Leopard Gecko Substrate: Why Its Important And Which One You Need

Supriya Jain
Mar 20, 2023 By Supriya Jain
Originally Published on Mar 20, 2023
Edited by Sarah Nyamekye
Fact-checked by Mannat Sharma
Leopard gecko substrate is an essential component of the habitat of these reptiles.

One widespread myth regarding leopard geckos seems to be that they reside in sunny, sandy settings.

Leopard geckos are native to the wilderness of Afghanistan, Iraq, & Iran. The leopard geckos, especially adult geckos are excellent climbers, yet they are essentially lizards that live on the earth. 

They devote the majority of their time simply only to the leopard gecko substrate. This is particularly the case for household reptiles such as geckos that live on the soil, clay, and sprint, stroll, rest, and dine on it.

It is critical that the leopard gecko substrate is of fine standards. Their ecosystem consists primarily of arid grassland and rock formations which come with a risk of impactions.

Also, there is a lot of greenery to shelter themselves, as they hide from their attackers as well as the light. They hide from their attackers in order to protect themselves.

They hide so well that you won’t be able to spot them even if you search close. In their native habitat, the ground is largely solid clay and gravel coated inside a light reptile sand layer and dotted with rocks, bushes, and reeds.

The flooring of the tiles for the terrarium of a leopard gecko must be as near to its natural habitat as possible for them to be at their natural behaviors.

Conversely, reproducing the Middle Eastern ecosystem with tiles in a terrarium is both costly and difficult. After learning more about these reptiles, also check out geckos in Texas and leopard gecko eggs.

What is the best substrate for leopard geckos?

For novices, finding the appropriate leopard gecko substrates for this reptile is difficult. Aside from a huge variety of natural substrate options, it is, therefore, necessary to understand the environment and habits of this reptile. Loose substrates are sometimes disregarded in favor of more interesting items like an attractive terrarium and customized décor of a slate for this reptile.

Novice ought to be aware that not every leopard geckos substrate is suitable. The possibilities are simply measured relative to the product, pricing, and shape.

The perfect leopard gecko substrate is secure, washable, long-lasting, resourceful, and appealing to the eye. Bioactive or marble tiles are indeed the two finest leopard gecko flooring.

Bioactive substrates are ideal for caretakers with a greater expenditure, better expertise, and a willingness to conduct background study. After being established, a bioactive system mainly consists of a self-cleaning slate that is simple in design. Furthermore, the leopard gecko substrate allows the gecko to display behavioral patterns and is quite attractive.

Bioactive systems are quite pricey and are only suitable for older geckos. When a bioactive leopard gecko substrate appears to be quite tedious, natural stones (a stone which is a part of its natural habitat), walnut shells are an excellent option.

This flooring is inexpensive, long-lasting, and simple to cleanse while yet providing your gecko with a comfortable layer of rock to tread on. Ceramic tiles are also appropriate for all dimensions and stages of lizards.

Your lizard may feel a lot better if you use the best leopard gecko substrate. It will lessen their anxiety and allow them to live a healthier, better lifestyle.

What should I put on the bottom of my leopard gecko cage?

Among the most crucial items to consider while putting up your current leopard gecko ecosystem is the substrates or the fabric that lines the base of the cage. Calcium sand for leopard geckos simulates a realistic desert habitat and provides many enrichment advantages, including stimulating natural excavating habits.

Reptile sand such as calcium sand has low toxicity and is enriched with minerals and micronutrients that give additional health advantages when consumed in minuscule quantities; nevertheless, it can not be used as a substitute for natural ingredients.

Reptile carpet has a sleek appearance and is easily maintained, assisting in the maintenance of an excellent home for the leopard gecko. Reptile carpet is normally constructed of gentle material to minimize discomfort to your pet's delicate feet and belly.

It is available in a variety of colors to complement the concept of its habitat. For keeping your companion fit and active, reptile carpet ought to be spotted, sanitized as necessary, and thoroughly cleaned once per week using a reptile-specific cleanser or perhaps a three percent bleaching liquid.

Moss, which draws water and increases dampness, can aid in flaking. Moisten moss via sprinkling water and adding this to a cover or placing it in little quantities in the leopard gecko's home at the start of its peeling phase to promote dampness.

This will aid your speckled companion in readily shedding its epidermis as they develop. Sphagnum moss, which is antibacterial, is an excellent option since it serves to inhibit the growth of hazardous germs.

What can I use as bedding for leopard geckos?

The substrate is just the substance used as a mattress for bedding & carpeting inside the base of the tank (terrarium) of your pet. This fabric would be trodden on, rested on, and it will capture the geckos' excrement. The regularity under which the substrate gets washed or replaced is determined by the substrate material.

Best leopard gecko substrates ought to be suitable for geckos to consume and rest upon. It is a good idea to look for materials that are washable and replace them in addition to reducing tank upkeep and ecosystem care costs.

Reptile carpet is an excellent and risk-free solution for the tank (terrarium) of your pet. Usually, reptile rugs are plush on the upper edge to avoid irritating the lizard's body.

The opposite side is firm and porous, making it ideal for leopard geckos. Put a warm dryer and gently provide your reptile rug a brief area of warmth before putting it in the gecko's tank, as this can avoid unnecessary fiber twists and limit the chance of the gecko's toes being entangled among loose strands.

Leopard Gecko Substrate Requirements

The leopard gecko substrates might affect your leopard gecko's enjoyment as well as their health. There are several other standpoints, therefore you are probably not wrong. The flooring you choose might influence the longevity of the gecko. The leopard geckos may survive very long in servitude beyond two years, with a life expectancy of ten to twenty years.

The substrate really should be comfortable to the gecko's body as well as not promote dirt accumulation, which can upset the lizard's respiratory system.

