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    Smile 100% Leopard Gecko Care Sheet - Geckos Unlimited


    To find the Table of Contents (post 142 by way of left side numbers) click link 142: Leo Care Sheet Table of Contents. You'll also find all linked articles by clicking the Table of Contents link in my signature in every post.

    Scroll down right here to see the actual care sheet! Otherwise just click link 0 (zero) within the Table of Contents.

    For a short version of this care sheet please click link 81: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet (abbreviated) -- August 2020 update (show handout). For the "bare bones only" version scroll to link 87.

    Join Geckos Unlimited today for the inside scoop on leos and other geckos!

    to all Geckos Unlimited members whose inquiries and suggestions encourage me to add additional recommendations all the time!

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    Please read BEFORE purchasing supplies

    • Avoid buying starter kits. This includes either a "10 gallon starter kit" (with or withOUT calci-sand) or a "20 long (30 x 12 x 12 inches high) starter kit". Much of that stuff is useless. Gather your leopard gecko's supplies by becoming an informed consumer.

    • PetCo frequently has half-price enclosure sales. That makes a 20 gallon long (30 x 12 x 12 inches tall) = $24.99 in July 2021. One can't beat this sale to purchase your initial enclosure or to give your leo an upgrade!!!

    • ***** Zilla makes a front-opening "20 long": 30 x 12 x 16 inches tall. IF you plan to use UVB, please confirm whether Zilla's current mesh top is a suitable choice.

      Because of this enclosures' slightly greater height (16 inches tall), it's preferred over the standard 20 long: 30 x 12 x 12 inches tall.

    • Avoid using UVB for a 10 gallon enclosure! A 10 gallon enclosure (20 x 10.25 x 12 inches high) has inadequate space for a leo to escape from the UVB rays when he wants.

    • "Never mix bleach with vinegar, ammonia, or many other products, just with water. Mixing it with vinegar releases toxic chlorine gas which is used in chemical warfare. Even if it's just a weak solution, the gas can still irritate your eyes and lungs, possibly causing long-term health problems." (Hilde)

    • Hamster/rodent wheels are UNSAFE for leopard geckos.

    • Diatomaceous Earth Alert: Some poultry/chicken feeds contain diatomaceous earth. Both Albers All Purpose Poultry Feed and Purina Layena Crumbles do NOT contain diatomaceous earth. For further information click: (hmarie186)

    • Avoid cedar, pine, fir ?, and willow ? in reptile enclosures. Cedar fumes and oils are highly toxic to reptiles! Pine fumes and oils are toxic to reptiles as well!

      IF you love BIRCH wood, use it! As far as I know birch is totally gecko-safe.

    • Check the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of any food fed to crickets or worms. We wish to achieve a 1.5-2.0 calcium to a 1.0 phosphorus ratio in the foods we feed geckos. Click the reliable United Department of Agriculture link to do that: Foods List. As of October 2019 the new USDA link is: FoodData Central.

    • Harbor Freight is a good source for digital scales with excellent specs! (Tokaybyt)

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    Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
    Eublepharis macularius

    Geckos Unlimited
    17 November 2022 (update)

    To view click Leopard Gecko Setup, not the arrow:

    Updates to video
    • No supplements in the enclosure at all
    • By omitting a background your leo will have more ground space to explore. Some leos will climb a background, but then fall off and could get hurt.
    • Click here for the humid hide in this video: Exo Terra Gecko Cave for Reptiles, Medium: Pet Supplies
    • Please google Amazon's "OMEM Reptiles Hideout Humidification Cave with Basin for Gecko" for the i-d-e-a-l terra cotta humid hide for leopard geckos. OMEM hides keep your warm humid hide at a constant humidity! I recommend OMEM's large cave for leopard geckos up to 80ish grams. The large OMEM terra cotta hide's entrance measures 2 inches wide x 1.5 inches high. This large hide measures 5.9 inches long x 3.74 inches wide 4.72 inches tall. I use a small amount of sphagnum moss for bedding.

    Eublepharis macularius was first described by zoologist Edward Blyth in 1854.

    Leopard geckos are actually cathemeral geckos. They are active at dusk, during the night, and at dawn. Leos are also thigmotherms. A leopard gecko's preferred body temperature (PBT) = 86*F. That's 30*C.

    Leopard geckos don't have endolymphatic sacs which store calcium like some other gecko species do.

    All it takes is knowledge & care to provide state-of-the art technology for our leopard geckos! When you establish UVB wavelengths within a leo's enclosure, a leopard gecko will thrive! That's really just the first step.

    (1) Quarantine Recommendations
    Any new gecko should be quarantined for a minimum of 90 days. That gives adequate time to check for parasites, cryptosporidiosis, and the beginnings of coccidia plus. 3-6 months quarantine are recommended if your new gecko is imported or wild caught.

    1. Set up your new gecko as far as possible from your current animals.
    2. Set up your quarantined gecko as simply as possible -- with a paper towel floor and homemade plastic hides that can be tossed, if necessary.
    3. Feed the quarantined gecko last. (Maybe use vinyl gloves.)
    4. Toss uneaten prey. Never share prey between geckos or toss uneaten prey back into the feeding bin!
    5. Do not share any supplies such as thermometer probes or feeding tongs between cages.
    6. Wash hands thoroughly between handling geckos.

    The quarantine area should ideally be in a separate room apart from your established geckos. Stringent sanitation methods MUST be followed!

    (2) Never keep two male leopard geckos together!

    (3) Best to Keep Leopard Geckos Separately Caution: graphic photos!
    Leopard geckos are solitary creatures. Handling stresses leos. Leopard geckos do not benefit from either a mate of the opposite sex or a "friend" of the same sex. Leos of different sizes should not be kept together. It's simply not worth the risks.

    Contributed by orbela in Jan 2014. May 2011 article ===> Leopard gecko swallows smaller leopard gecko.


    Contributed by Saskia in May 2013. These photos show the grave condition of a female leopard gecko the morning after the pair had been introduced for breeding. The breeder assumed that this male-female pair would get along. Clearly this was NOT the case.
    Warning: GRAPHIC


    Much smaller leo bitten by giant leo causing a broken leg:

    (4) Sexing Leopard Geckos -- A leopard gecko's sex can be confirmed when that leo is over 5 inches (12.7 cm) in total length. That may happen when the leo nears 6 months old. Males can be distinguished from females by a distinct /\-shaped row of femoral pores above the vent and by two hemipenal bulges below the vent. To see their vents, potential male femoral pores, and hemipenal bulges gently press their bodies up against the glass. They will squirm if you try to turn them over.

    Added on the 17 November 2022: Giorgos Makrakis shares that in the /\-shaped femoral pore line there should be even small black spots for it to be male. Also, at its size (over 5 inches/12.7 cm) it would have developed at least a slight swelling that would indicate the presence of 2
    hemispheres/hemipenal bulges.

    (5) Posting Photos/Videos . . . . . . inline or attached
    Follow admin Hilde's red arrows. [2019: Inserted Hilde's 2 screenshots.]
    1. First upload your image (or video) file from your computer.
    (click to enlarge)

    2. Then attach that image file (or video file) to your message by clicking the button with the tree 14 icons in from the left from the 2nd line above that begins with B.
    OR then attach a video to this post by clicking the ladder icon 15 icons in from the left.
    (click to enlarge)

    3. Copy & paste the image's URL (or video's URL) into the line provided.
    4. Finally click both buttons in the lower righthand corner: "Insert Inline" and then click "Done".
    Click: vBulletin FAQ
    • To insert a video find 3 lines of choices at the top where you make a post. On the second line, 15 icons in from the left, you'll see the video icon. It looks like a ladder. Click this video icon & paste your video URL right there. Your video and arrow like you may have noticed here will be displayed, not just a link.
    • To insert a photo use the "image" icon next to the "ladder" icon.
      1. First upload your images or video to a free Imgur or YouTube account.
      2. Then use that jpeg or URL to upload your image or video onto Geckos Unlimited.
      3. Click: Go Advanced under the reply box
      4. Then click: Manage Attachments
      5. Click "insert image url" OR "insert video url"
      6. Then copy & paste

    Imgur and YouTube offer free online sites for sharing photos and videos.

