Leopard Gecko Preparation
How To Prepare For Leopard Gecko Ownership
Leopard Gecko Preparation
The stress of changing habitats can be very taxing on a leopard gecko. The unfamiliar sites and sounds require that you offer the leopard gecko an adjustment period. During this time, you should limit contact with the leopard gecko to just watering and feeding. The more you handle and disturb the animal, the longer it will take for the leopard gecko to adjust.
Being prepared before you bring your leopard gecko home can drastically reduce the amount of stress the leopard gecko is subjected to. This Leopard gecko preparation section will help show you ways you can reduce the stress of the move and make the adjustment period for you and your leopard gecko easier.
Your leopard gecko should have 5-7 days to adjust to its new surroundings. During this time, limit contact as much as possible. This will make the adjustment period smoother for you and your newly acquired pet.
If you already own a gecko and intend on housing your new acquisition with your current gecko, please quarantine it first to ensure it is healthy before you accidentally introduce a parasite or disease to your current gecko.
Prior to purchasing your leopard gecko, you should have the enclosure set-up and ready to go. It will be much easier on the leopard gecko if they are placed in an enclosure that is established and won't require you to continuously be going in and out as a result of it not being ready before the purchase. This will be very beneficial to the leopard geckos adjustment period and will help reduce stress.
Have a look at our Housing Section to learn more about the enclosure and what is required for a proper set-up.
Inadequate heating can result in a lethargic leopard gecko that refuses to eat. It is always a good idea to have the enclosure ready, and the heating elements active for 48 hours before the leopard gecko is purchased. This 2 day window gives you an opportunity to ensure you have created a proper heat gradient and that the leopard gecko will be able to digest its prey adequately. If any adjustments need to be made to the temperatures, this can be done before the gecko is acquired, saving you from disturbing him or her during the adjustment period.
Have a look at our Heating Section to learn more about the enclosure and what is required for a proper gradient and how you can monitor it.
Hides - Shelters
There should be a minimum of 3 hides in a leopard gecko’s enclosure. One should be placed on the warm end of the tank, one on the cool end of the enclosure, and a moist hide placed somewhere in-between. Having these 3 hides in place before the leopard gecko is acquired will ensure you have offered the gecko an adequate means to properly thermoregulate its temperature. The gecko will move from hide to hide, as needed, depending on the temperatures it requires at the time.
Have a look at our Hides - Shelters Section to learn more about the importance of the shelters and how to create a moist - humid hide.
Leopard geckos are insectivores. There is a vast array of prey items that can be purchased to sustain your leopard gecko, but the primary feeders for most hobbyists are crickets, mealworms, and the occasional waxworms. It is not uncommon for a leopard gecko that has just been acquired to not eat for several days. Some may go as long as a week before they begin feeding. Offering the prey however should be done regardless as to when the leopard gecko was acquired.
The simplest method for offering prey during the adjustment period is to leave a dish of mealworms in the enclosure with the leopard gecko. This will allow the leopard gecko to eat when it is comfortable, and will help you to see how quickly he is adapting based on his food consumption. A 1.5 inch deep dish, with a border of rocks to offer easy access is a great way to provide this. The depth of the dish, in addition to the easy access for the leopard gecko will make you and the gecko happier. The depth will keep the mealworms contained. They will attempt to escape, and if successful can lead you to believe that the gecko is consuming more than it may actually be ingesting. You can also keep the mealworms hydrated and gut loaded by leaving small pieces of carrot in the dish with them. They will readily eat the carrot which will offer them moisture and they will fill themselves with the vitamins carrots have to offer.
Have a look at our Feeder Section to learn more about the different types of feeders, how you can acquire them, how you can breed them and the importance of gut loading and supplementing your leopard gecko.
Author: Richard Brooks