Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
Skill level: Beginner
Leopard geckos are a crepuscular, ground-dwelling lizard native to semi-desert and arid grassland areas of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. The spotted pattern which serves as their namesake also serves as camouflage among the packed earth, rocks, dry grasses, and shrubs characteristic to the landscape.
Wild leopard geckos can be found in holes, crevices, under stones, and under a tree’s loose bark. They are particularly fond of living in old stone walls.
They are 7-10″ (17-25 cm) long, with females generally being smaller. In captivity leopard geckos are known to live long lives: 15-20 years on average.
Leopard geckos are insectivores, which means that they eat primarily insects. In the wild, they eat beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, scorpions, and centipedes. They have also been observed preying on caterpillars, pinky mice, newborn birds, as well as smaller snakes and lizards.
Unlike most geckos, leopard geckos are unable to climb vertical surfaces due to the absence of setae on their toes. They also have eyelids, eliminating the need for using their tongue to clean their eyes—another characteristic gecko behavior. However, they are able to detach and regrow their tail if needed.
In Pakistan, locals hold a superstition that leopard geckos are related to the common black cobra and are thus venomous. They believe that if you are bitten by a leopard gecko, the “venom” will liquefy the victim’s body, killing them immediately. The skin of a leopard gecko is also believed to be poisonous.
Leopard Gecko Care — Table of Contents:
- What You Will Need
- Terrarium Size & Lighting Considerations
- Substrate Options
- Temperature & Humidity Needs
- What to Feed Your Leopard Gecko
- Handling Tips & Leopard Gecko Body Language
- Common Diseases, Illnesses & Other Health Questions
- Additional Resources
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