    Here's another way to post a picture.
    1. At the foot of your post click the Edit Post button.
    2. Then click Go Advanced button.
    3. Scroll all the way down to Manage Attachments. Click.
    4. Click: Add Files. Select a photo from your files and upload it.
    5. Drag that photo into the box beneath.
    6. *** Finally click both buttons in the lower righthand corner: "Insert Inline" and then click "Done".

    (6) Images upside down or sideways? Here's the fix.
    1. Go to the picture in your gallery. Look to the bottom right. In the blue bar underneath "User Options", you'll see "Edit Photo".
    2. "Edit Photo" will display a thumbnail of that picture. The flip or rotate options are listed below it.
    3. "Could this option not be available for mobile users? I am not seeing what you are speaking about."
    4. Click on your photo when you get to that screen. It should go to the one with the options.
    5. When you're done, save the changes.
    6. For the actual thread click: Uploading to my gallery

    (7) Looking for an experienced reptile veterinarian for your geckos?



    275194095_3846267955598357_9174438848626805684_n.jpg 275179756_491349622610667_2962287561602676865_n.jpg
    (cllck to enlarge)
    On a small scale let's strive to replicate a leopard gecko's natural habitat. The larger your enclosure, the more exercise your leopard gecko will get!

    /\ /\ /\ GU's Ayana Evans shares these details about her nearly 8 yo leo Asia's home. "This enclosure = 48 x 12 x 21 inches tall. It's a 55 gallon Aqueon fish tank from Pet Supplies Plus in the USA. The top is an Exo Terra hinged screen door for 55 gallon enclosures. The small tree with bright green leaves reaching for the light on the right side is a ficus. Ayana uses a T5 fluorescent grow light for this ficus."

    A 20 gallon LONG enclosure (30 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches high; 76.2 x 31.75 x 31.75 cm high) allows ample length for a leopard gecko's thermal gradient. That size is excellent for a hatchling leopard gecko too. Zilla makes a front-opening enclosure that's 30 x 12 x 16 inches high.

    A 20 gallon LONG is the minimum size enclosure for a normal-sized female adult leo (~9 inches total length & ~70 grams) or perhaps a male. For a larger leopard gecko choose either an Exo Terra enclosure 36 x 18 x 12 inches (90 x 45 x 30 cms) or a 40 gallon breeder enclosure (36 x 18 x 17 inches).

    For a ground dwelling reptile such as a leopard gecko, a minimum enclosure length 4x the leo's total length is highly suggested. Leopard geckos reach about 8 inches long at 1.5 years old. The average leopard gecko is 9 inches total length at maturity. So that's 4 x 9 = 36 inch long tank.

    Exo Terra makes a glass enclosure 36 inches long x 18 (actually just 16 ??) inches wide x 12 inches tall with front doors.

    Wooden/Melamine Enclosures
    Wooden/melamine enclosures are excellent for leopard geckos. They offer a secure environment in which heat/humidity control is easy. Provide ventilation low on the cool end and high on the warm end. Heat overhead with a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) or sandwich a heat mat (UTH) between 2 tiles that are elevated above the enclosure's floor. Add a 15 watt incandescent bulb dimmed to half power by a rheostat to provide a photoperiod.

    Blocking off some of the top (when there's only ventilation on top) to retain humidity increases poor air circulation.

    Heat + light = the sun
    Avoid direct sunlight on the enclosure. Direct sunlight will cause potentially deadly overheating. Overhead bulb wattages vary depending upon the ambient room temperatures!

    Leopard geckos benefit greatly from a "warm zone", not just a "warm spot". Your leopard gecko's entire body should fit within each temperature zone. If not, over time health problems can develop. Air temperatures within the enclosure are just as important as belly heat for keeping your leo active!
    • Provide Under Tank Heating (UTH) equal to 1/2 the enclosure's footprint as the main belly heat source.
    • If the air is cool, supplement belly heat with overhead heat via a ceramic heat emitter (CHE).
    • Add a 15 watt incandescent bulb housed in a 5.5 inch diameter fixture and dimmed to half power by a rheostat. That creates a photoperiod.

    UTHs and CHEs each require separate thermostats.

    For enclosures 30 inches and longer consider Arcadia's ShadeDweller lighting which was developed in 2018. Be sure to add the UVB lighting to the warm end of the enclosure.

    TEMPERATURES - A temperature gradient from warm to cool maintains your leo's health. Here's a temperature guide for all leopard geckos as measured by the probe of a thermostat, a digital thermometer, or a temp gun. Set your thermostat at 91*F/32.8*C. Make certain all heat sources are controlled by either an ON/OFF thermostat or by a dimming thermostat.

    It's recommended that basking area temps be somewhat higher than 91*F/32.8*C when using a halogen bulb for heat & "a patch of sunlight".

    Tape the thermostat's probe and a digital thermometer's probe together, but offset a little. Place them right on top of the substrate underneath the warm dry hide. If you use a UTH + a CHE you'll need 2 separate thermostats, because ground and air temperatures are substantially different.

    • Warm dry hide ground temperature: 88-92 F (31.1-33.3 C) inside a leo's warm dry hide.
    • Warm humid/moist hide: Place the humid hide 100% on top of the heat mat. Keep temperatures similar to the warm dry hide.
    • Cool dry hide ground temperature: 70ish-75 F (21.1-23.9 C) Usually the cool end ground temperature matches the room temperature where the enclosure sits.
    • No greater than 82ish F (27.8ish C) surface temperature - 4 inches (10 cm) above ground on the warm end
    • No greater than 75 F (23.9 C) surface temperature - 4 inches (10 cm) above ground on the cool end

    Leave your heat mat on 24/7 IF ambient room temperatures drop lower than 67ish*F (19.4*C). If NOT, during the night turn off overhead lighting/heating (~12 hours on and ~12 hours off).
    Elevate your entire enclosure 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch off the stand to prevent house fires!!! For larger enclosures elevate the enclosure at each corner and at center edges! Use sticky chair pads, Pink Pearl erasers, sturdy bottle caps, small tiles, or wooden blocks. Wrought iron stands support the periphery of the tank, but are completely open on the bottom.

    Heat cables work better for vivs with different dimensions than standard heat mats. The first 6 feet of heat cables are actually not heated.

    (1) Under Tank Heat mat (UTH)
    Your Under Tank Heat mat should cover about 1/2 the enclosure's floor. Place one dry hide and the moist hide right on top of the heat mat.

    • 10 gallon (20 x 10.25 x 12 inches high): Use Zoo Med's 8 x 12 inch (16 watt) heat mat.
    • 15 gallon (24 x 12.5 x 12.5 inches high): Use Ultratherm's 11 x 11 inch heat mat.
    • 20 gallon LONG (30 x 12 x 12 inches high): Use Ultratherm's 11 x 17 inch heat mat.
    • 40 gallon BREEDER (36 x 18 x 17 inches high): Use 2 Ultratherm 11 x 17 heat mats or install 39 feet of heat cables over 1/2 the enclosure. The first 6 feet of heat cables are actually not heated.

    ***** Ultratherms ***** (high quality) are reusable. Snugly attach the heat mat underneath a glass enclosure with double-sided heat safe tape (or tape rolls) down the center and with electrically safe Nashua tape around the edges. When you purchase supplies directly from Amazon, you'll be able to return even electrical products that do not meet your gecko's needs. Amazon Prime also provides free return shipping. Reptile Basics (336-308-5767) ----> 11 x 11 Ultratherms = $20, 11 x 17 Ultratherms = $22. The Reptile Supply Co in Lodi, California sells Ultratherms too.

    Using Styrofoam Insulation Underneath an Ultratherm Heat Mat . . . . . . Keith -- April 2018
    "I suggest that an Ultratherm UTH is a must. The Ultratherm needs (styro)foam insulation under it, directing the heat upward and into the enclosure. From what I understand, other brands call for air under the UTH, which just allows heat to be lost! The fact that the Ultratherms should have foam insulation under them rather than air also says volumes about their safety. I only know this because I’m still setting up my Vivarium as well."
    (2) Consider Arcadia Reptiles' Deep Heat Projector plugged into a pulse proportional thermostat set on the "dimming" function. DHPs are manufactured in 50 watt and 80 watt bulbs.

    (3) Consider Arcadia Reptiles' ShadeDweller lighting which was developed in 2018. From what I understand, these fixtures come in a couple different lengths.

