Leopard geckos have been domesticated and bred in the US for over 30 years now. They are famous among reptile lovers because of their docile and unusually tame nature.
For starters, these geckos are very gentle and have amusing personality, which make them perfect pets for everyone in the family.
They can live as long as 20 years with proper care so be prepared for a long-time commitment. The good news is you’ll have company for quite some time.
Owning a Leopard Gecko – Cost Overview
The costs of having this fat-tailed fellow as a pet go beyond the gecko’s price. These also include recurring expenses that come with taking care of it. Food, shelter maintenance, medical services, and other necessities must also be considered.
On the other hand, the things you’ll need to spend once for your beloved gecko are comprised by its home and toys. Though pricey in the beginning, these things are of much use for a long time. We’ll break these costs down one by one.
Leopard Geckos and Other Immediate Expenses
There are several pet stores, both online and local, that sell these gentle little creatures. On the average, leopard geckos are priced around $20-$1000, depending on the morphology of their skin. The ones with rare color patterns are usually more expensive.
You can check out Morph Market for a variety of leopard geckos for sale. Their prices start at $30 for the normal ones. The Mandarin Tremper Enigma, on the other hand, is priced at $600, the most expensive on the list.
BHB Reptiles also has its fair share of leopard geckos available on its website. You can get one for $38, but it is usually “patternless”. If you’re picky and would want a standout, then you can go with the tangerine-colored gecko for $425.
Once you have decided on what type of leopard gecko you want, maybe it’s time to take a look at the things you would need for your beloved pet:
Glass tanks that are 1ft. in height can provide a good shelter for your pet. Although leopard geckos do not have sticky feet and cannot usually climb, you will need a wire/mesh lid in order to protect them from other animals.
The rule of the thumb for this one is that there should be 10 gallons of tank space for every gecko. However, it is not advisable to go beyond this size as larger spaces make it hard for these reptiles to find their heat source. You may have to spend $30-$40 for this.
Being a reptile, your gecko needs a heat source whenever wanted. A regular incandescent bulb ($8) will do the trick. You can place it on one side of the tank so that your pet can freely move between the cold (70 F) and warm (85 F) areas of the tank. A thermometer can help you monitor the temperature and this usually costs somewhere around $10.
You will also need a hygrometer to monitor the environment of your gecko’s habitat. A humidity level of 20-40% is ideal especially when it’s time for the little one to shed its skin. You can buy this device online or from your local stores. Its price ranges from $15-$20.
For the beddings, a paper towel will do. The good thing about leopard geckos is that their droppings can easily be cleaned. Never use sand or pebbles as substrates to avoid incidental ingestion.
It is good to provide your gecko with an enclosed home where it can rest and shed. Some stores sell small logs and other hiding places for minimal costs ($5-$10). If you don’t want to spend on these things, you can just find one from your backyard on your own, free of charge.
Overall, the cost for a simple gecko shelter setup is around $100-$130. You may find a pre-built one from your local pet stores. This will save you from all the hassle of building your own but this does not come cheap.
- Transport Cost
If you buy all the stuff online, the total cost may already include the shipping fee, especially if you get all of these from one seller. Pet Smart is a one-stop shop that offers everything you need for your leopard gecko. It ships all orders over $49 free of charge. For smaller orders, the same-day delivery fee $7.99.
Buying, owning, and breeding leopard geckos in the US do not need any special permits or licenses. You can probably cross this one out from your worries. Just make sure to take really good care of your pet.
Regular Maintenance Costs
Leopard Geckos mainly feed on insects. To ensure that your pet gets to have enough nutrition it needs, the insects must be well fed before giving them to your gecko. Crickets, mealworms, and waxworms are good choices for food. You can find these from your local stores and online.
Young geckos are fed twice or thrice in a day while the adults can be given their meals every other day. Because they are not volume eaters, you don’t have to spend too much money on feeding them. The usual cost for feeding a gecko is just around $5 to $8 a month.
These reptiles also do not need much maintenance. However, their Vitamin D3 requirement is high. Geckos which lack this nutrient turn pale and their tails shrink. When this happens, you can buy Vitamin D3 supplements from online stores like Dr. Foster and Smith for $10 a bottle.
Be careful though as excess Vitamin D3 can lead to Calcium deficiency. Make sure to stick with the recommended dosage.
What are Included?
If you purchased from BlackwaterReptiles.com, it ensures that all animal deliveries can get to its destination alive and safe. Each purchase also comes with a 7-day extended guarantee. Although DOA cases are very rare, they still account for 1.4% of the deliveries.
But this percentage is very low that they are almost non-existent. The animals get to you safe on their temporary cage/packaging where their safety and comfort while being transported were taken into consideration.
Factors That Can Affect Gecko Price
How much do geckos cost depends on several factors such as the following:
- Age – the younger the Geckos are cheaper compared to the older ones but this comes with a consequence. While you have more time to bond with your pet, your cost to feed younger geckos would be so much higher as you would need to feed it once a day compared to adults which only need to be fed every other day.
- Gender – the pricing of exotic animals are often based on their temperaments so, since male and female Leopard Geckos don’t have much difference in terms of their friendliness unless when the female is carrying eggs, price difference cannot be determined.
But we are thinking of supply and demand especially if you are buying for breeding purposes. You can have as many female geckos with only one male and the breeding process can still be carried out successfully. So that leaves a lot of males left in pet stores, reducing their value.
- Morph – Their color morphs and rarity are considered upon deciding for their prices. Some have a completely unique combination of colors which contribute to the cost.
- Source – the price tag of Leopard Geckos are a bit higher when purchased from legitimate breeders than when purchased from local pet stores. For one, breeders really take care of the animals they sell so you are assured of their health, quality, exact type/breed, and even their hatch dates.
- Location – the cost of doing business and the cost of living in a particular area where the pet shop or the breeder is located have a huge effect in the pricing.
Additional Tips and Information
Overall, having a leopard gecko doesn’t require a lot of spending. These reptiles make the excellent pet of choice for those who are tight on budget. However, you can still cut your expenses by doing some research.
If you intend to own just one gecko, you can check the websites above so you can personalize your buying experience. The effort you make doing this yourself will surely add up to the bond you will have with your future gecko.
For those who want to buy leopard geckos for breeding purposes, breeder bundles are also offered online. You can check Urban Gecko for a list of packages available. Its prices start at $450. They are also willing to assist and guide beginners.
Most importantly, always keep in mind to do background checks before negotiating with the seller, especially online. Read reviews and testaments from previous customers to make sure that you are buying from a credible source.