Planting Leopard Gecko Enclosures
How To Plant A Leopard Gecko Enclosure
Planting Leopard Gecko Enclosures
Planting leopard gecko enclosures can add a flare of aesthetics to the natural look of the vivarium you have created. There are considerations that will need to be taken into account when choosing which plants would do well in your enclosure.
Many plants require special lighting, including succulents, which are the suggested type of plants you will want to use. Many succulents require bright lighting, which your gecko isn't going to be very fond of. Since geckos are typically crepuscular, this won't be a very big issue if you are providing adequate hides that allow them to remain hidden while the bright lighting is on. Inadequate hides will force the gecko to be subjected to the lighting which can cause stress and eye issues, depending on the types of lights you are using. When you select your plants you will need to research each type and learn about the specific lighting requirements for each one. You don't want to mix a species that prefer less lighting with one that requires intense lighting, as one or both will not thrive. You will also want to keep these lights on timers. The timers will ensure that the lighting is on at specific times each day, creating a photoperiod, which will create a natural cycle for your gecko. Twelve hours of light and darkness are ideal. Setting the lights to come on at natural dawn and to go off at the same time that evening will give you the 12 hours of light you desire. In most cases, this will mean the lights will be going off between 5-7pm, which will also grant you the ability to watch your gecko as it emerges once the lighting has turned off. The idea is to observe your gecko in a naturalistic environment and your lighting cycle plays a key role in this.
The hides you are using will need to be dark. You won't be able to use hides that allow light to illuminate them because your gecko will become stressed. The hides should offer complete darkness for your gecko. If your gecko decides to venture out while the lights are on, this will be his choice. The option to hide completely from the dark must be made available. Commercial hides made of hard, dark plastics or stone will provide the necessary darkness the leopard gecko will need. Natural terrains that cover the hides will also create completely dark hides that your gecko can benefit from. Most plastic containers will illuminate under intense lighting and will be of no service for a planted vivarium. Remember, this isn't just about making an enclosure look attractive. It is about properly caring for the leopard gecko while also creating a visually stimulating enclosure.
Plants, even those with low watering requirements, will create humidity. It is vital to have adequate ventilation to ensure that the humidity doesn't get too high. If the humidity gets too high in the enclosure, your geckos health could be affected and the plants creating the added humidity could die. Ventilation is key to preventing this from happening. The enclosure itself can be kept at the lowest humidity levels you can achieve. You must ensure however that you are supplying a moist hide for your gecko. The moist hide will grant your gecko the ability to choose when it needs the added humidity and when it doesn't. The moist hide will also need to be dark or the gecko will not use it if you have bright lighting illuminating it. These means considerations will need to be made when choosing a moist hide container.
In some instances you may need to use a small computer fan to pull and push air through the enclosure. The air movement will prevent humidity from building up as air is pushed into the enclosure and pulled out from the other side. Computer fans can be purchased at many retail stores or online and can be plugged into an ordinary wall outlet. They are also relatively inexpensive. You should use a quality hygrometer (not the radial ones at the pet store) to measure and maintain the humidity levels.
I never suggest cacti to anyone who is looking to plant their leopard gecko enclosure. Cacti typically have sharp thorns that can injure your gecko. There is no point in adding a possible health risk when there are safer alternatives. Succulents are a safer alternative and come in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes.
In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents or sometimes fat plants, are plants having some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. Wikipedia
Succulents are very unique plants that come in a very wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. They are unique because they have evolved to survive in some of the harshest and driest climates in the world. By design they are able to retain water for long periods of time and they are ideal for use within drier vivariums, like that of the leopard gecko.
I have tossed together a list of succulents that are readily available and could be used within a leopard geckos enclosure. Each of these plants will need to be researched in order for you to supply them with what they need in captivity. They are all linked to Amazon for immediate purchase.
If you are aware of more, please forward them along and I will research the plant and possibly add it. I can be reached through Herp Center via my profile account: Rich
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Variegated Necklace Vine
(Crassula perforata variegata)
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Author: Richard Brooks