Are leopard geckos good pets for children? – A beginners guide for parents

Leopard geckos (Leos) are fascinating pets for those who have never owned a reptile before since they are small, friendly, and easy to manage.  They are naturally present in Asia and the Middle East. There is a wide range of diversity in coloration, patterning, and size among leopard geckos raised in captivity. They are known as insectivores, which means they consume insects, and they take great pleasure in tracking down their living prey. However, do leopard geckos make suitable pets for young children?

Yes, keeping a leopard gecko as a pet is a fantastic option to consider. If you are thinking about getting a reptile as a pet, you should consider getting a leopard gecko since they are calm, well-behaved lizards that make excellent pets for children and beginners.

Geckos and other types of reptiles may be intriguing and informative pets for adolescents and adults of any age. When thinking about getting a new pet, it is essential to keep in mind that they are a lot of responsibility and require a lot of labor. Many species of reptiles have highly specific dietary requirements, as well as requirements for lighting, heat, and humidity. Also, adults need to keep in mind that if a child has a pet and then loses interest in it, that animal might wind up being the adult’s pet. However, if your children have the time, desire, and energy, a Leo may make for a remarkable and one-of-a-kind companion.

Leo’s behavior with children

The Leos that are kept as pets are amiable, and in contrast to certain species of geckos, they are not violent. Because of their calm and submissive demeanor, leopard geckos are excellent pets for households with children and other family members.

They are suitable for children of all ages to hold. These pets will slowly creep up on your arms in a gentle manner. It has never been reported that a leopard gecko has bitten anyone, not even an unfamiliar person. Even when provoked, they do not exhibit aggressive behavior.

The Age of Your Child Is Important

Young children should never be left unattended with pets, especially by their parents. A leopard gecko is a peaceful creature; nevertheless, if it is exposed to excessive excitement, it may get frightened or stressed. When it comes to interacting with leopard geckos, your child’s age is an essential factor to consider.

Leopard geckos may show signals of anxiety and tension, but young children might not recognize them. Young children are naturally lively, so they can try to grasp the gecko by its tail, which would cause the animal harm. If your child is a bit older, they will be better able to handle the pet appropriately.

They could be capable of taking care of the pet independently without your supervision. Before adopting a leopard gecko into your house, you should first consider how old your child is.

The Routine Activities of a Leopard Gecko

Fun may be had by both children and their parents when they share a home with a leopard gecko. But sharing your home with a reptile pet might be more enjoyable if you both participate in certain activities together.

The following are some activities that you might engage your child in regularly with a Leo:

  • Leos Love Crawling: Leopard geckos thrive when they can spend time outside their enclosures, so don’t be afraid to let them climb and sleep on your child. You may take a load off and relax on the couch while your child plays with the family pet. Your child won’t be harmed if the leopard gecko crawls on his hands, shoulders, or legs, and it will do it happily. Because the interior of the child’s clothing is toasty warm, the animal will almost surely take pleasure in sitting on it.
  • Make Small Artificial Cave/Tunnel In Leos Tank: Leopard geckos, especially those that live in the wild, enjoy the thought of being able to hide in burrows, caves, and beneath rocks. While the gecko keeps a close eye on you, you may use PVC pipe to construct a do-it-yourself conceal tunnel. You should encourage Leo to creep into the tunnel and hide there for a while. Always try to coax the animal into and out of the tunnel by whispering encouragement to it. Leo will genuinely feel happy to participate in the action.
  • Create a Maze for Your Leo: You may construct a maze for your pet with simple things you already have around the house. Think about building the maze in a contained space like a plastic bin or a playpen to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Place circular and hollow things, such as toilet paper tubes, for the gecko to climb inside them.
  • Use Toys: You may have a fantastic time playing with leopard gecko toys, whether you construct them yourself or buy them from a store. Your child will have a lot of fun as they play with their new pet, utilizing all the most stunning toys. Toys will provide your pet with something fresh to investigate and play with. Your pet’s life will be improved through toy play, and they will become more friendly and active. The finest toys will contain openings or niches that let the animal to climb in and out of the toy at its own leisure. You could also use toys you made yourself, provided they were creative enough.
Are leopard geckos good pets for children?
Are leopard geckos good pets for children?

