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Learn everything you need to know

THE LEOPARD GECKO HANDBOOK

This book is packed with easy-to-understand information on selecting and setting up a habitat, feeding, breeding, and all other aspects of proper leopard gecko care.

Is Getting A Leopard Gecko Worth It? (Pros And Cons)

Leopard geckos are popular pet lizards among new and experienced reptile keepers.

These small lizards require less maintenance than other reptile species, and their habitat is simple and easy to set up.

However, before you add a leopard gecko to your home, there are a few things to consider.

To provide the best care for a leopard gecko, you must schedule time for feeding, cleaning the enclosure, and bonding with your pet.

You will also need to budget for ongoing needs like food and annual healthcare costs.

So, is getting a leopard gecko worth it?

A leopard gecko makes an excellent pet for someone willing to put forth the time and effort needed for proper care. If you are unable to spend time bonding with your pet lizard or you do not like the thought of handling live insects, a leopard gecko may not be for you.

It is important to research the aspects of leopard gecko care to decide if it is the right pet for your household.

Understanding your leopard gecko’s needs and habits will result in a more rewarding experience and ensure your pet is healthy and happy.

Read on for our list of the pros and cons of owning a leopard gecko to help you decide if it is worth it.

is getting a leopard gecko worth it

Pros of Getting a Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos make wonderful pets for a variety of reasons.

The leopard gecko is small, has minimal care requirements, and is an excellent lizard for beginners.

A common misconception about lizards is that they are not as friendly as other animals.

Unlike cats or dogs, leopard geckos are quiet, do not smell, and usually have a docile temperament.

Leopard geckos have also been known to bond with their owners, and they enjoy being held.

Below are several more reasons you might want to consider getting a leopard gecko as a pet.

You Do Not Need a Lot of Space

One of the major pros of a leopard gecko is you do not need a lot of space or a big yard to own one.

Baby geckos will do well in a 10-gallon tank, while adult leopard geckos need a slightly larger 20-gallon tank.

The larger tank size allows for a better temperature gradient and gives your adult gecko more room to hide and explore.

A leopard gecko will thrive in a small enclosure as long as it is designed to recreate its natural environment.

Simple Habitat Setup

You only need a few basic items to create a leopard gecko habitat.

Since leos cannot regulate their body temperature, you will create a thermal gradient by placing a heat lamp on one end of the cage.

An incandescent heat bulb will keep the basking area between 87-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).

The other side of the leopard gecko enclosure needs a range of temperatures between 75-80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C).

This thermal gradient allows the gecko to choose its preferred temperature according to its needs.

If your house is drafty or cold in the winter, you may use a heat mat or ceramic heat emitter to keep the cage warm at night.

Leopard geckos are desert lizards, so humidity levels in the enclosure must only be around 30%-40% to create a dry environment.

Unlike other reptile species, leopard geckos do not need UVB rays as long as they are provided with a calcium supplement, so additional enclosure lighting is unnecessary.

Add a shallow dish of clean water and a couple of hiding spots to create the ideal environment for your gecko.

The hiding spots may be commercial reptile caves or small cardboard boxes.

A humid hide prevents a leo from having dry skin and helps with the shedding process.

For a low-maintenance enclosure, you may want to consider a bioactive environment, which uses live insects and plant life to remove waste and bacteria.

Further Reading: Complete habitat guide for leopard geckos

Long Life in Captivity

Leopard geckos in the wild have an average lifespan of 3-8 years.

In captivity, leos may live from 10-20 years, comparable to a dog or cat.

These long-lived lizards allow you plenty of time to enjoy and bond with your gecko.

Easy to Breed in Captivity

It is easy to breed leopard geckos in captivity, and raising the babies is not difficult.

Baby geckos are easy to feed and quickly adapt to a captive environment.

If you decide to breed your leos, you must have enough space to accommodate several cages.

While it is possible to house two or more females with adequate cage space, the males must be separated to avoid aggressive behavior.

Available in Various Colors and Patterns

The most common color of leopard geckos you will likely see at a pet store is yellow with black spots.

However, leos are also available in various colors and patterns, known as morphs.

These unique morph colors range from orange, yellow, or tan, and the leo may have a striped or splotchy pattern.

Patternless leos are also available, but they are typically more expensive.

You are more likely to find a unique leopard gecko color morph online or from a local breeder.

The color or pattern may change drastically as the gecko becomes an adult, so this is something to consider when looking for a particular morph.

Further Reading: Awesome leopard gecko morphs (with pictures)

Easy to Handle

A leopard gecko may be trained for handling in as little as two weeks.

You must keep handling sessions short until your gecko is completely comfortable with you.

It is crucial to ensure your leo is kept warm during handling and avoid any sudden movements to prevent stressing your pet lizard too much.

pros and cons of leopard geckos

Cons of Getting a Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are generally easy to care for, but there are a few reasons you may not want one for a pet.

Tail Dropping

As a defense mechanism, leopard geckos can drop their tail when they are startled or scared.

While a leo’s tail will grow back, it will usually be much shorter than the original.

Tail dropping is not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it may be something you want to consider if you are getting a pet for a small child.

Live Insect Diet

Leopard geckos are insectivores requiring a diet of small, live insects like crickets or roaches.

If you are uncomfortable dealing with insects, this may be an issue.

Buying crickets and other insects may also become expensive.

It is possible to breed your feeder insect colony for a constant food supply, but this may be very time-consuming.

You will also need to gut load the feeder insects and dust them with a calcium powder supplement before giving them to your leo.

Gut loading the insects ensure they are full of nutrients to keep your leopard gecko healthy.

Dusting the insects with calcium powder 2-3 times a week is necessary to prevent metabolic bone disease, which is painful and often fatal for leopard geckos.

Could Make You Sick

Captive-born leopard geckos are not likely to carry diseases they could pass to you, but they may transmit salmonella.

To avoid getting salmonella from your leo, wash your hands and clothing after handling your pet.

If you have small children, it is crucial to teach them not to touch their faces while handling a leopard gecko and ensure they thoroughly wash their hands afterward.

Color Morphs May Be Expensive

Common leopard geckos sell for around $20-$30, but rare color morphs are sometimes very expensive.

The Black Night morph, which is almost entirely black, may cost as much as $3,400 and is one of the most expensive leopard gecko morphs.

Other fancy leopard gecko morphs are priced from $200 to $500 or more, so this is something to be aware of if you want a more colorful lizard.

Not As Active As Other Reptiles

Compared to other reptile species, leopard geckos are not very active lizards.

A leo is more active during the hours of dawn and dusk when they will come out to eat and maybe do some light exploring their tank.

Leos do not climb like other gecko species, such as the crested gecko.

If you like the idea of watching your lizard play and explore, especially during the day, a leopard gecko may not be the ideal choice for you.

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