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Leopard geckos have been kept as pets for over thirty years. As a result, many questions arise regarding the history of leopard geckos.
One of the more popular questions is: where do leopard geckos come from? Or-where do leopard geckos live?
Even though pet leopard geckos live in enclosures inside our homes, they come from the wild. Leos are native to the middle east and some parts of Asia. They are primarily found in the arid regions of Afghanistan, northwest India, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, western Nepal, etc.
Leopard geckos are perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions in these areas. Besides, they have access to a long list of foods and vast territories.
Let’s take a closer look at wild leopard geckos and how you can replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible!
Captive Leopard Gecko Habitat and Enclosure
If you are looking to keep leopard geckos, you should provide them with a habitat that mimics their natural environment. This will enable them to adapt to their new home within the shortest time possible. In addition to this, your leopard gecko will feel safer when they are in an environment that looks somewhat familiar.
But most importantly, ensure that you keep your pet leopard gecko in a conducive setting. For starters, the enclosure should not be too small as this will impact the leo’s health. Plus, leopard geckos are naturally curious and require enough space to move freely as they explore their environment.
Adult leopard geckos should be housed in 20-30 gallon tanks, while baby leos can comfortably live in 5-10 gallon tanks. Humidity should be kept at a minimum of between 30% and 40%. Additionally, a heat mat should be installed inside the enclosure and should cover a third of the available ground space.
That way, the leopard gecko will have a cool and warm spot, allowing for easy temperature regulation. Temperature levels for the warm side should be kept at 80°F to 85°F, while the cool side should be 75°F to 80°F. The basking area should be slightly warmer at 90°F-95°F.
Leopard Geckos In The Wild
In the wild, leopard geckos have all the space that they need to roam and explore. And because they are solitary creatures, they spend most of their time alone. Leopard geckos prefer rocky regions since it provides them with unlimited hiding spots.
During the day, leos hide in shaded areas to escape the scorching heat from the sun. And since they are crepuscular, they often come out of hiding during dusk and dawn. The low light conditions give them an added advantage when it comes to dodging predators.
Aside from that, it provides them with favorable hunting conditions. Leos are ground-dwelling reptiles, so they can burrow in the sand when they feel threatened. Most leos seek refuge in rock crevices when faced with danger.
Unlike captive leopard geckos, leos in the wild are always on the lookout for predators. When challenged by another leopard gecko, they can choose the fight or flight response.
What Are Leopard Geckos Predators?
Leopard geckos face a wide range of challenges in the wild. In as much as they are well adapted to their environment, they can still be picked off by predators. Due to their small size, leopard geckos can fall prey to many animals.
Leos are commonly hunted by large snakes, ferrets, foxes, weasels, birds of prey such as falcons, stoats, etc. Besides, predation is common in the lizard world, so other large lizards can also prey on leopard geckos. Leos often drop their tails when they are being chased by a predator.
The tail dropping behavior gives the leo ample time to escape as the predator eats the dropped tail. This survival technique is completely normal and does not affect the leopard gecko’s health. Moreover, the tail will grow back over time.
Leopard geckos also eat their shed to avoid being tracked down by predators. This behavior not only protects leos from other animals but also helps in recycling nutrients. Also, leopard geckos have an acute sense of smell and hearing.
But that is not all; they have a keen sense of sight and are always on alert mode when in the open. In most scenarios, leopard geckos manage to escape their predators. Well, unless it’s an ambush.
How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live?
The lifespan of leopard geckos may vary depending on the environment that they are in. On average, wild leopard geckos can live up to 15 years. That is if they are not preyed on by other animals.
However, captive leopard geckos may live for about 10-20 years, depending on the type of care that they are getting. With proper husbandry, leopard geckos can outlive most household pets. Female leos tend to have a shorter lifespan than their male counterparts because they spend most of their energy laying eggs.
Nonetheless, female leos can still live long healthy lives, when provided with the care that they need. If you intend to breed your leopard geckos, ensure that you provide them with calcium supplements to aid in egg formation.
Additionally, you should take your pet leopard gecko to the vets for regular checkups. This will help you detect any underlying health conditions before it’s too late. As a pet parent, you need to familiarize yourself with the diseases that affect leopard geckos.
Knowing the common signs of symptoms of these diseases can also save the life of your leopard gecko.
Health Complications That Can Shorten The Lifespan Of Your Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos are susceptible to different diseases. Most health complications in leopard geckos come about due to poor husbandry. As such, they can easily be avoided by providing your pet with the right foods, proper housing, and adequate care.
Below are the common diseases that may affect the health of your leopard gecko.
