Housing a gecko

The RSPCA recommends that a vivarium for a leopard gecko living alone should be at least 60cm long by 30cm wide and 40cm high — it needs to be larger still if you decide to keep more than one gecko together.

What bedding should you use for a gecko?

Calci-sand, coral sand or newspapers would all make a suitable substrate for a gecko. Do not use normal builder's sand or play sand as your gecko will ingest a certain amount of sand when it eats. It must be digestible and able to pass through the animal without causing harm.

What other items should be included in my gecko's vivarium?

A hide with dampened moss on the inside, or a box of sterilised sand (misted with water daily) should always be available. This will help to keep your gecko's skin soft and moist.

Geckos will need places to hide at both the warmer and cooler ends of the vivarium — you can use a selection of purchased hides, rocks and hollow logs to create a more varied habitat. If you have more than one gecko living in the same vivarium, it's important to provide multiple refuges.

Ensure that you also include a surface with a slightly abrasive edge to help with shedding.

Do geckos need a heated vivarium?

The temperature in the vivarium should range from 27°C to 30°C, with the temperature dropping to 21°C at night. These temperatures can be created using a heat mat, covering an area no larger than half of the vivarium, or by using a heat rock. It is important to regularly check the temperature of your gecko's vivarium as the wrong temperature (too high or too low) can cause serious health problems. You may wish to purchase a thermostat to monitor this and keep the vivarium at the correct temperature.

Do geckos need UV lighting? 

Unlike many reptiles, geckos do not have a specific requirement for UV lighting, but the provision of UV lighting to mimic day and night can be useful. You may also want to fit red or blue 'night lights' so you can watch your gecko at night when he is more active.

Do geckos need water?

A supply of fresh water in a heavy bottomed bowl that will not be tipped over, should always be available. Juveniles may need spraying with water at first until they learn to drink from a bowl.

Should you keep geckos in pairs?

A gecko will be happy to be kept alone. Females may live happily together, provided that they are given their own refuge areas and have plenty of space. Adult males will fight and should never be kept together, while having a female and a male will lead to breeding. It is recommended that novice gecko owners keep just one gecko.

Pet care advice