    (4) Fluker's Repta-Clamp Lamp/Dome with Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) Click this one: It also comes with an inline dimmer/rheostat.

    • A Fluker's repta-clamp lamp fixture with a 10 inch (25.4 cm) diameter opening is important to direct warm air into the enclosure. Smaller domes are considerably less efficient, because a greater amount of heat escapes into the room.

    • Ceramic Heat Emitters are recommended for overhead domes, because they emit only heat. Leo's eyes are very sensitive to bright lights. They CAN see red and other colored bulbs! Control the CHE either by a second thermostat or by a rheostat/dimmer (Lutron).

    (5) Photoperiod Dome containing Low Wattage Incandescent
    A photoperiod is all about mimicking lighting (& heating) a particular reptile would experience in its natural environment. Short of having an expensive computer-controlled system that tweaks the lighting second by second, well minute by minute anyway, we can only approximate this goal.

    • Place a low wattage bulb (15 watt standard incandescent bulb) dimmed to half power inside a 5.5 inch diameter dome fixture in the center of the screen top and right next to the CHE. Buy the dome with an inline dimmer or a separate Lutron dimmer. Then connect it to a timer.

    • Click: Sunrise Sunset Daylight Hours of Pakistan -- Timebie
      For example, 11 hours ON in February is good.

    • In addition I somewhat shield the light from my photoperiod bulb by a tall silk palm tree in the center of the enclosure.

    (6) Night Light for Viewing
    Hagen/Exo-Terra's Night-Glo Moonlight bulb is recommended for night viewing, but only for a couple hours. It's visible to geckos. Its purpose is to mimic moonlight. This moonlight bulb comes in these wattages: 15, 25, 40, 50, 75, 100, & 150 watts.

    (7) UVB for Leopard Geckos
    (click to enlarge)

    /\ /\ /\ Here's introducing Ayana Evans' nearly 8 yo female leo Asia (April 2022 birthday). On the 3 March 2022, for the first time ever, Asia basked under UVB for 5-6 hours! Ayana shared Asia's feat on facebook group's Reptile Lighting thread! In the past Asia basked maybe several times per year up to 30 minutes maximum. As of the 5 March 2022 Asia has had UVB for almost 2 years.

    Proper strength UVB rays WILL benefit your leopard gecko. For proper UVB absorption UVB MUST be paired with a side-by-side heat source like a halogen basking bulb whose rays cover this leo's entire body. Supply the correct amount of UVB based upon the Ferguson Zone Index for shade dwelling geckos. "Shade dwelling geckos" includes leopard geckos. Leopard geckos require a Ferguson Zone UVI = 0.5 - 1.0 as measured by a Solarmeter 6.5 or 6.5R. There are "equivalent" meters with different brand names. When depending upon UVB for leopard geckos as a D3 source, Fran Baines, DVM (& lighting guru) strongly recommends supplementing @ 1-2 feedings per month with a good powdered calcium with vitamin D3 as a backup. Make certain there are ample hides so your leo can dodge the rays when he so wishes.

    Google the reptile specific Ferguson Zones Chart and check for leopard geckos to be safe with your setup. Use the Solarmeter 6.5R (UVI) to measure the strength of the rays. The Solarmeter 6.5R UV Index Meter has been updated with an attractive, informative graphics displaying the Ferguson Zones Chart at the top of the meter. Last time I checked, the Reptile Supply Company based in Sacramento. California had a good price on Solarmeter 6.5Rs.

    (8 ) Exo Terra brand UVB bulbs or ceramic heat emitting bulbs are not recommended.

    (9) Hot rocks are very unsafe.

    Regarding any colored light bulbs. Use ceramic heat emitting bulbs.

    A thermostat controls your under tank heater or overhead dome fixture. It provides your leopard gecko with stable and comfortable temperatures, saves $ on electricity, and lessens the chance of a house fire from accidental overheating.

    • Plug your UTH/heat mat or overhead dome fixture into the thermostat.
    • Plug the thermostat into the power strip.
    • Plug the power strip into the wall outlet.
    • Tape a digital thermometer's probe right onto the thermostat's probe to verify the thermostat's settings.
    • Place both probes on the floor of your leopard gecko's warm dry hide.
    • Check daily.

    For a leopard gecko set the thermostat's control to turn off the heat source when the temps exceed 91*F (32.8*C). The temperature should drop NO LOWER than 88*F before the thermostat turns the heat source on again and begins heating.

    Separate thermostats are required if you wish to achieve different temperatures with different devices like an UTH and an overhead dome.

    Do NOT exceed the maximum wattage of your power strip or thermostat!

    Proportional thermostats are more precise.

    These are good thermostats:
    1. Hydrofarm's Jump Start MTPRTC thermostat
      • Google: Hydrofarm's Jump Start thermostat. It's a real work horse. I've had my leo's Jump Start thermostat since 2013.
      • It has a convenient digital readout and a small metal probe. This thermostat should vary no more than +/- 3 degrees F from its setting before it turns the heat source off or on.
      • Hydrofarm's Jump Start MTPRTC has a 5/8 inch diameter suction cup which slides up and down the probe's cord. Instead I use a small Adams suction cup with a slit (not a hook) to attach the cord to the side of the glass. Vegetable oil on the base of the suction cup really improves suction.
      • It's rated to 1,000 watts/8.3 amps.
      • My Jump Start's probe agrees with my digital thermometer's probe within 2*F.

    2. Apollo's digital thermostat

    3. Inkbird Thermostats
      Click here for Inkbird contact information:

      Inkbird manufactures 2 similar models that only control HEAT (no cooling). Both are rated to 1,200 watts. Both models have 2 sockets for controlling two separate heat mats or two separate CHE dome fixtures set at the same temperature. Each model has only 1 probe.

      On the 18 April 2018 GU's Savannah shared: "Now there is an attachment you can buy where another probe plugs in."

      Model #1: INK306T

      Model #2: Inkbird ITC-306T
      • Click:
      • Inkbird's ITC-306T Digital 2-Outlet Heat Temperature Controller/thermostat has a built-in ultra-capacitor. When the ultra-capacitor is fully charged, this thermostat will work for more than 20 days without electricity.
      • blondebrown coat states: "I love it! It keeps very true temps, has a max/min customizable threshold, day and night temp settings, and an alarm if temps get out of whack."

      Model #3:

    4. iPower thermostats

    5. USA Herpstat dimming (pulse proportional) thermostats from Pangea

    6. USA Helix dimming (pulse proportional) thermostats from the Bean Farm

    7. USA dimming (pulse proportional) thermostat suggested by JTB Reptiles -- I don't know how reliable this dimming thermostat is.

    8. USA Spyder Robotics' dimming (pulse proportional) thermostats: HerpStat Intro ($99) and the HerpStat Intro+ ($109).

    9. United Kingdom -- Habistat dimming (pulse proportional) thermostats

    Both a reliable digital thermometer with a probe and an infrared temperature gun are recommended. A digital thermometer with a probe can measure either the air temperature or the ground temperature, whereas temperature guns measure the precise spot or range where the laser is aimed.

    Dial-type (circle-analog) thermometers are very inaccurate. At best they read "ballpark" temperatures Liquid crystal display (LCD) strip thermometers are worthless.

    Temperature guns

    Click: Digital Hygrometers - Weather Instruments, Weather Radios & Cupolas

    Roughly textured tiles (ceramic, porcelain, or slate) make excellent, risk-free substrates. They conduct heat well from an UTH. They are attractive, permanent, and inexpensive. Paper towels can also be used. Thin cork sheets can be purchased from a place like Staple's Office Supply. They conduct heat well and are easy to clean.
    • If you use tile and the tile does not sit flush against the glass floor, that might cause "hot spots" and variable temp gun readings. Adding a 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch layer of washed DRY fine sand ONLY under the tiles should fix that.
    • Make sure tiles or slate are no more than ~3/8 inch thick. If they are too thick it will interfere with heat conduction from your UTH.
    • Some Lowe's Home Improvement stores will trim tiles free or for a small fee.
    • If you choose paper towels, the safest route is to contain all food for your leo in a feeding dish! Sometimes leopard geckos eat paper towels.
    • Reptile carpet harbors bacteria from feces and urine. Young and mature leopard geckos get their teeth and claws stuck in these carpets.
    • Avoid vinyl tiles with or without adhesive backing. Unhealthy volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be created by off-gassing when vinyl tiles are heated.

