leopard gecko faq ama

AMA – ask your leopard gecko questions here

If you have questions on anything leopard gecko-related, then please ask away in the comments below.

I was getting so many questions through my contact form; they are often very similar and take quite a lot of time to reply to individually, so by publishing your questions in the comment section here, you’ll be able to get the answer you need and also see what others have asked 🙂

Disclaimer: I am not a vet, just a leopard gecko owner who wants to share knowledge with other owners. If you believe your leopard gecko is seriously unwell, then please seek veterinary care and advice.

63 comments

    1. I have only used crickets once for my geckos, and I found them smelly and noisy. My geckos didn’t even seem very interested in them, so I didn’t bother buying them again 😂

      There are different types of crickets (I think I got the silent brown ones) so I’ll have to try some of the others and then do a proper review. L

      At the moment I haven’t used them enough to give a comprehensive enough review 😊

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  1. Informative blog, do you keep your feeder of mealworms over the heating pad or in a cooler section? My gecko doesn’t seem to have much interest in mealworms that are left for him to have at his leisure. They also don’t seem to be very active when in the dish so he doesn’t have any interest. Any suggestions. One last question I read somewhere that his tail should be as wide as his body,do you agree with this?

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    1. I keep them on the warmer side if possible, but my geckos often don’t show interest if they’re just left in a feeding bowl. I sometimes have to use tweezers to feed them – it makes the worms wiggle more and they seem to care a little bit more.
      Also I try to feed them on more than just mealworms – they seem to prefer morioworms over mealworms anyway. But also mixing their diet with things like Dubai roaches or locusts can help.
      Eventually their tails will end up about the same width as their body in a healthy adult gecko yes 😊

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    2. Hello!
      I’ve owned my leopard gecko for six months now and up until a month ago his behaviour was normal. Now he always wants to get out of his terrarium when I come to feed him instead of eating and will frantically climb the front doors. At first I would let him out and sit with him but now when I do this he gets stressed after awhile and poops on me or the floor. As far as I know everything is okay in his enclosure: he has a 20gallon tank with 4 hides, his warm side is at 92F, he has a moist hide with paper towel, and his humidity is 40%. He even does this when I make him a large gecko safe area, he frantically climbs the sides and tries to escape. I’ve asked someone before and they said it was just a behaviour rut and to let it play out but now he’s only eating 2 worms a day (he used to eat 10-12). I would hand feed him but now that he’s been ignoring me and just trying to climb the tweezers I’ve put his worms in a dish for the first time. If you had any insight that would be helpful I would really appreciate it as I want him to be happy.

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      1. Try not to worry too much. Geckos eat less as they reach maturity anyway as their metabolism slows down… mine once ate several works per day but now probably eat about 5-8 per week depending on their mood/ time of year etc. It’s also good to vary their diet if you aren’t already.
        My geckos have also gone through periods where it’s like they want to get out of their vivariums, they look like they’re trying to climb the glass and are waving their hands around and pressing their bellies against the glass. I don’t know why they do this but it does seem to only be a phase for mine too.
        You’re doing the right thing by putting him back when he gets stressed if you get him out.
        I think you’re doing all the right things but if you’re really worried perhaps seek out a vet.
        As long as they’re eating and pooping properly, are a healthy weight, and they shed nicely, then you’re probably doing everything perfectly 😊

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    1. Kind of… once per month they will turn pale and look a bit spooky just before they shed their skin. This is normal.
      Also their patterns develop from when they’re babies through to when they reach adult size

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  2. We got my gecko about a week ago and she has spent all her time in her humid hide, we have barely seen her ear anything and haven’t seen any poop come up. Some people said she might be shedding but we saw very tiny skin flakes when we got her and no new signs of shedding in the past week so we assume she was just finishing a shed. Im just not sure how to get her to come out and eat/poop without forcing her out since she’s kind of new still

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    1. As she has only been with you for one week, I am not too worried about her not eating – this is normal in the first week or so while your gecko settles in.
      Is your moist hide in the warm or cool area of her tank? I am wondering if maybe you would benefit from adjusting your thermostat temperature slightly; if the hide is in the cool side of your tank, maybe your gecko is finding the warm side a little too warm (and vice versa if it’s situated in the warm side currently).
      I used to worry that my gecko wasn’t leaving its hide/ eating, so I bought a Wifi camera – I wrote a post on it here. This may help you if you could buy one and then you can spy on your gecko at night: https://leopardgecko.care/2019/06/03/how-to-spy-on-your-leopard-gecko/

