Creating a home for your leopard gecko

Where do I like to live?

Leopard geckos originally came from hot dry areas in India. They hide underground for the hottest part of the day and become active at night. Like most reptiles they are normally housed in an enclosed cage with glass doors called a vivarium. This needs to be monitored carefully to ensure that the environment is correct and has plenty of hiding places so the gecko can rest whilst the vivarium light is on.

Being nocturnal means they are not felt to need the same special lighting requirements as many desert reptiles. Some keepers feel that low levels of UV lighting is beneficial during the day to create a natural day and night regime. Heat however, is very important and can be provided by a heat rock or heat mat. It is very impor tant that if a mat is used, this covers less than 50% of the total floor area. Your geckos can then choose an area in their enclosure that they feel most comfor table in, and do not over heat. There should be areas in the vivarium where the temperature is about 30ºC, with cooler areas that can fall to about 20ºC at night.

Lighting from above is desirable but not essential. An ideal set up will have light creating a distinct day and night regime. At night a blue or red ‘night light’ can allow you to watch your geckos as they investigate their environment and look for food. This can be provided by incandescent lighting or using LED lights that are available for aquariums.

A Leopard gecko vivarium be made to look very attractive and has a place in any room. A substrate of sand can be used on the base for adults with stones, rocks and other décor to provide an interesting habitat. As baby gecko’s can sometimes eat sand by mistake, an artificial substrate like reptile carpet is recommended; many keepers prefer this as a more hygienic option for adults as well. Artificial ornaments and plants are also easier to clean than natural ones so less likely to harbour bugs. There should also be areas of shelter where the lizards can hide and feel secure. There should also be at least one hiding place for each gecko, ideally more, and these should be available in both the warm and cooler areas of the vivarium. Without access to hiding places, your pets will feel much more nervous.