Leopard gecko

We have some basic information you need to ensure your pets setup mimics their natural habitat as much as possible to keep them healthy and happy.

Download our leopard gecko care sheet (PDF 379KB)


Gecko lifespan, size and other general information

A leopard gecko can grow to around 15 to 25 centimetres and live for 10 to 20 years in captivity, so owning one is a big commitment. They prefer to live alone, but can become used to being handled if done so carefully.

A healthy gecko has clear, bright eyes and a thick tail and its belly should only touch the floor when resting.

Read more about handling geckos and monitoring their health in our leopard gecko care sheet (PDF 379KB)

Lizard gecko quick information © RSPCA

Leopard gecko setup - vivarium

Reptile starter kits will be outgrown quickly, so when purchasing new equipment it's better to get a large enclosure at the outset. When looking for a leopard gecko vivarium, there are a few essential things you'll need:

  • An adult gecko needs a tank at least 60cm long, 40cm high and 30cm deep.
  • To ensure bacteria doesn't build up, the setup needs to be easy to clean and well ventilated.

Temperature, heat lamps, uv lights and humidity

Leopard geckos use their environment to regulate their body temperature. So, it's important to provide a 'thermogradient' - with a heat lamp at one end and a cooler area at the other. Use thermostats to regulate the temperatures. Leopard geckos also need ultraviolet light and a dry environment.

  • The basking area should remain between 28 and 30 degrees C during the day, and the cool end 24 to 26 degrees C.
  • At night turn off the heat lamp but ensure the temperature doesn't dip below 18 degrees C with a heat mat or ceramic heat lamp.
  • Leopard geckos need a relatively dry environment. Measure the humidity at the cool end of the tank with a hygrometer - it should be between 30 and 40 per cent.
  • Your gecko will need low levels of ultraviolet light. A 2 to 5 per cent UVB bulb will provide this and allow them to make vitamin D inside their body - an essential mineral which allows your gecko to store and use calcium.

Hides and substrates

To ensure your leopard gecko can exhibit natural behaviours you'll need to provide hiding places, and low, sturdy branches or rocks for climbing.

The substrate, or floor covering, needs to be natural so as to minimise the risk of impaction - a potentially fatal issue where particles become lodged inside of the belly and cause a blockage. So do not use 'caci-sand or beech wood chips as these cannot be digested.

Read more about setup and vivariums - download our leopard gecko care sheet (PDF 379KB)

What and when do leopard geckos eat?

They eat a diet of live invertebrates (insects) which can include crickets, 'calci worms', waxworms and small locusts of suitable size: no bigger than the size of the gecko's head. You need to provide fresh vegetables and clean water to keep the livefood hydrated.

Juveniles should be fed daily; adults every other day. You'll need to top up your gecko's nutrients with supplements too. Ask your vet for advice on the best supplements to use.

Read more about feeding, supplements and hydration in our care sheet.

Download the leopard gecko care sheet now (PDF 379KB)

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