Leopard geckos are frequently touted as the ideal beginners’ reptile, and it is easy to see why. Not only are they absolutely adorable, but compared to many other reptiles their care and upkeep is relatively straightforward.
However, leopard geckos are reptiles and have specific needs which differ from the needs of mammals, so it’s important to consider a few things first.
To help me get started, I reached out to my Leopard Gecko Instagram community to find out their thoughts, and here are their responses. Thank you for everybody who contributed to this post!
“What do you wish you knew before getting a leopard gecko?”
“I wish I knew I also had to keep crickets and worms alive too!! And I wish I knew I’d find live crickets in my house!!”
“How long they live for”
“I wish I knew how much they love running off the edge of the couch”
“I wish I knew their eyesight isn’t the best”
“don’t be discouraged by a little leo not eating as well as you hoped the first week(s) because they aren’t the best at seeing their prey or catching them when young”
“I wish I knew that it’s really ideal for them to be kept separately”
“I wish I knew not to use a coloured light such as a red LED”
“That they breed faster than you expect and are really shocked when you see their first eggs. Now I am a proud dad of 2”
“That their tastes in food often change, sometimes on a monthly basis, and that both geckos would like different insects! Trying lots of insects and varying their diet is so important”
“I wish I knew that they get active really late at night so you won’t see much of them”
“Wish I was told how much of a picky eater mine was, she was fed on waxworms only and now getting her to eat a dubia is like waiting on the dinosaurs to come back”
“I wish they told me how quickly they reach full size. When I first got Lucky, he was a baby and the lady at the pet store said he could be in a 10 gallon tank for a while. And I thought a while could be a couple of months to a year. But lo and behold, he got too big for the 10 gallon within 10 months and I had to upgrade to a 20 gallon”
“Get the right size vivarium right away, don’t want for them to grow”
Some other things to consider:
- Do you have a specialist reptile vet close to you? How will you react if your gecko gets ill? Most ordinary vets do not know what they are doing when it comes to reptiles and will usually just take an x-ray, so make sure you have a plan of action in case they get ill.
- Where will you get their food from? If you don’t have a pet store close to you, can you order online? Also are you prepared to care for live insects, as well as the gecko itself?
- Are you prepared to do a lot of research on how to properly house your leopard gecko? They require underflor heating, places to hide away, fresh water and live insects, to name but a few. Check out my posts on Housing and Setup, Feeding, and FAQs to help you get started.
- Did you know that female leopard geckos can easily live up to 7-10 years, and males 10-20 years (with good care). This is a longer time commitment than getting a puppy.
- Leopard geckos are not cuddly or affectionate, and can be quite nervous. They would prefer to hide away than be out in the open, so if this is what you are looking for, perhaps a rabbit or a hamster would be more appropriate. Having said that, leopard geckos can be tamed and can be comfortable being handled for short periods of time.
Which things do you wish you had known before owning a leopard gecko? Comment below if I’ve missed anything, every piece of information and advice may help a potential new leopard gecko owner.