How Do I Build a Gecko Enclosure?

Angie Pollock
Angie Pollock

Providing a pet gecko with a proper enclosure is one of the most important aspects of gecko ownership. To build a gecko enclosure, you will need a few tools, materials and general knowledge of this small pet before undertaking the task. Many gecko owners use a pre-purchased aquarium, so having this structure in mind, the easiest gecko enclosure to build will have four sides, a bottom and a top. These pieces are attached together like a box and provide the reptile with a safe and secure environment in which to live.

Before building a gecko enclosure, you will need a general understanding of the proper environment for these exotic pets. The gecko is a member of the Gekkonidae family. There are more than 300 species of gecko found throughout the warm regions of the world, but only a handful are popular for keeping as pet lizards. These include the crested gecko, the leopard gecko and the giant day gecko, to name a few. Their native habitat is warm regions, so the gecko’s enclosure should offer a warm environment that is free from drafts.

The size of the enclosure will depend on the quantity of geckos and their size at adult age. In general, a gecko enclosure for smaller species such as the leopard gecko should be at least 2 feet (61 cm) in length. For larger species, owners need to take into account that the reptile will need space for all of its amenities while still having enough room to move about. The giant day gecko can reach 12 inches (30.5 cm) in length at adulthood, which requires more space than is provided in an average 2-foot (61-cm) cage.

The structure of the gecko’s home will need to be completely enclosed. It should have a secure lid or top because these small pets are known to be great escape artists. A lid also is needed for the owner to have access to the inside of the cage whenever needed and for the cage to have a source of necessary ventilation.

When building the enclosure’s top, choose a breathable material such as a wire mesh screen to cover the top's frame. The typical lid will have narrow strips that act as the frame, and the screen is then attached to the frame. A secure latch is needed on the lid to prevent the reptile’s escape and to hinder other pets, such as cats, from getting into the gecko enclosure. For full enjoyment, consider a glass or acrylic front so that the gecko can be viewed at all times.

The type of material used for building a gecko enclosure depends on the owner’s preference. Wood is one of the easier options to construct into an enclosure, but the wood can become damaged from the gecko’s waste, water spillage, food and the substrate. For making a homemade gecko enclosure, acrylic sheets are an ideal solution because acrylic is easier to work with than glass. The clear acrylic also allows owners to see their pets without having to open the lid.

The acrylic sheets need to be measured and cut to the sizes needed and attached together securely at the seams with a sealant. Remember to use non-toxic sealants when sealing corners and edges. The top can be attached with small hinges on the backside of the enclosure and a small latch attached to the front. After the enclosure is built, all that is left is to add the gecko’s necessities and any preferred additions such as décor — and, of course, the gecko.

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