20 Fun Facts About Leopard Geckos

Besides knowing how cute and awesome leopard geckos are to have as pets, there a still a lot of things that the average beginner leopard gecko owner and non-owner don’t know about them.  There is more than meets the eye when it comes to these little creatures and after doing a little bit of research, I found some cool facts that I felt were interesting enough to share.  I’ll be going a little more in detail for each one, but in short, here they are.

  1. If You Look Through Their Ears, You Can See Through Their Head
  2. Their Gender Is Determined By Incubation Temperatures
  3. They Have Moveable Eyelids
  4. Their Scientific Name Has A Meaning
  5. They Can’t Walk Up Walls Or Glass
  6. They Can See Color In The Dark
  7. They Can See Lights That Are Invisible To Us
  8. They Can’t See The Color Red
  9. They Detach Their Tails When Attacked
  10. Leopard Geckos Eat Their Shed
  11. They Can Live Up To 20+ Years
  12. Leopard Geckos Can Go A While Without Food
  13. There Are Over 100 Leopard Gecko Morphs
  14. They Can Bark
  15. They Poop And Pee At The Same Time
  16. They Change Colors As They Age
  17. They Have Really Long Tongues
  18. They Store Calcium In Their Armpits
  19. They Are One Of The Most Popular Pet Lizards
  20. They Are From 5 Different Countries

Just based on this list, I think it’s safe to say that they are very interesting lizards, to say the least.  It is no wonder why they are as popular as they are and hopefully when more and more research is conducted on them in the future, we can find out a lot more interesting facts about them.  With that said, though, let’s take a deeper look into the ones that we do now know.  

If You Look Through Their Ears, You Can See Through Their Head

This may sound a little odd, but when looking through their ear holes, you can actually see right through to the other side.  This is because, unlike us, they only have one ear canal.  Some people have even said that when shining a light through their ears, they can even see the light out the other side.

I’ve personally never done this, but after finding that out, I might just actually try it to see if it works.  If you ever want to try this on your leopard gecko, make sure you’re not shining the light in their eye’s too much.  They might get a little irritated by doing this and seeing as they are creatures that try to stay out of the light as possible unless they need D3 or when coming out to eat, having too much light in their face is probably not too good for them either.  

Their Gender Is Determined By Incubation Temperatures

Unlike us, leopard geckos do not have a sex chromosome that determines whether or not they will come out as a boy or as a girl.  The cool thing about that is that before you even incubate them, you can determine what gender they will be before they’re even born.

To give you an idea of what temperatures determine exactly what gender they will be, check this out here:

  • 90 Degrees = Male
  • 87 Degrees = Either
  • 80 Degrees = Female

Having the ability to determine what gender they will be is cool because if you ever want to try and cohabit in the future, you can make sure that all your eggs are set at the right temperatures to hatch females instead of males.

And I’m not sure if you know this, but having two males together is very bad because of territorial reasons.  So, having this type of power for a reason like that alone is awesome.

They Have Moveable Eyelids

Unlike many other geckos, leopard geckos can actually blink.  Other lizards such as crested geckos, day geckos, and house geckos have fixed eyelids and have their eyeballs exposed throughout their whole life.

These types of geckos have a clear membrane that covers their eye that helps keep them moist in addition to licking them as well.  So with that said, I guess you can say that leopard geckos are very unique when it comes to this fact.

Just like us, they close their eyes to sleep, to moisten their eyes, and to protect them from any harm as well.  In my opinion, the geckos that don’t blink don’t look as appealing as leopard geckos, but they are still cool and unique in their own way.

I’m not sure why or how leopard geckos evolved to have eyes like this unlike the other geckos, but I think it makes them even cooler in addition to their amazing appearance that they already have as well. 

Their Scientific Name Has A Meaning

We all know them by the name ” leopard gecko ” but their scientific name is actually ” Eublepharis macularius “.  The first part of their name (eublepharis) translates to ” real or true eyelids “, while the second part of their name (macularius) translates to ” spotted “.

So, basically, their name means that they are spotted geckos with real eyelids (hence the last fact).  I’ve owned my leopard gecko for quite some time and I would have never guessed this.  Will I start calling my leopard gecko by their scientific name?  No.  It’s way harder to pronounce than leopard gecko and it doesn’t sound as cute.

But, I’m guessing whoever gave them this name thought that them having the ability to move their eyelids was very fascinating due to the fact that a lot of the other geckos can’t.  And leopard geckos usually don’t gain their spots until they reach adulthood, but the scientific name for them is very suiting for them for when they do.   

They Can’t Walk Up Walls Or Glass

They may have the ability to blink while other geckos can’t, but to make it even, they don’t have sticky pads on the bottom of their feet that will allow them to crawl up vertical surfaces as others geckos do as well.

But, when kept in captivity, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Having this inability prevents them from constantly trying to escape and possibly even injuring their self from falling.  If they were able to climb up glass, they’d be on it all the time considering how much they like to glass surf.

