You've got your new leopard gecko and want to make sure you give it proper care.\u00a0 We're here to help by sharing a list of common leopard gecko mistakes new owners make due to lack of experience or knowledge.\u00a0\u00a0Avoid these common leopard gecko mistakes with these tips:\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWrong Temperatures\n\n\n\nAmbient air temperature in your leopard gecko's enclosure should be between 80 \u00b0F and 90 \u00b0F. But, not one consistent temperature through the whole tank.\n\n\n\nMake sure you have a temperature gradient between the sides of the tank so your lizard can better regulate its body temperature. The warm side of your enclosure should have an ambient temperature of about 90 \u00b0F (32 \u00b0C), while the cool side should be about 80 \u00b0F (27 \u00b0C).\u00a0 Your gecko can move from area to area depending on how much heat it needs at the time.\n\n\n\nWe recommend using a digital thermometer to make sure you've got your temperatures dialed in.\n\n\n\nNot using an under tank heater: Proper heating for leopard geckos\n\n\n\nNow that we know where we should set the temperatures, what's the best heat source for a leopard gecko? \n\n\n\nBeing crepuscular, leopard geckos are not typically active during daylight hours.\u00a0 This means they see little direct sunlight and do not bask in the sun for warmth like many diurnal reptiles (Diurnal means active during daytime.)\n\n\n\nA leopard gecko's need for overhead UVB light is a hotly debated topic in leopard gecko communities. We're not here to enter the debate, though UVB light won't hurt. \n\n\n\nLeopard geckos rely on heat from the ground to help digest their food.\u00a0 In a reptile habitat, this effect is usually best achieved with an under the tank heater.\u00a0 Under tank heaters are usually thin sheets that are placed under one side of the tank to to help achieve the temperature gradient we talked about above.\n\n\n\nSome are simple plug in and go heat mats, while more advanced models have thermostat controls.\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\n\nWith belly heat from a source under the tank, your leopard gecko will have a much easier time digesting its food.\u00a0 Whether you're using heat lamps or not, don't forget to have a heater under the tank as well and your temperatures are in the correct range.\n\n\n\nWhether you're using a heat lamp or heat mat, avoid heat rocks at all costs. Heat rocks are often the biggest mistake new leopard gecko owners make. A heat rock provides concentrated localized heat that poses a threat to burning your lizard if they sit on it. \n\n\n\nWrong Substrate\n\n\n\nYour whole habitat starts with what's on the bottom of the tank. It's your foundation. It's your pet's foundation. Substrate is fundamental, and you don't want to get this one wrong.\n\n\n\nIn short, avoid loose substrate.\u00a0 Sand, calcium sand, coconut shavings, wood shavings etc.\u00a0 Just don't.\u00a0 Sometimes simple is better - and safer.\u00a0 We go into more detail in our full post on safe substrates for leopard geckos.\u00a0 We still use reptile carpet, and have been quite successful with it.\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\n\nOnly One Hide\n\n\n\nEveryone needs somewhere to sleep and so do our pets.\u00a0 Most owners include a place for their leopard gecko to hide, feel secure, and sleep.\u00a0 Did you know leopard geckos should have more than one hide?\u00a0\n\n\n\nIdeally there should be at least two hides: a hot hide and a cold hide; one on the warm side of the tank and one on the cooler side. This allows your lizard to better regulate its body temperature by hanging out on the side it feels most comfortable.\n\n\n\nLeopard geckos should also have a moist hide for shedding (sometimes referred to as a humid hide.)\u00a0 The moisture helps loosen the old skin as it molts and avoids stuck skin or poor sheds.\u00a0 Bonus if this is a separate hide.\u00a0\n\n\n\nImproper Handling\n\n\n\nLeopard geckos are known for being docile and are fairly hardy for their size. Still, with rough handling, they can be easily injured.\n\n\n\nAs with any animal, you don't want to corner it or make it feel threatened. When in danger, a leopard gecko may voluntarily drop its tail to escape and survive. While losing a tail isn't fatal, it's stressful for the animal and takes extra care during recovery. You can read more in our post about leopard gecko tails.\n\n\n\nDon't put your lizard in a situation where it could drop from a distance - always try to handle close to the ground or over a table where it can't fall too far.\n\n\n\nIn general, don't handle your pet in a way that would cause stress. You can read more in our posts on how to bond with your gecko or find some handling tips.\n\n\n\nPoor Diet\n\n\n\nIdeally, your leopard gecko will have a a steady diet of insects.\u00a0 Providing a variety of food choices are best for a healthy leopard gecko.\u00a0 That said, you don't want to offer any insect you find.\u00a0 You can easily find feeder insects like mealworms, super worms, and crickets at most pet stores (or you can order online.)\n\n\n\nYour lizard may have preferences, or go through phases of what it likes to eat. Don't be afraid to mix it up to provide a healthy diet.\n\n\n\nRead our leopard gecko feeding guide for more on proper diet and feeding.\u00a0 Also check out our post on what leopard geckos can't eat.\n\n\n\nNot Providing Water\n\n\n\nWhen I bought my first leopard gecko, I was told by staff at one of the big box pet stores that leopard geckos don't need a water bowl because they're dessert dwelling reptiles and don't drink. This is 100% incorrect.\n\n\n\nSure, leopard geckos do get some moisture from the insects they eat, though, like any animal, leopard geckos need water. For more on the specifics check out our post on why leopard geckos need water to learn how to keep yours hydrated.\n\n\n\nNot Providing Supplements\n\n\n\nIt's a good idea to provide calcium supplements, especially to young geckos or breeding females.\u00a0 In early stages, supplements will help prevent metabolic bone disease (MBD.)\u00a0 For females, the extra calcium helps during egg production.\n\n\n\nSome keepers keep a small dish of calcium powder in the enclosure so the leopard gecko can lick the powder at its leisure. \n\n\n\nAnother way of delivering supplements to your leopard gecko is through dusting insects in the powder before placing it in the tank.\n\n\n\nYou can learn more about supplements and dusting in our feeding guide. Keeping them together or with other species\n\n\n\nHousing Leopard Geckos Together\n\n\n\nUnless you're breeding, leopard geckos are best kept alone. Sure, it's common to see small hatching or juvenile geckos piled on top of each other in pet shops, and some people may think it's common to house leopard geckos together. Once the geckos become adults, they can be territorial and compete for food or shelter. \n\n\n\nExperienced keepers will typically keep one leopard gecko per enclosure, or ensure there is ample space if cohabitating.\u00a0 And if leopard geckos have only passing tolerance for each other, it's best not to keep them with other species for many of the same reasons.\n\n\n\nFor more, check out or posts on keeping leopard geckos together or suitable tank mates.\n\n\n\nWrap Up: Common Leopard Gecko Mistakes\n\n\n\nLeopard Geckos are hardy reptiles and can live long lives with proper husbandry and conditions. Many leopard gecko owners make common mistakes with setup, care, handling, or feeding that can easily be avoided. We hope these tips help you keep your pet in excellent health. Should you ever have a concern, be sure to consult with a qualified vet.\n\n\n\nAlso, make sure you gave the right setup for your leopard gecko so it can thrive.