Creating a home for your leopard gecko

Leopard geckos aren't the most demanding pets, but you must make sure you have the right equipment to look after them properly. A vivarium made of wood or glass is best, and it should be at least 60cm (w) x 30cm (l) x 30cm (h) - although try to get a bigger one if you can.

Leopard geckos can't regulate their body temperature like we do, so they need both a warm and a cool place in their home to help them thermoregulate and digest. For this, you'll need a heat mat or a heat rock - a heat mat that covers around a third of the vivarium's floor surface is best. The heat mat should go underneath the vivarium itself, and should be regulated with a thermostat and a digital thermometer.

The vivarium needs a suitable substrate (floor material). You should avoid nut shells, wood chips, corn cob, wood shavings and gravel - all of these can cause health problems. If your gecko is young, you should also avoid sand as it can be accidentally ingested, although some keepers use sand substrates with adult geckos. The safest and most hygienic option is artificial reptile bedding, but some people use tiles or paper towels.

It's very important for your leopard gecko to have places to hide in its vivarium - at least one, and preferably two or three. Hides give your pet a sense of security and without them, they can become stressed. Ideally there should be a hide on the warm side of the vivarium (where the heat mat is), another on the cool side and a third moist hide equipped with terrarium moss that they can use to help shed their skin.

It's not necessary to get artificial or UV lighting for your leopard gecko, but some keepers like to get a red light to illuminate their environment at night - they are nocturnal creatures so this is when they are at their most active.

You can decorate your leopard gecko's terrarium just like you would a fish tank, using rocks, non-toxic plants and background displays to liven it up. Try not to make it too cluttered, as your gecko needs space to move around and hunt, but they're sure to appreciate a bit of variation in their living space!