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LEOPARD GECKO CARE SHEET







Make Your Own Meal Worm Sifter
for Less Than $4


This one's pretty easy. Simply buy a shower scrub and some elastic bands from the dollar store, and then buy a bottle of juice (plastic bottle). I use apple juice bottles because they have more ridges to hold the elactic bands.

Using a bread knife and a cutting board, saw the top and bottom off the bottle. You can use scissors to tidy up this edge so it doesn't tear or rip the netting. Then cut a piece of netting from your shower scrubber and secure it to the bottle end using the elastics bands.

Now you have a scoop that has a sieve on the end. Simply scoop up some bran with meal worms and gently shake the scoop until all the bran falls out the bottom and you only have meal worms in your scoop. For smaller meal worms, simply double up the netting.


WARNING

If you're younger than thirteen or are not confident with handling sharp objects, please have an adult assist you. Knives are sharp and you could hurt yourself.


NOTE: DO NOT leave the sifter in the container with the meal worms. The worms will eat the netting!




Hatchling Rack Plans

This is a very hot topic amongst some breeders and hobbyists.  I am only going to tell you what we use with our animals and we have found to be very effective, clean and easy!! We use Paper Towel. This is very easy to come by, very inexpensive and very easy to use and keep your tank or racks clean.  Although the paper towel method does have some draw backs (unable to do spot cleaning), by far it has been the easiest method for us.

If you do not like the look of a paper towel substrate, you could use Repti-carpet. This comes in a few different colors (green grass and sand) and is also safe to use.





Cleaning

Most reptiles (with a few exceptions like the Crested Gecko) require some sort or heat source. Leopard geckos are no different. It is always best to provide your gecko with a “heat gradient”. This means that one side of the tank should be warmer that the other side of the tank. In order to achieve this, most people will use an Under Tank Heater (UTH). All UTH’s come in a variety of sizes to best fit different size aquariums. The rule of thumb when buying a UTH for your tank is to make sure the UTH does not cover more than 1/3 of the tank. You want to make sure the UTH is placed on one end of the tank to allow for that “heat gradient”. The other side of the enclosure should just be room temperature and this will allow the gecko to choose whether or not they need to warm up or cool down.

Another item you will need to work in conjunction with your new UTH is a thermostat. The thermostat will help regulate the temperature of your UTH. There are many different brands you can purchase from Amazon, EBay or even your local pet store. It is always best to do your research and decide what thermostat would be best for you. Most Thermostats will come with a metal probe that will determine the temperature of the surface it is sitting on. It is recommended that this probe be placed on the substrate under the warm hide. This will allow the thermostat to regulate the temperature right where your gecko is going to be lying (surface temperature). The warm side of the tank (UTH side) should be about 90 degrees. If you find the warm side to hot or maybe a little on the cool side, just simply adjust your thermostat and recheck the temperature in about 30 minutes.

The last thing I would recommend would be to have a couple of thermometers in the tank. I usually have one under the warm side along with the thermostat probe just to make sure I am getting an accurate reading on my thermostats. The second one can sit on the cool side of the tank about 3 inches from the substrate to give you an accurate reading of the cool side.

Hot rocks or heat stones are another alternative for heating that you will commonly see for sale at pet stores, but I do not recommend using them with leopard geckos (or any other reptiles). These are ceramic rocks with a cord coming out of it (leading to central heating element). The hot rock does not allow you to control the temperature of the stone; it just heats to whatever temperature was set by the manufacturer. Again, Leopard Gecko’s require “belly” heat and DO NOT require any type of basking rocks or lights.

For those of you that choose to use a rack system, you would still need to use a thermostat to control the heat but instead of using a UTH for the heat, you would use heat cord or Flex Watt heat tape. Again, both products can be purchased online or through your local pet store.





Helping Your Leopard Gecko Shed

Just like all reptiles and amphibians, leopard geckos do shed their skin. The frequency of this shedding will depend on the age and the growth rate of each individual gecko from hatchling to adulthood. As hatchlings, they will tend to shed more often and they grow to become adults. It is very easy to see when your gecko is about to shed, you will find that they have lost a lot of their coloring and now have a very faded look to them. Their skin will appear whitish and somewhat transparent. Not to worry though, this is all part of their shedding cycle.






Safe Even Heating Using Thermostats

Leopard geckos originate from a very dry climate but they do require a source of water. I always keep a fresh water source on all my tubs for my geckos. This is a very easy thing to do…………..you just need a bottle cap from a Gatorade drink or even a milk cartoon cap. Ensure you clean the cap every couple of days and refill it with clean water. There are many other “decorative” water dishes available to you through your local pet store but they tend to get dirty quicker and due to the style of them, they can house bacteria if not cleaned well enough. The bottle cap method is very economical (especially with breeders due to the amount needed) and is very easy to keep clean.