When it comes to baby leopard gecko care, one should always remember to handle with care. At a juvenile stage, leopard geckos are very delicate and can be easily hurt if not careful. Below are some helpful tips and suggestions to help you with your new baby leopard gecko.
- 1 Leopard Gecko Terrarium
- 2 Tank Size
- 3 Tank Screen Cover
- 4 Tank Setup
- 5 Lighting
- 6 Heating
- 7 Temperature Reading
- 8 Diet
- 9 How Much Should You Feed?
- 10 Vitamins & Supplements
- 11 Substrate
- 12 Handling
- 13 How do You Care for a Baby Leopard?
Leopard Gecko Terrarium
Since leopard geckos are ground animals, you should choose something that is long and wide, rather than tall and narrow. Glass tanks are the best choice when it comes to terrarium setups. They hold heat really well and keep leopard geckos from climbing up the walls. A standard fish tank will be suffice, or a reptile specific glass enclosure.
The tank size for a baby leopard gecko should be a minimum of 10 gallons. To me, this is the perfect size tank for a baby leopard gecko. It allows plenty of room for mobility, and has a small enough space for the leopard gecko to hunt easily for food. Most people go with a basic 10 gallon tank, but if you are looking for something a little more sleek, I would definitely go with the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium Tank, 24 by 18 by 18-Inch. The double door locking feature allows for easy access and feeding. This is what we currently have most of our leopard geckos in.
If you go with the 10 gallon tank now, just know that you will have to upgrade to a 20 gallon tank later on when your leopard gecko gets older.
Tank Screen Cover
If you choose to go with the basic 10 gallon fish tank, you will definitely be needing a screen cover for the enclosure. Most fish tanks come with a glass or plastic cover, but these will not be of any use to you since you will be needing to place a heat lamp on top. If you go with one of the reptile specific glass enclosures, you won’t be needing a top since it comes with one already.
Your baby leopard gecko’s enclosure should have three hides. One on the hot side which should be placed above the heat mat or right under the heat lamp, one on the cool side where there is not heat, and one in the middle as a humidity hide. For more details on how to make a humid hide, read this how to make a humid hide article.
Foliage is a great addition to the enclosure to help make it feel like a naturalistic environment. Similar to hides, foliage will also help your baby leopard gecko feel more protected and secured. Some popular items that a lot of leopard gecko keepers use are small desert reptile plants like the Exo Terra Star Cactus Terrarium Plant. There are a variety of fake plants to be used. The choice is yours. Just avoid any sharp edged plants that can possibly hurt your leopard gecko.
Lighting is very important for leopard geckos, as it aids in proper temperatures to help with your geckos metabolism, growth, eating, digestion, and etc… When you set your lights up, you should try your best to keep the lights on a strict light cycle of 12 hours on and 12 hours off. Sometimes this can be inconvenient, so you might want to setup your lights with a reptile light timer like the Zoo Med Repti Day Night Timer. This will help keep the cycle on a strict schedule without any inconveniences.
During the day, you should have a regular white light bulb lighting the enclosure. Since leopard geckos are nocturnal, the choice of bulb is not very important. The only thing you want to make sure is that your enclosure is reaching the right temperatures. Do not choose a bulb that has a low wattage if it’s cold where you live and do not choose a bulb that has a high wattage if it’s hot where you live.
Day Time Temperatures
During the day you would like to keep the temperatures between 74-80°F with a basking spot between 87-90°F. The basking spot is where your heat lamp will be. This will be the hottest spot in the enclosure. The other side of the enclosure should be cool to allow your baby leopard gecko to cool off if he gets too hot.
At night, the temperature may drop a few degrees, but you don’t want it to drop below 70°F. Anything below that will start to be uncomfortable for your baby leopard gecko. If it’s cold where you live, you can use a Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 100 Watt bulb to raise the temperatures. This heat source emits heat with no light, so it will not affect your baby leopard gecko’s night activity.
Night Time Temperatures
At night, temperatures should be between 70-74°F.
