Leopard Geckos

How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live In Captivity – Healthiness & Happiness

Debating whether to buy a leopard gecko as a pet? Before you make any purchase of a pet, it’s definitely worth knowing what you are getting yourself in too. Unless you are very well educated on reptiles, you may not know the difference in life spans for different species. So how long do leopard geckos live in captivity?

(Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find ‘Other related articles you might like’, once you are done reading).

Lifespan in captivity…

On average, a leopard gecko can live anywhere up to 20 years in captivity. With the oldest recorded age of a leopard gecko coming in at 28 years old. Yes, that’s right, 28 years. Now I bet you were expecting that.

In fact the average lifespan of male and female leopard geckos actually differs slightly, with males averaging between 10 and 20 years, and females averaging between 15-20 years in captivity. So owning a leopard gecko in a massive commitment, for a (potentially) long period of time. In fact, you may even say anywhere up to a quarter of your own life span. 

Leopard geckos usually live longer healthier lives in captivity as they have someone bring, and looking after them. They have round the clock care and specialist veterinarians to help provide extra care when illnesses and diseases arise. Having someone else keeping an eye on its health helps to prevent any illnesses from spreading.

Also in captivity, leopard geckos are usually given an ideal diet. Sometimes in the wild they will eat whatever they can get their mouths round, which may not actually be safe for them. In captivity this is usually avoided.

Lifespan in the wild…

In the wild, leopard geckos are thought to live anywhere up to 15 years. 15 years is the higher end too. On average its more like 10-12 years and there’s a number of reasons this may be.

First of all, in the wild, leopard geckos have no one to care for them. They also have no veterinarian to help with any illness or infections and sometimes these can be deadly.

Secondly, their food may not be as readily available as it is being a pet. Captive leopard geckos ill be fed almost every day, where as in the wild they may actually go weeks or months without having a meal. This can also be deadly as the less food they ingest, the less energy they have to catch their food.

Finally, in the wild they are constantly trying to avoid becoming a meal for one of their many predators. This one is unfortunately most common. Leopard geckos are very low in the food chain, which means they have a lot of other animals which like to feed on them. So staying out of harms ways is a 24 hour job. 

So what can you do to give your leopard gecko a long, healthy lifestyle?

We hope that all leopard gecko owners would want the absolute best for their pet, so educating yourselves on what environmental factors are best for their living conditions is vital. Great living conditions will help to keep your gecko healthy and happy.

There are 4 main factors that you should be constantly aware of when owning a leopard gecko. These four factors will help to provide the best care for your gecko and will increase its lifespan if followed correctly. 

These factors are;

  • Provide them with the correct habitat
  • Provide them with a steady, balanced diet
  • Remove anything that may cause them stress
  • Check for illnesses and disease

Provide them with the correct habitat

Leopard geckos really don’t need much in relation to habitat conditions. There are only really a few things that you have to keep in mind when creating a suitable habitat for your gecko. As long as you have the correct sized enclosure and keep an eye on temperature and humidity levels, you can’t really go wrong.

Enclosure / Habitat

First of all you need to provide them with the correct sized enclosure. At minimum you will need a 20 gallon enclosure.These will usually be roughly a 3ft x 1ft enclosure. Make sure the enclosure is longer than it is tall and it absolutely has to have access via a side sliding door. NEVER have access through the roof of the enclosure. This will cause some much un-needed stress for your gecko as they will naturally think you are an aerial attacking predator.

Our recommendation for a suitable Enclosure.

Temperature

Ideally the temperature in the cool end of the enclosure should be between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Whilst in the warm end it should range between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. It may not seem much, but this is the difference between being in direct sunlight, to being hidden in the shade on a normal day in the desserts.

On the warm side of the enclosure you should also provide a basking spot. This should be a raised area where your leopard gecko can bask a little closer to the heat lamp. At this rage the temperature should range anywhere between 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Our recommendation for a suitable Thermometer.

