Don’t get me wrong Leopard geckos are one of the easiest lizards to take care of.  However, if you own one of these little lizards you want to make sure you’re taking care of them properly.  You do want your leopard gecko to feel safe don’t you?  In order to do this your going to have to setup their habitat that mimics their natural habitat.  In this article you’re going to learn about leopard gecko habitats and everything you need to do to setup their enclosure.

Leopard Gecko Tank Setup

Leopard geckos do not climb so you don’t need to worry about getting them a vertical tank like you would with crested geckos, anoles, and chameleons.  Instead a horizontal tank is ideal for housing your leopard gecko.  I would suggest that you use a glass tank because they hold heat and look better than plastic tanks.

Don’t make the mistake of using a mesh cage, because they do not hold the heat in very well, and your leopard gecko could easily escape from a mesh cage.  Also, they could end up cutting themselves on the mesh.

Leopard Gecko Kits

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The above kits are good and will really have everything you need to house your leopard gecko.  I have been buying Zoo Med’s products for years and really like them.

Covers & Lids

Leopard Gecko Lids

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You don’t want your little gecko to escape so your going to want to get a lid.  For lids I recommend that you get a wire/mesh top.  This will also keep crickets or food from getting lose and roaming your house.  The mesh covers are good for putting lights on, too.  I also like them because I can spray the top of the cage with a water bottle so that my leopard geckos can drink water.

Solid lids will also keep the humidity levels up which leopard geckos really don’t need. I’m not a fan of glass or plastic covers. Just make sure you do get a lid because from my personal experience finding a leopard gecko once it escapes isn’t fun.  Speedy has escaped 3 times and it always takes awhile to get her back.

Tank Sizes

1 Gecko 10 Gallon
2 Geckos 15 Gallon
3 or 4 Geckos 20 Gallons

Leopard Gecko Lighting

Leopard geckos live in the middle east where the daylight changes from winter to summer.  You can read more about the origin of them here or their common behaviors.  Honestly, I don’t ever really change their hours though.  In the summer they should have 14 hours of light and 10 hours of darkness.  Then in the winter they can have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.  It’s a good idea to get a timer for your leopard geckos habitat.

You do not need to get a UV light for your leopard gecko.  I know a lot of kits at Petsmart and Petco sell them in kits, but leopard geckos do not require UV lights.  In fact, if they are exposed to UV lights to often it actually stresses them out.

Daytime Lights

Since you want to simulate the day and night your going to need a light.  You can get a reptile dome for pretty cheap and then use a standard 60 watt light bulb in it.  You could optionally get a particular heated light for your leopard gecko. However, your leopard gecko will usually never bask in the light since they are burrowers and not basking lizards.

Optionally, you could use a under tank heating pad if you want.  However, I do not recommend heating pads because they have been known to burn geckos.

Nighttime Light


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You have a couple options when it comes to purchasing lights for the nighttime.  You can either get a black light or red light.  Both of these lights will work fine.  It’s really just a personal preference.  You don’t even need to buy a special black or red light for reptiles.  A standard one will be okay.  If you really don’t want to purchase a nighttime light you don’t have to either.   It’s just a good idea to do if you want to actually see your leopard gecko at night.


TemperatureLeopard geckos are cold blooded reptiles.  This means that they absorb the temperature from  the environment.  The temperature for your leopard geckos tank needs to be the right temperature otherwise your leopard gecko may become stressed, and could ultimately die.  There are three areas of your tank that you need to adjust the temperature of the tank.  To do this you can either put heated ceramic emitters or heated rocks in their enclosure.

Daytime Temperature

Different areas of their habitat or cage should be different temperatures.   The hot side should be between 87 and 90 degrees.  This is important to make sure your leopard geckos are digesting their food correctly.  The cooler side of their habitat or cage can be between 74 and 80 degrees.  I wouldn’t recommend having their habitat any hotter than 94 degrees.  Otherwise your leopard gecko could get too hot.

Nighttime Temperature

Since leopard geckos are nocturnal they come out at nighttime.  Often times you will find your gecko sitting on a warm rock.  I do use heated rocks which my leopard geckos love.  But, the night time temperature should be cooler than the daytime temperature.  It should be between 70 and 75 degrees.



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Humidity is a very important factor you should consider when taking care of a leopard gecko.  Without the proper humidity your gecko could have difficulty shedding, have problems with hydration, or he/she could get infections.

