The leopard gecko is a common lizard found in the wild and as a pet. They are very common in the pet trade, and there are many different lineage of leopard geckos.
Leopard geckos can be found in various colors and morphs, including pure white and orange-and-black striped. Their average size is between eight and ten inches, making them a medium sized lizard.
Like any animal, leopard geckos can be unpredictable. Some things that can influence their growth rate and final size is nutrition, environment, health, and genetics. This article will go into more detail on how to help your leopard gecko grow to its maximum potential size.
Figuring out what size your leopard gecko will get to is a hard question to answer.
What are leopard geckos?
A leopard gecko is a species of lizard native to Australia. They are known for their unique spotted skin and tendency to walk on four legs instead of two.
Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizard species due to their beautiful markings and easy upkeep. They are considered a beginner reptile due to their low maintenance.
In the wild, leopard geckos prey on insects and invertebrates. Due to their lack of strength, they have difficulty capturing larger creatures. This is why insectivorous nutrition is recommended for leopard geckos kept as pets.
They are social animals, typically found in groups in the wild. As pets, most owners keep one per cage, but some choose to house them with other species for easier upkeep.
Smooth-scaled leopard gecko
A smooth-scaled leopard gecko is a morph of leopard gecko that has no scales on its tail. This makes it easier to clean off droppings that get stuck in the creases of the tail.
Smooth-scaled leopard geckos also have less pronounced markings than normal leopard geckos. The color pattern is also different, with tints of orange and red being the main colors instead of black and white.
These specimens are harder to find and more expensive than normal leopard geckos. Due to this, smooth-scaled leopard geckos are a good investment as they will likely increase in value.
These morphs can still get very large, around two feet long. They tend to be more docile than normal leopard geckos, which can make them better pets for beginners.
Giant leopard gecko
A giant leopard gecko is a term used to describe a lizard that has been fed an abundance of food over a long period of time. Typically, this happens when a new owner starts feeding the lizard and does not know how much to feed it.
As mentioned before, leopard geckos can become obese if fed too much food over too long of a period of time. When this happens, the lizard can suffer from health issues and may not live as long as it could have if it was kept at a healthy weight.
Because these lizards grow very slowly, it can be difficult to tell when one is overweight. It is the responsibility of the keeper to monitor its body shape and weight over time to ensure it is at an ideal level.
What size tank do they need?
When choosing a tank, leopard geckos need a medium-large tank. Because they grow very large in size, a large tank will be needed to fit them for their entire life.
They start out small, so a small tank can be used to house them until they reach adult size. At that point, they should be moved to an appropriate size tank.
Young leopard geckos can be kept in smaller tanks, but the minimum size of the cage is one that adults cannot fit in. So, a medium-sized cage is recommended as the starter cage for leopard geckos.
They need enough space to move around and climb so that they are comfortable and happy. A lid is also recommended so that if the lizard tries to climb out, it will not get too far away from the ground.
Does the leopard gecko grow forever?
No, leopard geckos do not grow forever. Once they become adults, they stay that size. Some can even go into brumation until winter, when they eat less and spend more time sleeping.
Adults can be up to 8 inches long and can weigh over 100 grams. Because of this, leopard geckos make great starter pets for children. Children can learn how to care for a pet starting with a small one like this.
They are easy to identify when they are adults as well. Females will have a wider body and shorter toes than males. Males also have bulges on their undersides which help them grab onto other males during mating season.
Care and maintenance
When caring for leopard geckos, it is important to provide them with the right environment. The first step is to find the right cage for your lizard.
They need enough space to climb, hide, and explore. A general rule of thumb is double the length of the lizard=the length of the cage. So a one foot long lizard needs a two foot long cage.
Leopard geckos need a moderate temperature range in their cages. They are tropical animals, so they prefer higher temperatures. A temperature gradient in the cage is important for this species as well. This means having a warm side and a cool side of the cage. This helps them regulate their body temperature!
Cleaning the cage is also very important. Utilize filtered bedding such as paper towels or hay to help keep the cage clean. Also remember to rotate foods and water containers regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
What do they eat?
Leopard geckos are carnivorous reptiles that eat mice and/or rats as their primary food source. Once a week, you can feed your leopard gecko a normal sized mouse or rat.
You can also feed them insects such as crickets or mealworms. Be careful with the size of the insect, as they can be too large for your lizard to digest!
Leopard geckos cannot survive on dust worms or other supplements alone, so do not ditch the meats for that. They need a balanced diet of meat and vegetables to stay healthy and grow properly.
When feeding your leopard gecko, it is important to observe if it is hungry or not. If it is not hungry, do not force it to take food- this could lead to overweight lizards! Check out some tips on how to know if your lizard is hungry here.
Do they make good pets?
Leopard geckos are popular species of lizard due to their beautiful markings and easy care. They are also one of the few species of lizard that is commonly found in the United States.
Leopard geckos are beginner reptiles, so if you are just starting out with pets, this is a perfect creature for you to care for. They do not require a huge investment in supplies or intensive care.
Like most reptiles, leopard geckos are territorial and solitary creatures. This means you cannot keep more than one leopard gecko unless you have a very large tank and spend a lot of money on additional enclosures.
Because they are beginner friendly and inexpensive, leopard geckos are popular pets. As more and more people get them, there is more knowledge about what they need to thrive.