Leopard Geckos

Where Are Leopard Geckos From? – The Natural Habitat

Leopard geckos are one of the most favourable choices of reptiles to be kept as exotic pets. Their brightly coloured skin, with the leopard like spots make them a desirable pet for many reptile lovers. We commonly see and think of leopard geckos as pets and when asked, many people have no idea where they originate from. So this is probably why you are looking for the answer to, where are leopard geckos from? 

Native to fairly hot, dry climates, leopard geckos can be found in the semi-dessert lands of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and North West India. Their habitat consists of sandy gravel terrain, amongst rocks, dried grasslands and shrubs.

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

Why does their skin resemble a leopard?

Leopard geckos have a beautiful rough, bumpy and light coloured skin with dark spots which really stands out in a pet shop. But in their natural environment they are a master of disguise. Their skin provides amazing camouflage in the wild as it very closely resembles their natural habitat.

So as you may have gathered, the name “Leopard” has absolutely nothing to do with leopard at all. It just closely resembles the patterns found on leopards. The geckos skin is actually meant to look like rocks and gravel, with their skin colour closely resembling a dry, sandy dessert environment.

Being fairy small in size, a leopard geckos has no real form of defence, therefore it relies on its ability to hide and blend into its surroundings.

Similar family members and where they’re from?

Originally the leopard gecko was classified in the largest lizard family, the Gekkonidae, with over 1,000 other species. Now they have been placed into their own family, the Eublepharidae, along with close relatives, the Fat-Tailed and Banded geckos.

The closest relatives coming from the Genus Eublepharis family which contains 4 other species of gecko such as, the Dusky Leopard Gecko, the East Indian Leopard Gecko, the Iraqi Eyelid Kecko, and finally the Turkmenistan Eyelid Gecko. 

Dusky Leopard Gecko

The Dusky Leopard Gecko also known as the “Western Indian Leopard Gecko” is native to the western parts of India and sometimes Pakistan. Its defining features are its big, blotchy, dark spots which cover the majority of its skin with a yellowish base skin colour.

East Indian Leopard Gecko

The Eastern Leopard Gecko also known as “Hardwicke’s Gecko” is native to India and Bangladesh. It’s definitely features include a swollen looking tail which seems tapered at the end. Reddish brown and cream coloured skin, also combining two broad bands across its back and three bands along it tail.

Iraqi Eyelid Gecko

The Iraqi eyelid Gecko also known as the “Iranian Fat-Tailed Gecko” is native to Iraq, Iran Turkey and Syria. Its defining features include a tail which is closely sized to its body (hence the name fat tail). As well as its skin pattern which incorporates dark coloured bands and spots all along its body from head to tail, with a pale sand base colour.

Turkmenistan Eyelid Gecko

The Turkmenistan Eyelid Gecko can also be known as the “Turkmenian eyelid Gecko” is native to Turkmenistan (Obviously) and Northern Iran. Its defining features are very similar to the to the Iraqi Gecko. The only obviously noticeable difference is their colour. The Turkmenistan Gecko is much darker than its relatives, with a dark brown base skin colour, with almost black bands and spots.

Why are some called “Eyelid” Geckos?

Well, unlike most geckos, the Eublepharidae family members have moveable eyelids. Yes that’s right, they blink just like humans. This is believe to be due to their natural habitat and have evolved with eyelids over time to keep the moisture in their eyes in the dry dessert habitat. They even sleep with their eyelids closed just like humans do. This is very unusual in the gecko world. That said, they do still have long enough tongues so they can still give their eyes a quick lick if they become too dry.

A bit off topic, but still a fun fact… a leopard gecko cannot climb up smooth surfaces like many other geckos because they don’t have toe pads like most others. Instead they have adapted over time to dig, other than climb, due to the dessert environment they natively call home.

What animals are leopard geckos predators?

Due to their sizes, unfortunately leopard geckos are quite low on the food chain, which means they have a few predators to be wary of. Snakes, Owls, Foxes and Monitor lizards are geckos main predators. 

They have to be aware of snakes, making sure they stay well out of reach from their deadly strike. Aerial attacks come from birds of prey such as owls, so they need to be cautious of any shadows being cast from above. Then finally, they have to be aware of an ambush from foxes or monitor lizards. Then it becomes a life or death situation based on who can run faster, or how close the nearest hiding spot is. 

Where they’re from – Resembling their natural environment

Temperature 

When housing a leopard gecko you should try to create an enclosure which resembles their natural environment as much as possible. This will provide your leopard gecko with a happy and healthy living space.

It is very important to create a thermal gradient within the enclosure. What I mean by this is that you should create a warm and cool side to the enclosure. One of the best ways you can do this is with a suitable heat mat at one end of the enclosure. 

Our recommendation for a suitable Heat Mat.

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 Heat Lamp and Guard.

So now you should have three different areas of temperature within the enclosure. A cool end, a warm end and a basking spot (in the warm end).

Lighting

Although leopard geckos don’t actually need UVB lighting to survive, it has been found that UVB does actually improve all reptiles digestion system. Using a small UVB light will be enough to fill the enclosure with an acceptable amount of UVB.

Place the UVB light down the warm end of the enclosure also. This will help to fully create an end to the enclosure which closely represents natural sunlight. Just like humans, geckos will sometimes try to avoid these factors, so make sure there are places inside the enclosure which shield your gecko from the UVB light and heat lamp.

Our recommendation for a suitable UVB Light.

Suitable Substrate 

Leopard geckos need a substrate which holds some humidity and isn’t easily ingested. Humidity levels aren’t such as important as the other aspects however it is always good to provide some level of humidity, specially around the shedding period. 

Having a water bowl, or bathing bowl will usually be enough to humidify the enclosure with enough moisture if constantly being filled up each day. If not, then misting the enclosure a couple of times a week will be sufficient.

Our recommendation for a suitable Water Bowl.

Conclusion

Hopefully this has answered the question, “where are leopard geckos from” and some other relevant information which we hope was helpful. As a little recap leopard geckos are native to Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkmenistan, North West India and sometime Bangladesh. They thrive in warm, dry, dessert climates which should be replicated as close as possible when captive bread. 

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

Other Relative Articles You May Like…

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Do Leopard Geckos Eat Fruit?

How Long Do Leopard Geckos Live In Captivity?

How Often Do You Feed Leopard Geckos?

Do Leopard Geckos Like To Be Held?

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