Common Leopard Gecko
Common leopard geckos, also known as the spotted fat-tailed gecko, are terrestrial lizards found in Asia.
Common Leopard Gecko Scientific Classification
Table Of Content
Common Leopard Gecko
Size: Adult males reach a length of 7.9-11 in (20-28 cm) while females measure at around 7.1-7.9 in (18-20 cm). Hatchlings are usually about 2.8-3.9 in (7-10 cm).
Weight: Females weigh around 1.8-2.5 oz (50-70 grams) and males between 2.1 and 2.8 oz (60-80 grams). Hatchlings are as light as 0.07-0.17 oz (2-5 grams).
Color: The dorsal side is yellow covered with black spots. The belly is white and smooth, while the back is covered with tiny bumps, giving it a rough appearance.
Teeth: Common leopard geckos have 100 teeth, each replaced every 3-4 months by new ones.
Distribution: Where are they from
These geckos can be found throughout Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and, parts of Northwestern India.
Habitat: Where do they live
The natural habitat for the common leopard gecko is usually dry grasslands and desert areas.
- These reptiles lead a nocturnal lifestyle, being active during the night while spending the daytime sheltered under rocks and in burrows.
- They are solitary animals, and usually, do not prefer to live in groups.
- Winters across their natural habitat can see temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C); common leopard geckos survive such periods by going underground and into a state of semi-hibernation called brumation while living on their body’s fat reserves.
- These geckos are one of the few ground-dwelling species of lizards.
Diet: What do they eat
Common leopard geckos typically feed on cockroaches, crickets, mealworms, kingworms, scorpions, centipedes, spiders, and beetles. They also eat the skin they shed on a monthly basis. Experts believe that the skin is a source of vitamins and protein necessary for growth.
Mating & Reproduction
The breeding season for common leopard geckos usually occurs during summer. Females lay clutches of two eggs and bury them underground for incubation. The sex of the hatchlings is determined based on the temperature at which the eggs are incubated; females are hatched if the temperatures are between 79° to 84°F (26-29°C), while males are more likely to hatch from incubation temperatures of 88-91°F (31-33°C). The incubation period is around 45-53 days.
Juvenile common leopard geckos reach sexual maturity at around 1.5 years of age.
Lifespan: How long do they live
Common leopard geckos live for around 15 years in the wild, while captive individuals can live to be 20-25 years old on average. The oldest recorded individual was more than 29 years.
Sounds & Vocalizations
They are not very vocal but may make barks and squeaks when stressed.
- The skin color and spotted pattern help the common leopard gecko to stay camouflaged in the wild.
- They can drop off their tails when threatened, and it grows back in some time. Losing the tail distracts their predator for long enough for the gecko to make a hasty retreat. Since most of their fat reserves are stored in their tails, they become sedentary until the tail is regenerated.
- These geckos are among the most terrestrial ones, as their toes do not have suction pads to help them climb up smooth vertical surfaces; instead, they have claws.
- Being ectothermic, they absorb heat from the environment during the day so that they have enough energy to hunt in the night.
- They have excellent vision, being able to see as well as a cat. They also use their exceptional hearing ability to locate prey.
- Their short legs make them agile and aid in a quick getaway from predators.
Predators: What eats common leopard geckos
Snakes, foxes, raptors and other larger reptiles routinely prey on the common leopard gecko. To avoid predation, the geckos spend most of the daytime hours buried in the sand or in burrows.
IUCN Conservation Status
The IUCN is yet to evaluate the conservation status for this species.
The common leopard gecko is one of the most popular reptiles to be kept as pets. This is because of their gentle disposition and ease of maintenance. They can be bred into numerous color and size morphs in captivity, some of the most sought-after ones being the albino, blizzard, tangerine, snow, and giant.
- Once it is dropped off, their severed tail can twitch on for up to 30 minutes.
- The regenerated tail is almost always different in appearance from the last one.
- Most captive common leopard geckos in the United States can trace their ancestry to individuals imported from Pakistan.
- It is one of the few reptiles with moveable eyelids.