Humidity 

Leopard geckos come from a naturally very dry habitat, so the humidity level should average between 10-30%. This may increase when shedding, but should never exceed this on a day to day basis.

This can be achieved by placing a water bowl/ bathing bowl into the enclosure, which should evaporate and provide enough humidity to reach the 10-30% requirement. If this doesn’t, then you can spray inside the enclosure a couple of times a week to increase the humidity level slightly.

Our recommendation for a suitable Digital Hydrometer.

Correct Substrate 

The best substrate recommended for leopard geckos is “Reptile Carpet”. Some gecko owners will just use newspaper, which is fine, but it looks awful. Reptile carpet looks far better than newspaper and is actually far easier to maintain.

Reptile carpet can be cut to the size you need and can also be taken out and washed to be reused. It’s safe as it cannot be ingested, unlike many other substrates. The only risk to your gecko, is that after a while, the carpet may start to become loose. This may cause you gecko to become caught up in some fibre stands, so this could be monitored closely.

Our recommendation for Reptile Carpet.

Furniture 

Finally, a gecko needs some furniture to make itself feel at home. Your enclosure should incorporate a shallow water bowl, which is mainly used for bathing and maintaining humidity levels. Climbing rocks and branches need to be provided so it can explore and freely entertain itself. And finally a hiding box, so your gecko can hading away from any stresses or dangers. Even if there are no dangers, your gecko will need a safe haven to hide in every so often.

Our recommendation for Exo-Terra Climbing Branches.

Provide them with a steady, balanced diet

Providing your leopard gecko with the correct diet is one of the most important factors that need to be considered for a long, healthy lifespan.

As a rule of thumb, you should never feed your leopard gecko an insect which is any bigger than its head. Ideally you want an insect which is slightly smaller than its head, and only feed them every other day.

Insects you should feed your leopard gecko include, Crickets, Mealworms and Dubia Roaches. Each of these insects provide different nutritional values, so mixing these up regularly will provide your gecko with the best overall nutritional value.

Remove anything that may cause them stress

Naturally leopard geckos are very scared. In the wild they are forever trying to evade capture from one of their many predators. Unfortunately, this in engraved into their natural instincts, so even as pets they are very cautious and scared. They hide at any threatening opportunity and even drop their tails off to evade capture. So please don’t pull on their tails, as it will literally just fall off.

Place the enclosure in a position that doesn’t get a lot of traffic passing by, or anywhere with other pets. Any movements or shadows will make your gecko feel threatened.

Spend the time to your your leopard gecko used to being handled. This may cause stress at the beginning, however it will pay dividends after a while as they will no longer see you or humans as a threat to their health.

Check for Illness and Diseases

Illness and diseases will happen with all animals and reptiles so keeping an eye on their health is crucial to their lifespan. Daily checks should be taken to ensure that nothing is wrong with your gecko. If something is wrong, their characteristic may change, so this is one sign that you should be looking out for.

Here is a list of things to look out for in relation to illnesses. Singularly these shouldn’t be too much to worry about. But if you see any of these in combination with one another, then you should take your gecko to the veterinarian to get checked out.

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Visible injuries 
  • Become lethargic
  • Heavy breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Change in stools
  • Redness of skin 
  • Laying flat for long periods of time

Conclusion 

So there is our answer to the question “How long do leopard geckos live in captivity”. Remember, on average leopard geckos can live up to 20 years as pets, and sometimes even longer. This really does rely on the owners care for their gecko. The better the living conditions, the healthier they are and more likely to live until their late teens.

Follow these steps and you will be sure to give your leopard gecko the best chance of living a healthy and happy life.

After searching and testing many different products, we have come up with our list of “Must Have” items for recommendations for both price, and durability for the best enclosure accessories.

Bathing Water Bowl – Click Here

Heat Mat – Click Here

Heat Lamp and Guard – Click Here

Reliable Thermometer – Click Here

Vivarium/Enclosure – Click Here

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How Often Do You Feed Leopard Geckos?

Do Leopard Geckos Like To Be Held?

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