Where Do Leopard Geckos Come From?

We don’t know why but most of the time, someone thinks of the word ‘lizard’, they start imagining a reptile standing in the middle of a desert. That’s probably because most of them actually come from dry lands. But what about leopard geckos? Where do they come from?

Leopard geckos are native to arid and rocky drylands. To be specific, they belong to the regions of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, and Northern India. It’s not that you won’t see them in the other corners of the world. But these are places believed to be their places of origin.

Now the question is, why anyone needs to know in the first place that where they come from? Well, that’s because it says a lot about how they should be taken care of when you’re taking them in as pets. So, what if you get the chance to have a wild gecko? How will you handle it? Well, keep scrolling! We’ll be there in a while.

How Is A Wild Leopard Gecko’s Habitat?

From the place of origin, it’s nothing hard to assume that these reptiles belong to places like extremely hot deserts and scrublands. They’re even seen in semi-desserts. But if you see them in the wild, we bet you won’t feel like they’re even bothered about the difficult environment.

The credit for their survival here mostly goes to their tails. After all, that’s what store up a pile of fat within. So, even if they’re not eating for days, surviving effortlessly is no big deal for them.

Unlike chameleons, they can easily get rid of their tails when it comes to paying the price for escape from their predators. And when they’re falling short of nutrients, they can easily boost it up by eating up their shed skin.

Now the question is, what kind of habitat do these interesting lizards occupy in such places? Well, they mostly like it sandy and rocky. Plus, they pick spots that are dry and covered with smaller plants.

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And to be honest, the places they come from aren’t much of vegetated areas. By the way, there’s a reason why these lizards pick spots that are covered with small grasses, dense bushes, and rocks. Any guess on that? Exactly! They make the perfect hiding spots that save geckos from predators.

Thanks to the extreme heat and dryness of the environment, leopard geckos are nocturnal, unlike lots of the lizards out there. This means you won’t be seeing them much around during the daytime. But once the temperature goes down, they become more active and go out.

If that’s the case, then how do they bask? Well, you already know that lizards mostly can’t generate their own body heat, and the same goes for leopard geckos. But rather than sunbathing, they go on those big rocks as they can hold temperature for a long time, even if the sun goes down.

But doesn’t this hot atmosphere makes it a tough place to find food? Well, not exactly. All those humongous rocks have not only become the perfect place for geckos to hide but also a fine source of food for them. After all, there are lots of edible insects right under those rocks.

What Do You Need To Keep In Mind While Having A Wild Leopard Gecko?

You’re probably wondering why you need to know all these to keep a wild leopard gecko as your pet. Well, if you’re actually getting a wild one, you need to make sure that you’re imitating the same kind of atmosphere it has come from.

Does it mean that you can keep it different if you’ve got a captive-bred gecko? The answer is – No, you can’t. You still need to stick to the same configuration that you’ll stick to if it’s a wild gecko.

1. Keep It Rocky

The physical characteristics say a lot about an animal, especially for which atmosphere they’re made for. That’s because they need their body to be designed in a certain way so that they can survive in their surroundings. The same goes for leopard geckos as well.

Have you seen those sharp claws on geckos? They’re basically there to help the reptile in scaling rocks. But that doesn’t mean they don’t come in handy for captive ones. As climbing is a part of their natural behavior, try to keep their habitat a bit rocky. Not only that’s going to help them to unlock their natural instincts but will also get them all the exercise they need.

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2. Keep It Dry

The word desert is enough to make you imagine a dryland with low rainfall, and that’s where geckos come from. This means when you’re building an enclosure for them, you better keep it dry and lower the humidity.

Plus, make sure that there’s no way of water piling up in the cage, as geckos are no big fans of water or good swimmers. But what about bathing? Well, it’s better to keep that at a minimum as possible. Besides, we’d suggest not giving them a shower unless it’s nothing but a must.

3. Keep It Crepuscular

You’re a day walker, but your gecko won’t be. We’ve already told you that they’re nocturnal animals, and this type of reptile keeps its business on hold till the temperature and light go down. That’s why you’ll see them active mostly during the evening or morning hours.

But they’re not in the wild anymore. So, will they still follow this? Well, yes, and the credit goes to their natural instincts. After all, they’ve developed this through years of evolution in the wild and can’t help going out for food once it’s evening.

So, what you can do here is slip the feeding schedule accordingly. The same goes for interacting or doing anything as a part of creating a bond with your lizard. Plus, this is the best time to do as they stay totally active during this time.

How To Know If Your Gecko Is Wild One Or Captive-Bred?

Well, that’s something hard to distinguish between, but nothing impossible. Due to the atmosphere they’ve come from, captive-bred and wild geckos display some major differences. Or let’s just call them the key indicators, including –

1. Acquisition Source

If you can manage to know the source, that should be enough to confirm whether you’ve got a captive-bred or wild leopard gecko. Usually, the ones that are obtained from a source like a reputable breeder or renowned pet store, there’s a high chance of it being captive-bred. That’s because sources like these don’t want to compromise the quality of the lizard.

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2. Physical Condition

One of the common things about captive-bred geckos is they are comparatively healthy compared to wild ones. Thanks to them being perfectly nourished. On top of that, their appearance is more robust, and got a perfectly well-rounded tail backed by well-developed fat stores.

But you’re surely not going to see that in wild ones. After all, the kind of environment they come from, it’s quite tough for them to find enough food. Plus, you’ll see them roaming with signs of stress most of the time. Even seeing them with parasites is no rare sight.

3. Behavior

Accustomed to interacting with humans and docile – these are two qualities you’re going to miss in a wild gecko. As captive-bred geckos are used to being handled by humans, they show less aggression compared to the wild ones. But wild geckos tell a different story on that part, as they’ll treat any human as a predator and even act aggressively.

4. Size And Age

When it comes to size, the wild geckos will win the race. They’re usually larger and even older than captive-bred ones. So, if you’re lizard is small and younger, there’s a high chance that you’ve just bought a captive-bred leo.

5. Pattern and Coloration

Not foolproof, but there’s a chance that you might see certain coloration and morphs in captive-bred geckos. That’s because some of the breeders prefer doing cross-breeding, which ultimately gives birth to geckos with unique colors and morphs.

So, if your lizard got unique coloration, it probably has come from a breeder. By the way, that doesn’t mean wild ones can’t display unique colors, but that’s rare.

Before We Go…

One of the most common misconceptions about lizards that come from desserts is that they can sustain extreme heat. And the same goes for the leopard geckos as well. But is that true? Well, not always.

But how much heat can geckos actually withstand? Well, we’ve tried to find out the answer in our blog – How Much Hot Is Too Hot For Leopard Gecko? Just give it a click and get it for your reptile too.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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