    Slate is a superior substrate. Slate is ideal for retaining heat. However, it's porous and should be sealed with a water-base, low VOC sealant.

    Sealing Slate Tiles: Make certain any sealant is reptile-safe and food-safe! Slate tiles can be sealed with a food grade sealant so that they will NOT absorb gecko urine or feces. IF you don't seal the slate, periodically sterilize it with a bleach solution. While the bleach is off-gassing, replace the missing sections with paper towels.

    Amazon has great prices on the quart size!
    ***** Miracle Sealants' water-base, low VOC, sealant:
    ~ $30 Tile Cutter
    Click: Q.E.P. | 14 Inch Tile Cutter with 7/8 Inch Cutting Wheel | Home Depot Canada


    3 March 2022
    "If the tissue is really red and swollen or protruding you can honey pack it. Just take a small Q-tip and dab the area with plain old honey three to four times a day.

    **Don't stick the q-tip inside the cloaca!**

    "White granulated sugar mixed with water to make a gritty paste can work too. This helps decrease inflammation, prevents bacterial growth, and isn't harmful if licked off. I find that honey works best.

    "Also, remove any loose substrate as this can be irritating or get stuck to the exposed tissues."

    4 March 2022
    "This method is also safe for treating post burns, ruptured abscesses, really most wounds where tissues need to be kept moist but may be too fragile to suture surgically, or when dealing with wounds where you expect a lot of necrotic tissue to form as it heals.

    "The granulated sugar is most helpful for some prolapse cases. In reptiles and birds it can sometimes help shrink a cloacal prolapse enough for the tissue to return to normal without a vet having to put stitches in. It can also be a safe wound barrier until a pet can get seen by a veterinarian for actual antibiotics."

    Thanks to GU's SpottedDragon
    "Nature is the best teacher, learn by observing."
    These tips may help a constipated leo:
    1. Feed a couple drops of olive oil or vegetable oil every day.
    2. Massage this leo's belly in a throat-to-vent manner.
    3. Rehydrate this leo with a long warm soak at ~ 86*F -- a leo's preferred body temperature.
    4. Make certain the leo has fresh water daily.
    5. Try feeding the constipated/impacted leo some hornworms. Hornworms = 85% moisture. PetCo sells Timberline's hornworms in 4-packs.
      For link 33 click: Hornworm Care Guidelines

    Sand Impaction Links + Another Link
    Geckos Unlimited has numerous reports of leopard geckos, young and older, dying from sand impaction. NEVER use Vita Sand, Calci-sand, or any sand which contains calcium. You do not want your leo eating sand to get calcium!
    RIP Leo "Peach":

    Another leo lost to sand impaction: Caution: graphic photos! [Contributed by Saskia . . . . . . December 2014]

    Leo "Geoffrey":

    HUMIDITY & HIDES: 3 Hides per Leopard Gecko
    Maintain leopard geckos at humidity between 40-60%. The warm humid hide will have higher humidity than the warm dry hide. A warm humid hide helps geckos with hydration as well as with shedding. Locate the dry hide and the moist hide on the warm end. One (or two) large water bowls help increase humidity.

    Misting is NOT recommended for a leo enclosure.

    Click: Relative Humidity -

    (1) Excellent Warm DRY hide

    (2) Click Exo Terra Reptile Caves: Exo Terra : New Reptile Cave / Natural Hiding Place

    (3) Amazon's OMEM large terra cotta hide with a basin on top makes the best warm humid hide ever!

    (4) Homemade Humid Hide made by GU's wicked gecko (Russ)

    "Here's an image of my humid hide made from GladWare. I melted the entrance with a soldering iron, so it's really smooth. I then cut a single piece of aquarium airline tubing a little extra long and split it down the middle. It's on the warm side and filed with Eco Earth's coco fiber. I made the entrance higher up to contain the coco fiber if leo Hiccup decides to dig."

    (5) Homemade Humid Hides made by GU's Conched (Matt)

    Here's a hide that works OK for the warm humid hide. Matt uses plastic 45 oz Country Crock containers. The lid has a 6 inch diameter. The 45 oz size allows a fully grown Leo to fit comfortably inside.

    Use an opaque container. The above ground entrance keeps the substrate inside. Sand or melt the edges of the opening so they are not sharp. Fill it with paper towel strips, sphagnum moss, or Eco Earth's coco fiber -- all dampened.

    (6) Leo hides handmade with river rocks by GU's JessJohnson87 For details and photos scroll to post #114 right here.

    (7) 23 March 2015: kholtme (Kyle) created a separate thread to share his experience with the Zoo Med's new ceramic model of their 3-in-1 hide.

    Avoid vermiculite in the moist hide! Vermiculite in eye & cute picture of leo with eye patch:

    Cage furniture and silk plant foliage will add security to your leo's micro-environment. For additional privacy, cover the sides and back of the enclosure with construction paper.


    Calcium, Vitamin, & Mineral Supplements

    Best not to keep any supplement in the enclosure including plain calcium carbonate!

    Douglas R. Mader DVM's article
    D toxicity.jpg
    (click to enlarge)

    Vitamin D3 is crucial to a gecko's diet. Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble vitamin. One weekly dose sticks around in a gecko's body and metabolizes calcium all week long. Some vitamin D3 is often found in the diet we feed the feeders. Usually additional powdered supplementation is necessary. If your leopard gecko has an enclosure at least 4 feet long, UVB lighting is preferred. Even then a backup dose of D3 calcium @ 1 feeding per month is recommended! Without a vitamin D3 source, any leo/gecko is at risk for metabolic bone disease. Too much vitamin D3 is harmful as well. If one uses UVB lighting for a leopard gecko, there should be many places for a leopard gecko to dodge the UVB rays.

    Our goal is to provide our geckos with as close to a 1.5-2.0 calcium to a 1.0 phosphorus as is possible. Suggest feeding bugs and worms a healthy dry diet plus certain veggies as the primary source of nutrition. Then lightly dust the prey as the secondary source of vitamins and calcium.

    In places like some South American and African countries where plain calcium carbonate powder is unavailable, cuttle bone (sepia bone -- also calcium carbonate) can be shaved off and "chopped".

    Edit: 13 July 2012
    Relatively recent research suggests that chameleons do not metabolize beta-carotene into vitamin A at all. Does the same apply to geckos?

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    Click important research:

    If you are feeding a healthy adult leopard gecko 18+ months old, lightly dust with this frequency:
    • Monday -- lightly dust feeders with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
    • Thursday -- lightly dust feeders with Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins withOUT D3

    For supplement schedules dependent upon your leo's age see posts 124, 125, & 126. For UVB lighting supplement schedules see posts 154, 155, & 156.
    Use Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins sparingly! A wee pinch no more than 1x per week is all you need!! The directions on both Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins and Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3 containers suggest dusting according to your gecko's weight.

    Finely grind the following dry diets for crickets (Acheta domestica), Blaptica dubia, and mealworm bedding. Feed it to them 24/7. Off to the side add a dish of chopped collard, dandelion, mustard, and turnip greens for high calcium/low phosphorus and for moisture.
    • ***Zoo Med's Natural ADULT Bearded Dragon Food***
    • OR Aliza (GU's acpart) uses this already ground dry diet from "Professional Reptiles" for her mealworm/superworm bedding as well as for her insect and worm food.
    • OR Albers' All Purpose Poultry Feed
    • OR Purina Layena Crumbles:
    • ***Cricket Crack dry diet from the Reptile Supply Co
    • ***Alfalfa Meal - alternating with the starred foods above (from the Reptile Supply Company)

    1. Lightly dust prey according to the above schedule. Lightly dust = like a "sprinkling of powdered sugar on a cake"

    2. The term gut loading causes some confusion. Feed your feeders a nutritious regular diet all the time to build strong feeder bodies. Feeding your geckos insects and worms whose entire body is healthy (and not just their guts) is very important!

    Be sure to check the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of any food that you feed to the crickets or worms. Carrots, for instance, contain about a 1:2.3 ratio (???) of calcium to phosphorus depending upon the charts.

    5777.jpg + repticalciumwd3.jpg + 5774.jpg
    (click to enlarge)

    Amazon carries NOW brand calcium carbonate. NOW brand calcium carbonate is also sold in health food stores. Plain calcium never expires!