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  3. I’ve had my leopard gecko for just over a month now, and in the past week they’ve been getting really comfortable with handling… in fact, we went from me just putting my hand in the cage and them sniffing it for about 3 weeks, to them readily climbing on to it every day for almost the past week! In fact, it almost seems like they WANT to climb on, because every time I’ve opened the top of the enclosure or am putting in my hand to feed, my gecko seems disinterested in the food and more with climbing on. As fun as this is, I’m a bit worried because my gecko hasn’t been paying any attention to the mealworms I’ve been trying to feed — they’ve been a pretty good eater for the past few weeks, eating mealworms most days and crickets a couple times a week, but in the last couple days they’ve become disinterested. Should I be worried?

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  4. To top it off, when it comes to handling, they’ve gotten very adventurous about jumping off, and it’s very scary! It’s happened a few times now from various heights, and for the most part they’ve seemed okay, but I was super worried yesterday because when I put my gecko back into their enclosure, they started licking their arm and almost flinching whenever they put pressure on it, and one of their back legs was twitching weirdly. This went a way after a bit and they seem to be fine and moving normally today, but still worried about this continuing to happen and my gecko hurting themselves!

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  5. Since his last shed our Gecko has suddenly stopped eating his mealworms so often. He used to eat about 5/6 each night (he’s 4 months old) but now he’s been leaving about 3 days inbetween feeds! Also he has been spending most of his time in his cool hide.Should we be worried?
    Regards Debbie

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    1. As they get older they eat less, and when they reach adolescence and adulthood they do get lazier, their metabolism slows and they will probably only eat 2-3 times per week.
      Just keep an eye on him – if he’s eating a few times per week, maintaining weight and pooping normally, I wouldn’t worry.
      If he’s spending a lot of time in his cool hide, maybe it would be worth lowering the heat mat temperature ever so slightly and see if he changes his behaviour over the next week. Maybe he’s finding his warm side a little too hot.
      If he then starts spending more time in his warm hide, then that will possibly improve his appetite and energy levels.
      Sometimes it really is trial and error with them.
      I have definitely found that adjusting the temperature of the heat mat can help – so hopefully this will help you too!

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  6. Is it possible that a leopard gecko just doesn’t want to be handled? I’ve had my gecko for over two years and in that time, no matter how I approached taming him, he simply refused to buy into it. Overall, he’s healthy, and there have been no drastic changes to his tank. I always assumed that he was more of a “lone wolf” where he didn’t want to be disturbed unless it was for food. He seems happy like this, but it’s always bothered me cause I was aware of how friendly Leos can be.

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    1. My honest opinion is that no leopard geckos WANT to be handed, sadly. I try to trick myself into thinking they enjoy it, but I honestly think they prefer being solitary in their hides, as they are solitary beings in the wild.
      I just think some deal with being handled much better than others – My male is more compliant when I handle him than my female is.
      So yes it’s entirely possible 🙂

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  7. What would have caused my gecko to have a film on half of his eye, he keeps his eye closed when he is in his tank. I am concerned.

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  8. I am in the USA, I am interested in the vinyl substrate…my question is should I be concerned about the chemical make up of the vinyl? I know some smells different than others. Another question about the heating pads and thermostats….I am housing 1 adult in a 20L aquarium, if I wish to keep the warm side about 85* as you suggest, do I need a specific wattage of heating pad or thermostat??? Up until now, I have been led to use heating lights day and night, so this concept is really new to me.

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    1. The vinyl is safe and the one I use doesn’t have an odor. Just make sure you don’t get one with adhesive as that could be harmful!
      You just need to make sure your heat mat covers about a third of the bottom of your tank. Your heat mat will be able to stay at whatever temperature you instruct the thermostat to be at. The thermostat will measure the surface temperature of the substrate and keep the heat level constant.
      If you haven’t already seen it, I did a post about this (where I explained it much better than I am doing right now lol).
      I hope this helped?

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      1. I saw the post and what it is you use. Based on being in the Usa and finances i did not know if the wattage of the mat or thermostat, affected the ability or lack of, to reach 85°.. i planned 1/3 of tank but the ones i saw were 16 W, And I didn’t know if that would be strong enough to keep it at 85°

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      2. Yes I think that will be strong enough. The temperature of their heat mats isn’t actually that hot… it not too much warmer than a human’s body temperature. As long as you’re getting a proper reptile mat from a known and trusted brand I think you’ll be fine 🙂

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  9. Hello, Im planning on getting a leo and im trying to figure out everything i need and i have figured out everything but the light situation and i have decided on getting a heat mat. But do I also need any kind of light for the gecko? If so please be specific so i can know what to get to keep them healthy.

