Do you have a baby leopard gecko on the way, but you’re worried you won’t take care of it correctly?
Are you considering breeding leopard geckos and want to know what you’re getting into before committing to it?
Leopard geckos are perfect reptile pets for beginners.
They’re easy to care for and generally healthy critters.
Baby leopard geckos are even cuter and more fun than their adult counterparts, but they have slightly different needs, which all owners need to be aware of.
This may seem intimidating to care for such tiny creatures, but we’re here to help you out.
This is precisely why we made this guide for how to take care of a baby leopard gecko.
Baby leopard geckos need the same temperature and humidity as an adult. They need to be fed daily using the length and size rule. Baby geckos enjoy being handled and build bonds quickly, but their fragile skeletal system means you need to handle them less frequently and more carefully.
Check out the rest of the post for more details.
How To Take Care Of A Baby Leopard Gecko
This section covers the primary care needs for a baby leopard gecko.
Experienced owners will notice the baby leopard gecko has much in common with the adult version of the pet.
Still, some differences are there and key to proper care for a healthy life.
Feeding A Baby Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos are carnivores and live on diets of worms and insects.
There are three main elements of a leopard gecko diet you need to know about.
How often should they be fed?
Adult leopard geckos are fed every other day.
Feeding more than this over a long period will result in obesity which causes all sorts of health problems and shortens life span.
With babies, more frequent feeding is good because they’re constantly growing.
Baby leopard geckos should be fed daily.
What to feed your leopard geckos?
Generally, a leopard gecko adult will eat any worm or insect of the correct size.
Mealworms and crickets are the staple foods for them.
The baby leopard gecko can eat the same things, but it gets hard to find small enough food for them to eat in many of the feed worms.
Experienced owners recommend using crickets until the baby gecko is large enough to handle the mealworms and other insects.
Other good insects to feed once the gecko reaches a large enough size:
- Dubia Roaches
- Wax Worms
- Phoenix Worms
How many insects and what size should they be?
There are two rules for geckos when it comes to feeding.
During a meal (every other day for adults and every day for babies), leopard geckos should be fed two insects for every 1″ inch (2.54 cm) they are long.
If your baby leopard gecko is 3″ inches (7.62 cm) long, it needs to eat around six insects every meal.
The other rule affects the size of the prey.
As with many reptiles, you want to make sure the food isn’t too large.
Eating too big of food may result in choking, impaction, or worse.
Look at the space between the leopard geckos eyes. The cricket needs to be smaller than this.
All leopard geckos need a vitamin supplement with every meal, but this is even more important with babies.
As they grow, they need those nutrients to develop naturally and without as much illness.
The biggest issue to watch out for is calcium deficiency.
If left unchecked, calcium deficiencies may turn into metabolic bone disease, which degrades the skeletal structure and often results in injuries, deformities, and death.
Fortunately, this is easy to avoid with two basic supplement methods.
Use a sprinkle supplement like this one to dust the crickets before feeding them.
This will get some calcium in the geckos every meal.
It’s less efficient than the following method but much easier.
- Highly bioavailable source of calcium carbonate
- Free of harmful impurities (not from Oyster Shells)
- Use with reptiles that require vitamin D3 to assimilate calcium
Gut loading is when you take the crickets and feed them a high-calcium meal the day before feeding.
Since you feed baby geckos every day, this means you’ll need to think ahead.
The crickets gather the calcium in their digestive systems for when the geckos eat them.
This is a more efficient way to deliver more nutrients.
Do this with natural foods like collard greens or kale, or use a high calcium food like this Fluker’s Cricket Feed.
Baby Leopard Gecko Habitat
Baby leopard gecko habitats need the same elements as adult ones.
They need 10-20 gallons (75.71 l) of space, preferably from an actual pet enclosure.
The walls need to be high enough to prevent the gecko from jumping over the sides (a closed top is ideal).
Temperature needs are the same.