    ***Current directions (16 May 2013) on Zoo Med's Reptivite with/without D3/A acetate
    "Directions for Insectivores: Place crickets in a tall plastic container with a wee pinch of Reptivite. Swirl to lightly dust crickets with the powder. Feed approximately 12 dusted crickets per week for every 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of body weight."

    Zoo Med's Reptivite contains vitamin A acetate (retinol) in contrast to the beta carotene provided in Rep Cal's Herptivite. There has been research with chameleons which suggests they do not utilize vitamin A in the form of beta carotene.


    ***In the United Kingdom, Nutrobal all-in-one multivitamin is available for lightly dusting your geckos' prey. It's excellent!

    Click: Nutrobal for reptiles

    Pro-Rep Calcidust

    "Premium Insect Enriching Formula" . . . . . . by KOMODO (made in England)

    Preferred Insects & Worms for Leopard Geckos

    Nutritional Values of Common Feeders

    Associated Nutrition Link
    Click: NDL/FNIC Food Composition Database Home Page

    Suggested Prey Items
    When trying out any new feeder for your leos, order a trial cup.

    Feed adult leopard geckos 2 times per week and young leos just about every day. Offer variety selected from the following: crickets, black soldier fly larvae (Phoenix/calci/reptiworms), roaches, silkworms, hornworms, blue bottle fly larvae, mealworm pupae, freshly molted mealworms, grasshoppers, and locusts (smallest locusts possible).

    To keep crickets in a feeding dish, cut off the back legs at the "knees". Young leos are often clumsy hunters. Slowing down the crickets by cutting off their back legs gives young leos more time to catch them. Loose prey in the tank will be a source of stress to your leo and can even nibble on your leo's toes when the leo is sleeping. It's fine to leave prey in a feeding dish with a pinch of dry diet.

    Pinky mice and waxworms are like ice cream for geckos. Waxworms do contain vitamin C. Offer waxworms very infrequently (maybe a couple times per month). Excessive fat in geckos' diets can lead to hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) and gout.

    1. Insect & Worm Resource

    2. Bean Beetles

    3. Black Soldier Fly Larvae: "Phoenix/calci/reptiworms & NutriGrubs" are different trademarked names.
      BSFL are very healthy feeders. The largest BSFL worms are only 3/4 inch long, They are recommended for leos. They are often popular with young leos. Rinse them off prior to feeding! Once you receive your Phoenix worms, they should neither be dusted nor fed!!!

    4. Blue Bottle Fly Larvae

    5. Butterworms Do NOT feed butterworms to crested geckos or to gargoyle geckos. Crested geckos & gargoyle geckos experience chemical-type burns when fed butterworms. Please read the following link to understand why not.

    6. Hornworms -- Leopard geckos love them!

    7. Mealworms Freshly molted mealworms or mealworm pupae are recommended for variety, NOT as a staple food.

      Aliza (GU's acpart) uses Professional Reptiles' Pro Gutload Dry Diet for mealworm (& superworm) bedding. She puts about 2" of gut load into a Kritter Keeper (14" x 8" x 5") and dumps in the mealworms. Eventually you'll see a lot of mealworm skins. Remove the mealworm skins, so it's easier to get the mealworms out. At some point it starts looking like grains of sand instead of dry gut load. This is mealworm droppings. You can either sift out the sandy stuff and throw it away or just add more dry gut load.

      SpottedDragon's Mealworm Breeding System: post #8 on Phosphorus Questions thread

    8. Roaches including Dubia

    9. Silkworms are a soft-bodied feeder high in vitamin A (retinol).

    10. Superworms


    Hydrate and/or soak your gecko prior to feeding, Do not attempt to feed an emaciated/dehydrated gecko till the gecko's hydration status has been assessed by a veterinarian. In order to prevent further damage to the kidneys or liver, let the vet rehydrate your gecko. Only then assist feed.

    To get any gecko to open it's mouth brush your finger, a thin dowel, or a stainless steel gavage needle (with a rounded "ball" tip) horizontally past his lips. Stroke gecko's lips -- gecko opens mouth -- then insert water, food, or medicine. Be gentle and never force the mouth open.

    Click: How to assist feed a gecko? How to get a gecko to open it's mouth?

    BEFORE feeding a dehydrated gecko, make sure he/she is hydrated either by mouth or by soaking. Also try offering clear Pedialyte to this gecko prior to ANY food. This gecko could also be soaked in clear Pedialyte. Pedialyte is a good source of electrolytes.
    • Repashy's Grub Pie Grub Pie is good for ongoing feeding of ailing geckos who are refusing live insects. Add warm water to Grub Pie's powdered food (75% insect meal) & mix into a paste. This has a much longer shelf life than Oxbow's Carnivore Care.
      • Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein min. 40%, Crude Fat min. 12%, Crude Fiber max. 15%, Moisture max. 10%, Ash max. 12%, Calcium min. 1.5%.
      • INGREDIENTS: Insect Meal, Dried Seaweed Meal, Coconut Meal, Ground Flaxseed, Stabilized Rice Bran, Dried Brewers Yeast, Lecithin, Dried Kelp, Locust Bean Gum, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Taurine, Watermelon, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Calendula Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Salt, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Selenium Yeast. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex).

    • Oxbow's Carnivore Care is best for leos off food. Available via Amazon in 70 gram and 340 gram sizes!
      Attachment 23171
      For (storage tips beyond 1 week) 34 click: Powdered Assist Foods: Oxbow’s Carnivore Care, Emeraid, & Repta+Boost
    • Lafeber's Emeraid for Carnivors -- quite similar to Oxbow's Carnivore Care
      Click: Emeraid® Carnivore | Lafeber's Emeraid
    • In a pinch, use Mazuri's
      Click: Mazuri Shopping Cart - Insectivorous Lizards
    • Fluker's Repta+Boost -- better to buy Oxbow's Carnivore Care or Lafeber's Emeraid for Carnivors instead
      Attachment 23176


    • Turkey baby food is better than chicken baby food. Place the baby food directly on the gecko's lips/snout. For an electrolyte boost especially with dehydrated geckos, turkey (or chicken) baby food can be mixed 1:1 with unflavored Pedialyte. Sprinkle a little calcium with D3 into the chicken baby food 2x per week. If additional calcium is necessary, use a liquid supplement called Calcium Glubionate.
    • To discover the benefits of turkey baby food scroll to Assist Feeding post 8 by Maurice Pudlo. That post follows the Leopard Gecko Guidelines on this care sheet.


    Feed insects and worms a balanced dry diet that provides no more than 20% protein and no more than 5% crude fat.

    Albers All Purpose Poultry Feed (from feed store): The label reads 16% minimum protein, 3% minimum fat, and vitamin A acetate among many other nutrients!
    + Collard greens -- especially recommended for high calcium-to-low phosphorus ratio & high lutein
    + Dandelion greens & flowers
    + Prickly pear cactus
    + Watercress
    Whole Grain TOTAL -- General Mills dry cereal (in a pinch)

    The Reptile Supply Company, Inc. based in Sacramento, California ( sells alfalfa meal, bee pollen, chlorella powder, spirulina powder, and strawberry powder (coarse).

    Avoid feeding dog food, cat food, OR tropical fish flakes to insects or worms. Those are way too high in protein and fat. They could potentially cause hepatic lipidosis or gout.

    Avoid feeding freeze-dried/canned crickets to geckos. Geckos get moisture from well-hydrated prey as well as the nutrients such prey provides.

    Click here to check out almost any food:
    Foods List

    NDL/FNIC Food Composition Database Home Page

    Feeding Dishes
    Join the Facebook group Gecko food! Feeder insects group and the following link will work.


    • 8 ounce clear glass round dishes with totally vertical sides: 1.5" height/depth x 3.5" diameter. Source: Anchor Hocking, 800-562-7511, ext 2478. Use a sloped stepping stone/ramp for easy access to the feeding dish and to stabilize the dish.
    • Click:
    • Ceramic tea cups used by Asian restaurants are nice and deep. They have no handles!
    • Jumbo tealight holders: Mainstays Jumbo Tealight Holder: Decor :
    • Small ceramic ramekins from a kitchen store make nice feeding and water dishes. They have deeper vertical slippery sides---ideal for containing some feeders!


