Leopard Gecko Quarantine
The Leopard Gecko Quarantine section was added to explain why quarantining is such a crucial step in caring for your leopard geckos correctly. The reasons outlined on this page actually relate to every species of reptile and not just quarantining leopard geckos.. Be vigilante and quarantine all new leopard geckos!
Quarantining your new acquisitions is done so that you can monitor the animals behavior, appetite, stool, and activity. It is also done to protect the animals you currently own. This is a step that can actually save your entire colony of animals, save you money, and save you time. Quarantining new animals should become an instinctive behavior by both new and experienced enthusiasts, though it is often overlooked at one time or another by all.
What Is Quarantining?
Quarantining is the process in which you isolate the leopard gecko you are bringing home. This is the time period in which you monitor the animal and note or treat the animal for any illness or injury that it has. Quarantining ensures that you will not spread any contagious illness or parasites to your current collection.
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Basics
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Time Frame
Your new leopard gecko should be quarantined for a minimum of 30 days. Ideally, 60-90 days would be better. Once a gecko has finished the quarantine period and is deemed fit, they can be introduced into their permanent enclosure, or with other geckos. Remember, males can not be housed together as they will fight!
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Set-Up
A setup designed as a quarantine tank should be very simple in design and extremely easy to clean. The goal is to use the quarantine tank as an observational area. For leopard geckos, the quarantine tank should consist of the bare essentials. The enclosure itself should be made of solid plastic or glass. Old fish tanks are great quarantine tanks. Avoid wooden enclosures as quarantine tanks as they are difficult to clean.
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Tank
The best substrate to use for a quarantine tank is either no substrate, or paper towel. This makes cleaning a breeze, allows complete visibility to monitor the leopard geckos feces, and is a complete risk free substrate from impaction.
The rest of the enclosure should be limited to the geckos hides, a water bowl, calcium dish, and feeder dish if you offer mealworms. Climbing branches and other decor should not be in the quarantine tank.
Quarantine Set-Up Example
The tank to the right is an example quarantine setup for a leopard gecko. The tank is a 32 quart sterilite tub heated with a human heatpad. It contains a hide directly over the heat source, a moist hide/cool hide, a calcium dish, a mealworm dish, a disposable water dish, and paper towel as a substrate.
The example shows how simple the enclosure can be for the quarantine period. This setup is easy to clean and maintain. Holes have been drilled into the sides of the sterilite for air circulation, and the cover also has holes drilled into it.
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Cleanliness
Your quarantine tank should be cleaned daily. Remove any feces (after looking it over) from the enclosure, change the water, remove any dead insects, and make sure the tank itself is clean. You want to be able to monitor the animal as closely as possible. The cleaner the tank is, the easier it will be to monitor the gecko.
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Isolation
It is best to isolate the leopard gecko from the rest of your collection. This is best done by placing the quarantine tank in a separate room from where you house your other leopard geckos. It doesn't stop there however. You should also be isolating what items come into contact with the quarantine tank. You should never use the same cleaning materials between a quarantine tank and those that house the rest of your collection. The same is true for water and feeding dishes. This could result in indirect contact with a parasite or illness.
Leopard Gecko Quarantine Monitoring
Make sure you spend some time watching the leopard gecko in quarantine. Watch how he hunts, make sure he isn't lethargic, and ensure that he is alert when you disturb him. Reptiles in general are experts at hiding illness. This is how they survive in the wild. Make it a point to ensure that the gecko is behaving normally and that its stool appears "normal".
Leopard Gecko Quarantine - The last stop
When cleaning your enclosures, save the quarantine tank for last. This will help reduce the chance of indirect contact. Also save the quarantined animal for last when you are working with your collection. You want to limit any possible exposure between the new leopard gecko and your current collection. By making the quarantined leopard gecko the last stop, you are placing distance between any accidental exposure.
It is always a good practice to use an antibacterial soap to wash your hands after every handling session you have with a reptile or its enclosure. It is especially important to maintain proper hygiene protocol when dealing with an animal in quarantine. The accidental spreading of a disease or parasite could come from direct or indirect contact with another animal, or its supplies in your collection. Avoid this by washing your hands every time you leave the quarantine area.
It is crucial that you maintain strict protocol when quarantining. A single parasite that has been introduce to your collection could cost you extreme amounts of money in vet bills, delayed breeding programs, and could even result in the death of one or more animals in your collection.
Quarantining is very simple to do and can save you a great deal of headaches. Be vigilante and quarantine all new leopard geckos!