Use an overhead heating light and under the tank heater to get these marks hit.
- Ground temperature of 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C)
- Air temperature cooling to 72° degrees Fahrenheit (22° C)
This is the daytime temperature.
Leopard geckos are nocturnal and absorb and store the heat throughout the day while the rest.
At night, they come out to hunt.
They’re most active at twilight times, sunset and sunrise.
Simulate this by using the heater for 12 hours on and then 12 hours off.
UVB lighting isn’t needed for the leopard geckos, but if you use live plants, the UVB lights are a must to keep them alive.
Leopard geckos need a relative humidity in the tank of 10-30%.
This is lower than some homes are naturally.
Make sure you use a hygrometer to check the humidity regularly.
If the room sits at the more average 40-50% relative humidity, you may need to use a dehumidifier just in the place where your pet is kept.
- EASY TO USE: This mini dehumidifier is spill and mess free. Just hang and go! Non-toxic, child and pet safe! Your small rooms will be dry and odor free. Works for areas up to 333 cubic feet
- MINI DEHUMIDIFIER GOES A LONG WAY: Super dry dehumidifier unit lasts 20-30 days before recharging the silica gel beads. Absorbing capacity up to 6oz
- SMALL, SLEEK DESIGN: This portable small design lets you hang or conveniently place the dehumidifier anywhere to fight pesky humidity! Cars, closets, boats, cabinets, gun safes, and even gym bags! A very convenient cool gift for everyone!
Outside this, everything else is the same.
Learn more details about the leopard gecko habitat and care.
When picking out items in the tank, keep the furniture lower to the ground.
Baby leopard geckos are more fragile to drop.
More on this in the next section.
Can You Hold A Baby Leopard Gecko?
One of the best parts of owning leopard geckos is how much they love handling and bonding with their owners.
This starts as babies, but you need to take extra care when handling them.
Baby geckos don’t have a fully developed skeletal system.
Even when comparing how they feel when handling adults and babies, the babies feel noticeably more “rubbery.”
As such, they’ll get hurt quite easily if pressed or dropped.
Yes, you should handle a baby gecko; just be more careful.
Use both of your hands to form a gentle cage or harness.
Geckos generally are capable of jumping and running fast without warning.
As such, you always need to be prepared for the baby to move.
Keep your hands lower to the ground when handling.
Don’t avoid picking them up, but don’t carry them for a more extended period.
This makes them more likely to struggle.
Think about handling, touching, and playing with them by stroking or letting them run over your hands while they’re on the ground.
This is much safer for them as young ones and lets them build the bond by getting used to your scent and presence.
Our post on how to play with your leopard gecko will help you with this.
How Often Should I Handle My Baby Leopard Gecko?
With the above ideas in mind, handle/pick up your leopard gecko baby once every three days for only 5 minutes.
Every two handlings, at another minute or two, until you reach 20 minutes.
Then, increase it to 20 minutes every other day.
This is all part of the taming process.
Once they reach 20 minutes every other day, this is the recommended maximum for all leopard geckos as adults.
They enjoy being handled, but you still don’t want to do too much.
If they get too stressed, they’ll drop their tails.
Sure, the tails grow back, but the patterns never match up perfectly and are usually stubbier.
Be patient and be prepared for running and jumping.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t interact with them more often.
It’s OK to interact daily by stroking them, but be on the lookout for signs of stress.
If you see this, give them a break.
Signs of stress:
- Fast tail wagging
- Chirping with the above behaviors
Just be aware of their signs and safety, and your pet will grow up with a good bond.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how to take care of a baby leopard gecko.
Pet stores will often sell the geckos as babies and juveniles to allow for a better chance of bonding, so knowing how to care for them this young is essential.
Fortunately, the difference between them as babies and adults is minimal.
Ensure the tank is set up regularly, feed them appropriately-sized insects daily, and handle them with extra care.
Your gecko will grow quickly, and love you through the process.