When you get your first reptile, you are probably enthusiastic about your new pet.
Many people immediately get ready to make their next purchase from the pet store or a local breeder.
If you have a leopard gecko, what type of tank mates can they have?
As a general rule, it is OK to house female leopard geckos together safely, but males should never cohabitate. Certain types of small frogs and turtles are good choices for tank mates. However, large frogs or toads, and other types of lizards are not compatible tank mates.
Before you make another pet purchase, here is everything you need to know about who can safely live with your new leopard gecko.
Can Leopard Geckos Cohabitate?
Many new reptile keepers love their leopard gecko and wonder what it would be like to have more than one.
These animals are cute and fun to keep, so can you keep more than one in an enclosure?
The answer is yes, it is possible, but it depends on their gender.
Multiple males cannot be housed together.
They are too aggressive and often end up in fights which can cause lasting damage to one another.
In some instances, they will even fight to the death for resources and space.
There are too many risks to warrant housing two males together.
On the other hand, female leopard geckos can live together with very few issues if you are an experienced owner.
When you purchase from pet stores or breeders, make sure to select females who are roughly the same size.
If there is a size differential between your female geckos, the larger ones are more likely to bully the smaller ones.
Some people don’t mind the possibility of ending up with babies.
If this describes you, then it’s OK to house male and female geckos together.
You may have one male and one female or one male and multiple females roughly the same size.
This type of arrangement frequently ends with the females laying fertile eggs.
In turn, this can cause a great deal of stress on the female and could lead to other health issues such as weight loss or a calcium deficiency.
Breeding your reptiles should be left to experienced owners only.
If you are purchasing your leopard geckos from a pet store, make sure you know how to sex them.
Pet stores may not tell the difference between males and females in the same way a reputable breeder can.
Males have two bulges behind the vent, one on each side of the tail and a row of pre-anal pores in front of the vent.
This is challenging to spot to an inexperienced eye.
How Big Of A Tank Do You Need For Multiple Leopard Geckos?
Keeping multiple reptiles in a single enclosure involves a bit more planning than just picking up a tank from your local pet stores.
Each subsequent gecko you keep in your tank will require the next size tank.
What is the appropriate tank size for keeping multiple geckos together?
If you plan to house geckos together, you need to add five gallons to the size of your aquarium for each additional leopard gecko.
The size of your leopard gecko and its age determines what size tank you will need.
Most people recommend a 10-gallon tank for a single baby or a 20-gallon tank for an adult.
Adding a reptile means you will need a 15-gallon to 25-gallon tank, depending on their age and size.
It is always best to go with a larger cage size if you are able to afford it.
There is no such thing as a leopard geckos enclosure which is too big.
More space simply gives them more room to play and rest in their personal space.
The important thing to remember about having a larger enclosure is to keep the temperature gradient right.
They still need an area with a heat source as well as a cool hide.
Maintaining the correct temperatures is a bit more challenging in a larger enclosure.
You may also need to put down an extra water dish or two, so they have access to fresh water in multiple areas of the cage without the need to travel far for it.
It is recommended to keep an extra enclosure on hand if you need to separate your leopard geckos.
Even in the ideal situation, your reptiles could still get into a fight and leave one of them injured.
Alternatively, you may face a situation where the other larger lizards bully one gecko in the enclosure leading to weight loss and stress.
Having a spare enclosure at your disposal is extremely helpful in these types of common situations.
It allows you to nurse your leopard gecko back to health without worrying about subsequent fights or bullying.
Learn more about setting up a leopard gecko tank by clicking to view our comprehensive guide.
Other Animals For Leopard Gecko Cohabitation
Can Leopard Geckos Live with Other Lizards?
Once you have one lizard, many owners wonder whether they can maintain an enclosure with other species.
It is tempting to expand your reptile knowledge and collection by keeping one convenient enclosure.
The question is, what other types of lizards can live comfortably with your new leopard gecko?
Many people are surprised to learn other reptile species do not make great tank mates for leopard geckos.
The most popular choices available in pet stores are from drastically different regions.
The enclosure conditions need to be too different to adequately sustain two different kinds of reptiles in one enclosure.
For example, many believe crested geckos could be good companions.
After all, neither reptile requires a UV light, and both promise to be low-maintenance pets.
However, their individual needs are not compatible with one another.
Crested geckos are arboreal, meaning they spend a lot of time climbing and hiding in trees or foliage.
Leopard geckos spend their time on the ground with very little need for plants or foliage in their enclosure.
Furthermore, their temperature needs are going to be too different.
