Leopard gecko (E. macularius) care & information
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6 tips for new baby Leopard gecko owners

Since many owners get their first Leopard gecko when it is still a baby, here are my 6 tips for new baby Leopard gecko owners.

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Introduction

Most Leopard geckos are acquired when they are still babies. It is said that most problems occur within the first few days after their arrival.

During this fragile adaptation period, there are some things Leopard gecko owners can do to make the experience a little safer and easier on the little one.

Baby Leopard gecko tip #1 – handle them with care

Apart from proper handling later in life, baby Leopard geckos need to be handled with extra care. This is especially true during the time they are still in their first travel container.

When arriving at home, instead of taking the baby Leopard gecko out of the container, rather place the travel container inside the larger keeping enclosure first and simply take the lid off.

Handling a baby Leopard gecko

A baby Leopard gecko is sitting on the hand of its owner. Image credit Silke Baron (CC BY 2.0)

When a new baby Leopard gecko is picked up, or handled, it should be scooped it up with your fingers acting as a ‘cage’. Gripping a baby Leopard gecko is tricky and potentially dangerous.

By letting a baby Leopard gecko walk freely on your hand, the opportunity to dash and fall is high. In this case, use your other hand for cupping.

When handling a baby Leopard gecko, use slow movements and restrict handling to a bare minimum.

Baby Leopard gecko tip #2 – allow them to adapt to the environment

During the first few days after arrival, it is crucial that new baby Leopard geckos are left alone to adapt.

Stressed baby Leopard gecko

Signs of stress include a baby Leopard gecko that is trying to escape. This image shows a Leopard gecko baby sitting next to the glass of the container. Stress will be indicated when glass surfing behaviour is observed. Image from YouTube.com.

Owners should avoid spending too much time ‘hovering’ in front of display enclosures. The enclosure furniture and enclosure itself should also not be moved around during this time.

Opening the enclosure should be reserved for feeding and cleaning times only. This will ensure less variation in the immediate environmental temperature, humidity and light cycles and ultimately cause less stress to the little one.

Baby Leopard gecko tip #3 – correct feeding

When feeding baby Leopard geckos, the type, size, quantity and quality of the food is very important.

Baby Leopard geckos are popularly fed crickets(30)(32)(50), silkworm larvae(30) and mealworm larvae(30)(50). Many feeder insects are available to order from Amazon.com.

The most important factor when it comes to feeding baby Leopard geckos is the size of the food. Feeding insects that are too large or too small can either be missed or ignored by baby Leopard geckos. Large, roaming adult insects can cause stress and refusal to eat.

The accepted size for feeder insects is the length of the space between the eyes of the Leopard gecko being fed. Baby Leopard geckos will benefit more from small to medium-sized insects.

Don’t feed too many crickets at a time. Start off by adding one to three crickets and only add more if needed.

Juvenile Leopard gecko eating a cricket

The correct prey size can stimulate hunting behaviour in baby Leopard geckos. Image from YouTube.com.

In order to increase their quality, feeder crickets should be gut-loaded and dusted. Mealworms should be supplied in a small, shallow container containing a commercial powdered Vit D/calcium combination.

Baby Leopard gecko tip #4 – buy from reputable pet shops and breeders

Very often a first baby Leopard gecko was obtained impulsively and many owners will want to add more Leopard geckos to their collection. Don’t repeat this potential mistake.

Leopard gecko breeding facility

This breeding facility gives the impression of a neat, well kept and organised reptile facility. Image with permission from CrestedGecko.com

I recommend buying from reputable pet shops that sell locally or their own bred stock. First impressions count. Clean, well-presented pet shops with proper facilities to keep their stock in the same way. Don’t be scared to inquire as to where the baby Leopard geckos are from. Breeders that have nothing to hide will also allow viewing of their facilities.

Baby Leopard gecko tip #5 – choose healthy-looking babies

When looking at your options, make sure all the babies are in a generally good condition. It is advised to choose the largest, fattest or most active baby Leopard gecko from the bunch.

Leopard gecko babies

When choosing a baby Leopard gecko it is important to choose a strong, healthy-looking one.

Baby Leopard gecko tip #6 – keep the nighttime temperatures high

Leopard geckos need a temperature range of 25–30 ºC / 77–86 ºF(23), which can either be kept constant or be dropped to room temperature during the evenings. It has been scientifically proven that by maintaining heat at night that baby Leopard geckos will grow faster(69).

Conclusion

Baby Leopard geckos are fragile, especially during the first few days of relocation. Buying a healthy baby Leopard gecko from a reputable pet shop will help ensure fewer problems down the line. Potential problems can also be reduced by the correct handling and feeding, and by keeping the nighttime temperatures high.

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