Leos Natural/Optimal Habitat

Even though leopard geckos are native to the arid grasslands of Asia, they are almost always kept in terrariums themed like desert environments when they are kept as pets. Sand can not be used as a substrate since it has the potential to induce intestinal obstruction if it is ingested inadvertently with food. It is ideal for supporting Leo’s natural demands to have a predominately dry habitat with adequate rocks and smooth pebbles.

The Leo tank should have a minimum capacity of 10-12 gallons (about 40-48 liters) for a single Leo and 15-18 gallons (about 60-75 liters) for a pair.

During the day, the tank’s temperature should range from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 29 degrees Celsius), with the basking area reaching temperatures of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). A temperature gradient is achieved in a tank when there is one heated section in the higher temperature range while the opposite part should be colder. The tank should be built in a way that allows for this temperature gradient. Heating pads, porcelain heaters, or appropriate lighting will be used to enhance the heat that is already present in the tank.

Leopard geckos are nocturnal creatures that have evolved to live in the shadows. That implies that a UVA/UVB dedicated reptile light is not essential for your Leo to thrive. In point of fact, so long as the space is adequately illuminated, leos may survive without any additional artificial light. The only thing that truly matters is that they maintain their day-night cycle.

What characteristics make leopard geckos popular as pets?

The following characteristics make Leos one of the best-fitted and most popular pets:

  1. They make beautiful additions to the household. Because of their calm demeanor, leopard geckos are excellent pets for households with children and other pets. They are safe for children of any age to handle, and they welcome the opportunity to walk across their kind hands.
  2. Even though leos are not known to be particularly aggressive, you should still show them respect when you are working with them.
  3. Even though all reptiles will require the assistance of a professional at some point, responsible pet owners have a responsibility to help keep their pets in the best possible condition. On the other hand, Leos are not very demanding, and it is not difficult to design an excellent environment for them at home. You won’t need to invest a lot of money or time in order to replicate their natural environment in the wild.
  4. The many colorations and patterns that may be found on a leopard gecko are collectively referred to as morphs. This contributes to the leopard gecko’s distinctive and spectacular appearance, and it may also be used to describe the appearance of a gecko.
  5. Because leopard geckos are available in a diverse array of morphs, it is simple to find one suitable for your environment and aesthetic preferences.
  6. They are pretty affordable when it comes to upkeep and care. If you go with one of the more well-known variants that are on the market, you should have no trouble finding an affordable leopard gecko. The most significant part is that everything you need to set up their cage, from putting up their tank to setting up their food, can typically be purchased for a low cost.
  7. In addition to this, they don’t seem to mind having a limited amount of food, and it’s not hard to find it among them. They also do not become ill, so there is typically no need to worry about taking them to the veterinarian.
  8. Leos eat insects, and it is not difficult to provide them with food. The most excellent part about them is that they are not picky eaters and will consume a wide variety of insects that have been treated with powder containing vitamins and minerals. Another thing to consider is the fact that their bug feeders are easily accessible, inexpensive, and simple to maintain.
  9. In addition to this, you do not need to spray their vivarium because they may drink water directly from the bowl provided for them. Another thing about them is that they do not consume vegetables and fruits, which makes the procedure of providing them with food much simpler.
  10. Leopard geckos are an ideal family reptile, as they remain tiny at around 6 to 10 inches from head to tail. This indicates that you are able to house them in an enclosure of a suitable size.
  11. One of the primary reasons why parents do not get their children animals as pets is because of the scent. On the other hand, leos do not produce any odor/smell, and it is possible to go an entire month without cleaning their confinement. In addition, you do not need to bathe your geckos to maintain their cleanliness.