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    1. A heat mat is enough. That’s all I use. There’s some debate about UV lighting (I wrote an entire post on it recently which is on my homepage) but I don’t use any additional lighting for mine. I do suggest you read that post and then make your decision 🙂

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  10. I just wondered if I could run a question by you, I have never used paper products as a substrate before but as messy as my gecko is I figured maybe that would be the best option as much as I have to clean. My worry was tonight I ran out of paper towels in the middle of cleaning and chose to use toilet paper because I didn’t wanna leave half the tank without a substrate if that makes sense. Now is this a fire hazard of any sort? Have you ever heard of that? I guess because toilet paper is thinner and because I have the under tank here as well as the basking light and UVB light my fear is some thing is going to be flammable as silly as that sounds

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    1. I’ve never heard of anything being a fire hazard in a gecko’s vivarium. The heat mat itself doesn’t reach dramatically high temperatures, so it wouldn’t reach enough of a heat to set tissue paper alight.
      Leopard geckos do not need basking lamps though, the heat mat is all they need for heat.
      I much prefer vinyl as substrate as it’s so easy to clean and can last for year. Paper towels are a great option but like you said, you probably get through quite a lot of them 🙂

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      1. Lol okay, not sure what made me think of it but once I did that’s all I thought about so thank you for clarifying! “He” is in a new 40 gallon tank so I thought about using the basking light to add a little extra heat in such a big tank, warm side stays about 80° and his heat mat is set at 97° while his cool side stays around 70° does that all sound about right or do you think I should still turn the light off? Also what type of vinyl do you use is there a particular brand or store that you favor over another? I’m trying to stay away from the carpets because I feel like I can hear my little guys nails getting tugged on it. Sorry for so many questions

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      2. Yeah the carpets can be hazardous I’ve heard (but never used them so don’t have first hand experience!).
        I bought my vinyl from a flooring store (I did some posts on it if you want to read more) but they come in huge rolls, and so I am selling my excess through my blog.
        Most vinyl should be ok as long as it doesn’t have an adhesive on the bottom (the fumes could be harmful to the gecko). Hope this helps!

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  11. Hi! I’ve had my leopard gecko for about 5 months and she’s been acting completely normal however maybe two months ago she started developing bumps on both of her knees. They almost look like cysts? They don’t seem to cause her any pain and she acts completely normal. One started to form on her elbow so i’m just confused as to what these are and if they’re dangerous. She also seems to have a swollen wrist and that has been that way about the same amount of time.

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  12. Hi, I’m planning on getting a leo and I have seen articles that say 1 only needs a 10 gallon tank and some say they need a 20 and the petstore says 40, what should I get and what products should i use/ put inside

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    1. The housing should be over 2ft (60cm) long for a single fully-grown adult gecko. It should I also be tall enough to fit their hides in. This blog contains numerous tips and recommendations for what products you can use if you take a browse around. Maybe start here:

      https://leopardgecko.care/2018/08/15/a-beginners-guide-to-leopard-gecko-housing-and-setup/

      https://leopardgecko.care/2019/02/07/whats-inside-my-leopard-geckos-vivarium/

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  13. Hello, I got my leopard gecko about a month ago and she still hasn’t eaten. The person I bought her from said she only ate mealworms out of a dish so that’s what I’ve been doing. Although I’ve also tried tong feeding. I tried wax worms to no avail. Can someone please give me some advice or tips?

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    1. How sure are you that she hasn’t eaten? I assume you count the mealworms in the dish and they’re all still there the next day?
      Also what substrate is she on? Is she showing any signs of impaction? Is she underweight?
      Sorry for all the questions, I’ll try to advise if I can

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  14. I have a leopard gecko with MBD. She currently has 2 broken limbs, one in front and in back. I took her to the vet on Frida and found this out and have been given pain meds and calcium gel to give her daily. She is now shedding and I don’t know how long it takes for her to shed the skin or if I should assist her since she has broken limbs. I am new to leopard geckos and I had acquired her from someone who has her and I don’t know her history, but I am trying to do my best for her and not sure what to do.

