CB MONTANUS Leopard Gecko – (E.macularius montanus)
Female 9 months old.
This naturally occurring subspecies is a real beauty. It is a pale coloured animal with some specimens being almost white with black spots and subtle yellow patches. In all other respects they are best treated like any leopard gecko.
A leopard gecko is best kept in a wooden vivarium. This is because wood is an excellent insulator of heat and so a wooden vivarium will make it easier to control the crucial temperatures required inside the habitat. Other enclosures such as glass terrariums are far too efficient at releasing heat making it difficult to get up to temperature and keep this temperature consistent throughout the year. The wooden vivarium should have good ventilation to help remove humidity and replenish the air in the enclosure.
The leopard gecko vivarium should be at least 57.5cm in length. The main reason for this size enclosure is the vivarium needs to have a sufficient length to allow for the creation of a temperature gradient. The enclosure needs to be warm at one end, but have enough distance for the temperature to drop at the cool end.
In the wild leopard geckos would be spending most of their time in burrows, as we can’t provide a burrow we have to try to replicate conditions at the mouth of the burrow. During the day leopard geckos are exposed to low levels of UV and temperatures ranging from 90-80oF. We achieve these condition by using one 40w basking bulb in one corner of the vivarium.
At night leopard geckos still require some warmth but need total darkness. The basking lights should be switched off. A night time temperature of 26C is created by using a heat mat. These warm the substrate of the enclosure. This heat mat should be buried inside the enclosure on the same side as the basking light and should be controlled by a good quality thermostat. The thermostat will automatically turn on the heat mat at night when the temperature in the vivarium drops. Temperatures should be monitored daily using a thermometer.
Leopard geckos are from arid regions of India and Asia. They are crepuscular meaning that they are active in low light shortly after sunset and before sunrise. In the wild they are exposed to low levels of UVB which helps them to naturally produce vitamin D and use the calcium in their diet. We try to replicate this exposure inside the vivarium by using a weak 5 or 6% UV tube attached to the ceiling at the back of the enclosure.
The geckos skin is quite sensative and some hypersensitive morphs like albinos should not be exposed to much UV so we suggest scaling it down to a 2% uv tube.
It is recommended that T8 bulbs are replaced every 6 months and T5 bulbs every 9 months.
Leopard geckos should always be kept on a dry substrate so not to increase the humidity inside the vivarium. Whilst any loose substrate has the potential to be accidentally swallowed, we have found this to not be a problem with coarse beech woodchips and that is what we keep our leopard geckos on. It is also very easy to clean.
Leopard geckos will spend a lot of time during the day underneath hides so it is important to provide a range of decorations they can either get under or inside. We find that cork bark pieces and tubes are well recieved. When shedding the gecko may need a little added humidity. You can achieve this by providing a humid microclimate like a moss box or a cave with damp substrate inside.
The leopard geckos vivarium can be decorated with artificial plants for a more natural look. Desert plants look very effective and also provide further perches for the leopard gecko. Trailing plants are very good at disguising electrical wires and equipment, as well as providing cover for young lizards.
Leopard geckos are insectivores and will need a diet consisting of various livefoods dusted in vitamins and calcium. Brown crickets are the most readily accepted, but you can also use black crickets or locusts (hoppers). On occasion, for variation you can offer other bugs such as mealworms, waxworms or calciworms.
A small water bowl may be used providing it does not raise the vivarium humidity too much.
To provide leopard geckos with optimal nutrition and to keep them in the best of health, they will require diet supplementaion in the form of calcium, vitamins and minerals. These are most commonly available as powders.
Any livefood for the leopard gecko should also be ‘gut-loaded’ with an insect food. This basically involves feeding the livefood a nutrient rich diet before they are fed to the gecko. Our livefood is delivered to you already gut-loaded but this should be continued at home.