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The Leopard Gecko Advisor Talks about Lighting and Eggs

Ray Roehner, the Leopard Gecko Advisor, is responding to questions that come up in our comments section.  If you have a question about leopard geckos, post it in the relevant comment section and we will consider using it in a future Leopard Gecko Advisor column.

My son just got a leopard gecko for his birthday. The associate at the pet store had us get a light set up that had a daytime light and a night time light. Is this what we should’ve gotten?

No.  Leopard geckos do not need lights.  If you wish you can put a 15 watt red aquarium/reptile bulb over the enclosure for your viewing purposes.  Leopard geckos are nocturnal, but still need vitamin D3 for proper calcium assimilation.  You will need to provide a shallow dish in the enclosure which will be a 50-50 mixture of calcium and D3 x a good vitamin preparation like Herptivite.  You will also need an under tank heat pad on one side of the tank.  This pad is affixed to the bottom of the terrarium off to one side, and the pad needs to be regulated with a thermostat like a Zoo Med 500R, and carefully adjusted so the warm hide/cave that sits over the top of the heat pad (inside the tank) has a consistent surface temperature of 90-93F (check by taping a thermometer probe under the warm cave on the surface with a small piece of masking tape – The Exo Terra LED digital thermometer is great, accurate, and inexpensive).  There should be another cave (cool hide) that will sit off the heat pad which will generally have a surface temp of room temperature.  Geckos need to thermoregulate, so you will need both caves.  We like the Exo Terra medium size caves for geckos.  Reptile carpet works as a good substrate and is very low maintenance.  Place a triangle of paper towel in its “business” corner, and swap it out when they go to the bathroom and replace.  Keeps the carpet clean. Easy!  Good luck.

Am I supposed to remove the male from the habitat after the female lays her eggs will he do anything to them?

I generally prefer only putting a male in with a female at mating time.  When the mating has been completed, they should go to their separate enclosures.  Males can get quite aggressive towards females, and she may not want to give in to his advances while gravid. A fight can then ensue, sometimes with very bad consequences.  If she has had a successful mating, she will produce fertile eggs all season until she is done.  (When eggs are laid, of course they need to be carefully removed from the lay box and incubated appropriately.) Let her lay her eggs in peace and the result will be a lower stress female that will be more productive and produce beautiful happy babies for you!  If you are going to be breeding, I suggest you do some reading up on this process, incubation, hatchling raising, etc. It’s not rocket science but there is an education process that’s necessary any time we plan to produce new life.  Best of luck!

Written by Ray Roehner

Ray Roehner began collecting and studying reptiles and amphibians at the age of five. When he was 14, he worked in the animal labs of a major cancer research hospital where his interest in animals, and in particular high quality animal care and husbandry, nurtured his desire to work in the animal field. His subsequent science degree, coupled with his certification as an animal technologist, put him on the career path to manage the animal research efforts of two major companies in cancer and diabetes research. His love for reptiles continued and he became fascinated with leopard geckos, studying them and developing a high quality care program based on the many studies he designed and conducted to develop cutting edge care protocols to produce and maintain leopard geckos of the highest quality. He felt a calling to write this book so he could share his work and knowledge with others in order to further the hobby and most importantly to him, to benefit the well-being of the animals that he so truly loved.

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  1. I really enjoyed the article on Gecko husbandry. The only thing missing in my opinion was a third moist hide also placed over the uth. My female likes it best of all of her hides, and it makes it easy for her to shed her skin.

  2. We have disproven the need for leopard geckos to have humid hides under normal circumstances, as long as the keeper checks the gecko daily. Geckos in the very arid Middle East do not have access to moist hides and thrive. There is however a need for moisture at shed time, and in lay boxes for females. Moist hides usually do NOT stay warm enough to maintain good growth and color, as well as appetite. They can also promote bacterial growth which can contribute to skin and eye infections. We get into more detail about this in our book.

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