When Do Leopard Geckos Reach Adulthood?

When leopard geckos reach full maturity, a lot of different things change.  Not only are they obviously bigger, but they also require bigger tanks, bigger food, bigger hides, and even slightly bigger responsibilities such as taking care of and protecting their eggs until they hatch.  But the question is, when exactly do they get to this point?  Let’s find out.

When do leopard geckos reach adulthood?  All leopard geckos reach adulthood at 8 to 12 months (1 year) after birth with male leopard geckos ready to mate as early as 6 months into their lifespan while females will take anywhere from 9 to 10 months to become sexually active.

Although there are some changes that take place as far as your gecko’s personal needs go, none of these changes are too major to the point where it makes raising and caring for them any more difficult.  The only real difference between a baby geckos needs and an adult’s geckos needs are slight diet changes and larger tank equipment.  Other than that, not much else changes.  Let’s take a deeper look into their adulthood.

Ages by Size 

Just like humans, leopard geckos can and will grow at a slightly different pace from one gecko to the next depending on multiple different factors such as their diet and overall health.  But, there are rough estimates or an ” average ” of what you can expect in their first year of growth to help you get a better understanding of how old they are before they reach adulthood.  Here they are. 

3-4 Inches 0-2 Months
4-6 Inches 3-6 Months
6-9 Inches 6-12 Months

Like stated above, these are rough estimates, so keep that in mind when measuring your gecko.  If you’re good about taking care of them properly and they are and have been healthy and stress-free within those first 12 months, then your gecko should match up with the numbers above fairly closely.

Lifespan

Compared to other smaller animals, leopard geckos can live a surprisingly long time.  But of course, just like the rate at which they grow, certain factors will determine how long each one will go on to survive.  These factors are usually things like how healthy they are over the span of their life and also maybe even some genetic factors.

A good average to go by, though, is anywhere from 6-10 years.  But with the proper care, they can easily live up to anywhere from 10-20 years and sometimes even beyond that.  There’s really no possible way you can tell how long your individual leopard gecko(s) will live, but if you care for them the way all good owners should, then the chances of them living a very long and happy life are very high.

Even though they are not reptiles and just to give you a comparison, other commonly owned tank-kept pets will only live up to anywhere from 1-3 years, such as hamsters ( I currently own one that I will deeply miss when he passes ).

I say this because if you have a hard time getting over pets that have short lifespans, then reptiles such as leopard geckos are great pets to have.  A lot of them will grow with you all the way up into adulthood and can serve as amazing little companions as the years go by.

A lot of people who have a deep love for animals become very emotionally attached to their pets the more and more they have them, so if you’re someone who has a very hard time emotionally letting go of your pets when they pass or are always in a state of anxiety just thinking about how little time your pet has left due to their short lifespan ( like me ), then I highly recommend ( if you don’t already own one ) investing in a leopard gecko.

They’re low maintenance, awesome little creatures that will keep you company for many, many years to come.

Tank Size for Adult Geckos

As your leopard gecko gets older, you might find that they are also outgrowing their tank as well.  So, to eliminate this problem, I recommend just buying one that’s at least 20 gallons, even for baby geckos.

Not only will this prevent you from spending more than you need to in the long-run, but will also be great if you ever want to give your current leopard gecko a little company and introduce another one to their tank.

The one I use and always recommend because I love it so much is this one here from Amazon.  It’s 20 gallons, has multiple neat specs and features, and is even safer for your gecko because it opens from the front.  I say that because picking them up from above can spook them and, therefore, cause them stress.

Another great thing about this specific tank is that when you open the front doors, there’s actually a bit of raised glass that disallows them from escaping.  Which is even better for leopard geckos because they can’t climb simply due to the fact that they don’t have sticky feet like other lizards.

On top of everything else, a 20-gallon tank will also allow you to really decorate your set up and add larger hides and equipment the older they get.  If you want to know what equipment I use for my 20-gallon tank, then feel free to check this page out here.

If you want the absolute bare minimum for space or other personal reasons, then a 10-gallon tank will be just fine for them as well.  But once they reach adulthood, you might find that you will need to expand.  So it just makes more sense to me to just get the 20-gallon tank from the very beginning to save time and money.

Adult Geckos Diet

Honestly, aside from the size of their food, a leopard geckos diet does not change that much as they get older.  But, the times in which you feed them do.  So it’s important to keep that in mind whenever they reach that 6-12 month mark.

Any logical person would naturally think that the more they grow, the more they’ll eat.  But with leopard geckos, it’s actually quite the opposite.  From 0-6 months,  you will need to feed your leopard gecko every day in order to help them grow and to give their body what it needs in order to do so.

As they get older, food consumption goes down to about every other day.  How much they eat during feeding times will be completely dependent on your gecko.  If you want a better understanding of this and how you should be supplementing them whenever it’s feeding time, then I recommend checking this page out here and scrolling down to the section titled ” Feeding Amounts with D3 and Vitamins “.
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Here, not only do I talk about how much you should feed them, but I also tell you when and when not to supplement them with D3, which is an important vitamin that all leopard geckos must consume in order to break down their calcium intake.

As far as what you should feed them, that completely depends on you and your leopard gecko’s personal preference.  But I’ve found that a lot of people will keep them on a pretty strict cricket and mealworm diet with the exception of a few other foods that are more used as treats.  Don’t worry, leopard geckos don’t have a problem eating the same types of food over and over again like we do.