Why It’s Important for Children to Have Pets?

The below-mentioned four reasons compel you to have pets for your children:

  • Children can learn compassion through their pets. They frequently have a strong focus on themselves. The good news is that youngsters may learn about empathy by gaining experience in how to be committed to making for an animal companion, such as a pet. Children will discover how their pets react to specific changes in their environment and the surroundings of their room as they care for their animals/pets throughout time. You might be shocked, in point of fact, at how fast they figure out what their new pet like and does not enjoy doing. Children who grow up with pets are more equipped to understand and empathize with the experiences of others because they learn to view the world through a companion animal’s eyes.
  • Responsibility is something that can be taught to youngsters, and having a pet that requires care is a great way to do this. Even if your kid is relatively young, they should still be able to fill up a bowl with either food or water on their own. Your child should be allowed to take on additional duties for the care of their pet as they become more capable of doing so.
  • Children with pets tend to have higher self-esteem since taking care of an animal/reptile pet companion is often the first “work” a youngster ever has. Your child will have a better understanding of how capable they are of handling responsibility if they do well in their assigned role. This will lead to more confidence as well as perhaps more opportunities to demonstrate their sense of responsibility.
  • Having a pet provides children with another person to talk to, which is beneficial because youngsters have a lot to discuss, and many kids like having conversations with their animals. Pets are excellent listeners since they do not pass judgment and will happily pay to listen to the same narrative numerous times. Not to mention the fact that dogs are really good at maintaining confidentiality.

Do Leopard Geckos (Leos) Bite?

The vast majority of adult leopard geckos will not bite, even though they may perceive a threat to their safety. Leopard geckos are not known to be aggressive. A baby gecko that is not used to being handled is more likely to bite than an adult gecko, even if it has been tamed.

If a Leo bit you, it would be because they mistook your fingers for food (mainly if you feed them by hand) or because you were trying to break up a fight between two of your lizards, and they bit you in the process.

Due to their small size, only insects are in danger of being eaten by Leo’s teeth. However, their teeth are robust relative to their size, so their bite resembles a hard pinch more closely than a true bite. In most instances, it will not go deeper than the superficial layer of your skin and will only scrape it.

If you are bitten by your pet  Leo, and the bite punctures your skin, you need to make sure that the “wound” is adequately disinfected. It has been an expert’s experience that the delicate skin right above your nails is the only part of your hand that will bleed if your gecko bites it. Because of this, you should take extra precautions to protect this area

What is the average lifespan of a leopard gecko?

In captivity, leopard geckos have been known to survive for up to 20 years. However, the longevity of wild leopard geckos is lower than that of domesticated leopard geckos because of the constant threat posed by several predators, including jackals, some larger reptiles, and birds.

In addition, wild geckos are subjected to difficult living circumstances, such as extreme temps, which significantly reduce their longevity.

However, leopard geckos may survive for many years if they are properly cared for. Their longevity may be shortened due to their poor food and living circumstances. On the other hand, these pets require very little work to care for.

In contrast to many other types of pets, they live for a very long time. Therefore, keeping a leopard gecko as a pet requires a long-term commitment in and of itself.

Your child would benefit tremendously from having a leopard as a pet, notwithstanding this fact. Your child won’t have to go through the heartbreak of saying goodbye to their pet because the animal will likely outlive its formative years.

Rick Matthews

Hello, I am Rick Matthews, I have helped raise 100's of pets in my life living with my Father who while we did not live on a farm, raised all sorts of animals to sell them to families. We had so many different pets we all quickly became experts intending to them and helping them stay healthy. Back then we did not have the internet to look up thing on how to take care of their kids. As my kids got older, they wanted pets and of course, I did not want to have as many as we did when I was a child, but wanted to share my experiences. Many of these articles are written to help educate families on what to expect when looking to get a new pet for their children.

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