Ideally, your leopard gecko’s tank need to be between 20% and 40%.  If your concerned about the humidity level of your leopard geckos tank you can always purchase a hygrometer which will give you a readout of the humidity.  One common way to reduce the humidity to increase the airflow in the tank.  This can usually be solved by getting a mesh lid.  However, if the humidity is to low you might want to put some moist moss in the tank or possibly put a small or large water dish in the tank.

Leopard Gecko Substrate

Your substrate for your leopard gecko is the flooring on their tank.  A lot of owners use some different substrates for their leopard geckos.  I have used some them over the years and can tell you a little bit about each one of them.


Washed Play SandI used washed play sand that I get at Home Depot.  You can get 50 lbs of sand for 5-6 dollars. Do not use sand if your leopard gecko is a baby though.  I wait until they are full grown before changing their substrate to sand.  The reason being is because leopard geckos can eat the sand when hunting, and get impacted and die.  If you want to read more about sand you might want to check out this article I wrote on it.


Floor TilesI have used tiles over the years and they are pretty easy to work with.  There is no risk for impaction and leopard geckos really do like the tile substrate.  However, the bottom of your tank is glass so make sure you don’t drop the tile in there or you could crack the glass or break your tile.  I would recommend putting reptile carpet under it or some newspapers or paper towels.

Newspapers/Paper Towels

NewspaperYou can use Newspapers or paper towels.  These are easy to clean, and you can easily throw them out when you’re done using them.  They don’t look the most appealing, but if you’re on a tight budget, you can use them.

Reptile Carpet

Reptile Carpet

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I tend to use reptile carpet when my leopard geckos are babies.  This is easy to clean and either comes in green or brown.  The only downside to reptile carpet is you have to take it out and clean it every week or so or it will begin to smell.  I wouldn’t use a piece of regular carpet though.  This reptile carpet is thinner and a lot easier to use than regular carpet.  I made the mistake of using regular carpet a couple of years ago.

Leopard Gecko Hides

Hides are very important for your leopard gecko.  This is where they are going to spend their day.  Leopard geckos are burrowers by nature and are usually hiding 90-95% of the time.  This makes them feel safe and secure.

There are three different types of hides that leopard geckos should have.  I am going to discuss each of them down below.

Warm Hide

Warm Hide

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This hide is placed on the warm side of the tank.  The point of this hide is to help the gecko digest their food.  Also, if your leopard gecko is to cold they will go to their warm hide to warm up.

Cool Hide

Cold Hide

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Obviously,the cool hide does the opposite of the warm hide.  When your leopard gecko gets to warm they will go into the cool hide.  It’s a good idea to have one of these hides.

Moist Hide

Moist Hide

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The moist hide or sometimes called the humid hide is where you leopard gecko will go when they are shedding.  These hides are humid and should have a wet paper towel in them.  This helps your gecko shed it skin whenever it’s time for them to shed.  It is a good idea to spray the moist hide at least once every couple days.

Leopard Gecko Decor

It’s always a good idea to add some plants, rocks, background, etc. to your leopard geckos tank.  This is great to help dress it up but also gives the gecko something to crawl around on.  You want your gecko to feel safe right?  Then you should consider purchasing some extras for your leopard gecko.

Fake Plants

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Plants are great for your leopard gecko.  You can either get real plants or artificial plants. As mentioned in my leopard gecko feeding guide you have learned that they do not eat vegetables, so unlike bearded dragons or other lizards, you don’t have to worry about them eating any plants you decide to drop in their tank.  I should note that live plants are going to look a lot better than artificial plants, but live plants will raise the humidity in the tank.

Rocks/ Logs

Leopard geckos love to climb rocks, logs, and limbs whenever they do come out at night.  It’s a great idea to get them some rocks or limbs to explore at night.  I have a long vertical cave that my leopard geckos love to climb and sit on top of at night.  Just be sure than anything you bring from outside has no parasites on it.  You can heat them up at a low temperature to kill anything that might be on them before placing them into the cave.


Don’t make the mistake of not using a background for your leopard geckos.  This would be boring to look at!  It’s very important that you pick out a background for your leopard gecko.  This will help them safe and secure.  Honestly, there are lots and lots of backgrounds you can choose from.  I really don’t like going to Petsmart or Petco because there only have a limited amount of backgrounds to choose from.  Instead I like to go on eBay and you can get a custom one.


Mealworm Bowls

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It’s not vital that you have a water bowl for your leopard gecko.  I tend to just spray my leopard gecko’s tank at night with a spray bottle.  They love to come out and lick the rocks and get their water by licking the rocks.  However, if you want you can buy a water bowl.  Just make sure it’s a shallow one so they don’t get trapped in it and drown.  However, I do recommend foot bowls for mealworms and superworms.  This keeps them from crawling away.