Choosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (2023)

So you have researched different pet lizards and decided that leopard gecko is your favorite. And now, you are probably asking the question: where should I buy my leopard gecko and how to choose a healthy and friendly one?

In this post, we will talk about choosing and buying your leopard gecko. You will learn how to choose a healthy leopard gecko, where to buy one, if it is better to buy a male or female, how many leopard geckos to buy and much more.

  • How to choose a healthy leopard gecko?

Whenever you decide to buy your leopard gecko, it is always the best idea to choose a captive-bred gecko. The problem with wild leopard geckos is that they will have a harder time acclimating to captivity, might have infections and be less docile. Captive-bred leopard geckos are often docile and healthier.

When choosing your leopard gecko, it is always a good idea to see it yourself if there is a chance. Only buy a leopard gecko without seeing it if a breeder is trustworthy and reliable. Read people’s reviews about breeders before choosing them.

To choose a healthy leopard gecko, look at the following features:
  • Leopard gecko’s mouth should not be hanging or look bulgy. Its spine and tail should be also straight without any bulges.Choosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (1) Otherwise, this can be a sign of a Metabolic Bone Disease and poor care.
  • No toes should be missing in a leopard gecko. This can mean that a leopard gecko lives in overcrowded conditions with minimal food. Or it could be the result of a problematic shedding – and breeder or seller didn’t take care of this.
  • Leopard gecko should not be too skinny – you should not be able to see any bones sticking out.
  • The tail should be round and plump. A shrunk tail might indicate very poor feeding or parasitic infection. Leopard geckos store fat and other nutrients in their tail.
  • Look at leopard gecko’s belly and vent – belly should be clean, plump and vent should not be dirty or covered in fecal smearing.
  • If you can see leopard gecko’s cage and its feces – check it for consistency. Healthy leopard gecko’s feces should not be runny, slimy or of pale in color. They should be dark, soft and in small pellets. Normal stools can also white some white residue (urates) or small shaped waste from eating insects.

There is a big chance that a leopard gecko will be sleeping when you come in to buy it – they are active during twilight and night hours. But if your leopard gecko is not sleeping, it should be alert and active.

A healthy leopard gecko should have its front legs on your hand, with the front part of the body lifted up.

Handling leopard geckos

Some leopard geckos don’t like being picked up, and they try to run away. This is normal behavior. Baby and juvenile leopard geckos are more likely to try run away from you.

To properly handle your leopard gecko, place it in on your cupped palm so that gecko’s head is sticking out. Use two hands, and a leopard gecko will be running around, which will minimize stress and anxiety.

If you don’t feel confident enough, ask the seller to hold a leopard gecko while you are examining it.

Should I buy one or few leopard geckos?

Leopard geckos can live very well alone. Most leopard geckos that live in groups might become competitive. Never keep two or more males together – they will be aggressive towards each other.

You can keep few females, but you will need a bigger vivarium for them. But be careful, even female leopard geckos can fight. You can buy two or more leopard geckos if you have an interest in breeding them in the future.

Should I buy a hatchling, baby, juvenile or adult leopard gecko?

If you are unsure about choosing a hatchling, baby, juvenile or adult leopard gecko, think about your priorities. If you are a beginner lizard keeper, don’t go for hatchlings that are fragile and harder to care for.

If you wish to breed your leopard gecko in the future, you will want to buy a rather young gecko. This is especially true with females, whose egg production declines with age.

Generally, it is best to buy a baby or juvenile leopard gecko which is around 6-12 months old, or one that is 4-6 inches long.

Does a male or female leopard gecko make a better pet? Male vs female leopard gecko.

Both male and female leopard geckos can make great pets. When choosing a leopard gecko, try to notice its behavior. If it is not interested in its surrounding and is swinging its tail and legs, there might be an attitude problem, or just stress.

Leopard geckos have different temperaments, and it can be hard to find it out straight away. But most leopard geckos, males or females, tend to be calm and docile.

The big difference between males and females is their breeding behaviors. Male leopard geckos tend to become active and territorial during breeding months. But at the same time, they rarely become aggressive toward their owners.Choosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (2) Female leopard geckos, on the other hand, might become calmer, will lay eggs and won’t really enjoy handling. Females can lay eggs even without mating with a male – but the eggs will be infertile.

Pros of buying a female leopard gecko is that you can get few of them and keep them in a same vivarium. You can’t do it with males. Cons is that you will need to create a nesting site for laying eggs and care for her even more before, during and after pregnancy.

If you don’t make a nesting site, she can become egg-bound. Carrying and laying eggs is very stressful for leopard gecko’s body – and it shortens her lifespan. Gravid (pregnant) leopard geckos need advanced diets, and postpartum care.

Pros of buying a male leopard gecko is that you won’t need to think about your leopard gecko carrying and laying eggs. Male leopard gecko also tend to be larger and live longer lives.

How to sex (determine the gender) of your leopard gecko?

It can be hard to identify the sex of your leopard gecko by only looking at its features. Even though male leopard geckos are larger and have bigger heads and necks, other differences are minimal.

