MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR ADULT LEOPARD GECKOS AND FAT TAIL GECKOS
1. 2ft X 15” X 15” WOODEN VIVARIUM
2. INCANDESCENT HEAT BULB PREFERABLY WITH A DIMMING THERMOSTAT
3. BROAD RANGE VITAMIN SUPPLEMENT
Vivarium Set-Up Heating
All heating should be positioned at the same end of the tank, creating a hot basking end. The opposite end should have no heating, creating a cool end in the tank.
Place your thermometer and/or thermostat sensor in the middle of your tank 1-2 inches off the floor, at this point in your tank the thermometer should read 82-84°F / 28-29°C. It is highly recommended that you cage any heating appliances that your animal could come into contact with. If you choose to use a heat mat, use a piece of thin card to prevent your animal from becoming trapped underneath the mat.
The best way to achieve an accurate temperature is with a thermostat. Thermostats connect to your heat bulb and will dim or brighten the bulb to adjust the amount of heat that is produced to maintain a stable and accurate ambient air temperature.
Substrate, Cleaning And Furniture
Substrate choice is a difficult one, a good quality orchid bark is recommended, and it is certainly the safest.
Sand and beech chip have been used with some success, although sand and beech chip have been seen to cause compaction in all ages of Leopard geckos, and difficulties with shedding, among other issues and problems. Definitely don’t use gravel, sawdust or peat as a substrate. There are however some clay-based sands that seem very good and promote natural burrowing behaviour.
Spot clean your tank regularly. If done properly a full vivarium clean should only be necessary once a month. Only use disinfectants specifically designed for reptiles. Soaps, detergents and other disinfectants can be toxic.
Feeding And Vitamins
Leopard geckos are insectivorous. Unfortunately many large breeders are using mealworms as a staple diet for their geckos. This means that mealworms are now essential to most geckos’ survival. Removing Mealworms from a leopard gecko already established on them could result in stress and illness. However, Mealworms are perfectly ok to use as the majority part of your gecko’s diet provided you feed the Mealworm well and use vitamin powder.
We suggest you leave a small bowl of them in the enclosure for 4 days a week. Top up the Mealworms as they go. After you remove the mealworms for 24 hours introduce a meal of crickets or locust. It is worth pointing out that it is a complete myth that a Mealworm will eat out of your animal if not properly chewed.
The best way to judge what quantity of crickets and locust constitutes a meal is to drop a limited amount (half a dozen) into the vivarium. If your animal is hungry it will eat immediately, if it does, continue to put a couple of insects in every time it finishes and continue until your gecko appears full.
Handling, Health And Additional Notes
Do not handle your Leopard gecko immediately after a move; leave at least four weeks to allow your animal to settle. Or until your animal is feeding well and has been for 3-4 weeks. If you don’t, one of two things will happen.
1. Your animal may become defensive and aggressive
2. Your animal may become reclusive and fail to feed properly
After the initial four weeks, handling may begin slowly. Leopard geckos are naturally friendly. You do not need to restrain or excessively handle them to make them good pets. Always handle your animal near to a surface, accidents can happen and Leopard geckos don’t fly!
Most geckos are very shy animals, so it is very important you follow these simple instructions as failure to do so will almost certainly lead to high levels of stress in your animal. A high-stress level in geckos generally lowers the immune system and leaves your gecko open to viruses and infections. Always use common sense when handling animals. It is also important to remember not to touch or grab your gecko’s tail. Geckos can drop their tail when they feel threatened.
If you are ever in doubt ask a respected dealer for their advice, and if still in doubt go to a specialist veterinarian.
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