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  15. Hi, 2 questions. 1st: the moist kitchen towel you suggest using to cover the moss in the moist hide, is that a paper towel or a regular kitchen towel (cotton) cut to fit? 2nd: we just got a gecko last Sat. It’s about 3 mos old & still hasn’t eaten. I understand it’s stressed, but is there anything we can do to motivate it to start eating? It pooped today, so I’m hoping maybe it will start, but it pretty much still stays in his moist hide unless we pull him out- which we’ve only done twice to spray the moss and show him where the worms are( they fed him mealworms where we got him).

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    1. 1. Yep paper towel. You don’t HAVE to but it gives me peace of mind 😊
      2. At the moment I wouldn’t worry. How do you know she isn’t eating? What I mean by that is; could it be the case that she is eating from a dish when you’re not there?
      There could be a few reasons why he won’t eat (the stress of moving and also the stress of having his moist hide sprayed) but here are some other reasons:
      https://leopardgecko.care/2019/01/30/why-isnt-my-leopard-gecko-eating/
      I hope it helps!
      I was sure mine weren’t eating so I bought a WiFi camera to spy on them, and discovered that they were very active and left their hides, explored and ate but only after I had gone to bed 😊

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  16. Hi, I am getting a leo for the first time I have done my research already bt I was wondering if you could give me some of the products you use and if I could get all of the products within the 100-200 dollar range, Thx

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  17. Yes, aside from climbing he’s been eating, pooping, and shedding normally. Thank you for your help! I’ll definitely be less worried about him now 🙂

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  18. So I have a question about my gecko. He eats four bugs only every time I feed him every six days he’s about two years old now and I’m kinda concerned about his eating habits is this normal? He looks very healthy and well and is always moving around happily but I want to make sure that he’s being feed enough because he’s never shown any signs that he needs more also his diet is super worms, crickets, and wax worms.

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  19. Recently my gecko got new dots on his head. I could try to take a picture of them if someone can help me. He recently shedded his skin if that information can help. his eyes also don’t look very open. Should I be worried? He is only about a year old and screams if I try to handle him or put my hand in his enclosure.

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  20. Hi!
    I just got my first little buddy and I’m trying to follow your advice and guides as much as possible. My question pertains to UVB and D3, I know you have posted about it recently but I was wondering do I need to still supplement d3 if I add uvb? Also, Ca with d3 in the tank available or Ca without? And lastly should I still dust with calcium with d3? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!!

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    1. Yes I think I would still supplement with D3 about once per week, by coating their food in it, the calcium and D3 mix you mentioned is perfect.
      For the other feeds using just calcium powder is fine, as well as providing a calcium pot in their vivarium 🙂

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  21. So i got my first gecko a month ago, and hes only a juvinile. I’ve been trying to tame him and for him to get my trust, but i dont feel that he is warming up to me. He barely walks up to my hand, squirms away when i touch him, and runs when I pick him up to handel him. When I handle him, I scoop the best I can, and he’s calm when he’s in my hands. Every time I even put my hand in there, he wiggles his tail. If I hold my hand still in the tank, he will come up to it a little to sniff and lick it, but then he walks off. I have noticed that he comes over to my hand better if I look away. I feel like Ive done something wrong with the training though. Got any advise for me?

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  22. I took your advice,and read how u tamed yours, but my gecko is still not tamed! I’ve been doing this for two weeks with little improvment! Did you say a week? I think you meant a year!

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    1. No it took a week, mine were 6 weeks old when I got them. I don’t know if that made a difference. If it’s any consolation, my female still is quite unsure of me and even though she will let me handle her, I can tell she doesn’t really like it

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      1. Thanks anyhow. I read somewhere else that it sometimes takes a year to tame them. I’ll just keep trying the best I can.

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  23. Hi. Thanks for the invaluable site. It’s really helping us get things right for my daughter to have a first gecko. One question, if I may? Would you advise for or against a glass-sided vivarium? Thanks

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    1. Thank you for the feedback it really does make my day 🙂 glass sided vivariums are great, I think it’s just about personal preference. I chose wooden ones as they’re a bit more insulated (the climate can be colder in the UK) but it’s totally up to you!

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  24. So i have 2 geckos and their coloring is not as bright as before like at all. they are very pale and NOT because they are going to shed. they still shed on the regular but their new skin is pale still. Also the mama gecko has small white spots all over her body and i have no idea what it may be or if it’s an illness. i have pictures but don’t know how to post them so if you have answers please contact me @ 714-929-8255.

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