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Sexual dimorphism is defined as a phenotypic difference between males and females of a species. It can be commonly found in animals, such as the leopard gecko and other reptiles. It exists in adult males and females, but can be difficult to determine in young geckos. The underside of a gecko truly determines the sex of the gecko. Males have pre-anal pores and hemipenal bulges while females have smaller pores and do not have external bulges.
Download our leopard gecko care sheet (PDF 384KB)
Leopard geckos are larger than many other gecko species. Hatchlings tend to be 6.5 to 8.4 cm (2.6 to 3.3 in) in length and weighing about 3 grams while the adult geckos are about 20.5 to 27.5 cm (8.1 to 10.8 in) in length and weight about 45 to 65 grams.
The leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) is a crepuscular ground-dwelling lizard naturally found in the highlands of Asia and throughout Afghanistan, to parts of northern India. Unlike most geckos, leopard geckos possess movable eyelids. It has become a well-established and popular pet in captivity.
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Read more about feeding, supplements and hydration in our care sheet.
A healthy gecko has clear, bright eyes and a thick tail and its belly should only touch the floor when resting.
Leopard geckos should be fed insects, such as crickets and mealworms, because they are insectivores (they eat insects). Unlike other popular lizards, for example Pogona "bearded dragon"species, they do not eat plant matter and this should not be offered to them. For more details about what leopard geckos eat, see Diet.
Hatchlings measure 3 to 4 inches long. Adult females are typically 7 to 8 inches, and males are 8 to 10 inches. Some males of the giant bloodlines reach nearly a foot.
The leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) lizard has been captive bred in the United States for more than 30 years and is one of the most commonly kept lizards today. These hardy saurians come in a variety of colors, patterns and sizes. This is a great species for the home. Imagine a lizard that can vocalize and wash an eye with its tongue with ease. There is a friendly dinosaur in this small package.
Leopard geckos use their environment to regulate their body temperature. So, it’s important to provide a ‘thermogradient’ - with a heat lamp at one end and a cooler area at the other. Use thermostats to regulate the temperatures. Leopard geckos also need ultraviolet light and a dry environment.
Read more about handling geckos and monitoring their health in our leopard gecko care sheet (PDF 384KB)
Leopard geckos are polyphyodonts and able to replace each of their 100 teeth every 3 to 4 months. Next to the full grown tooth there is a small replacement tooth developing from the odontogenic stem cell in the dental lamina.
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Hatchlings measure 3 to 4 inches long. Adult females are typically 7 to 8 inches, and males are 8 to 10 inches. Some males of the super giant bloodlines reach nearly a foot and weigh over 160 grams.
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To ensure your leopard gecko can exhibit natural behaviours you’ll need to provide hiding places, and low, sturdy branches or rocks for climbing.
Leopard geckos are one of the most popular lizard pets. They are possibly the first domesticated lizard species. Their small size, robustness, and relatively easy care makes them a good "beginner" reptile pet. They breed easily in captivity, so most sold today are captive-bred rather than wild-caught.
This works in 95% of the time. Stay with it. Even if the gecko resists - remember you need to do this to have things go right.
Quick Care Guide - offering step-by-step information for the beginner to intermediate level keeper about leopard gecko natural history, selecting a gecko, size, life span, photos showing how to sex your gecko, caging, food, water, temperature, vitamin/mineral supplementation, handling and temperment and more. PLUS three bonus chapters packed with detailed information on Breeding, Egg Laying, Incubation and Raising Juveniles. By Ron Tremper
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The ideal temperature in the hide box is 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The ambient air temperature of the room they are housed in should be above 73 degrees.
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Keepers can offer two appropriately sized insects for every inch of a leopard gecko’s total length. A meal every other day is fine. Therefore, a 4-inch-long gecko would receive eight mealworms three to four times a week. It is normal for leopard geckos to eat their shed skin.
Ron Tremper is the source for Leopard Gecko information and breeding. Please visit his site at www.LeopardGecko.com.
Reptile starter kits will be outgrown quickly, so when purchasing new equipment it’s better to get a large enclosure at the outset. When looking for a leopard gecko vivarium, there are a few essential things you’ll need:
Unlike many other geckos, but like other Eublepharis, their toes do not have adhesive lamellae, so they cannot climb smooth vertical walls.
They eat a diet of live invertebrates (insects) which can include crickets, ‘calci worms’, waxworms and small locusts of suitable size: no bigger than the size of the gecko’s head. You need to provide fresh vegetables and clean water to keep the livefood hydrated.
3) Drop dead mealworm into the mouth of your gecko. Keep the nose upwards at all times. If the gecko spits out the mealworm then keep repeating steps # 2 and # 3 until it swallows.
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1) Pre-kill several insects by pinching the head of 2-3 regular 1" mealworms (not Zophobas) Hold one mealworm in one hand.
Download the leopard gecko care sheet now (PDF 384KB)
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Live insects are a must for your gecko; they do not eat plants or veggies. The best items to use are mealworms or crickets, but you can treat your pet to waxworms or superworms once a week if you wish. We have used regular mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) without health issues for since 1978.
Newspaper, pea gravel, artificial turf, flat stones or no floor covering are OK. A young or debilitated leopard gecko might consume sand or fine-particle products on the cage floor, and this could lead to intestinal impaction. Leopard geckos actually have a “bathroom” in one corner of their cages, and that area can be spot-cleaned without disrupting the entire system. Do not expose your gecko to commercial plant soils or sands that may contain fertilizer or pesticides.
The substrate, or floor covering, needs to be natural so as to minimise the risk of impaction - a potentially fatal issue where particles become lodged inside of the belly and cause a blockage. So do not use ‘caci-sand or beech wood chips as these cannot be digested.
A leopard gecko can grow to around 15 to 25 centimetres and live for 10 to 20 years in captivity, so owning one is a big commitment. They prefer to live alone, but can become used to being handled if done so carefully.
2) Pick up your gecko with your other hand - nose up - and tap the eye and/or jaw line with your thumb so that the gecko opens its mouth.