Heating is very important for leopard geckos because they rely on the heat in the enclosure to keep them warm. Most of the heat that you provide in the enclosure can come straight from an under tank heater. This sticks onto the glass on the outside of the enclosure on the bottom of the enclosure. This will provide belly heat for your leopard gecko. As mentioned above, this heat will aid in health, metabolism, digestion, and etc… It is highly recommended to hook the under tank heater up to a Hydrofarm Digital Thermostat to help keep the heat mat temperature at the right level. With the use of both of these items, you can use a lower wattage bulb for lighting since your baby leopard gecko will be getting all the heat he needs from the heat mat.
Temperatures need to be as accurate as possible, especially for baby leopard geckos. They are the most delicate at this stage. This is why you should equip yourself with a digital thermometer. Dial thermometers can sometimes be inaccurate and read the wrong temperatures by up to 5 degrees. It might not seem like a lot, but those 5 degrees can be the cause of a death in some cases.
Your baby leopard gecko’s diet should consist of nothing more than small crickets or other small insects that are safe to eat. The biggest concern with feeding live insects is that some insects may be a choking hazard if not an appropriate size. The rule of thumb is to not feed anything bigger than the space between your leopard gecko’s eyes. This is a good rule to follow to help prevent your baby leopard gecko from choking. To make things understandable, we will assume your leopard gecko will be getting fed crickets for the remainder of the article.
How Much Should You Feed?
The answer is simple. Feed as much as your leopard gecko will eat within a 15 minute time span. If you notice that your gecko isn’t eating right away and has not touched a cricket within the 15 minutes, feel free to leave the crickets in the enclosure overnight. Just make sure you don’t leave a larger number of crickets roaming around. Only keep a few in the enclosure to avoid your gecko from being bothered if they remain uneaten for the remainder of the night. If you see that they have all been eaten, feel free to add a little bit more the next day. You do not want to underfeed your gecko. You should get a good measurement of how many crickets to add into the enclosure after a few feedings.
Vitamins & Supplements
Baby leopard geckos should be given supplements with their diet daily. Supplements will help your baby gecko grow health and happy. Sometimes, if insects aren’t gut-loaded properly, leopard geckos miss out on the supplements that they are supposed to be getting. This is why we dust out feeders with supplements. It helps aid in the stuff that our feeders lack. Dusting is when you get your feeder insects that you are going to feed to your leopard gecko and you coat them with a dusting powder. To coat them, all you need to do is place your feeders in a glass jar or a plastic bag, then lightly coat the insects with the supplement that you are using for that day, then shake lightly. After the 5 second shake, you should place the feeders into the enclosure to be eaten. Try to place them in the enclosure almost immediately after you dust them because most feeders can clean the powder off themselves shortly afterwards.
There are three recommended supplements to get, which are:
- Calcium without D3 – dust every other feeding
- Calcium with D3 – dust 2-3 times a month
- Multivitamins – dust 2-3 times a month
Substrate should consist of non-loose type substrate like reptile carpet, ceramic tile, paper towels, etc… Loose substrate like sand can be a problem for baby leopard geckos. It causes impaction if ingested which is one of the main reasons for deaths in captivity. So to be on the safe side, it is highly suggested to use non-loose type substrates.
Handling a baby leopard gecko is a little more complicated than handling an adult leopard gecko. The first thing you need to know is that baby leopard geckos are very delicate and are easily frightened. It is very important to take things slow, allowing your pet gecko to get use to you and for you to get use to him. When possible, try to handle your gecko over a soft surface like a bed or a carpet until you get use to holding him. A drop on a hard surface can really injure your gecko, especially when they are juveniles. And never pick your gecko up by his tail. This will cause him to maybe drop it.
When you pick your baby leopard gecko up, make sure you pick him up by his sides (softly), and to support all four of his feet. Be cautious, sometimes they can be very fast and try to run off your hands. As they get older, this problem tends to wear off. Overall, if you take things slow, you shouldn’t have a problem.
How do You Care for a Baby Leopard?
Do you know of any other tips on how to care for a baby leopard gecko? Share with us your thoughts and recommendations below in the comments section.