How to Make a Terrarium for a Leopard Gecko
Leopard geckos are among the most popular reptiles to keep as pets. They are easy to care for, and make excellent companions. However, they have specific needs that must be met to ensure their health and well-being. Creating an ideal leopard gecko habitat can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible if you have the right equipment and know what to look for.
Providing a proper environment
The first step in setting up a leopard gecko terrarium is choosing a suitable tank. Glass tanks are preferred, as they have excellent ventilation and can be easily customized to suit your gecko’s specific needs. They are also lighter than plastic tanks, making them easier to transport and maintain.
In addition to the tank, you’ll need a few accessories to make your terrarium more appealing. This can include a couple of hides, rocks, and logs that your gecko can climb on.
You may also wish to add some artificial plants. These can be expensive, but they are less of a hassle to maintain than live ones. They’re a great way to bring the natural world into your leopard gecko’s home and can help mimic the light cycle in their natural environment.
Using a thermometer and humidity monitor is important to keep your leopard gecko’s enclosure at the right temperature. Temperatures should range from 78 to 88 F in the daytime and drop to 75 to 80 F at night. You can use a ceramic heater, or a red and black reptile “night bulb” to maintain these temperatures.
Hides and hiding spots
A leopard gecko’s main hide is their stomach, but they often have a second area that they like to retreat to when it gets too hot or too cold in the tank. This is called a “hide.” You can create a hide with any type of container, such as Tupperware containers with cut-outs. It should be long enough for your gecko to hide in, but not so long that it falls on them or suffocates them.
They also like a humid hiding spot, which can be a box, a coconut shell, or any other type of enclosure that allows them to stay moist. Put a hydrophilic substrate (coconut coir, peat moss, eco-earth) in this area and mist it with water every so often until it is moist.
In addition, you’ll need a shallow water bowl for your gecko to drink from. You can buy a bowl specifically made for lizards, but it’s easier and safer to make your own.
Feeding and handling
It’s important to be patient when feeding your gecko. Young and growing geckos should be fed on a daily basis with a variety of insects. Adults can be fed two to three times a week, with one insect per inch of body length. They should be supplemented with calcium powder and vitamin D3 each time they eat.
They can be handled safely when they are small and clumsy, but they should never be picked up by the tail, as this can cause them to fall off. When handling, place your hand down and gently ease the gecko onto your palm. Start with short five-minute sessions, and gradually increase the time you spend with them until they’re comfortable with your touch.