Enrichment is essential, even for pet reptiles such as leopard geckos!
Making your pet’s habitat more engaging and stimulating is a great way to keep your pet entertained, increase their overall quality of life, and prevent them from becoming restless or stressed out.
Here are 12 great ideas for creating a more enriching environment for your leopard gecko to thrive in.
Dry/Humid Hides with Climbing Ledges
Overall, an average leopard gecko hide is pretty basic; most tend to be small boxes with openings for your lizard to crawl inside to sleep in, relax, or promote shedding (if it’s a humid hide).
In a pinch, it’s possible to create a basic hide out of an old Tupperware or another kind of small plastic container.
Still, these kinds of hides aren’t particularly interesting or engaging for your gecko.
Plus, they don’t look beautiful in your pet’s enclosure.
Thankfully, there are far more elaborate, engaging, and even natural-looking hides available to provide more physical and visual enrichment for your lizard!
Take this lovely shale cave by Penn-Plax; with its multi-layered steps, two separate entrances, and natural appearance, your gecko will love climbing around inside this hide.
The hide’s multi-tiered structure and natural, weathered look will not only encourage your pet to explore their environment.
It will also help with shedding, as it provides plenty of ledges and textured walls for your pet to rub their body against as they remove old layers of skin.
Plus, hides like these are more interesting for you to look at as an owner, too!
Seeing your gecko get enjoyment out of the habitat you’ve built for them is incredibly rewarding, and you’ll love watching them crawl, climb, and bask using such an elaborate hide.
For a full guide on leopard gecko tank setup, click the link.
While they don’t look quite as natural as the previous option, hammocks are a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to add more depth and dimension to your lizard’s environment.
These MAIMASHI mesh hammocks come with suction cups, so you will be able to easily move them and rearrange your gecko’s habitat layout whenever you’d like.
If you prefer a more natural look than plain mesh, these Niteangel hammocks made of hand-woven seaweed will be a great visual complement to your gecko’s desert environment in their enclosure.
Both options are large and sturdy enough to provide your gecko with plenty of extra climbing space, and they will change even the most basic enclosure into an engaging, layered, and dynamic habitat.
Another more natural-looking way to spruce up your pet’s enclosure design is by placing pieces of gnarled driftwood inside.
These driftwood branches by PIVBY are a great choice; these simple enrichment items are available in many unique shapes and designs to give your leopard gecko a fun space to exhibit its natural curious and exploratory behavior.
A great thing about driftwood is it is easy to cut to different shapes and sizes to better fit the nooks and crannies of your lizard’s enclosure.
Rearrange them however you’d like, and reshape them whenever you want!
Changing the layout of your pet’s tank in small ways like this will keep things exciting but won’t be drastic enough to overwhelm or stress out your gecko all at once.
Adding more dynamic structures to your gecko’s tank will keep your gecko fit as well as engaged in its surroundings.
Bridges are yet another option you have to give your pet more interesting furniture to climb on and explore.
They are available in many different shapes, sizes, and materials.
For example, you might opt for something like this bridge by MonLiya; though it is made of resin, it has been lovingly crafted, painted, and sealed to look like it is made of intricate, weathered stone.
It has a slight incline to make climbing more fun and interesting for your gecko, and your pet will also be able to hide in the tunnel underneath the bridge when they’re done exploring!
But this type of bridge is merely one style of many you have to choose from; another attractive style to encourage climbing is a mesh rope bridge like the Penn-Plax Lizard Lounger.
These come with suction cups to allow you to move it around and connect it to different areas in the enclosure, and they are more flexible to bend and twist into various shapes and elevations.
Some bridges have hides built into them or platforms attached for your pet to bask on or take a nap under if they choose, like this one by Chneeu.
When it comes to reptile enrichment, you won’t go wrong with a fun bridge in your pet’s enclosure, regardless of the style or material you choose.
If you’ve never taken your gecko outside before, using an outdoor playpen designed for small animals is an excellent option!
This PrimePets playpen is ideal for providing your pet with some fun in the sun on a warm summer day; it even has a breathable cover on top to allow your gecko to see out of the enclosure!
Allowing your gecko to get exercise outside is a great idea, but it might be scary to simply put them outside with no means of preventing them from getting scared and running off.
Harnesses for such small lizards are hard to find and tricky to get your gecko to wear comfortably, so a covered playpen is the best way to get them outdoors without having to constantly worry about their safety.
Always be sure any playpens you purchase for your gecko are breathable and covered with a mesh screen, and never leave your pet unattended.
Predator birds or neighborhood cats will quickly snatch up your gecko if you don’t monitor them and keep them safe while outdoors!
Don’t want to bother with installing messy live plants in your gecko’s tank?
We don’t blame you!
A great alternative to live plants is realistic-looking fake plants made of safe materials to inspect and explore for your gecko.
Plus, since leopard geckos are insectivores, you won’t need to worry about your pet attempting to snack on the plants’ fake leaves and branches.
These artificial plants by SunGrow are the perfect simple items to keep your gecko happy and encourage them to interact more with their environment.
