Diet: Crickets should be staple part of the diet, but they can also be fed waxworm or mealworm larvae in small amounts. Juveniles should be fed daily and the insects should be dusted four to five times a week with the calcium/vitamin D 3 supplement and a multivitamin once a week. Adults should be fed every 2-4 days and the insects should be dusted with a calcium/Vitamin D 3 supplement twice weekly and every other week with a multivitamin. Train your leopard gecko to eat the crickets from a “feeding station”. Place a ceramic crock, or other heavy bowl in the cage and place a few crickets in it for the gecko to eat. You may have to move the gecko closer to the bowl the first few times so that he catches on. The advantage to a feeding station is that you can easily remove any uneaten insects and the gecko is less likely to consume particulate substrate(if you are using one). SeeCricket Care.
Water: Offer fresh water daily in a water dish large enough for the lizard to soak it’s entire body in. Additional soaks in shallow warm water for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a week are helpful, especially during a shed.
Caging: A 10-20 gallon fish tank is a good starter cage. You can adjust according to the size and the number of animals per cage. In general, it is not good to house more that one male lizard together. If keeping a group of females and a male, be sure to provide many different hiding areas.
Substrate: Paper towels, newspaper, indoor/outdoor carpet or a paper pulp product are the safest.
Lighting/Heat: Reptiles are cold blooded and regulate their temperature through their environment. Proper heat and lighting is important to keep your lizard healthy. You can provide heat with an under the tank heater and an incandescent light bulb(40-75watt)or a ceramic heater. Temperatures should reach 80-88 degrees F on the warm side and 70-75 degrees on the cool side.
- Always measure temp at the bottom of the cage and/or at the basking site where the reptile actually sits!
COMMON MEDICAL PROBLEMS
Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroid Disease: MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease)
Signs of MBD are swollen and crooked limbs, anorexia (loss of appetite), muscle tremors and lethargy. It is most commonly caused by calcium deficiency due to either lack of calcium in the diet. MBD is sometimes caused by kidney disease. See a qualified veterinarian for treatment.
Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is caused by the lack of vitamin A in the diet or by using a multivitamin that has Beta Carotene rather than pre-formed vitamin A. Signs include stomatitis (“mouth rot”), anorexia, dysecdisis (poor shed), abscess development around mouth and head, and hemipenal prolapse (see below). A qualified veterinarian will address the secondary problems, but husbandry/diet changes will need to be made to prevent recurrence. See above section about diet for recommendations.
Signs of impaction are constipation, bloating, lethargy and anorexia. There are several different causes including foreign body (usually from substrate), parasite overload, and egg binding. Treatment can range from simple laxatives and anti-parasitics to surgery. See a qualified veterinarian for treatment.
Parasites can be either internal or external. Impaction, anorexia and weight loss are the most common signs of internal parasites. Internal parasites can be detected during a fecal exam by a veterinarian. Infestation is caused by either contamination from the environment, another lizard, or the lizard came with the parasites because it was wild-caught.