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
MBD is caused by a lack of calcium in leopard geckos. It can also result from an excess of phosphorus in the leopard gecko’s diet. This disease can cause severe damage to bones and other body tissues.
Leopard geckos with MBD may lose their appetite, thus causing excessive weight loss. In addition to this, they often have a hard time lifting their bodies from the ground. You can prevent MBD in leos by ensuring there is a balance between calcium and phosphorus.
Impaction occurs when hardened fecal matter blocks the intestines and the colon. Leopard geckos can get impacted when they eat loose substrates such as sand.
Mealworms can also cause impaction when fed to leopard geckos in large quantities. Impaction can be fatal, especially in young leopard geckos. You can treat impaction by soaking the affected leo in lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes twice per day.
Hypovitaminosis A, also known as Vitamin A deficiency, is common among leopard geckos. It is often caused by a poor diet and can be prevented by supplementing your leopard gecko’s diet with appropriate dietary supplements.
The best way to go about this is by gut loading insects with vitamin A supplements. Leopard geckos that are suffering from hypovitaminosis A have difficulty shedding their old skin. Stuck shed can cause serious problems in leopard geckos.
Medically known as dystocia, egg binding is also another problem that you should worry about. Leopard geckos lay several clutches of eggs during the breeding season. This may, however, not be the case when the eggs are retained.
Egg binding can occur when the eggs are too large, misshapen, or due to poor health. If you notice that your leopard gecko is suffering from dystocia, you should take them to a vet.
What Do Leopard Geckos Eat?
Leopard geckos are insectivorous animals, meaning they thrive on an insect-rich diet. Leos cannot eat vegetables and fruits because their digestive system is incapable of digesting plant material. They particularly enjoy eating mealworms and crickets.
Nonetheless, leopard geckos can also be fed dubia roaches, waxworms, sowbugs, superworms, silkworms, and other nutritious insects. You should, however, keep in mind that most of these insects should be fed to leos with moderation.
Superworms and waxworms, in particular, contain high fat content, so they can potentially cause your leopard gecko to become overweight. This may result in other health complications that can harm your pet reptile.
When it comes to feeding frequency, adult leos should be fed two or three times per week. On the other hand, baby leopard geckos require daily feeding, while juveniles can eat every other day. However, sick leos should be given healthy foods daily until their health is restored regardless of age.
Feeding your leo healthy foods can help prevent most health problems. It is best to feed your leopard gecko in the early evening hours since this is when they are most active. You should also consider providing your leopard geckos with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements.
How Long Can Leopard Geckos Go Without Food?
Like most reptile species, leopard geckos can go for days without eating. An adult leo can forgo food for about two weeks. This is made possible due to the fact they store fat in their tails.
When there is no food, a leopard gecko’s body can convert the fat reserves into energy, thereby keeping the leo alive. Adult leopard geckos can stay longer without eating than young leos. This is primarily because the former can store more fat than the latter.
If your leopard gecko has suddenly stopped eating, you should schedule an appointment with a veterinarian. Leos often refuse to eat when they are sick. Extremely low temperature conditions can also render them inactive, leading to a loss of appetite.
If leopard geckos go for too long without eating, they can suffer from chronic malnutrition. It can also result in an improper balance of minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.
Benefits Of Keeping Pet Leopard Geckos
Leopard Geckos Have Minimal Care Requirements
Unlike most pet reptiles, leopard geckos are easy to care for. This makes them a suitable option for beginners and professional reptile keepers alike.
All you have to do is to ensure that your leo is properly fed and kept in a spacious enclosure. Additionally, you should provide your leo with clean water daily to prevent dehydration.
Leopard geckos are not as aggressive compared to many other reptiles such as iguanas. However, male leos may display aggressive behavior during the mating season. As such, two or more males should never be housed in the same enclosure.
In rare circumstances, some have successfully housed up to two female leopard gecko in one enclosure. However, for the safety of your pets, you should keep each leopard gecko in a separate enclosure.
Leopard Geckos Require Small Tanks
Due to their size, leopard geckos don’t require large tanks, unlike most pet reptiles. Adult leopard geckos can be kept in 20-gallon tanks without them feeling any discomfort.
Fun Facts About Leopard Geckos
Do Leopard Geckos Live In The Desert?
As stated earlier, leopard geckos thrive in dry areas. They are considered desert animals but can also be found in shrub-steppes and rocky grasslands.
Wild leopard geckos get most of their moisture requirements from live insects. The same applies to captive leos. Nonetheless, you should still provide your leopard gecko with sufficient water.
If you fancy leopard geckos, we hope that information above has been helpful. Leopard geckos can make great pets, thanks to their gentle disposition and minimal care requirements.
Additionally, leopard geckos have a long lifespan and can live up to a decade when given proper care.