact with harmful herbicides and insecticides. Therefore, feeding them to your pet exposes it to grave danger.
Are Laid Back
Keeping a leopard gecko may not be for you if you’re looking for a particularly active pet. This animal spends most of the daytime resting or sleeping.
It’s only at dawn and dusk that it engages in some activities, such as feeding and exploration. Therefore, you have to time your schedule to these periods if you hope to interact with this pet meaningfully.
You may be disappointed if you hope to see the leopard gecko exploring every nook and cranny.
Can Be Expensive
The beautiful multi-colored, multi-patterned leopard geckos are suitable for pets but can be costly.
If you want a leopard gecko with different color morphs, get ready to part with some cash.
While a natural leopard gecko typically goes for less than $50, colored geckos are much more expensive – and for good reasons!
How Do You Make Your Leopard Gecko Feel at Home?
If you have just brought your leopard gecko to your home, you’d want him to settle down and feel comfortable as soon as possible.
How fast your leopard gecko takes to your home depends on how you treat him. Here are a few tips to make your relationship with this reptile a success:
#1 – Treat Your Baby Gecko Gently
You should never be rough with your pets – whether old or new. For example, a new leopard gecko will sense the energies you give out, determining whether he learns to trust you.
Be gentle with your pet from the word go, as this will enable you to build a strong bond.
However, take care that you don’t push things along too fast. For example, avoid trying to hold your gecko by force because this may traumatize it.
Also, avoid pushing your leopard gecko into activities that may cause its tail to fall off.
Allow your pet to take in the new environment slowly and gently. Also, ensure that your new pet associates your presence with positive rewards.
This will make him take to you more quickly.
#2 – Associate Yourself with Your Pet’s Food
Do you want to win your pet over quickly? Then, use food to take it through the paces of conditioned learning.
The most crucial thing in your little pet’s life is food. So, from a tender age, let your baby leopard gecko get used to feeding from your hand.
This is an excellent way of getting the reptile to trust you. As this bond grows, the animal will become more used to being around you, food or no food.
All the same, take care not to use your fingers in feeding your pet. The gecko may associate your fingers with food and attempt to bite them.
Instead, use tongs or tweezers. Make some particular sounds every time you feed your little friend. These sounds will create a linkage between the food and you.
You’ll realize that with time, your leopard gecko will come running to you whenever he hears those sounds.
#3 – Keep Your Pet’s Cage Close By
You’d want your pet to be around you most of the time to enhance bonding. If you keep your pet hidden in a back room, it’s unlikely he will get used to your presence.
Allow your leopard gecko to hear and become comfortable with your movements. Your presence should not startle them every time you make an appearance.
You need to train your pet to realize that you are part and parcel of his life. But, of course, this is possible only if both of you spend lots of time together.
Bonding cannot happen without spending time with your newfound friend.
#4 – Attend to Their Health Concerns
Being a keeper of a leopard gecko means you’re his minder. Therefore, you should be concerned by each of your pet’s requirements.
One thing that requires close attention is your pet’s health needs. What do you do when your pet is hungry? You feed it.
Of course, you can make things easy for both of you by sticking to routine feeding times. If you are to feed your adult gecko three times a week, devise a good routine and stick with it.
Your leopard gecko will signal when he’s not feeling well. You can tell through a change of behavior when he’s dealing with an issue.
For example, the pet may sit for unreasonably long periods in water. This could be a sign that your gecko is inflamed and hurting.
Keep the vet’s contacts handy for such eventualities.
#5 – Top-Shape Enclosure for Your Pet
Don’t compromise on the quality of your leopard gecko’s enclosure. Your pet may become sickly if you make it spend time in a stinky, filthy enclosure.
Avoid this kind of problem by taking the time to regularly clean after your pet. For example, change its water and wash the feeding and bathing bowls regularly.
To avoid too much hassle in cleaning your pet’s enclosure, invest in a low-maintenance one from the start.
This type of enclosure cleans itself naturally, making living conditions for your gecko more comfortable and healthy.
Although a bioactive enclosure may be a bit pricey initially, you’ll reap massive benefits to make you forget the initial capital.
Are You Qualified to Keep a Leopard Gecko as a Pet? – A Quick Check!
- You should have a natural love for pets in general and reptiles in particular. Otherwise, try out another hobby.
- You should be ready to spend between $300 and $500 on the leopard gecko and its supplies. If not, look for a cheaper pet, such as a rodent or fish.
- You should be willing to source for live insects regularly. Otherwise, consider breeding the insects on your premises. You may also go for pets that don’t require live insects.
- Do your children keep touching their faces at playtime? If they do, the leopard gecko may not be the right pet for them as they’ll likely contract zoonotic diseases from this reptile.
- Will you be there for your pet when it’s most active at dawn and dusk? If you can’t choose a pet that’s active during the hours, you’re likely to be free.
- Are you ready to setup a bioactive, self-cleaning enclosure? If yes, you’ll have an easy time cleaning after your pet.
Otherwise, you should be ready to do all the cleaning by yourself.
- Are you looking for an affectionate pet? If yes, you may want a different pet that responds to your overtures for affection.
If you’re okay with a pet that’s not very affectionate, the leopard gecko could be the right one.
If you desire to keep a pet lizard, you may want to consider a leopard gecko. Keeping this animal is not a complicated affair – whether you are new or a seasoned hand in this field.
Leopard gecko lizards are cheaper to maintain than most other reptiles. However, you need to arm yourself with adequate information about this lizard before bringing it into your home.
From the start, you need to be sure that this is the pet for you.