The only bad thing about not being able to walk up vertical surfaces is the fact they are unable to escape from predators out in the wild as easily as other geckos.  Having the ability to climb up on a tall rock quickly would aid very well in their survival.  While in the tank, though, I think this actually serves as more of a benefit for them and for you. 

They Can See Color In The Dark

Unlike us and many other species, it is suspected that they can see colors in the dark because of how they’ve evolved over time.  The reason for this is likely because they are nocturnal creatures and rely heavily on their sense of smell and eyesight when hunting for prey at night.

Having the ability to see color when there’s no light can also even help them spot predators before even being caught.  So, it’s almost like they’re hiding right in plain sight.  Sort of like a ” they can see you but you can’t see them ” type of situation.

To test this out, put food inside of their tank one night and turn the lights off to the point that it’s pitch black and see if they find and eat all of their food.  Don’t try doing this with crickets, though, as they have been known to attack leopard geckos and cause minor cuts and injuries.

They Can See Lights That Are Invisible To Us

Because their eyesight is much more sensitive than ours, it’s also said that they can see certain lights that we can’t.  Again, this is probably a sense that they evolved into for hunting and protection reasons.

We as humans think that what we see is all that is out there, but because there are many different other species with greater eyesight than us, they are able to see much farther, clearer, and even other spectrums of light that we didn’t even know existed.

So, whenever you see your leopard gecko staring around all over the place, just know that they are probably seeing some things that we can’t.  What kind of lights they see, I couldn’t tell you.  But, I’m sure whatever they are, it’s cool and fascinating for them to look at. 

They Can’t See The Color Red

For some reason, leopard geckos are completely color blind when it comes to the color red.  Because of this, many people think it is safe to place red lights in their tank, but if you were to ask me if that was okay, then I’d definitely say no.

The reason is because although they may not be able to see the red that’s coming from the bulb doesn’t mean that they can’t see the light at all.  This light can be very disturbing for them and having it on all night while they’re up at night might even irritate them a little bit.

Instead of seeing red light, it’s likely that they are seeing white light instead, and to be honest, that’s even worse than red light.  So, if that’s in fact what they see, then, in my opinion, it’s best not to have one in the tank just so that they can be comfortable moving around.  Don’t worry, they don’t need light to navigate throughout the tank.

They Detach Their Tails When Attacked

This might not make sense, but let me explain.  The whole reason why they detach their tail when they are attacked or feel threatened is because they use the dropped tail as a distraction to get away from the predator.

When they drop it, they’re hoping that the predator that’s attacking them will shift their focus more towards the tail while they plan their quick escape out of there.  Fortunately, these tails do end up growing back, but they never look as plump and healthy as their original tail.

From what I’ve seen, the new tail is usually a little less chubby and a lot shorter.  And it’s not as cool looking as their original tail, but it’s still cute.  But, I’m pretty sure they’re not worried about whether or not they’ll look cute when trying to survive.  

Leopard Geckos Eat Their Shed

After a successful shed, a leopard gecko will eat the skin for two reasons.  The first reason is because the skin is actually packed with a ton of nutrients that help replenish their bodies after a stressful shed.  The second reason is so that they’re not leaving any traces behind that might make it easier for a predator to track them down with.

This is the same reason why they always poop in one corner.  If the poop is spread out all over the place, it will make it easier for the predator to find them.  If it’s just put away in one place, the predator will only check there and then likely move on instead of stopping in multiple places that might lead to the leopard gecko.

So, if you ever get a leopard gecko or have one and you see them eating their shed, don’t stop them.  It’s good for them and even though they’re in captivity, they do not know the difference between whether they’re in the wild or in a tank, so it’s best to let them eat it all up so that they feel safe.

In some rare cases, they’ll let the skin sit and dry out at which point you’ll have to pick it up.  But other than that, they like to consume it.  It’s normal and it’s very beneficial for them as well.

They Can Live Up To 20+ Years

It may not seem like it, but compared to other smaller animals, leopard geckos can live for a very long time.  So, when buying them, you better plan on spending a good majority of your life with them.

If taken good care of, they can serve as a great friend and even family member the more and more your bond grows over the years.  That might sound a little sappy, but when around long enough, leopard geckos become an important addition to a persons life and for those who have a hard time letting go of pets, these little lizards are the perfect companions to have.

They have been known to live up to 20+ years, but depending on how well you take care of them, they can live much shorter or much longer than this.  So always make sure you’re caring for them to the very best of your ability.

Leopard Geckos Can Go A While Without Food

According to this source, leopard geckos can go up to as long as 2 whole weeks without food.  Does this mean that you should try doing this with your leopard gecko?  Absolutely not.  Although they may be able to go this long without food, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s healthy for them to do this.

For example, humans can go 3 weeks without food, but as a result of doing that, we lose tons of weight and will lack a lot of nutrients that our bodies need to work.  That’s the same for geckos.  Just because they’re able to do it doesn’t mean it should be done, but it is possible.

Actually, I even wrote an article on a topic that relates to this fact.  If you’d like to check it out, click on this link here.

