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Leopard gecko questions

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  • Leopard gecko questions

    Hello! (Long post, just want to gather info! Beginner)

    I am a complete novice when it comes to leopard geckos. I’ve never owned one before, only cresteds.
    I have a pretty solid grasp of their care as I’ve watched many different YouTube care guides from different people, as well as forums.
    However, there are a few questions I have that will determine whether this is the pet for me:

    - Can they be fed only mealworms? I’ve heard quite a few times that yes they can, it’s just not very stimulating. There’s even some geckos who only eat mealworms and refuse other insects. The reason I ask is because where I live specifically there’s not really access to feeder insects, which means I’d have to keep and breed a sustainable colony of my own. I have kept mealworms before for my tarantula and they were pretty easy to breed/keep. If I do go with mealworms I would start breeding them way before hand to ensure that I have a sustainable supply for when I get the gecko. Crickets are noisy, stinky, and escape a lot, which I am not fond of. They also die easier/are more sensitive it seems. Dubia roaches are not an option as I am in Canada where they are illegal. Can mealworms be fed as a sole diet? Can the gecko eventually die from eating only mealworms? Can’t find a straight answer on this.

    - Vitamins + supplementation. Assuming I don’t go with UVB, what exactly do I need in terms of vitamins/supplements? I’ve been told that Repashy Calcium Plus can be used on its own to dust the food, then just offer plain calcium (without D3) in a bowl in the cage if the gecko decides it needs more calcium. Does Repashy CP contain the essential vitamins though? I will have to look into that.

    - Cold end temp. I know these geckos require much higher temps than cresteds. My house room temp is quite cold in the winter (can get down to 55F at times). However, I keep my bedroom heat higher for the sake of my animals. The coldest it gets in here in the winter is about 60-65F, I also keep the door closed a lot to ensure the heat stays in. In the summer it gets much warmer. Is 65F too cold for the cold end side of a leopard gecko tank? It usually only drops to this temp at night, but sometimes during the day too when it’s really cold out. Just not sure what the general consensus is when it comes to cold end temps.

    - Heating. I have a spare under tank heater and thermostat. But it might not cover enough? (Heat mat itself is 11”x11”, not sure if that’s large enough, assuming I get a 20 gal long). On top of this, I don’t know if these heat pads get warm enough? This is an Ultratherm model, I bought it for my crested specifically because they’re very safe and don’t get too hot. I’m not sure if it would be able to keep up with the constant high temps that leopard geckos need though. Could a CHE be used instead of a heat mat? Or is the heat mat okay? I feel the heat mat won’t quite get the ambient temps up, which a CHE may help with instead. (Assuming 65-70F is too cold for ambient temp).

    - Substrate. Controversial, I know. I plan to go with black tiles, since I think they look very sleek and are relatively cheap, don’t need to be replaced, easy to clean, etc. I’ve heard bad things about loose substrate, even coco fiber, so I’m not sure if I’d want to go that route. If anyone has experience with using tiles as a substrate, the pros and cons of it, proper tiles to buy, let me know below! I also think the tiles would distribute the heat better if I did use a heat mat, but I’m not sure on that.

    - UVB. Also controversial. I’ve heard good things about it, but that it’s more so up to the owner whether they want to go ahead and provide it. I will have to see whether I end up doing that. Anyone have experience using UVB, and whether it makes a noticeable difference in the gecko’s behaviour?

    - Tank size. I’d like to go with a 20 long aquarium, although they’re super hard to find around here. It’s always 20 talls, not long. I feel a 20 tall doesn’t have enough foot space for a leopard. I’d otherwise go with PVC, since I recently switched my crested to a PVC cage and while they’re nice, they are quite expensive.

    - Ambient room humidity. In the winter I think my house sits at around 30-50%, in the summer it can get over 60% at times. These numbers are likely inaccurate, just a rough estimate. I’ve heard that a leopard gecko’s health can be jeopardized when exposed to 60% or over for long periods of time, so I’d like to double check on that. I don’t exactly wish to buy a dehumidifier just for the gecko. I’ve only heard this humidity fact from one person on YouTube so far and I don’t know how popular this opinion is. My house is dry enough for my crested gecko’s enclosure to dry out during the day, (which I only mist at night) but is still sort of moist in the morning. If that’s any indication to the humidity levels. I don’t have a gauge.

    - Speaking of gauges, are temp gauges needed? I know those dial gauges are really inaccurate and not recommended, so I don’t plan on getting anything like that. I use a temp gun to check my crested’s cage, and that’s all I use. I don’t use a humidity gauge either. I’m assuming this also isn’t necessary for a leopard gecko, assuming you have a temp gun, or another accurate way to check temps?

    I think that’s all the questions. I’ve been interested off and on with leopard geckos for a few years, but never fully considered getting one. I just want to know if they are the right pet for me. It’s mainly the feeding and heating that are issues for me right now, which is why I wanted to get some second opinions.


  • #2
    I don't have a leopard gecko atm, but i almost got one last year so ive done most of the research and chatted with a lot of people who own them, so i'll try to answer the questions i feel like im able to:
    1) No all insectivores should be fed a varied diet. Meal worms in particular have a high fat content, so they're not really suitable as a staple for any reptile, not even crested geckos.
    2) not sure though i would advise using UVB. It is very beneficial and there's anecdotal evidence that it might prolong their life by a lot (there are geckos that are 40+ years old that has access to uvb)
    3) Yes it is too cold, the cool side should be around 75f, though i believe those temps would be ok at night (60-70f)
    4) You want to use overhead heating not UTHs, as UTHs only create a hot spot and won't actually get you to the temperatures you need. Get a halogen/floodlight + a thermostat for the daytime heating, and then either just turn it off or get a low wattage CHE/DHP for the night if it gets a bit too chilly.
    5) Go with loose substrate. Geckos like all reptiles like to dig, on top of that tile is really hard for their feet and joints. Imagine if you had to stand on a cement floor 24/7, your feet would hurt like hell in the end. I'd for a 30/70 sand/top soil mix, that's the mix ive had recommended a lot
    6) Definitely get some uvb! a 7% shadedweller from arcadia should work just fine at at least a 12 inch distance. They will cryptic bask and sometimes fully on bask in it!
    7) 60% is too high you want it between 30-40 however using overhead heating will likely help with that a lot.
    8) Yes digital temperature gauges are always needed when you're using heating with any animal anything else would be irresponsible. Also like i mentioned earlier thermostats are crucial and it's even more irresponsible to using heating without a thermostat than a thermometer.

    Also although some sources will still say that a 20gal long is suitable for a leopard gecko more and more agree that they need at least a 40 gallon.
    I would advise that you join the groups Reptile Lighting and Advancing Herpetological Husbandry, they have a lot more info on all of this (:
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