Here's mine from my website:

Leopard Gecko Care Sheet
By Aliza Arzt (

I. What you need:
Things you must have:
Do not get a leopard gecko starter kit from your local pet store. You dont need most of what is in there.
1. Cage: An aquarium is best. It should be at least 10 gallons. It does not need to be waterproof.
2. Cage cover: get a screen or mesh cover to fit your cage so there is some ventilation. These are available at your local pet store. The best kind has a hinge in the middle so you can lift up part of the top to interact with your gecko.
3. Flooring (substrate): You need something on top of the glass floor of the tank.
Do not use sand (even if you see geckos on sand at the pet store). Geckos can accidently swallow sand when theyre catching their food. This can be fatal.
Here are some things you can use:
paper towel, cardboard or newspaper: these are cheap but cannot be cleaned, so must be replaced periodically. Also, the bugs they eat can sometimes hide underneath.
repti-carpet: this is sort of like astroturf and is sold at pet stores cut to size for different size tanks. This looks nicer. It needs to be washed periodically. Geckos can sometimes get their toenails caught on it.
linoleum or vinyl tile: Easy to cut to size, available in many colors and patterns, easy to clean
ceramic tile: strong, durable, looks nice. My first choice. A 10 gallon tank can be covered with two 8x10 tiles and one 3x10 tile. There will be about a 3/4 gap left at the edge. These are standard size tiles and are available at Home Depot for very little money
4. Heating: Leopard geckos are nocturnal, desert dwelling animals that get their heat from lying on rocks that have been heated during the day by the sun. Consequently, they need a heat source at the bottom of the tank, not the top, and the temperature has to be measured on the floor, not in the air or on the wall of the tank.
The best heat source is an under tank heater (UTH). These are usually rectangular heat mats which stick onto the outside floor of the tank and plug in. They are available at pet stores. Place it at one end of the tank. The gecko needs a variation in floor temperatures (heat gradient) so it can move around the tank and adjust to the temperature where it feels most comfortable at different times. The temperature at the hot end of the tank should be about 90F on the floor.
Get a digital thermometer with a sensor so you can keep track of the temperature.
Do not use a heat rock. It will burn the gecko

Problem: The UTH often makes the tank floor too hot, especially in the geckos hiding places (see below).
The best solution is to get a thermostat, connect it to the heater and set it for 90. These are available at some pet stores and can be ordered online. I have some for sale at a reasonable price.
put several layers of substrate on the hot side of the tank to insulate against the heat. Check with the digital thermometer.
check the temperatures at several points in the hot area and find a place thats the right temperature. Put the geckos hiding area there (see below).
get a UTH thats rated for a smaller tank than the one you have. This may put out less heat.

It is sometimes difficult to maintain the correct heat during the winter. Here are some solutions which may help:
make sure the tank is not in an area where there are drafts (near a door or a window)
If you are using a thick substrate like tile, consider removing the tile over the heat source and replacing it with paper towel so the heat doesnt have to penetrate through so many layers.
use a heat light and place it on top of the cage on the warm side.
tape some aluminum foil on top of the under tank heater. This seems to reduce heat loss away from the tank and directs it up toward the bottom of the tank.

