Common Pet Gecko Types for Beginners

Most types of geckos are small, colorful, and readily available which makes them ideal pets for reptile beginners and experienced herpetologists alike.

Regardless of what kind of gecko you plan on getting, there are a couple of key things to remember: always try to purchase a captive-bred gecko, read about the care of the specific gecko you plan to purchase, and set up their cage before bringing them home. These things will help ensure your new gecko gets off to a great start.

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    Leopard Geckos

    Leopard Gecko

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    Leopard geckos are always a good choice for reptile beginners. They are easy to find at your local pet store or reptile show and come in an array of patterns and colors, referred to as different morphs. One or two leopard geckos can be kept in a 20-gallon tank, and no special UVB lighting is required (but some leopard gecko keepers still provide it). A diet of gut-loaded crickets, calcium powder, and some mealworms, wax worms, and other insects will keep them healthy and happy.

    Leopard geckos can be easily handled, don't often bite (but if they do it doesn't hurt), and are a good size for children to hold: not too small and not too heavy. These geckos live a fairly long time though (10 to 20 years in captivity), so if your young child is wanting one, be prepared to possibly have to take care of them when they go off to college.

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    Crested Geckos

    Crested Gecko

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    Crested geckos, also referred to as eyelash geckos, get their names from the fringed crest that runs over their eyes and down the neck and back. Crested geckos can make do with a 20-gallon tall tank, although a larger tank would be appreciated by these active and arboreal lizards.

    Crested geckos need space to climb on branches and plants, and they can be fed a commercially available diet made specifically for crested geckos since they eat more than just insects. Though they can be handled and are generally docile, they do tend to be skittish, so they are a bit trickier to handle than leopard geckos.

    Crested geckos can have a lifespan in captivity of 15 to 20 years.

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    African Fat Tailed Geckos

    African Fat Tailed Gecko

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    African fat-tailed geckos are very similar to leopard geckos except that their tails function as fat storage. Because of this, a healthy African fat-tailed gecko will have a fat, large tail that is about the same width as its head.

    The care of an African fat-tailed gecko is similar to that of a leopard gecko. A 20-gallon tank is sufficient, no special UVB lighting is required. A diet of gut-loaded, calcium-dusted crickets and other insects will suit them just fine. They are also quite docile but may take some time to adjust to handling, as they can be stressed more easily than a leopard gecko.​

    African fat-tailed geckos have about the same lifespan as leopard geckos and also grow to be about the same size.

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