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What Should I Know before I Buy a Gecko?

Patti Kate
Patti Kate

Before you buy a gecko, you should familiarize yourself with the various species available and how to care for it. Different species may range in size, so consider the requirements for housing. You'll need a large enough tank to accommodate your new pet. Various gecko species may also vary in price. In addition to the tank and food, you'll also need various tank accessories, as well as a heat lamp and hiding tunnel. Before you buy a gecko, you also should be aware that you will have to feed your pet live insects, so if this is an issue for you, reconsider your choice of pet.

A pet owner is responsible for the well being and care of any pet he acquires. If you don't have the time and money to provide proper care for a pet, it would be unfair to buy a gecko. If, however, you are willing and able to give this reptile everything it needs to live a healthy life, read up on how to care for pet geckos. You can also inquire at the pet store or from the breeder who sells you your gecko.


If the pet dealer informs you of a specific diet the gecko is accustomed to, adhere to it. Don't make drastic changes in diet, as this could cause the animal to become stressed or ill. A gecko kept in captivity might be lacking in certain nutrients it might obtain in the wild, so you should ask an expert what vitamin supplements it will need. It's not a good idea to use liquid vitamins in water as the gecko drinks very little water and it will be wasted or lose potency. Get a powered form that can be sprinkled on its food.

You need to know what to look for before you buy a gecko. Signs of a healthy gecko are clean, clear eyes with no visible discharge. Flaky or shedding skin may indicate illness. Avoid choosing a gecko with a thin tail, as this could indicate nutritional deficiencies.

Before you buy a gecko, ask the dealer if it is accustomed to being handled. It's best to choose a gecko that is accustomed to humans or it may take some time for it to adjust. You also need to handle this exotic pet carefully, and never pick it up by its delicate tail. If you want a pet that is the most docile, choose the leopard gecko.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of habitat do I need to provide for a gecko?

Geckos require a habitat that mimics their natural environment. This includes a terrarium with proper temperature gradients, which can range from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and slightly cooler at night. Humidity levels should be maintained between 30-70%, depending on the species. Provide hiding spots, climbing structures, and a substrate suitable for burrowing or digging. Regular monitoring with thermometers and hygrometers is essential to ensure the habitat remains within the ideal parameters for your gecko's health.

How often do geckos need to be fed, and what is their diet?

Geckos typically eat every 1-2 days, but this can vary based on age and species. Their diet mainly consists of insects like crickets and mealworms. Some species, like the Crested Gecko, may also eat fruit-based diets or commercial gecko food. It's important to dust the insects with a calcium supplement to prevent metabolic bone disease. Always provide fresh water and consult with a veterinarian for a species-specific feeding schedule and diet.

Do geckos require special lighting?

Yes, geckos generally require special lighting to maintain their circadian rhythm and to synthesize vitamin D3, which is crucial for calcium absorption. Most geckos need 10-12 hours of light per day, simulating a natural day/night cycle. UVB lighting is recommended for diurnal species, while nocturnal geckos may not require it. However, providing a low-level UVB light can still be beneficial for their overall health.

Can geckos be handled, and are they good for beginners?

Some gecko species tolerate handling better than others, but all geckos should be handled gently and infrequently to minimize stress. Species like the Leopard Gecko are known for their docile nature and can be suitable for beginners. However, it's important to research specific care requirements for the species you're interested in, as some may have more complex needs or be less tolerant of handling.

What are the signs of a healthy gecko?

A healthy gecko should have clear, bright eyes, a full, rounded body, and smooth, clean skin without any sores or lesions. They should be alert and active, with a strong, regular feeding response. Check for a well-fleshed tail, which often indicates good nutrition, and ensure they are shedding properly. Any signs of lethargy, weight loss, or irregular shedding may warrant a visit to the veterinarian.

How long do geckos live, and what commitment am I making?

The lifespan of a gecko varies by species, with some living as long as 20 years, such as the Leopard Gecko. When purchasing a gecko, you're making a long-term commitment to care for the animal throughout its life. This includes providing a proper habitat, regular feeding, veterinary care, and daily maintenance. Prospective owners should be prepared for the responsibility and costs associated with keeping a gecko healthy for its entire lifespan.

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