Determining hatchlings’ and babies’ gender is almost impossible until they start developing preanal pores by the age of 4 months. To accurately identify leopard gecko’s sex, you will need to look at its vent and preanal pores.

Male leopard geckos develop a V-shaped line of preanal pores that is absent in females. What is more, you will be able to see a hemipenal bulge on the underside of the tail.

These sex organs are bulgy and become visible when a male reaches maturity. Female leopard geckos don’t have a pronounced line of preanal pores, and they look more like small dots and are barely visible. There is also no bulge at the base of a tail.

Choosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (3)

Where to buy a leopard gecko?

You can buy a leopard gecko from different places – pet store, Reptile Expos, from breeders, Online etc. Leopard geckos can have different price tags. Some leopard geckos will cost only 40-50$, while more interesting and beautiful morphs can cost up to 300-500$.

Buying a leopard gecko in a pet shop. Pros and cons

Buying a leopard gecko from a pet shop might be the most popular choice. The advantage of buying a leopard gecko from a pet store is the comfort – you will be able to visit your local store.

Another advantage is that you will be able to come to leopard gecko’s cage and assess which conditions it has been living in. When coming to a pet store, look at the leopard gecko’s cage – it should not be overcrowded or have too much fecal waste.

Always ask to handle a leopard gecko or ask them to take it out for you. Refer to the above buying guidelines – a healthy leopard gecko should be alert, active, and walk around or even run with its eyes open.

One of the cons of buying a leopard gecko from a pet shop is that you won’t be able to talk to the breeder directly. You will not be able to see leopard gecko’s parents, ask how it has been bred or which conditions it lived in.

Buying your leopard gecko online – pros and cons

Buying your leopard gecko on the Internet has its pros and cons. Cons of buying your leopard gecko online includes not being able to see your future pet in action and its vivarium design.

You will also not know how it has been cared for and if it lived in overcrowded conditions. The pros of buying a leopard gecko online is the ability to find various good breeders that live far away from you and choose a morph that you like.

If you are buying your leopard gecko online, make sure that the seller is using the fastest shipment method and guarantees a live delivery. Fast shipment will cost you more money, but it will guarantee that your pet is not suffering in transit for a long time.

  • Buying your leopard gecko directly from a breederChoosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (4)

Buying a leopard gecko directly from a breeder will enable you to visit him/her and see where your future pet lives. You will be able to ask questions and even handle your leopard gecko.

Make sure to choose a reputable breeder and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

The breeder will know everything about the leopard gecko – about genetics, health, lineage, origin and many other things! Breeders are always the best people to go to for unique morphs.

Buying your leopard gecko at the Reptile Expo

Visiting a Reptile Expo can be a good way to meet different breeders and sellers. You will be able to ask questions, handle leopard geckos and choose one that you really like!

You will be able to compare prices and make an informed decision at the event. The only downside to Reptile Expos is that it can be very busy and far away from where you live.

Buying your leopard gecko from a reptile dealer

Buying a leopard gecko from a reptile dealer is also a good choice – reputable dealers have good connections with breeders and various sellers.Choosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (5)Dealers buy leopard geckos from hobbyists, breeders, commercial breeders and sell them directly to you. Make sure the dealer is trustworthy before buying your leopard gecko. Try to find out as much as you can about the original breeder.

Adopting a leopard gecko from a shelter or rescue

There are many leopard geckos that have been left by their original owners. Adopting a leopard gecko will often cost nothing, but there is a chance of health issues.

But some leopard geckos will be healthy – some owners understand that they can’t keep their leopard gecko and decide to give it away. Staff at the shelter will have all the information, so you will be able to make an informed decision.

Leopard gecko morphs – color variations and physical morphs

Since leopard geckos have become popular pets, breeders started crossing them to create new morphs. New morphs have different color variations – such as different patterns, colors, pigmentation and eye color. There is also one physical morph – the genetic giant or super giant leopard gecko.

More and more new morphs are being created each year by crossing morphs with incredible colorings and patterns (called selective breeding). If you want to explore different leopard gecko morphs and see pictures, go to this post.

How to prepare for leopard gecko’s arrival and how to bring it home?Choosing and Buying a Leopard Gecko - Care Guides For Pet Lizards (6)

If you have decided to buy a leopard gecko from a store, expo or directly from a breeder, you will need to transport your leopard gecko safely. To bring your leopard gecko home safely, you will need a container.

A good choice is to use a reptile keeper, such as this Kritter Keeper. A medium size Kritter Keeper will be good for your leopard gecko and it features a handle for easy transportation and ventilated lid for air flow.

When bringing your leopard gecko home, try to avoid unnecessary stops to minimize stress on your pet. And when you have come home, place your leopard gecko in its enclosure straight away.

Related posts:

How to Create a Humid Hide For a Leopard Gecko?How To Tame Your Leopard Gecko?What Can My Leopard Gecko Eat?Leopard Gecko Illnesses and DiseasesHow To Make Your Leopard Gecko Fat and Healthy?


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated: 04/19/2023

Views: 5479

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.