There truly is more than meets the eye when it comes to leopard geckos. They are one of, if not THE most popular pet reptile in the world and are just amazing and beautiful little animals. In this article I’ll share some fun facts about leopard geckos that I put together.
Let’s have a look!
20 fun and interesting facts about leopard geckos
It’s safe to say that leopard geckos are very interesting lizards, to say the least. Here’s a list of 20 leopard gecko facts to help you better learn about these reptiles.
1. Leopard geckos have a transparent canal connecting their ears
When looking through a leopard gecko’s ear holes, you can actually see through to the other side. This is because they only have one ear canal. Some say if you shine a light through one of their ears, the light can be seen coming out of the other side.
2. 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.
Here’s what temperatures determine exactly what gender they will be:
- 90 Degrees = Male
- 87 Degrees = Either
- 80 Degrees = Female
3. Leopard geckos have moveable eyelids
Unlike many other types of 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 lives. These types of geckos have a clear membrane that covers their eye that helps keep them moist in addition to licking them as well.
Just like humans, leopard geckos close their eyes to sleep, to moisten their eyes, and to protect them from any harm as well.
4. The scientific name for leopard gecko is Eublepharis macularius
We all know them by their common 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 “.
That translates to spotted geckos with real eyelids. Leopard geckos usually don’t gain their spots until they reach adulthood, but other than that the scientific name suits them perfectly.
5. Leopard geckos can’t walk up walls
Unfortunately leopard geckos don’t have sticky pads on the bottoms of their feet that would allow them to crawl up vertical surfaces as others geckos do.
In the wild they probably wouldn’t be able to escape from predators as easily as other geckos. Having the ability to climb up on a tall rock quickly would aid very well in their survival. When kept in captivity though, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being able to climb glass would only help in their efforts of escape.
6. They can see color in the dark
Unlike us and many other species, leopard geckos can see colors in the dark because of how they’ve evolved over time. The reason for this is likely because they are crepuscular creatures and rely heavily on their sense of smell and eyesight when hunting for prey in the dark.
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.
7. They can see lights that are invisible to us
Because their eyesight is much more sensitive than ours, it’s also said that leopard geckos 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.
Whenever you see your leopard gecko staring at something, know that he’s probably seeing some things that you can’t.
8. Leopard geckos can’t see the color red
Like many nocturnal lizards, a leopard gecko’s eyes do not have a dedicated red cone so they’re unable to see the color red. Because of this, many people think it is safe to place red lights in their tank.
But even though they may not be able to see the red that’s coming from the bulb, that doesn’t mean that they can’t see the light at all. Just know that red light can be disturbing for them and having it on all night while they’re up at night might irritate them.
9. Leopard geckos will detach their tails when attacked
When a leopard gecko is attacked or feels threatened, it uses 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 their tails do end up growing back, but they never look as plump and healthy as their original tail.
10. They will eat their shed
After a successful shed, a leopard gecko will often eat the skin because it’s packed with nutrients that help replenish their bodies after a stressful shed. They also do not want to leave any traces behind that might make it easier for a predator to track them down. This is the same reason why they always poop in one corner.
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.
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.
11. They can live up to 20+ years
Leopard geckos are pretty long-lived and can live 15-20 years in captivity. In the wild that range is probably closer to 3-5 years because of predators, diseases, parasites, and other threats. So when buying one, plan on spending a good part of your life with it.
12. Leopard geckos can go 2 weeks 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. Even though 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.
So if you’re going on vacation, please don’t leave your leopard gecko alone without food for weeks.
13. There are over 100 leopard gecko morphs
The leopard geckos we usually see are the standard yellow ones with black spots or stripes. There are actually MANY different colors of them out there ranging from bright orange, white, and even all black.
These different types of leopard geckos, or morphs, have been known to reach over $3,000 in price. To get a better idea of all the other morphs a.k.a colors, do a quick Google search and see how many different and cool colors you can find.
14. They can bark
Here’s another interesting fact about leopard geckos, they can bark. When I say bark I don’t mean bark like a dog, but they do a leopard gecko version of a bark whenever they feel threatened. 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.
Check out this article for some tips to successfully build up trust and respect with your leopard gecko so they won’t be so scared of you.
15. Leopard geckos poop and pee at the same time
Many people don’t know this, but whenever they have to go to the bathroom, they go #1 and #2 at the same time. I thought this was weird when I first got my gecko, but it really makes cleaning up a lot easier for those of us who own them.
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.
16. They change colors as they age
People who don’t own leopard geckos might get confused by this. Before they reach adulthood, leopard geckos actually don’t have the little spots that you commonly see all over their body. This is normal and is just something that happens with age.
A leopard gecko’s skin tone will also even change slightly as they get older. 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, you might notice a slight change in appearance within a years time compared to when they were a baby. It really just depends on how dark they are.
17. Leopard geckos have really long tongues
Just like some other geckos, leopard geckos have really long tongues that help them clean their face off. When they’re not using them to lick out of their calcium and water bowl, they’re likely using them to lick something off of their face.
They’ll also use their tongue 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 check out this article. While most licking is safe, something it could mean something a little more serious.
18. 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. This is where the calcium that you feed them is stored. 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.
19. They are one of the most popular pet lizards
Along with bearded dragons, leopard geckos are one of the most sought after pet reptiles in the world. They are fairly low maintenance, pretty easy to take care of, and live for many years with the right love and attention making them great pet reptiles for beginners.
If you’re reading this list and are a future or beginner leopard gecko owner, then don’t second guess yourself, just get it. You definitely will not regret the decision.
20. Leopard geckos are from the Middle East
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 homes 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.