One must examine the gecko's ecological landscape while balancing the ease of tidying up after their pet. The perfect substrate must be healthy and secure from bacterial development, which can spread illness in your gecko.

For keeping the little gecko happy and busy, it should also enable basic nature such as concealing, excavating, crawling, and digging. To limit the danger of harm to the pet, the substrate must not be extremely rough.

It must also be composed of a substance that will not retain or encourage excessive moisture for such a desert creature. There are various appropriate surfaces for a leopard gecko's habitats, each having characteristics to satisfy certain demands.

Preventing Impaction In Leopard Geckos

Numerous cultured lizards, namely leopard geckos, are at risk of impaction. Whenever a hazardous material (for example, a stone) is swallowed and is unable to transit through the lizard's gastrointestinal tract, there’s a risk of impaction, causing a backlog. Impaction causes geckos to avoid feeding, defecating, and ensures the risk of progressive weight loss.

Impaction is a frequent and sometimes fatal condition that may be addressed if detected early, although, in some situations, impaction is not recognized till later.

It is vital to note that sand is by far the most common cause of leopard geckos' inadvertent consumption and impaction.

Sand is often advised since it is easier to scrape away and geckos enjoy digging in it. However, the hazards vastly exceed the advantages and so sand is not a viable substrate for the gecko's tank.

Sand mats also aren't suggested since, while the sands and pebbles were solidified to the carpet and must not break free, there seems to be a danger that perhaps the substrate will be eaten and cause impaction.

What is a leopard geckos' natural environment like?

The leopard geckos have very specialized ecological requirements. They like horizontal containers containing heating, moisture levels ranging from 25 to 45 percent, and temperatures ranging from 65-85 F (18-29 C). Glass containers are suggested above cable cells since the gecko's foot can become entangled in the cabling.

Leopard geckos being nocturnal lizards typically invest the majority of the day napping. This implies they are not provided with enough natural UVB exposures as reptiles who spend time in the sun.

The optimal ecosystem will include certain vegetation (real or fake) to give shading and concealing locations, and a bed to rest and cool off. Silkworms and insects are commonly fed to leopard geckos.

Big rocks, pebbles, and reptile specific bioactive dirt must be utilized as a substrate to keep the leopard gecko environment as authentic as practicable. Pieces of paper, recycled material bedding developed for rodents, or reptile rug can always be used if you desire a much less naturalistic yet simpler to clean substrate.

Sand is not suggested as that can effortlessly be swallowed and promote impaction, particularly in young and tiny leopard geckos. UVB exposure could be advantageous to certain leopard geckos, but it is not required by the majority of them, according to studies.

As a result, UVB lamps are optional for leopard geckos. If you do decide to give a UVB lamp, it shoudl be of low power.

Worst Substrate For Leopard Geckos

It is not always tough to get the best leopard gecko substrates. There are numerous excellent solutions available, such as Eco Earth, plastic, clay, fake grass, reptile carpets, and Exo Terra planter soil. Almost all of these leopard gecko substrates are machine washable (except clay, clay shouldn’t be washed in a machine), affordable, and need little upkeep.

There are several excellent surfaces for leopard geckos, and only a few that are quite dangerous. To contribute to the misunderstanding, certain surfaces (particularly sand and clay) were touted as good for geckos even when they're not.

Also, it's crucial to keep in mind there are a variety of additional materials that are at risk of being harmful to the leopard gecko. Calcium sand, big boulders, and pebbles are examples of these.

Using all these materials you risk having a disastrous, perhaps fatal, effect. Gravel, wood shavings, sand, coconut fiber, and wood pellets, to mention a few, are the poorest substrate possibilities.

The Leopard geckos should not be fed wood pellets, cedar shavings, corn husk, walnut shells, coconut fiber, or pebbles. Sand can induce intestinal impaction if consumed.

Some reptiles are poisoned by the oil found in wood chips such as fir, juniper, coconut fiber, and besides these, they can also be poisoned by wood chips such as spruce, and more. Coconut fiber, which traps humidity and might cause chronic difficulties, could be consumed.

Gravel on its own can feel spiky, and if dug up, it might crumble on the gecko.

Why it is important to choose the best substrate?

Whenever deciding, it is critical to analyze all aspects of the material. The substrate ought to be porous and simple to wash, but it must not pose a choking danger or contain any poisons that might harm the pet if accidentally consumed.

The optimum flooring for a leopard gecko will also differ based on the lizard's growth characteristics. The perfect leopard gecko substrate would be small, easy to maintain, and hard for the leopard gecko to eat accidentally.

Geckos are noted to become quite passionate about hunting when devouring prey animals. They frequently spend a long time pursuing prey throughout their environment.

During dining, these specialized tongues may take up bits of the hazardous substrate. The coarse substrate could compress in the intestine while digesting, leading to digestive pain and finally death. Here is where possessing the wrong sort of substrate might be life-threatening for a leopard gecko.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for leopard gecko substrate then why not take a look at gecko eyes, or leopard gecko facts?

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Written by Supriya Jain

Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Supriya Jain picture

Supriya JainBachelor of Commerce, Master of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

As a skilled member of the Kidadl team, Shruti brings extensive experience and expertise in professional content writing. With a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from Punjab University and an MBA in Business Administration from IMT Nagpur, Shruti has worked in diverse roles such as sales intern, content writer, executive trainee, and business development consultant. Her exceptional writing skills cover a wide range of areas, including SOP, SEO, B2B/B2C, and academic content.

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Fact-checked by Mannat Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computers and Communication

Mannat Sharma picture

Mannat SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computers and Communication

As an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computers and Communication Engineering from Manipal University, Jaipur, Mannat is driven to take on challenges outside of her niche. She has previous experience as a senior marketing and sales associate as well as in branding.

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