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Leopard Gecko Lifespan – How long do Leopard Geckos live for?

Leopard Gecko

Are you looking to know how long a Leopard Geckos lifespan is in it’s natural environment, or are you looking for a new pet and need to find out how long Leopard Geckos live for in captivity. We will answer these questions and more.

The amount of time a Leopard Gecko lives for varies by gender, you can expect a male gecko to live for between 15-20 years whilst a female gecko is likely to live for around 10-15 years. In the wild their lifespans are likely to be much shorter at around 6-8 years, this is largely effected due to them being prey for a number of predators in their natural environment.

How long do Leopard Geckos live?

Whilst Leopard Geckos are not generally expected to live beyond 20 years there are reports of a leopard gecko that has recently turned 41 in Germany, if you are looking for a lifelong companion then a leopard gecko that’s cared for correctly will be keeping you company for some time. The table below shows how long you should expect leopard geckos to live.

Expected Age (Years)
Male15-20
Female10-15
Wild6-8

How to ensure your Leopard Gecko lives a long life

Wild geckos have the shortest expected lifespan, this is due to there being a large number of predators, once leopard geckos start to age they are likely to slow, this makes it harder for them to catch food and also more vulnerable to predators. In captivity your leopard gecko won’t need to worry about the threat of predators and will have food provided for them, this eliminates the main reasons for lower life expectancy when compared to the wild. Female geckos have a shorter lifespan due to one main reason that is the strain reproduction puts on their system. A single female could lay over 100 eggs through their lifetime a stat which speaks for itself. A well cared for female can still live in excess of 20 years but you should expect it’s life to be shorter than if you had a male.

Common mistakes which could shorten their lives

Wrong temperature
Whilst it is common knowledge that reptiles need to live in heated environments, did you know that Leopard Geckos need varied temperatures throughout their home. It is important to make a “hot side” and a “cool side” for your leopard gecko. You should aim to keep the temperature of each area in the following ranges through the day and night.


DayNight
Hot Zone28°C – 35°C (82.4F – 95F)No lower than 18°C (64.4F)
Cool Zone24°C – 26°C (75.2F – 78.8F)No Lower than 18°C (64.4F)

This is achieved by placing your heat pad/mat and heat lamp on one side of the terrarium whilst leaving the other side unheated (You may need additional heating in the cool zone if your home is cold) cold temperatures can lead to a number of issues in leopard gecko, these should be obvious to the eye as it will lead to them ceasing to carry out their normal day to day functions such as eating. I would recommend having a thermometer at both ends of your terrarium one close to the heat source and one at the furthest point away this way you can see the lowest and maximum temperatures at a glance and adjust as necessary.

Not enough shelter/hides
Leopard Geckos are burrowing creatures in the wild and will naturally look for shelter within their homes we refer to these as hides. you should look to place three hides within their home, each of these serves a unique purpose.

Warm hide – The first hide that should be placed is a warm hide, this is simply a hide placed on the hot side of the terrarium, this enables your gecko to continue to get heat from the heat mat in place whilst sheltering itself from the heat lamp.
Moist hide – The second hide that should be placed is a moist hide, you will need to create a moist environment for your gecko in which they will shed their skin, this is achieved by placing damp moss within the hide. This hide needs to be kept a temperature which is not too hot and not too cold, it is best therefore to place this half on and half off the heat mat which should be in the middle of the terrarium
Cool hide – The cool hide should be placed at the far side of the cage away from the heating equipment in place, this enable your gecko a safe space in order to cool itself when it is feeling too hot.

If all these are correctly placed this will stop your leopard gecko from overheating/underheating and will enable it to stay healthy by self regulating it’s temperature.

Poor diet
Leopard geckos have a strict diet of insects which will mainly consist of crickets and mealworms, it is important that they are fed the appropriate amount based on their size and age, the below gives an indication of the amount they should be fed.

How often they need to eatAmount of food
Baby Gecko (0-6 Months)Once a day2 Small insects for each inch of length
Juvenile Gecko (6-12 Months)Every other day2 Medium insects for each inch of length
Adult Gecko (12 Months+)Every other day2 Large insects for each inch of length

There are two main supplements which should be given to your Leopard Gecko to improve it’s health.

Calcium – There are two different ways in which you can provide this for your gecko, the first is by putting a light dusting on the insects that you feed them, the second option is to leave a small pot of calcium in their home for them to self supplement when needed. I would suggest that you do both of these, this way you ensure your gecko is getting calcium along with them having the option to take additional if needed.
Vitamin D3 – This can again be provided by dusting the insects fed to your gecko, I would suggest you do this every other feed instead of every feed like the calcium, you can also provide a UVB light in their home this allows your gecko to naturally get these vitamins and it also absorbs better into their blood when compared to the dusting in medical studies.

Leopard Geckos life in the wild

Leopard geckos are primarily found in deserts located in the middle east region, this includes countries such as Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, this provides a very hot and dry area for their natural environment. In the wild they will live off of a more varied diet than they are fed in captivity, the list below is a sample of what they eat in the wild

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Large spiders
  • Scorpions
  • Centipedes
  • Smaller lizards (Rare occasions)

You will most common find leopard geckos sheltering from the sun by crawling between and under rocks, you will see this behaviours mimicked in captivity with their hides, leopard geckos are largely nocturnal so during the day they will be using this time to ensure they have enough heat for the night and also to hide from predators.

During the night is when the leopard gecko will come out to hunt it’s prey, they are very well adapted for this purpose and achieve this by using their strong eyesight to ambush unsuspecting prey as they pass. leopard geckos also blend in very well to their natural environment which helps them both when seeking out prey and protected themselves from predators.

Leopard geckos have evolved to protect themselves in a coupe of key ways.

  • They can detach their tails (This can be regrown)
  • Camouflage
  • Excellent sight, hearing and smell

Due to the above they are incredibly effective at avoiding predators and are rarely the easiest prey for the predators in the region, this along with their ability to hide in small spaces under and between rocks help ensure the species thrives in the wild.

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