Sand For Leopard Geckos

A big dilemma between leopard gecko owners is switching over from carpet to sand.  Me personally, I like how sand looks in my enclosure.  If you are going to any pet store, you will learn that people were stating that sand causes impaction and it can kill your leopard gecko.  I have to disagree with this statement, but if your leopard gecko is a baby or juvenile you do not want to put him/her in sand.

Calcium SandRecently, I was at my local reptile shop and the workers there told me to put my leopard gecko in calcium sand (she is an adult).  I didn’t bother arguing with them, but just told them I wasn’t interested.  They even told me it was good for them!  Calcium sand should really be band at local pet stores, because of what happens is a leopard gecko will eat it and they make you believe that it’s actually safe for your leopard gecko, when really it’s not.  There are many shards in calcium sand which can easily cause impaction and ultimately kill your gecko.

For starters, if your leopard gecko is 5 to 20 grams I would keep them on carpet or possibly tile.  However, the day will come when you get tired of cleaning carpet or tile, and you want something different, and you’re considering sand.  My advice to you would be to go to Home Depot and get washed play sand.  Wash play sand is not going to cost you an arm and a leg; in fact, you can get 50 pounds of play sand for $5.  It is a heck of a lot cheaper than buying calcium sand for $30 and doesn’t pose any threat to the animal.

Once my leopard geckos get 20 grams or more, I always switch them over to play sand, and I have never had one die on me yet.  Knock on wood.  As a general rule of thumb, you want 10 pounds of play sand in her 10 gallons in your terrarium.  So if you had a 30-gallon terrarium, you would need 30 pounds of play sand in it.  Obviously, you can put more in there as geckos like to dig around from time to time.  But, please do your gecko a favor and follow the guideline of 10 pounds of sand per 10-gallon terrariums.

Why You Need Play Sand?

  • Play sand absorbs the odor while carpet keeps the smell in.
  • Easier to clean than carpet.  Carpet has to be taken out every week and scrubbed, but with play sand, it’s as simple as cleaning a kitten’s litter box.
  • Another thing I like about play sand is crickets, mealworms, and roaches can’t hide under the carpet or get stuck in the tiles.  You will need to get up scooper so you can scoop out the waste in dead crickets from time to time.

Lastly every 2 to 3 months I will scoop out all the play sand and replace it with fresh sand.  So if you’re considering sand don’t use calcium sand but make sure you go to Home Depot and buy some play sand for your leopard gecko.  Trust me; your gecko will thank you for it.