    Click: Cricket Care Guidelines II -- January 2018 update

    Finely grind the following dry diets for crickets (Acheta domestica), Blaptica dubia, and mealworms. Feed it to them 24/7. Off to the side add a dish of chopped collard, dandelion (flowers & greens), mustard, and turnip greens for high calcium/low phosphorus and for moisture. Make certain your source is pesticide-free!
    • ***Zoo Med's Natural ADULT Bearded Dragon Food***
    • OR Aliza (GU's acpart) uses this already ground dry diet from "Professional Reptiles" for her mealworm/superworm bedding as well as for her insect and worm food.
    • OR Albers' All Purpose Poultry Feed
    • OR Purina Layena Crumbles
    • ***Cricket Crack dry diet from the Reptile Supply Company
    • ***Alfalfa Meal - alternating with the starred foods above (from the Reptile Supply Company)

    Cricket Species
    1. Acheta domestica, the softer brown cricket, is ideal. Acheta domestica are sold in the USA by Armstrong's Crickets, Fluker's Crickets, & Ghann's Crickets among other companies. Acheta domestica really ARE significantly quieter than banded cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus) males!

    2. Since November 2012 Gryllodes sigillatus, the banded cricket, has been sold in the USA by Ghann's. In May 2013 a herp keeper reported that Gryllodes sigillatus are jumpier than Acheta domestica. In July 2018 a gecko keeper told me that her banded cricket males are super loud!

    3. Gryllus assimilis
    4. Gryllus locorojo, "crazy reds", are super aggressive and mean.


    I breed Blaptica dubia in a 10 gallon tank with 5 vertically positioned egg flats trimmed just a bit shorter than the height of the tank. Alternating the egg flats back-to-back, then front-to-front, allows better hiding opportunities for your Blaptica dubia. Keep finely ground (Albers) All Purpose Poultry Feed or Zoo Med's Natural Bearded Dragon Food Adult Formula in shallow lids to one side of the egg flats. Vitamin A acetate (retinol) is one important ingredient in the dry diet. Collard greens can be added occasionally. Dandelion flowers and greens are also great sources of calcium.

    Once a day I thoroughly moisten 2 layers of paper towels and then squeeze out excess water. Lay those on top of the egg flats. In a room which ranges from 67 F/19.4 C upwards, I keep a 15 watt incandescent bulb in an 8.5 inch diameter reflector dome directly over the screened tank and on 24/7. This setup produces all sizes of dubia.

    Dubia give birth to live nymphs when the temperatures are sufficiently warm. Females have this pointy body part called an ootheca. The babies emerge from the female's ootheca. The males "sprout" wings when they are mature. Mature dubia are way too big for most leopard geckos to eat.

    Avoid cross contamination by not returning Blaptica dubia to the dubia tank if they are not eaten. They'll do fine in the leopard geckos' cages for a few days as long as they are contained within a feeding bowl. Place a little cricket food in their bowl.

    Do NOT feed Blaptica dubia any type of dog, cat, puppy, or kitten food, or fish flakes no matter how organic! Those foods are excessively HIGH in protein!

    Keep the dry diet DRY! Shield or remove the dry food when you spray the egg flats.

    (1) "If you do not want to breed the roaches, keep them around 70 degrees F (21 C) to slow their growth. Eventually, if not fed off, they will grow larger than is safe for a gecko to eat. When you are ready to gut load them, heat them up between 80 and 95 F and they will eat like crazy!

    That's what I do with my feeders and it works well. My breeders are kept at about 90-95 F and they seem to grow 2-3 times as fast as the ones I have set aside for feeders." [Tip is thanks to in October 2013]

    (2) You can tell when Blaptica dubia are sexually mature simply by looking at them. When they molt past their final instar, they are sexually dimorphic- that is, the males and females have different physical characteristics. The females will develop a more noticeable orange color to their patterns, more obvious than with the nymphs, and will have tiny wing nubs. The males when mature will have full wings upon the final molt.

    The males develop their wings immediately during the final molt. Wing size, along with general body size, can sometimes vary, so when you say the males don't seem to have the wings like males should have, they may just be smaller wings than usual. If the wings are covering the length of their backs, then they're adult males.

    I read that dubia aren't cannibalistic although it 's difficult to say for sure unless someone were to test this. I know orange head roaches are cannibalistic and even readily eat live insects." [Thanks to GU's Mogey in May 2014]

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    All female geckos can develop infertile eggs without mating.
    1. If you see eggs, add a nest box filled with damp Eco Earth's coco fiber to the warm end of the enclosure to prompt her to lay those eggs.
    2. A 1x daily warm 86*F (30*C) soak for about 15 minutes may help. Gently massage her belly towards the vent during that soak.
    3. An oxytoxin injection may help too. If she is unable to lay her eggs, surgery is required.
    4. If a female gecko becomes egg-bound, eventually the eggs begin to rot inside. This infection leads to septicemia (blood poisoning), then death.

    Click: Egg Binding (Dystocia) in Reptiles: Causes, Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

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    From mating to egg-laying takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending upon temperature. Prepare a nest box and set up your incubator!


    Click: Albey's How To Incubate Leopard Gecko Eggs

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    Scroll down this thread for additional informative posts!
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 11-18-2022 at 02:58 AM. Reason: evolving recommendations :-)
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  2. #2
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    Smile #1---Leopard Geckos: From Mating to Egg Laying to Incubating......Saskia

    Female leopard geckos lay their eggs 2-4 weeks after mating. Usually the warmer the environment they are in the faster they lay! I live in tropical Venezuela and they lay as soon as 12 days after copulating. The ideal would be to put a lay box in the hot spot of the female’s tank. If you give the female a moist, warm spot, she'll probably lay faster. After copulating keep her separated from the male. Separation reduces stress and increases the possibilities of fertile eggs! I would advise feeding her as much as you can, while she is still eating (probably she won’t eat at all a few days before laying), with enough calcium, vitamins and D3, in order for her to be in her best condition to produce ova.

    I definitely advise turning on your incubator immediately after copulating. Sometimes it takes days to get the temperatures stable. Set up a thermometer, and (as a personal opinion) put that thermometer inside the incubating box where the eggs will be kept. Make certain that the substrate reaches the proper temperature and humidity before the eggs are placed in it. It is always best to have everything set ahead of time!! That way your eggs won't have to suffer from a sudden change in temperature! Remember to get the temperature stable according to the sex you'll want for your newborns before placing the eggs into the incubator. The sooner you get prepared the better! Good luck!

    With thanks to GU member Saskia for sharing these tips.

    Incubating Leo Eggs
    Click: Albey's How To Incubate Leopard Gecko Eggs
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 08-06-2020 at 05:52 AM. Reason: work in progress :-)
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Likes bwoodfield, Holly12 liked this post

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    Smile #2---Fecal Sample Collection Procedure

    Bring a fresh fecal sample to the vet's right away. In my experience, the gecko (patient) needs to be seen before a fecal will be performed.

    Sometimes if you massage a gecko's belly while he's on some piece of plastic, the gecko WILL poop right away!

    Vets can now test for Cryptosporidiosis by swabbing the gecko's vent.

    Here's how my exotics vet recommends collecting a stool sample:

    1. Place a piece of clean plastic where your gecko usually poops. If your gecko poops somewhere else, take the poop to the vet anyway. Some poop is better than no poop!
    2. As soon as your gecko has passed some poop and urates, but without physically touching the sample, place the feces and urates directly onto a clean plastic bottle cap. (Vet has fecal sample containers if you can stop by first.)
    3. Then place the bottle cap with fecal sample directly into a plastic ziploc bag. (Do NOT use paper towels or newspaper because those will absorb some of the feces necessary for a proper culture.)
    4. Refrigerate this sample . . . . . . unless you are taking the sample to your vet immediately. Do NOT freeze it.
    5. Keep the sample cool enroute to the vet.
    6. Take this fecal sample to your vet within 24 hours of collecting . . . . . . the sooner the better!

    [There are two types of fecals: fecal float and direct smear tests. For geckos, ask the vet whether both tests should be run.]


    Additional info:
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 08-08-2020 at 12:43 AM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  4. #4
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    Smile #3---Leopard Gecko Genetics: Morph Calculators, et cetera

    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 05-06-2018 at 01:09 AM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

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    Smile #4---7 Stuck Shed Humidity Box Assists for a gecko's toes, body, head, & eyes

    Be sure to monitor your gecko at all times during these procedures.