Another option you have is to place vines throughout the enclosure or attach them to the tank’s walls; these fake pothos vines by Fluker’s are inexpensive, and they come with suction cups to easily attach them wherever you want!
The possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating your leopard gecko enclosure with fake plants.
They’ll never die or attract pests, and many look just as authentic as the real thing.
Move them around from time to time to encourage exploration behaviors in your gecko.
If you’re set on a naturalistic environment for your pet, you won’t go wrong with using natural plants like aloes, pothos vines, and echeveria succulents, just to name a few!
While they require a bit more upkeep and will eventually be replaced, many gecko owners opt for real plants over fake ones since they look more realistic and more accurately mimic the plants found in their pet’s natural habitat.
Succulents like the dracaena and elephant bush and vines like the pothos in particular work well in reptile enclosures as they don’t require much water and are incredibly hardy plants.
Plus, they look great and come in many lovely shades of green and blue to give your gecko’s tank some color and charm!
Additionally, like with fake plants, since leopard geckos are pure insectivores, you won’t have to worry about them munching on any leaves or branches.
For more details, take a look at our full list of leopard gecko terrarium plants.
Platforms and Ramps
Playing with and modifying the elevation in your gecko’s tank is yet another means of providing enrichment to your gecko.
There are many ways to accomplish this, from using rocks and bridges and hammocks, but one of the best options is a simple elevated platform with a ramp for your gecko to climb.
Not only will this encourage exercise and increase your gecko’s activity levels in general, but it will also provide them with a higher vantage point to look out over their enclosure whenever they want.
Although these floating piers by VOVOV are most often used in turtle aquariums, they are also ideal for leopard gecko tanks.
Remember, it’s okay to get creative with many of these options, even if the recommended product isn’t necessarily designed strictly for leopard geckos.
These elevated platforms also make excellent basking spots!
If you want to keep your gecko comfortable and pampered, put some soft fabric on the platform to provide them with a cushioned spot to bask in.
Your gecko will feel like royalty basking upon their throne!
Coconut husk huts are a fun way to introduce a delightfully tropical aesthetic to your pet’s habitat and provide environmental complexity.
These unique structures, like this one from SunGrow, are essentially hollowed-out coconut husks used as hides.
In addition to looking great and being made from natural materials, coco huts provide captive leopard geckos with a cozy spot to hide, bask, or even shed inside comfortably.
They typically come with a loop to allow you to hang them wherever you’d like in the enclosure, and they come with a convenient little rope ladder to help your gecko pull themselves up and crawl inside them with ease.
Encouraging your gecko’s natural behaviors is often as easy as simply giving them the structures and environment to explore while also feeling comfortable and safe.
Coco huts are secure, made of all-natural coconut husks, and easy to climb inside or even on top of as they please.
When most reptile owners think of enrichment, they typically think of things their pets play with, climb on, or otherwise explore.
However, feeding and watering also provide the necessary enrichment your pet needs, and there are plenty of ways to make nourishment more interesting and engaging.
This water fountain from Neptonion provides a great way to make drinking water more appealing to your leopard gecko.
It comes with some valuable features such as feeding tongs for future meals and suction cups to adhere the fountain to the walls of your pet’s enclosure.
If you’re worried the fountain is too tall for your gecko, you have the option of adding a ramp or elevated platform to help them access it more easily and comfortably.
Plus, the Neptonion fountain comes with a pump to allow you to adjust the water flow for your pet!
The gentle waterfall will be visually appealing to your gecko, in turn encouraging them to stay hydrated.
Finally, the food-grade resin the fountain is made of is easy to wipe clean.
If you want to make it look even more natural, just add some vines, rocks, or other kinds of fake plants around it, so it blends in more cohesively with your enclosure’s overall aesthetic.
Of course, if you want something more budget-friendly and basic, this reptile waterer by SLSON is also a great choice, and it has a slanted platform for your gecko to easily climb up to access the water dish.
Most leopard gecko owners know their lizards need a humid hide in addition to a dry hide.
However, achieving the perfect level of humidity is often challenging.
It’s possible to just mist the hide with water regularly.
Still, if you want something more hands-off, a humidifier hide like this one from Hypeety is both useful for you and more engaging for your gecko to interact with.
The hide has a watering dish positioned directly above it, so maintaining humidity inside it is as simple as filling up the dish and placing it near a heat source.
With this ingenious construction, your gecko can drink water from the dish on top or hide inside the moist cave opening below!
By integrating these two structures your gecko needs, you’ll save space in the tank for other types of enrichment decor and provide your pet with a humid hide which mostly maintains itself!
Just refill the water as needed and check your tank’s hygrometer from time to time to ensure humidity levels are within a normal range.
Other Fun Decor
Decorations for your gecko’s enclosure don’t necessarily have to serve a single, specific purpose; some decor options simply give your pet something to look at while exploring their habitat.
While you don’t want to crowd your lizard’s tank with unnecessary trinkets, add some fun structures like statues, signs, and other interesting objects.
Take this fun skull decoration by Exo-Terra, for example; it has a unique shape and lots of crevices for your pet to investigate as they roam around their enclosure.
Feel free to get creative and switch things out now and then so your gecko keeps interacting with and exploring their environment.