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The habitat

 

The leopard gecko's habitat is simple, compared to other tropical lizards. The leopard gecko needs a dry desert environment relatively easy to build and maintain. 

 

Basically, here is what needs a gecko.

-An aquarium with a mesh lid

-A good substrate

-A cold and warm spot

-Two hiding place (one in each spot)

-Water dish

-A self-addesive heat pad and an incandescent light for the hot spot. 

-A damp hiding box for the shedding periods

 

The aquarium

A 10 gallons tank is a good size habitat for a lonely gecko. For 2 or 3 geckos, 20 gallons is necessary. Never house two males together or they will fight to protect their territory. You'll have to place a mesh or wires lid on the top of the tank even if this gecko species can't climb vertical walls. Unless you have a very high tank and that the length between the highest object and the side of the tank is longer then the total length of the gecko, you can leave the tank open. The gecko can use his tail to reach higher places. He usually won't jump when adult.

 

Cool and warm area and heat sources 

Just like all the other reptiles, lizards need a heat source to properly digest their food. This is a crucial thing to consider for the survival of your gecko. This gecko obtain its eat from the ground and not from a lamp like turtles or tree lizards. A heat pad is necessary. Never use heating rocks, as they are known to burn lizards by creating hot spots on the rock.

 

Heat pads

Heat pads and in fact a thin piece of plastic sheet containing a small heating element. This plastic sheet has a self-adhesive side that you stick under the tank. This will produce a warm and constant heat for your gecko. Place the pad at one end of the tank, in the hot spot, under the lamp. To make it easier, don't remove the plastic of the self-adhesive part. Just place it under the tank, this way, moving the tank will be easier and if you buy a larger tank, you won't have to remove it, which can be pretty complicated most of the time!

 

Light

The light should be an incandescent bulb. The watts will vary following the size and height of your aquarium. Make some try and error until the good temperature is reached.

 

In the day, there must be a warm spot ranging from 32 to 35c (90 to 95 F) and a cool zone at 25c (77F) At night, the warm zone will be at 22c (72F) and the cool zone at 20c (68F)

The idea is to have at least one hiding place in those two zone so that the gecko can choose where he wants to go. I Usually use 3 hiding place in my big tanks. If he feel a little cold, he can go the warm zone at night and he the temperature is too hot in the day, he can go in the cold spot.

 

 

 

 

The Hiding spots

The idea is to create a place where he can be away from light and sight to sleep in the day. Those spots can be made of a simple plastic dish in which a hole is cuted. If you prefer, you can go at the petstore and find some nice rocks imitations. 

 

There must be at least one hiding spot per temperature zone. The more hiding place there is, lesser the stress is in your gecko, as he can choose where he wants to be and what suite him best.

 

 

 

 

Humid hiding spot

When I owned my first geckos, I thought that this humid box was a very complicated thing. But in the end, this is very simple!  This hiding box will only be used for the shedding periods of the gecko. To know when it's time to place the box in the habitat, your gecko will become white. It's important not to leave the humid box in the habitat for a long period as the gecko can have skin problems if he is kept in a humid environment. Once the shedding is done, you can remove the box.

 

This humid box is in fact a plastic box with a hole carved in it, with a damp absorbent substrate at the bottom light. You can use various kind of plastic container in which you cut a hole on the top or on the side. To help your gecko with his shedding process, you can place a small wood stick in the box so that he can rub against it. I glued mine with melting glue.

Substrates:

-Vermiculite

-Kitchen roll paper

-Peat moss

Water dish

Even if those are desert lizards, they do need water. A small water dish should be place in the habitat preferably in the cold zone to avoid evaporation. You can fill the water dish every 3 or 4 days leaving it to dry between fillings. This will prevent bacteria and algae from growing in the dish. The main problem you'll have with the water dish is that the crickets always have the bad idea of drowning in it! You'll need to provide them a lifesaver material as wire mesh or some small rocks in the dish to allow them to come out.

 

In the moment, I'm testing the use of water bottle usually made for small pets. Those bottles are made of glass and don't have metal ball in it. I told myself those geckos will surly smell the humidity and come to lick the glass tube where the water is. For the moment, I'm testing this in my 3 gecko tanks and for now, no one have problems shedding and the water level goes down slowly... to be continued!

 

 

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