    Always give your gecko a head start with a humidity box/sauna. Place your gecko in a Humidity Box for several hours to loosen stuck shed on eyes, toes, head, and/or body (including the tail tip).

    *** If the eyes have retained shed, gently flush them with a normal saline solution. Fill a small squeeze bottle with a contact lens wetting/moistening solution such as Blink Wetting Solution for Contacts NOT a contact lens CLEANER. Aim the flow towards the eye(s).

    Alternatively, saturate a cotton ball or a small sterile gauze pad with this normal saline. Gently hold this against the eye(s) for several minutes. Avoid the nose! Afterwards gently wipe the eyelid with this gauze away from the snout/nose. ***

    IF these methods are ineffective or if there are any signs of infection, seek vet attention immediately!

    [+ pink suction-cup tool made for human's stuck contacts (Found both mine: 6 March 2021! )]
    Method #1
    • Use warm water. The water temperature should be no greater than 86*F/30*C, a leopard gecko's preferred body temperature.
    • Use a plastic container a little bigger than your gecko
    • Poke or solder holes in the lid or the container so your gecko can breathe
    • Add some paper towels
    • Add a little water up to the belly of your leopard gecko. If your gecko is a hatchling, use scrunched up paper towels that have been dampened or sprayed to maintain the necessary humidity. Include a small piece of cork bark with the damp paper towels.
    • Spray walls and lid of container
    • Add gecko
    • Snap on lid
    • Place this container on top of the heat mat OR place this container near a lamp containing a low wattage bulb (15 watt or 25 watt incandescent bulb or similar wattage compact fluorescent). Water droplets should form on the insides of your plastic container!
    • Monitor the temperature frequently
    • Monitor your gecko at all times
    • Repeat this procedure, if necessary.

    After 30 minutes, perhaps longer, remove the gecko and gently attempt to remove the stuck shed using a gentle rolling motion with a dry q-tip or a soft bristled toothbrush.

    Method #2
    • Use warm water. The water temperature should be no greater than 86*F/30*C, a leopard gecko's preferred body temperature.
    • Fill a shallow basin or the bathroom sink with lukewarm water to your gecko's belly depth.
    • Let your gecko soak for 30 minutes.
    • Then take a dry q-tip or a soft bristled toothbrush. With a gentle rolling motion, work on the toes or tail tip. Sweep outwards with this toothbrush. Use tweezers gently, if necessary.
    • Monitor your gecko at all times!

    This should definitely loosen any shed remaining on the critter's toes.

    Method #3 -- Especially for stuck shed on head & nose
    • Wrap the gecko in a warm wet washcloth with just the snout and eyes visible.
    • Firmly hold gecko in place for 30 minutes.
    • Remove washcloth.
    • Test the skin gently to see whether it has loosened up enough for removal.
    • IF skin is not loose enough, wrap your gecko again for another 15 minutes.
    • Gently hold a wet cotton ball or wet sterile gauze on your gecko's head or near his nose.

    Method #4 -- especially for crested geckos
    Click: Crested Gecko "Bath" - YouTube

    Method #5 -- Soft-bristled Toothbrush Assist -- This even works on geckos with much smaller toes than leopard geckos. Be careful! This job is delicate!
    Always give your gecko a head start with a humidity box sauna OR a soak. Place your gecko in a ventilated humidity box for an hour OR soak this gecko in ~86*F water for 10 minutes. Then place this gecko on a solid surface like a countertop. Apply gentle pressure on the gecko's toes with a soft-bristled toothbrush and dry & wet q-tips. Gently sweep this toothbrush outwards & towards this gecko's toe tips. A wooden toothpick then helps remove loosened skin between the toes.

    Don't apply any pressure on the gecko's tail! IF you DO apply pressure on the tail, a gecko might drop his tail!!!

    Hold smaller geckos between your fingers and thumb in a gently closed fist with either their head or their tail sticking out. Gently work on toes against your fingers or your thumb. Follow above suggestions.

    Method #6 -- Proactive Method
    Here's an excellent proactive approach! A large OMEM terra cotta cave with a basin on top will keep ANY gecko's humidity higher 24/7. Since this cave is made from clay, colors vary some.

    July 2020: My leopard gecko loves her new large OMEM terra cotta humid hide with basin on top! Place the OMEM terra cotta hide on top of slate on the enclosure's warm end right next to the warm dry hide. Use sphagnum moss inside as a bedding. Fill the basin on top with water daily.

    My leo uses this terra cotta hide all the time! She alternates between her warm dry hide and this warm humid hide. This terra cotta humid hide retains a constant humidity level without any effort on my part. My leo's former humid hide was often dry, quite dry, in fact.

    Terra cotta is porous. It's the only type hide that actually "breathes".
    Please google Amazon's large "OMEM Reptiles Hideout Humidification Cave with Basin for Gecko". The entrance to the large OMEM terra cotta hide measures 2 inches wide x 1.5 inches high. Use this cave + an 8 ounce water dish for your leopard gecko.

    Small = 3.54'' x 2.36" x 2.76''
    Medium = 4.72'' x 2.95" x 3.35'' (Good size for Oedura castelnaui - Northern Velvet Geckos)
    Large = 5.9 inches long x 3.74 inches wide x 4.72 inches tall. I recommend the large for ALL leopard geckos up to 80ish grams, perhaps even larger.
    X-Large: At this time OMEM does not make an XL version of their terra cotta hide.

    For link 4 click: 7 Stuck Shed Humidity Box Assists for a gecko's toes, body, head, & eyes -- March 2022 (update)

    Method #7 -- Ongoing Multivitamin Method
    Troubleshoot both your leo's multivitamins and your insect/worm dry diets for vitamin A acetate (retinol). IF your gecko's multivitamin does NOT contain vitamin A acetate (retinol), experiment with a multivitamin that does. Both Zoo Med's Reptivite multivitamins with and withOUT D3 and Repashy's Calcium Plus multivitamins contain vitamin A acetate. A diet lacking vitamin A acetate may be responsible for shedding difficulties and eye issues. Consistent ambient humidity ranging from 35-50% and a warm moist hide at higher humidity count buckets too.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 04-09-2022 at 03:32 AM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Thanks Gixxer450, AnimalFarm99 thanked for this post

  6. #6
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    Smile #5---BSFL (Phoenix/calci/repti worms & NutriGrubs) Care......+ "4 Feeders" thread

    Click: Care & Breeding of Feeders: crickets, Blaptica dubia, hornworms, & silkworms

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL -- Hermetia illucens) are also known as Phoenix worms, reptiworms, calciworms, and NutriGrubs.

    Phoenix/calci/repti worms and NutriGrubs have been fed differently.

    For many geckos order the largest size: 3/4 inch.

    Genuine Phoenix worms retain all their nutritional values and must NOT be fed. Feeding PWs would restart their digestive system; they would defecate in the cup; and soon you would have bacteria growing and stinky dead worms. Simply keep the worms in the closed cup, store in a cool location (~55*F), and feed off as needed. Keep them in a picnic cooler with an ice pack changed out every 12 hours.

    Keep Black Soldier Fly Larvae like this:
    (click to enlarge)

    Here's how to make Phoenix worms (BSFL) more palatable:
    • Rinse off the packing medium. A fine mesh sieve works great.
    • Let them crawl around on a paper towel to dry. Then feed them to geckos. When BSFL are dry, they will not climb.
    • Even some of the black ones "rejuvenate" when rinsed if they are not too far gone.
    • The darker ones are higher in calcium.
    • Save the dead ones. They may morph into flies, which your gecko may eat.
    • > > > Right before feeding BSFL to geckos poke 1-2 holes in each BSFL with a pin. Their skins are tough. That should help the gecko digest them.
    Click: The Phoenix Worm Store Home Page

    Click: Frequently Asked Questions – Phoenix Worm Store

    Phoenix worm feedback:
    The Phoenix worms I received 4 Nov 2015 from the online Phoenix Worm store seem to last forever! I ordered 100 Ls and 150 XSs. I fed off the Ls quite soon to several geckos, but the XS were much too small for the geckos who approved. I still have a handful of the XSs 3.5 months later! All I've done is keep them in a cool room (62-67*F) and add a little water occasionally.
    • HOWEVER: The Phoenix Worm company suggests only ordering a 3 week supply.
    • Q: Should I refrigerate Phoenix Worms?
      A: NO. Phoenix Worms can tolerate high temperatures and will survive short exposure to freezing temperatures, but will have the best shelf life when stored at 50 to 60 degrees F. A wine cooler or basement are great storage places, but setting the cups near an A/C vent will work just fine in the summer. Although it's possible to "hold" worms for months when stored at 50 degrees, you should only order the number of worms that will be fed off within 3 weeks so your animal will have fresh food.

