Leopard Geckos are popular pets. This is because they are gorgeous and likable geckos. They are also quite easy to care for. This makes them perfect for herp enthusiasts of all ages.
However, before you buy or adopt a leopard gecko you need to know the costs involved. These costs include the price of the gecko itself as well as the costs of setting up the enclosure and caring for the reptile.
Of course, costs are always higher at the initial stage because you need to set up the enclosure. You’d need heat pads, heat lamps, fluorescent lamps, thermometers, digital timers, and several others.
So how much do leopard geckos cost? The geckos themselves cost anywhere between $25 to $1000 (although a regular leo costs around $40 at most). The initial setup and food (for the first few months) should cost $200 to $450.
Leopard Gecko Cost
Leos are a popular pet gecko pnormally kept as pets. As such, they are easy to find. These geckos are called leopard or leo for short because of the color which resembles that of a leopard. Their coloration is yellow with black spots and a white underside.
There are several leopard gecko morphs out there. Morphs like the tangerine leopard gecko refer to members of a species that display appearance (such as coloration and size) different from what is normally found in nature.
- Experience Level: Beginner
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Scientific Name: Eublepharis macularius
- Average Adult Size: 8 inches (22 cm)
- Diet: Live insects such as mealworms, wax worms, & crickets
- Average Lifespan: 5 years
- Average Price of A Regular Leo: $20-$35
- Where to buy: Cbreptile.com
The common leopard gecko is quite easy to find and inexpensive. One shouldn’t cost you more than $40. On average they go for $30. Because of their popularity, they can be found online purchased from a leopard gecko breeder, and at a pet store that sell lizards.
If you want to buy multiple you need to consider whethere you are going to be buying a male leopard gecko or a female leopard gecko. Housing leo’s together generally only works if you have 1 male for 2 females or females living together. See our guide on leopard geckos living together for more.
Leopard Geckos Morphs
There are several morphs out there. Morphs are more expensive. Expect to pay as much as $400 for some morphs (supergiants). However, most morphs are just a few dollars more.
The giant and supergiants can grow to 13 inches (33 cm). They are usually twice the size of a regular leo. You can find giants that have several other morph traits as well.
Albinos look just like regular leos but with muted colors. There is also a lack of black here. There are three types of albinos and these are Albino (Rainwater), Albino (Bell), and Albino (Temper).
Other popular morphs include Snow, Tangerine, Black Night, Blizzard, Leucistic, Chocolate, Sunglow, HIgh Color, and Pinstripe.
Cost Of Setting Up The Leopard Gecko’s Enclosure
Unlike other geckos, E. macularius do not have sticky padded toes. As such, they do not need vertical enclosures. They don’t need to climb. The leopard gecko cage or enclosure has to be wide. Other things to consider include substrate, heating, lighting, and decorations (these can include live plants).
E. macularius does not climb and as such does not require a tall terrarium as other geckos do. A 10-gallon enclosure is large enough for a baby leopard gecko and juveniles, but adults require 20-gallon enclosures.
There are many choices to choose from but most prefer enclosures with glass panels so they can view their gecko.
My recommended enclosure is the Exo Terra Natural Terrarium. Its dimensions are 24 x 18 x 12 inches and its frame is made of black anodized aluminum.
The Exo Terra Natural Terrarium costs around $240.
Plants and Decorations
While not compulsory, plants and decorations can add to the aesthetics of the enclosure. Similarly, they also provide hiding spots for the gecko. There is a lot to choose from here. These include vines, trunks, and plants.
The plants within the enclosure can be artificial or live. While live plants help increase the moisture level within the enclosure, they demand more work and attention. You’d need to install plant light and provide the plant with nutrition and water. Artificial plants are overall a simpler solution.
You don’t need to spend much on decorations and plants. I recommend spending less than $50 on accessories.
The gecko needs a hide. Here it can rest as well as hide from the world. Hides are essential o the mental health of the gecko. A humid hide keep the reptile from feeling stressed out. There are many hides to choose from. The most important thing is that the hide is large enough to fit the lizard.
The Exo Terra Gecko Cave makes an excellent hide.
You can acquire a hide for about $12.
There is a lot to choose from. The simplest and least expensive choice is paper towels or newspaper. All you need to do is replace them when they get soiled.
Another good choice is reptile carpets such as Zoo Med Eco Cage Carpet.
You don’t need to spend more than $15 on the substrate for the enclosure.
Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning they feed mostly on insects. In the wild, these reptiles feed on a wide variety of feeder insects and arachnids including scorpions, spiders, beetles, and many others.
In captivity, some feeders to feed them include crickets, waxworms, mealworms, dubia roaches, and superworms. It is a good idea to vary the insect species you offer them.
Ideally, you’d want to gutload the insects before offering them to the leo. Gut loading involves providing nutrient-rich food for the insects before offering them to the leo. The idea is to increase the nutritional value of the insects the reptile consumes. Gut loading can be done by offering commercially made high nutrient insect diets such as Fluker’s High-Calcium Cricket Diet and the Fluker’s Cricket Quencher. Alternatively, you can offer the insect peels and cuttings of vegetables and fruits you would rather throw away.
Hatchlings eat about 5 small crickets or mealworms a day. An adult gecko on the other hand, can eat 6 to 7 large crickets once every other day.
Josh’s Frogs 1″ Large Adult Banded Crickets (250 counts) is ideal for adults and costs about $20, this should last for about 2 months.