Other heat sources besides UTH:
heating pad: you have to check electrical and fire safety before using one of these constantly
hot lights on top of the tank. These mimic the sun by shining on the floor and heating it. If you do this, you will probably need a light/heat source for the night which is black or red light since the gecko needs it to be dark at night (it cant see red light).
5. Hiding spots: geckos in the wild spend a lot of time hiding in caves or crevices, especially during the day when they sleep. You will need 2 kinds of hiding places:
dry hiding area: Pet stores sell a variety of these, usually made from fake rock plastic or 1/2 coconut shells with a little door cut out. Its best if they are opaque to give the gecko some privacy. You can also make your own out of just about anything including wood, plastic, broken flower pots, etc. It just has to be big enough for the gecko to get into and curl up. Put the main hiding area on the hot side of the tank. You can also put another one on the cool side.
moist hiding area: This is especially useful when the gecko sheds its skin and needs more humidity. The easiest method is to take a small tupperware or gladware type plastic container with a lid. Turn in upside down so the lid is on the bottom. Cut an opening on top or at the side so the gecko can go in. Line the bottom with paper towel. peat moss, sphagnum moss or coconut fiber and keep moist (especially when the gecko is going to shed) by spraying periodically with water.
6. Food dish / water bowl: You can buy these at a pet store or make your own. Make sure the water bowl is shallow enough for a small gecko so it wont fall in and drown. Its best if the food dish has smooth sides so the mealworms dont crawl out of it.
7. Food: Geckos eat live food. Most of them will not eat the dead food that is sold at some pet stores. Most people feed their geckos mealworms and/or crickets which can be purchased at the pet store.
Mealworms: These are beetle larvae and after awhile they will start to turn into beetles, at which point most geckos wont eat them. Any stories you hear about mealworms eating their way out of a geckos stomach are false. The geckos chew them up; they dont get into the stomach alive. They are easy to keep and feed because they dont jump around or smell.
Crickets: Many geckos like crickets because they jump around and stimulate the gecko to hunt. Crickets are smelly and can get away if youre not careful.
Other bugs that geckos eat: superworms (look like huge mealworms), silk worms, butterworms, hornworms, roaches (not the type we sometimes find in the house), waxworms (these are not recommended as a staple; theyre sort of like gecko junk food). You will not find most of these things besides the superworms at pet stores. They can be ordered online if youre interested.
Dont feed the gecko bugs you have caught outside; they may be poisoned by pesticides or have parasites
7a. Food for your feeders: the bugs you feed your geckos are only as nutritious as the things they eat. Mealworms come from pet stores packed in bran which is not very nutritious; crickets come without food. Feeding your bugs well so they are nutritious for your geckos is called gutloading. Here are 2 methods for feeding your bugs:
Basic: look in your kitchen for a variety of grains including oat meal, bran, wheat germ, multigrain cereal (dont use frosted or highly sweetened cereal), bulghur, rice, etc. Take some of each and mix it together. You can put it in the blender or food processor to make a fine meal out of it. Put it in your worm or cricket container
Special: go to a whole foods store and get a variety of grains and dried greens. I used the following for my gutload: mixed nuts (unsalted), bear mush, multi grain cereal, oats, powdered milk, sunflower seeds, flax meal, dried powdered kelp, dried alfalfa, spirulina, baby cereal, coconut, brewers yeast. Make a power by putting it in the blender or food processor. Keep the extra in the fridge.
Bugs also need a source of moisture. This could be a chunk of apple, potato, carrot or other fruit/vegetable. Make sure its not too wet; moisture on grain leads to mold which can poison the feeders. Throw out any gutload that looks moldy green. For crickets you can buy cricket water from a pet store. This is jello- consistency moisture with vitamins. Keep it with the crickets in a small dish.
7b. A place to keep your feeders:
Mealworms: these can be kept in the container you buy them in or any other container such as a deli cup or tupperware container. Make sure to put some airholes in the cover so they can breathe. Put the gutload right into the container with them along with some fruit/vegetables. Mealworms can be kept (in their container) in the refrigerator to slow their metabolism and make them last longer. Be sure to take them out a day in advance so they have time to eat and be properly nutritious. Also take them out every week for a day so they can wake up and eat.
Crickets: Crickets are fine in a small container, a plastic kritter keeper that you can get from a pet store, or a special cricket keeper which has tubes to make it easier to get the crickets out. Put a layer of gutload at the bottom and a small bottle cap or dish with cricket water or some fruit/vegetables. Crickets like to hide; put a piece of egg carton in there with them. Get small crickets for baby geckos (<5 long) and medium or large crickets for bigger geckos.
8. Nutritional supplement: Geckos need calcium and to a lesser extent, vitamins. They will get sick without the calcium. Calcium and vitamins are sold at the pet store in powder form. For the best supplementation, you need to get 3 products, although you may be able to get away with two: plain calcium without additives, especially without vitamin D3; calcium with vitamin D3; reptile vitamins. Often it is easiest to get the calcium with D3 and vitamins all together
Heres how to supplement: (this is different from what I have been recommending before 6/08; I will include my original suggestions below):
Get one of these 2 groups of products:
a. Rep-cal calcium with vitamin D3 and rep-cal herptivite (vitamins): mix these 1:1
b. Repashys calcium plus (can be ordered on-line at

coat the feeders with calcium a or b each time: sprinkle it on the mealworms in the geckos dish. For crickets, place some crickets into a plastic bag or plastic cup with the mixture. Shake it all together (like shake and bake) and the crickets will turn white from the calcium. Then feed the crickets to the gecko.
Additionally, especially if youre worried that the calcium will rub off the feeders before the geckos eat them, you can leave a small dish of calcium in the cage.
[This is what I was recommending previously, which will also work:
--coat the feeders with calcium with D3 (if you have a separate vitamin supplement, use once every 2-4 weeks; otherwise, use the calcium with D3 and vitamins at least weekly: sprinkle it on the mealworms in the geckos dish. For crickets, place some crickets into a plastic bag or plastic cupwith some calcium and vitamins. Shake it all together (like shake and bake) and the crickets will turn white from the calcium. Then feed the crickets to the gecko.
--leave a dish of calcium without D3 (use a bottle cap or small lid) in the gecko cage at all times. They will help themselves.]