There Are Over 100 Leopard Gecko Morphs

Although the type of leopard geckos we see are usually the standard yellow ones with black spots or stripes, there are MANY different colors of them out there ranging from bright orange, white, and even all black.

These different kinds of morphs have been known to reach up to over $3,000 and are very valuable leopard geckos to have for those who take pride in breeding them for a living.  To get a better idea of all the other morphs a.k.a colors, then do a quick Google search and see how many different and cool colors you can find.

Also, if you ever plan on buying a leopard gecko in the future, I would recommend getting the most common ones that are around $20 to $40 just in case something unfortunate comes up in your life that forces you to rehome them.

There are people out there who buy expensive morphs, but it can be hard to find a buyer simply due to the fact that the prices are so steep.

They Can Bark

When I say bark I don’t mean bark like a dog, but they do, do a little leopard gecko bark whenever they feel threated.  This is a defense mechanism that they do in order to scare away predators that they don’t feel they can handle.

It’s cute when it happens, but unfortunately, whenever they feel threatened, they also feel very stressed out as well.  So, if this ever happens to your leopard gecko, find out what’s threatening them and then remove the threat so that they won’t be so stressed out.

This threat could be anything such as a cat, dog, another family member in the house, or even you if they are newly rehomed and haven’t gotten used to you yet.  In that case, it’s best to start bonding with them straight away.

In order to do that, check out this article here that I wrote.  It gives you the information you need to successfully build up trust and respect with them so that they won’t be so scared of you. 

They Poop And Pee At The Same Time

Many people don’t know this, but whenever they empty the tank, they empty both of them at the same exact time.  I thought this was the weirdest thing when I first got my gecko, but after a while, I found it to be pretty cool (despite how nasty it was).

It’s completely normal and it’s just what they do.  If anything, it just makes sure that your tank stays clean that much more because if they poop in one spot, that means that they’re peeing in one spot as well.

This makes cleaning up a lot easier for those of us who own them.  

They Change Colors As They Age

People who don’t own leopard geckos might get confused by this, but before they reach adulthood, they actually don’t have the cool little spots that you commonly see all over their body.  This is normal and is just something that happens with age.

Their skin tone will also even change slightly the older they get and by the time they reach full maturity, they will likely look a lot different than they did when they were babies.  This whole process takes about a year to happen and will usually occur right after their first shed.

With morphs that are solid in color, though, you might notice a slight change in appearance within a years time compared to when they were a baby, but probably not much.  It really just depends on how dark they are. 

They Have Really Long Tongues

Just like some other geckos, they have these really long tongues that help them clean their face off.  When they’re not using it to lick out of their calcium and water bowl, they’re likely using it to lick something off of their face.

They’ll also use it to clean and moisturize their eyes like some of the other geckos who are unable to blink as well. 

If you’d like to know more about why they lick their face, then click on this link here to give you a little more information on this particular fact.  While most licking is safe, something it could mean something a little more serious. 

They Store Calcium In Their Armpits

If you own a leopard gecko, then you might have wondered why they have two fatty looking lumps right under their armpits.  Well, this is where the calcium that you feed them goes.  If you’re someone who doesn’t own a leopard gecko yet and wants to know what calcium is, then it’s this powdered substance that you feed them in order for their bodies to function properly.

Without it, they can develop a certain disease called MBD that will basically eat at their body until they eventually pass away.  So, with that said, make sure those little lumps in their armpits are always nice and full when you do get a leopard gecko or if you already have one.

MBD has claimed the lives of many leopard geckos and is a disease that should be prevented by any means.

They Are One Of The Most Popular Pet Lizards

You might have already known this, but besides the bearded dragon, they are actually one of the most sought after pet reptiles in the world.  It’s no surprise, though, considering how cute, smart, and just overall awesome they are to have as pets.

If I were to recommend a pet lizard to a beginner, this lizard would definitely be the one.  Not only because of how adorable they are but also because they are fairly low maintenance, pretty easy to take care of, and last for many, many, many years with the right love and attention.

If you’re reading this list and you don’t have a leopard gecko but plan on getting one, then don’t second guess yourself, just get it.  You definitely will not regret the decision.

They Are From 5 Different Countries

Leopard geckos actually originate from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, and northwest India.  That means that they have come a long way to make it to our stores in the United States.  Although there may still be some leopard geckos in the states that have come directly from one of these 5 countries, most of them nowadays have all been captive bred.

How many leopard geckos are actually still alive in all of these 5 countries is a mystery simply because of the fact that there is a lack of research when it comes to these little creatures.  How this is possible is a complete shock to me considering how popular they are.

Conclusion

After this list, I think it’s needless to say that leopard geckos are the most amazing pets in the world (I think so at least).  The things that we learn about them makes owning them even more interesting and with the help of some of these facts on the list, it can even help us understand why they do the things they do that we may have never even questioned in the past.

If there are any more facts that you can think of that I missed, then feel free to share them with me.  I love learning new things that have anything to do with leopard geckos and am always seeking to gain more knowledge on them.

I hope you enjoyed this list and also hope that it has convinced you to get your very own leopard gecko.