Eublepharis macularius, commonly known as the leopard or panther gecko, is a number one pet lizard. Very docile and easily domesticated, it is the most popular choice for those who wish to possess reptiles.
Leopard gecko is 18 – 28 cm long (18 – 20 cm females, 20 – 28 cm males).
It is native to the Middle East and Asia.
Its natural habitat consists of rocky deserts.
It was first described in 1854 by zoologist Edward Blyth.
Its name – macularius – refers to dotted, leopard-like skin.
There are many variations of colors and patterns, the most common being yellow with irregular black spots. Dotted skin helps them camouflage from predators.
The average lifespan of a leopard gecko is approximately 15 years.
They can live up to 20 years in captivity.
It reaches maturity within 18 – 24 months.
Unlike most geckos, they have eyelids, which allow them to blink and sleep with their eyes closed.
Its tail, which is as long as its body, serves as fat storage.
It comes in handy while food is scarce.
Apart from being a fat supply, its tail can be detached from the body while captured by a predator.
It is segmented, so the gecko can detach only a part of it. Leopard geckos can regenerate their lost tail, however, it may not grow back looking the same.
Leopard geckos eat their shedded skin to rid the area of scent markers.
They are crepuscular, which means they are active during dusk and dawn.
Despite living in relatively hot and dry regions of the world, they prefer cooler parts. Thus, they spend most of the daytime inside burrows, emerging once the temperature drops.
Since the temperature in their habitat drops during winter to harsh and freezing, leopard geckos enter a state of hibernation – brumation.
Leopard geckos hibernation depends on the ambient temperature, so, unlike mammals, the period of brumation is not fixed.
Leopard geckos feed on insects, such as crickets and mealworms.
This monothematic diet makes them easy to care for in captivity.
Leopard geckos’ mate season is during summer.
The sex of their offspring is determined by the temperature within the first two weeks after an egg is laid.
In cooler temperatures like 26 °C - 29 °C (78,8 °F - 84,2 °F) more females will be produced, and more males in warmer temperatures like 34 °C - 35 °C (93,2°F - 95 °F).
It usually takes between 30 and 90 days to hatch an egg.
Baby leopard geckos are up to 9 cm long, their weight reaching no more than 3 grams. However tiny, each youngling is completely independent.
Leopard geckos do not possess the ability to climb.
They lack adhesive lamellae – plate-like structures – on their toes, which are quite common for other gecko species. Instead, their toes end up with claws.
Their natural enemies include snakes, larger reptiles and foxes.
Foxes tend to prey on their eggs.
Leopard gecko is the number one pet lizard.
It is the most popular choice for reptile lovers in the United Kingdom. The second most popular worldwide is the crested gecko, also known as the eyelash gecko.
Leopard geckos kept in captivity are bred selectively to achieve more color and pattern morphs than there are available in the wild.