When I was first shopping for a leopard gecko, a pet store employee told me not to bother with a water bowl because, “Leopard Geckos don’t drink water.” This is NOT TRUE. Even though they originate from dry desert regions, they need water to survive. Leopard geckos drink water, and should have a bowl of fresh water available at all times.
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How do leopard geckos drink?
Leopard geckos will sometimes lap up water droplets if you mist their enclosure. Otherwise, they will commonly lap water from a bowl, much like a cat.
What kind of water bowl should a leopard gecko have?
It may be a good idea to have a rock in the bowl, so errant crickets that wind up in the water can get out instead of drowning and fowling the water. Some bowls, like this one from Exo Terra have stairs built into the side for this purpose.
Your leopard gecko may climb into the water bowl and sit or soak. They may do this to help regulate their temperature. Your water bowl should be shallow enough as to not present a danger of drowning your gecko, and your gecko should be able to get in and out of the water bowl with ease.
It’s usually best to place the water bowl on the cool side of your enclosure, as the water will not evaporate as quickly as it would if placed on the hot side.
Can leopard geckos drink tap water?
Yes, leopard geckos can drink tap water. That said, all tap water is not created equally (just ask the folks in Flint, Michigan) and may need to be treated before consumption. Your mileage may vary, depending on where you live and your water source. Municipalities publish reports regarding their water content, which may help determining what is needed.
A quick test: if you wouldn’t drink the water from your tap, do not offer it to your pets.
For instance – we have hard water where we live, though use a whole house water conditioner. In addition, we have a filter on our tap water that we use for drinking. (this is the under the sink water filter we use.) We give our leopard gecko (and other pets) water from the tap, though it’s been through some filtration.
If you have concerns or are unsure about the quality of your tap water, you can use bottled water our use a water treatment like Reptisafe.
What if my leopard gecko isn’t drinking?
Leopard geckos get quite a bit of their needed liquids from the insects they eat. That said, they should always have access to clean water even if they do not often drink it.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t see your leopard gecko drink from the water bowl. The employee I spoke to at the pet store never actually saw a leopard gecko drink, so incorrectly assumed that they don’t drink. (And yes, I ignored his advice and got the water bowl anyway.) Remember, leopard geckos are most active at night and even though you may not observe it, you can trust that they will drink water.
They’ll not only drink directly from a water bowl. If you mist your tank to provide some extra moisture during shedding, you may also see your gecko licking some of the water off of rocks, branches, or hides.
Most life on Earth needs water to survive and thrive. So does your leopard gecko.