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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Care Guides > Leopard Gecko Setup Steps

Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

Experience Level: Beginner

Leopard Gecko in Terrarium

Leopard Geckos

Did you know? Leopard Geckos differ from most other geckos in that they lack adhesive lamellae preventing them from being able to walk up vertical surfaces. Leopard Geckos also have outer ears and eyelids that make them distinct from most other geckos.

Step 1Choosing a Terrarium

Leopard Geckos originate from the desert and require a warm, dry environment; however, they need access to a moist hiding place to help with shedding. Up to three Leopard Geckos can be
housed together; only one male per habitat.

(A) Use a well-ventilated, 10-gallon (18-20" long) or larger terrarium for one or two Leopard Geckos.

(B) Screened lid, if not included with habitat.

Step 2Heating and Lighting

Leopard Geckos require a temperature gradient (cool side/warm side) to appropriately regulate their body temperature. Temperatures within the habitat should also vary between daytime and
nighttime hours.

• Equip the habitat with two thermometers (one for each side of habitat) and one hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels.

• Supplemental heat should be provided by an under-tank heater (not shown) placed on one side of the habitat. Turn off under-tank heaters at night if the ambient temperature does not drop below 65° F.

• Use an under-tank heater, ceramic heat emitter or night heat lamp as needed to maintain nighttime temperatures.


Target Range
Humidity 10-30% (with moist retreat)
Day - Cool Side 75-85o F (24-29o C)
Day - Warm Side 85-95o F (29-35o C)
Night 65-75o F (18-24o C)


• Leopard Geckos are nocturnal and don’t require ultraviolet light but need a 12-hour light/dark cycle. If room light does not provide enough light, use a fluorescent bulb to provide additional daylight.

• For night viewing, and to minimize light seen by your gecko, use a night-specific bulb.

Step 3Substrate and Decor

(E) Use a 2-3" (5-8 cm) layer of calcium sand or reptile carpet. For geckos under 6" (15 cm), use reptile carpet to prevent accidental ingestion and impaction from sand.

• Clean out waste weekly and completely change bedding at least once a month.

(F) Add a wood/rock hiding place in the cool area of the home. Line the hiding area with moist moss to provide necessary moisture.

• Ensure decor is large enough for the size of your Leopard Gecko and that you have at least one hiding area for each gecko.

(G) Provide branches (artificial or live) for hiding and climbing.

Leopard Gecko in Terrarium

New surroundings and environments can be stressful for pets. Prior to handling your Leopard Gecko, give
him 3-4 days to adjust to his new surroundings while monitoring his behavior for any signs of stress or illness. Shortly after purchase, have a veterinarian familiar with reptiles examine your Leopard Gecko.


Things To Watch For
• Runny droppings for more than two days
• Eating or drinking less; weight loss
• Swollen joints
• Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
• Shedding problems; discolored skin
• Increase in the amount of time spent hiding

If you notice any of the above signs, speak with a PetSmart store associate or reptile veterinarian with questions about the health of your pet.


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