Things that are optional:
lighting: geckos in the wild are exposed to very little light. If you like to have the tank lit, or want to heat with lights, set a clamp lamp on top of the screen cage cover. Put the lights on a timer so they go off at night.
plants: you can put desert plants in the cage if you want. Dont use plants that require a lot of water so you dont raise the humidity too high. Dont use plants with spikes or thorns.
climbing structures, artificial plants, etc.: a lot of this stuff is sold at pet stores. Any of it is OK as long as it is solid and wont fall apart or fall over if the gecko climbs on it.

II. Basic Care information:
1. Set up the cage before you bring your gecko home if possible. Make sure to give the heater enough time to reach maximum heat (overnight is good). Check the temperatures and do what is necessary to get the hot side to the correct temperature (approx. 90F).
2. When you put the gecko in the cage, it will probably walk all around licking things to check them out, and will then most likely go into one of the hiding areas. You may not see your gecko out and about for anywhere between a day and a week. It may come out at night when its dark in the room. It may not eat for the first week or so. Continue to make food available and eventually, as it acclimates to its new home, it will eat.
3. For the first week, its best to look at your gecko and talk to it, but not to pick it up. It is probably somewhat stressed out by being in a new environment. See below for activities to do with your gecko.
4. Feeding: For young geckos less than 6 months old, it is best to feed them every evening and to make mealworms available in a dish all the time. Put some of the mealworm food in the dish with the worms so they have something to eat. Older geckos can be fed every 2-3 days.
5. Bathroom: Geckos tend to go to the bathroom in the same place each time. Once you and your gecko figure out where that is, put a piece of paper towel, tile or slate on that spot. Then, when the gecko goes, you can simply throw away the paper towel or wash off the tile/slate. Gecko droppings have a dark brown part which is the solid waste and a white or yellow part which is the urine. There may also be some watery liquid nearby, especially if the gecko has just gone.
6. Illness: If the gecko has diarrhea day after day (loose, watery stools), or stops eating for a long time and seems to be losing weight (tail getting thinner), it is a good idea to bring it to the vet. It may have parasites and need some medication. It is not unusual for geckos to eat less during cold weather and after they get to be 7-8 months old and are closer to full-sized.
7. Cleaning: Clean out the water bowl periodically by washing it in hot water. You can use some soap or very diluted bleach solution; wash all the cleaners out of the bowl. The cage should be cleaned periodically some people do it every week, others every few months. Take everything including the substrate out of the cage. Rinse everything. You can get special cage cleaner, or just spray with hydrogen peroxide, let stand for 30 sec. then spray with vinegar and let stand before washing everything off.

III. Resources:
1. Books:
The Leopard Gecko Manual by Philippe de Vosjoli with Roger Klingenberg, Ron Tremper and Brian Viets (this is the one available in most pet stores)
The Leopard Gecko in Captivity by Robbie Hamper, ISBN #0-9713197-8-2
The Herpetoculture of Leopard Geckos by Philippe de Vosjoli, Ron Tremper, and Roger Klingenberg ISBN-10: 0974297127
2. Internet: lots of information about care, illness and breeding info about reptile related events, classifieds, forums for each of a variety of reptiles including leopard geckos an excellent forum with information by many experienced keepers along with other stuff a new forum as of June 2006. Many former posters from fauna have moved over to this set of forums
geckos and kids:

IV. Kids and geckos; activities (This section is particularly for kids aged 6-10. Feel free to skip it if you are not a kid)
When you first get your gecko, you need to give it some time to get used to its new home. At first, it may wander around the cage licking everything, but then it will probably go into its hiding area and may not come out for a long time. When it does come out, it will probably come in the evening because geckos sleep during the day and come out at night. Here are some things you can do while you are waiting for you gecko to get more comfortable:
1. Before the gecko gets into the cage, set up the hiding areas so you will be able to look into them from the side of the cage. That way you can see your gecko easily when it is in the cage.
2. Feeding: count how many worms you put in your geckos dish. Every day, count how many worms are left. That way you can see how much your gecko is eating.
3. Getting your gecko used to you: talk to your gecko so it can get used to your voice. Look at your gecko in its hiding area and see if its looking at you. Put your hand in the cage where your gecko can see it. Dont try to touch the gecko, just let it see your hand.
4. Observing your gecko: if you see your gecko come out, here are some things you can look for:
find your geckos ears.
find its tongue.
how many toes does it have on each foot?
find its toenails
how many stripes does it have? What color are they? Does it have any spots? Learn where all the stripes and spots are, because the coloring will change as the gecko grows up.
how does your gecko eat? How does it get the food into its mouth?
how does your gecko drink?
has your gecko chosen a poop spot? Where is it?
look at your geckos poop. What 2 main colors do you see? One of those colors is actually the geckos pee. Which do you think it is? Do you know any other kind of animal whose poops and pee look like that?
if your gecko comes out, do you notice it licking things? Why do you think its doing that?