Bearded dragons are another common choice for a tank mate for a leopard gecko.
Unfortunately, these two reptiles are not compatible either.
Bearded dragons require UV lighting and a much larger enclosure.
Adults will also be significantly larger than their leopard gecko counterparts which can pose a few major problems.
The two are both territorial creatures and will fight over space, even in an appropriately-sized terrarium.
An adult bearded dragon will be able to bully your gecko due to its size, but there is even more dangerous.
Your leopard gecko may eventually end up being a meal for your adult beardie.
Can Leopard Geckos Live with Turtles?
While keeping your leopard gecko with other lizards may be a bad idea, some owners are tempted to house them with other species of animals.
Turtles are one common choice many people turn to.
After all, turtles tend to be peaceful and friendly.
However, the size of their combined terrarium may prohibit them from being good companions to leopard geckos.
Most turtles are aquatic species which need a portion of the terrarium dedicated to water for them to swim around in.
However, they can benefit from having part of their enclosure dedicated to dry land.
After all, they do not spend all their spare time swimming around.
It’s easy to accommodate both a leopard gecko and a turtle in one aquarium, but it will have to be pretty sizable.
Consider how large some turtles can grow to be.
Their size can easily dwarf your leopard gecko, but the two aren’t likely to fight.
They just need some individual space which means you might need a massive tank.
Can Leopard Geckos be Kept with Frogs?
If you are determined to keep your gecko with a friend, frogs may be the solution.
There are many different types of frogs to choose from, so you need to do your homework before heading out to a reputable breeder.
Some frogs are not going to be compatible with geckos and other lizards in general.
The best thing to do is find a diurnal frog, meaning they are awake during the day and asleep.
This is the opposite of most leopard geckos, who primarily hide during the day and come out at night.
The idea is the two should rarely if ever, cross paths in the aquarium due to their opposite schedules.
Most will not feel they are missing out on anything by not interacting with one another.
What types of frogs are good companions to leopard geckos?
Many people find success in poison dart frogs or mantella frogs.
Contrary to their name, most poison dart frogs are not poisonous when kept in captivity.
They get their poison from their prey in the wild, and they are deprived of this source when kept as pets.
As a result, their poison fades, and they are no longer a danger.
Keep in mind some frogs will secrete toxins that can harm your other reptiles.
This makes them less than ideal as tank mates.
Be aware of what type of frog you are looking at before bringing it home.
For example, American toads and fire-belly frogs are both relatively common amphibians, but they are toxic to others.
When you mix frogs and geckos together, you must be cautious about choosing the right size of frog.
Frogs and toads who get too big might start to view your leopard gecko as a tasty snack.
You might be surprised at the type of prey these amphibians will tackle.
Sometimes, they can eat prey that are significantly larger than they are.
Large bullfrogs, large toads, and horned frogs can and will all eat large prey.
If you plan to mix the geckos and frogs together, make sure to purchase a smaller frog species from a reputable breeder.
Let them know you are planning to use them as a tank mate, and a breeder may be able to steer you in the right direction.
And if you do end up attempting to have a tank mate read our post on how to introduce a leopard gecko to another pet.
What Are The Benefits To Keeping A Leopard Gecko Alone?
The truth is keeping your gecko with other animals has the potential to be quite risky.
It requires careful monitoring to ensure both animals are getting their needs met with the correct temperature, heat rocks, heat lamps, and more.
A leopard gecko is relatively low-maintenance, but your other pets may not be quite the same.
There are some inherent benefits to keeping your gecko in their terrarium solo.
The first reason to keep your leopard gecko alone is to better monitor their health.
You will know when your gecko eats and goes to the bathroom.
If you leave your gecko insects, you are sure he is the only one eating them.
There are no concerns about one reptile being bullied out of their meal by someone else.
You know exactly what goes on with your gecko without interference or question.
You also never have to worry about fighting.
Intense fighting even between geckos can potentially be life-threatening.
No one wants to see harm come to one of their beloved pets if it is possible to prevent it.
Not to mention, taking your reptile to see a veterinarian who specializes in exotics is quite an expensive endeavor.
Balancing the needs of more than one animal in an enclosure is extraordinarily difficult.
Some require moist hide or UV lights.
Meanwhile, your leopard gecko needs very little to be happy.
They are quite content even with a paper towel instead of substrate.
Making sure to keep the temperature gradient right for more than one type of animal is quite a challenge, if not an impossibility.
Despite what many people believe, leopard geckos are not necessarily social creatures.
They are quite solitary and never feel like they are missing out on anything by being alone.