A mealworm on the other hand can be kept for several months when refrigerated. 500 small to medium-sized live mealworms cost about $12, while 500 large live mealworms cost about $17. These can feed a leo gecko for months.
Supplementation ensures that the gecko is healthy and grows as it should. The main nutrient deficiencies among pet reptiles are calcium and vitamin D3 deficiencies. These deficiencies lead to metabolic bone disease.
Apart from gut loading, also dust insects with supplements about once every week.
Repashy Calcium Plus is a great supplement powder for geckos. This cost about $26 for a 500-gram (17.6 Oz) jar.
Unlike most other geckos, leos drink from water dishes. This water dish needs to be shallow and sturdy. This ensures that the gecko cannot easily spill the water into the enclosure.
While the humidity level shouldn’t be high (humidity level of 50% is fine), if the gecko climbs into its water dish, then the humidity level in the enclosure is too low. If that is the case, you need to invest in a spray bottle to mist the enclosure with.
Thermometer And Humidity Gauge
Thermometers and humidity gauges are a must, especially for beginners. Thermometers are generally very affordable. Additionally investing in a hygrometer also known as a humidity gauge is always a good idea. A hygrometer will let you know when to mist the enclosure.
There are several options to choose from such as digital infrared thermometer gun such as Etekcity Lasergrip Digital Infrared Thermometer. This costs about $30.
A thermometer/humidity gauge combo is also a good idea. The REPTI ZOO Reptile Terrarium Thermometer/Hygrometer should set you back for around $15.
Maintaining a temperature gradient is essential. Installing the heat mats and a heat lamp isn’t enough, you also need to regulate the heat levels within the enclosure. This is where thermostats come into play. These ensure the heating elements don’t overheat the enclosure.
A thermostat usually costs $30 to $50. The ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat is a great choice.
This is another expense which isn’t a must. A timer is programmed to turn on the lights automatically every day. Without a timer, you have to switch on and switch off the lights punctually every angle day. This is to follow the same day-night pattern as in nature.
There are several timers you can use. One of the best on the market is the BN-LINK 24-Hour Timer. This costs around $12.
To create a basking spot, you can install a heat lamp. There are several options out there but for the nocturnal leopard gecko, ceramic heat emitters are the best. These should cost under $20. There are many on the market. If you can get a 100W version. The 100W Fluker’s Ceramic Heat Emitter works perfectly.
You can also install night heat bulbs such as Zilla Night Black Heat Bulbs.
Expect to spend about $17 on a heat lamp.
Instead of heat lamps, you can use heat mats to provide heating. These heat mats are taped to the underside of the enclosure. The heat lamp should ideally cover about a third of the underside.
A heat mat such as Fluker’s Heat Mat is ideal for the enclosure. This should cost about $12.
If you install a heat lamp, then you need to use a fixture that can handle the heat. A mixture with a ceramic socket is a good idea.
I recommend the REPTI ZOO Dual Reptile Light Fixture which costs $40. This can hold both the heat lamp and the white light bulb and the heat lamp. You can find a suitable lamp fixture at your local herp pet shop.
E. macularius don’t need UVB light as they are nocturnal. Regardless, you still need to install light bulbs. This light should be on during the day for about 10-12 hours. This simulates sunlight.
A light bulb should cost about $2. The Great Eagle A19 LED Light Bulb is a good choice.
Medical Bills & Insurance
Medical bills also contribute to the overall cost of caring for the reptile. No matter how well you care for the gecko, emergencies and other health issues might arise. There are insurance options out there that help you pay for any medical issues. The decision to get insurance is up to you.
Medical bills can be difficult to pin down as health issues can be difficult to predict.
Summary Of Initial Costs
|Enclosure: Exo Terra Natural Terrarium||$240|
|Hide: Exo Terra Gecko Cave or Pangea Reptile Hide Box||$12-$18|
|Substrate: Zoo Med Eco Cage Carpet||$15|
|Food: Live mealworms||$12|
|Insect Diet for gut loading: Fluker’s High-Calcium Cricket Diet and Fluker’s Cricket Quencher||$7|
|Supplements: Repashy Calcium Plus||$26|
|Water Dish: SLSON Reptile Feeder Terrarium Bowl||$7|
|Spray Bottle: Driew Plant Mister||$9|
|Thermometer And Humidity Gauge: REPTI ZOO Reptile Terrarium Thermometer/Hygrometer||$15|
|Thermostat: ReptiTemp RT-600 Digital Thermostat||$30|
|Digital Timer: BN-LINK 24-Hour Timer||$12|
|Heat Mat: Fluker’s Heat Mat||$12|
|Lighting and Fixture||$42|
*Estimate cost of setting up the enclosure and feeding the gecko for the first few months: $440
Leopard Geckos are easy to care for and are quite lively. These geckos are nocturnal which coincides with when most people are home from work.
When it comes to cost, the first year is always the costliest as you need to set up the enclosure and purchase all the needed content. After that most of what you do is maintenance.
Before you acquire a leo, it is important to know the cost of its need. In all, expect to spend an extra $450 on top of purchasing the gecko.
Since medical bills can affect costs, maintaining a clean enclosure with the right temperatures & humidity levels and properly feeding the leopard gecko can help you avoid additional expenses.
If you have any information or questions, kindly drop a comment.