After you have had your gecko for at least a week, you may be able to start to handle it. Keep talking to your gecko. Keep putting your hand in the cage for a few minutes at a time. Eventually your gecko should come out to investigate. You can try putting a mealworm on the floor in front of the gecko. It might eat it. Put another mealworm a little further away and maybe your gecko will come out a little to eat it. Eventually it may begin to connect your hand with food. At first your gecko may be shy. If you move your hand a little it may zip back into its hiding spot. Some geckos are more friendly than others. As the gecko gets more comfortable it should come over and check out your hand. After awhile it will climb on your hand and then you can take it out. This may take awhile. Be patient.
Taking your gecko out: different geckos behave in different ways. Some like to burrow, some like to climb, some like to sit and watch things and some like to explore. Most young geckos (less than 6 months) move very quickly and can get away from you before you know it. Most adult geckos move more slowly and are easier to control.
Young geckos: to play with a young gecko, make sure to put it in a place where you can keep it from getting away. The best choice may be a large box or bin. You could also play with it on the couch, bed, or table, but young geckos will walk right off the edge of these things, so you have to be ready to put your hand in front of it to stop it.
Here are some activities you can try with your gecko. They are probably best to do when the gecko is at least 4-5 months old:
let your gecko walk on you and explore you. It could walk up your arm, ride on your shoulder or even sit on your head. Remember that especially young geckos will just walk or jump off you, so always be ready to trap it with your hand before it gets away.
crumple up a large towel or some clothing and put it on the bed or the couch. Let your gecko explore the nooks and crannies that youve made. Some geckos like to crawl all over and find their own caves and hiding places.
put your gecko on the couch and let it explore behind the couch pillows. Geckos like to crawl behind the pillows and also to climb up the back of the couch. Watch it carefully when it does this.
put your gecko on the stairs. Sit with it and see what it does. This works best if the stairs are carpeted. Some geckos will actually climb up or down the stairs. Some will peer over the edge but wont go down. Some will just crouch in the corner of the stairs. See what yours does.
make a gecko carnival for your gecko. Get a large box or a bin and put some gecko toys in there like paper towel tubes, climbing branches, pieces of carpet. Let your gecko explore and see what it does.
some people put their geckos in a hamster ball, which is a clear plastic ball that can come apart. The animal is put in the ball and then the ball is put on the floor. When the animal walks, it rolls the ball and can move around safely that way. Try it out in a box first to make sure your gecko likes it. Never do this around stairs or any other place where your gecko can fall.
see what else you can think of to do with your gecko
DO let your gecko get used to the sound of your voice and your hand
DO wait until your gecko has had time to adjust to its new home before picking it up
DO make sure there are no other animals around (like cats or dogs) when you take your gecko out of the cage.
DONT pick up or hold your gecko by the tail. The tail may come off. This will not kill your gecko but wont feel good for either you or the gecko.
DONT leave your gecko out of the cage unsupervised or let it roam through the house
DONT take your gecko outside in cold weather (it should be at least 70F)

What You Need for Your Gecko
(short list)

1. Tank: should be at least 10 gallons for one gecko
2. Substrate (something for the floor of the tank): do not use sand
3. Tank screen cover
4. Under Tank Heater (UTH) with thermostat if needed to regulate temperature
5. Dry hiding area
6. Humid hiding area (you can make your own from a plastic container)
7. Food bowl; water bowl
8. Food (crickets or mealworms); things to feed the bugs and a place to keep them
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Gecko Set-up Equipment and prices

Gecko set-up. Includes:
10 gallon tank
screen cover
ceramic tile floor
under tank heater (UTH)
1 dry hiding spot
1 humid hide
Food dish / water bowl: (1 of each)
2 kinds of calcium and 1 kind of vitamins
small tile for droppings
4 small wooden pieces to raise tank for heat ventilation