    ----------> 23 April 2018 . . . . . . Addendum by Zux:
    "Be careful with feeding large numbers of BSFL in one sitting, particularly if the Gecko is very enthusiastic about its newfound prey.

    "The outer skin on these worms can be quite tough and if consumed too quickly by an eager Gecko, and not sufficiently pierced, will not be digested effectively and either passed whole or regurgitated, neither of which you want.

    "In my case, for Geckos who get too excited and wolf them down, I pierce each worm with a pin once right before feeding them off, this solves the issue.

    "Good Luck !"
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 01-09-2021 at 08:02 PM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  7. #7
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    Smile #7---Tips for Impaction . . . . . . PoppyDear -- July 2017 + others

    Tips for Impaction
    PoppyDear -- July 2017

    • Take a tupperware container or a sink and fill with lukewarm water @ ~86*F/30*C (a leo's preferred body temperature) a little over the belly of the gecko.
    • Gently massage down the length of your gecko from throat to vent in order to help get things moving.
    • Allow a soak and massage session to last around 30 minutes before returning the gecko to the tank.
    • Do NOT feed your gecko any more until they begin to pass the impacted substance. You don't want them anymore backed up than they already are.
    • Drop a few drops of olive oil on their lips/snout every other day to act as a laxative.
    • Monitor the poops closely for coco fiber, sand, or other foreign substances.

    Click & scroll to post 4: URGENT Leo impacted by Eco earth

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    During the warm water soak try massaging his belly from throat to vent (longitudinally).

    "Apart from the bath you could also try a drop of mineral oil on your gecko's nose or if you can't get that 2 drops of olive oil. I used a combination of bathing (warm water not too hot) and mineral oil and gently rubbing my lizard's belly from front to back in the water. In addition check that your temps are warm enough, that your gecko has enough water and calcium, and that your gecko isn't eating food that's too big as these can cause constipation. If you're keeping it on sand or any other substrate that they can eat - change it as ingestion could be causing your gecko to be impacted too. If there's still no poop you'll have to take your gecko to the vet. 20 days with no poop is way too long! Can you see a big black mass of poop in your gecko's body - their skin's pretty transparent on their underside? Good luck with your poor little gecko! I really hope it's better soon." Thanks, Debbie7054 -- 10/14/2011

    "When I thought my gecko was constipated the vet told me to give her her liquid paraffin (medicinal), 2 times a day for 2 days. It worked.

    Dosage for a 40 gram leo: 0.2 ml 2 times a day, for 2 days." Thanks, zelda -- 10/14/2011)

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 02-28-2021 at 05:41 PM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  8. #8
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    Smile #8---Assist Feeding for Off-Foods Geckos:+ Oxbow's Critical Care CARNIVORE - May 2022

    • Do not attempt to feed an emaciated/dehydrated gecko until the gecko's hydration status has been assessed by a veterinarian. In order to prevent further damage to the kidneys or liver, let the vet rehydrate your gecko. Only then assist feed.
    • To entice any gecko to open his mouth brush a thin dowel, a stainless steel gavage needle (with a rounded tip), or your finger horizontally past his lips. Stroke gecko's lips, gecko opens mouth, then insert water, food, or medicine. Be gentle. Never force the mouth open!
    Click: How to Assist Feed a Leopard Gecko? - YouTube

    Syringe feed liquid diet like this:

    ONLY for short-term assist feeding:
    Gerber's Turkey Baby Food -- Mix some Gerber's turkey baby food with clear Pedialyte 1:1. Place that on your leo's nose or let the gecko lick this mixture from a syringe tip.

    (click to enlarge)

    Hemisphaeriodon gerrardii
    Pink-tongued skink
    /\ photo thanks to Michael Nesbit (May 2015)

    (click to enlarge)
    /\ photo thanks to Blinky's mom (February 2019)

    Turkey Baby Food versus Chicken Baby Food
    In December 2011 GU member Maurice Pudlo shared this. He's quite knowledgeable about nutrition.
    • "Turkey baby food is a milder food than chicken and thus provides less of a shock to the digestive system. The goal of assist feeding is not to overwhelm the gecko with nutrients.
    • "The recommended 1:1 ratio of turkey baby food (which is has a slightly higher water content than chicken baby food) to pediatric fluids (Pedialyte) helps quickly replace fluids and provides a mild dosage of nutrients that are more easily digestable than the more nutrient-dense chicken baby foods. [Fluid replacement at a veterinary clinic is often highly invasive procedure and should be avoided if at all possible. ???]
    • "Turkey is also lower in saturated fats as well as total fats. Fats are in both but the turkey diet after mixing contains just 3.1% where the chicken diet would have 3.95% (close to one percent higher in total fat content, of which a higher percentage is saturated fat).
    • "Turkey is slightly more mineral-rich than chicken (based on total ash content) and this may help with replacement of any lost due to a previously substandard diet.
    • "Turkey baby food contains 3 times as much total vitamin D (D2 + D3). This offsets its lower calcium levels. My opinion is that the calcium in turkey is more available than the calcium in chicken baby foods due to the higher level of vitamin D."

    For long-term assist feeding:
    (1) Oxbow's Critical Care CARNIVORE premium recovery food is a powdered all-in-one food that's mixed with water. Available via a veterinarian & online via Mix to a thinner consistency & draw up into a fat syringe.

    Oxbow's Critical Care CARNIVORE is still in production as of 19 March 2022 as verified by Kristy Akister's Oxbow rep in facebook's Rep Rehab & EC group.

    (2) Lafeber's EmerAid for Carnivors -- very similar to Oxbow's Carnivore Care

    (3) Also check out 3 separate Mazuri's Insectivore Diets

    (4) Fluker's Repta+Boost is an all-in-one powdered food meant to be mixed with water. It is available at Petco.
    Guaranteed Analysis:
    Protein (min) 25%, Fat (min) 17%, Fiber (max) 2.5%, Moisture (max) 13%, Calcium (min) 0.60%, Phosphorus (min) 0.50%.

    • Ingredients:
      Egg product, wheat flour, starch, isolated soy flour, corn oil, dried brewers yeast, dried kelp, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, pollen, dextrose, sodium chloride, potassium sorbate (preservative), dl-methionine, lecithin, choline chloride supplement, potassium chloride, spirulina, manganese sulfate, mixed natural tocopherols (antioxidant), zinc sulfate, magnesium oxide, ascorbic acid, beta carotene supplement, niacin, vitamin E supplement, copper sulfate, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, vitamin D3 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, ethylene diamine dihydriodide, biotin supplement, folic acid, sodium selenite.

    Storing homemade diets:
    If you make a homemade food for bugs and worms, freeze portions in an ice cube tray. Store frozen cubes in the freezer in a plastic GladWare container. Thaw as needed.
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 05-31-2022 at 12:41 PM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  9. #9
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    Exclamation #9---Leopard Gecko Echo: vermiculite in eye --"Pirate Echo" wearing eye patch ;-)

    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 02-27-2020 at 05:32 AM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)

  10. #10
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    Exclamation #10---Raising Awareness re “Big Box Quality” Pet Store Leos, et cetera -- May 2015


    Click: "The Back" of a pet store. Please help.

    With much appreciation to Ruzei
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 07-03-2017 at 05:57 AM.
    Click: Leopard Gecko Care Sheet's Table of Contents

    Oedura castelnaui ~ Lepidodactylus lugubris ~ Gekko kuhli ~ Cyrtodactylus zebraicus ~ Phyllurus platurus ~ Eublepharis macularius ~ Correlophus ciliatus ~ (Phelsuma barbouri) ~ (Lygodactylus kimhowelli) ~ (P tigrinus) ~ (P klemmeri) ~ (H garnotii)
    Thanks willowwind thanked for this post
    Likes willowwind liked this post

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