But, whatever you do, make sure the food you’re giving them is alive.  Dead bugs are not appealing to leopard geckos, and without movement, sometimes they won’t even touch it.  There have been a few instances where I’ve seen others recommend a vibrating feeding dish, but unfortunately, not many have seen a whole lot of success with these, so I personally wouldn’t recommend it.

Adult Gecko Price

If you’re looking into buying a leopard gecko but haven’t really checked on how much they are yet or how much the equipment will be, then don’t worry, adults don’t cost that much unless they are unique, like morphs, for example.  If looking into buying one of those, the price range can vary immensely depending on exactly what morph they are.

But, if we’re just talking about the cost of a pure leopard gecko without any kind of morph, then you’re looking at about $20 to $40 dollars.  Where the price usually kicks up a bit is when buying the equipment, but considering the lifespan of these little guys, the cost of the initial set up is a very small investment.  I mean, you could potentially be the owner of one to up to 30 years, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s totally worth it.

As far as baby and juvenile leopard geckos go, again, you’re looking at about the same.  Of course, this will depend on where you buy them, but for most places that I’ve seen, you expect to see them in this initial price range.

Upkeep and items that you will need to replace more frequently, such as substrate and food, will usually last you a very long time and either of which will break the bank whenever it’s time for you to re-up on your supplies.

If anything, though, adult leopard geckos are lower maintenance and in my case, a little cheaper to care for because of the fact that they require less food than babies or juveniles.

Where to Buy an Adult Gecko

There are many different places to purchase an adult leopard gecko, but the first place that most people go to is their local pet and reptile shop.  Unfortunately, there are cases where people may have a pet shop that sells various animals such as hamsters, cats, dogs, etc.  But, when it comes to leopard gecko or other reptiles shops, there isn’t anywhere local to go to.

So when that happens, I always recommend buying online.  You would think that safety would be a concern when shipping them, but some of these more reputable online stores and brands are good at making sure they get to you safely.

I bought my leopard gecko from a local shop, but I do plan on getting more in the near future, so when I do, I’ll either go back to the same place I bought my first one or buy online.  Keep in mind that a lot of these online stores sell leopard geckos that are very costly.  I’m talking $150-$200+ costly.  So, if possible, call around and see if you can find a local shop that carries them.  And if there are none, maybe consider going outside of town where there is a local shop that you can buy one from.

Just make sure before buying one to do your research.  There are companies out there who don’t handle and care for their leopard geckos or insects properly.

How to Tell If They’re an Adult

Sometimes when receiving leopard geckos, it can be hard to tell whether they’re still an adult or a baby if you haven’t had much experience with them.  This can happen if you’ve adopted, rescued, or were gifted one by a friend or family member.

A lot of the time, people will determine a leopard geckos age based on their weight, but if they’re a rescue gecko with a disease or infection, then this can sometimes be very difficult to tell.  That’s because a lot of these various illnesses and diseases can actually cause your leopard gecko to lose weight fairly rapidly, which can then result in death if it gets too bad.  That’s a whole different topic, but if you happen to be a rescuer of a leopard gecko, then I suggest checking this article out here.

In that article, I simply identify the different reasons why your leopard gecko may have died or could die if they have one of these illnesses or diseases.

But, in that case, or in the case that there’s another reason as to why they’re losing weight, then I recommend first measuring them with a ruler.  As listed in the chart above, you can see that they will usually meet certain lengths depending on different factors and circumstances.  But, if you have a leopard gecko that you know is healthy or has been passed down from someone who got them from somewhere and doesn’t necessarily know too much about them, then I would go by weight.  If they weigh anywhere from 60-100+ grams, then they’re likely an adult.

An easy way to weigh them is to purchase a food scale.  Food scales are meant for weighing very light substances such as powders, so having this type of scale for your gecko will be adequate in giving you an accurate reading.

Are There Tanks Too Large for Adult Geckos?

Not necessarily.  As long as you’re able to spread your temperatures out evenly just as you would with any other tank, there shouldn’t be a problem.  Now, I wouldn’t go and put them in a tank that’s 100 gallons ( a bit of an exaggeration, I know ), but I have heard of others comfortably putting their leopard geckos in tanks that are up to 50 gallons and sometimes even a little bit more without any issues.

There is one downside, though, that I see to having a tank that large, and that’s having to buy more substrate.  Substrate is fairly cheap and usually doesn’t have to be replaced but only once a month, but when you do buy it, you’ll likely have to buy a lot more, therefore, increasing your monthly cost for equipment.

If you have multiple leopard geckos, then it makes sense to have a tank that large.  But if you only have one, I wouldn’t do it.  I would just stick to one that’s 10-20 gallons until you’re ready to expand in the future once you’ve gained some experience with your first gecko.

Conclusion

As you see, leopard geckos, along with other animals, reach adulthood fairly quickly.  The good thing, though, is that not a lot changes as they get older.  This can be worrisome for those who want an animal that is low maintenance, but with leopard geckos, there’s really nothing to worry about as they get older.

The only thing I see when it comes to entering adulthood is nothing but benefits.  Fewer sheds, less food, and, therefore, less stress on you and them.  Should you buy a leopard gecko while it’s already in adulthood? sure, but it might be a little more difficult to tame them.  Don’t quote me on that, though, as I bought my leopard gecko when it was still a baby.

Just keep in mind that adult geckos need a lot more space than babies, so it’s important to get them the right equipment so that they can live comfortably.  Equipment that isn’t meant for them or that is too small for them can cause a great amount of stress and, in return, cause out-of-the-ordinary behaviors and even a higher susceptibility to certain diseases and illnesses.