Using Rocks in Your Leopard Gecko Tank


Leopard geckos are fascinating creatures that have become increasingly popular as pets. These reptiles require a suitable habitat to thrive, and one of the most important components is stable rocks for resting and basking. While rocks from outside can be used in leopard gecko tanks, it’s crucial to ensure that they are legally obtained and sanitized to prevent parasites that can harm the geckos.

Rocks in your leopard gecko tank

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Gathering rocks from outside can be a great way to provide a more natural environment for your leopard gecko. However, it’s important to ensure that you are not breaking any laws or harming the environment in the process.

Additionally, any rocks brought inside need to be sanitized to prevent any possible harm to your pet. In this article, we will explore legal and safe gathering methods for outdoor rocks, as well as cleaning techniques that will effectively sanitize them before introducing them into your leopard gecko’s habitat. We will also discuss alternative options for reptile hides that can provide the same benefits as outdoor rocks.

By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can provide a safe and enriching environment for your leopard gecko.

Gathering of Rocks for Your Geckos Tank

When gathering rocks from outside to use in a leopard gecko tank, make sure that they are legally obtained.  You’ll also want to make sure your rocks are properly sanitized to prevent the transmission of parasites such as coccidia, pinworms, and cryptosporidiosis, which can have serious consequences if left untreated.

Before collecting rocks, it is crucial to avoid areas with chemicals or pesticides, gravel pits, and dog play areas. Instead, it is best to gather rocks from isolated sections of the forest or ask permission from the landowner if necessary.  

It is also important to note that rocks should be natural-looking and not from old bricks, cinder blocks or sidewalks, and should not have sharp edges that could harm your pet reptile.  Choose something that is stable and stationary.  You don’t want something that can pivot, shift, or roll onto your gecko.

Leopard Gecko on a rock

We use a rock we found in our own backyard.  It’s smooth and has fairly rounded edges, and is flat on top so our gecko can rest on it if desired.  We have it placed on the warm side of the enclosure directly above the under tank heater.  This way the rock can absorb and hold some of the heat, just as a rock in nature would absorb heat during the day and stay warm for hours.  This can help your gecko regulate their body temperature by resting on the rock to warm up.

After obtaining the rocks, they must be properly sanitized to eliminate any parasites that may be present.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Outdoor Rocks For Your Leopard Gecko Tank

Scrubbing the rock with hot soapy water will remove any dirt or debris and help make sure it’s clean. You also want to make sure it’s disinfected before placing it in your leopard gecko’s enclosure.

One effective method for preparing natural rocks for use in a reptile habitat involves using a solution of either bleach or ammonia (do not mix the two together.)  Bleach or ammonia will kill just about anything, including harmful bacteria or parasites that may be present on the rocks (or other materials) found outside. However, it is important to use caution when handling harsh chemicals, as they can be harmful if ingested or inhaled.  If using bleach, you want a heavily diluted solution that should be rinsed thoroughly with pure water to remove any residue from the rocks.

Alternatively, you can soak the rock in a solution of vinegar and water before rinsing with clean water.  A solution of hydrogen peroxide and water is another alternative.

If you want to ensure the cleaners you’re using are safe for your pet, try a cleaner specifically designed for pet reptiles like Zoo Med Wipe Out 1, which is the same disinfectant we recommend for cleaning your reptile tanks.

Zoo Med Wipe Out 1 Disinfectant, 32 oz

Regardless of the cleaning method used, it is important to ensure that the rocks are completely dry before placing them in the leopard gecko habitat.

Heat Rocks

Heat rocks are heating products that mimic natural rocks.  The heat emitted from heat rocks is localized, and can often be too intense for some animals, including leopard geckos.  Heat rocks can cause serious burns, and should not be used in a leopard gecko tank.

Wrap Up – Using natural rocks from outside in your leopard gecko tank

It’s absolutely fine to use natural rocks inside your leopard gecko’s tank.  Just be sure you have permission to take any rocks you find and clean and sanitize them before using them as tank decor.  

Natural rocks are great alternatives to store-bought rocks, and help mimic your gecko’s natural habitat.  Use common sense when selecting your rocks, make sure they’re solid and stable without any sharp edges.

By following these guidelines, you can create a healthy and thriving home for your leopard gecko while also adhering to legal and ethical standards.

Now that you’ve got a rockin’ tank, check out some other essential items for your gecko, and some cool accessories you didn’t know you needed.

hevanmiller

H. Evan Miller is the founder of the Leopard Gecko Habitat. Like many young boys, he developed an early fascination with dinosaurs, and by extension, reptiles. He’s been keeping reptiles as pets since he was a kid (we won’t count the decades) and enjoys sharing his enthusiasm, experience, and knowledge on the topic. You can read more about his ongoing adventures with science, technology, and a couple of curious kids over at https://STEMtropolis.com.

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