|Lifespan||10 - 20 years (rarely 25 years)|
|Average Size||6 - 7 inches long|
|Distribution of species||Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran|
The Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius) is a nocturnal type of Gecko whose natural habitat is from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran, however they are often bred in captivity. They have thick tails in which they store fat, and a body whose scale patterns usually consist of red and black. Commonly, they have deep camouflage so they can blend in with the rocky surface of their environment to hide from predators.
Leopard Geckos can bark when they are excited or agitated, and they are also among the only geckos which have eyelids, although they may often lick their eyes to keep them moist as well. Their diet consists of mostly insects and occasionally small rodents like rats.
Leopard geckos feed on crickets, waxworms, mealworms, super worms, and other insects. In captivity, most individuals will prefer hunting food themselves. The majority of captive leopard geckos will also refuse to eat dead prey (unless you force feed them.) Crickets are the most common food source to give them as they can hunt them in their enclosure the way they would in their natural environment. When food is scarce in the desert, they can rely on their ability to store excess fat in their tails. Sufficient calcium and vitamin D3 is also very important for their diet: How they obtain it in the wild is still unknown, although they likely receive this from their varied prey of moths, spiders, ants, and other insects. In captivity, it is near impossible to completely duplicate the diet they will have in the wild, so the most nutritious insects known are offered, usually dusted with a fine calcium powder with added vitamin D3 and sometimes gut loaded by feeding. Also, their keen sense of smell and sight allows them to search for food in the wild, they will stalk their prey just like an actual leopard will, move their tail, and then strike when they are satisfied.
Leopard geckos are one of the most popular reptile pets. Their small size, robustness, and relatively easy care makes them a good "beginner" reptile pet. They breed easily in captivity, so most sold today are captive-bred rather than wild-caught. Many morphs—color or pattern variations, and occasionally size variations—have been bred. Some of the morphs include 3 different strains of albino, patternless, blizzard, jungle, hypomelanistic, tangerine, giant, and snow. Since many of the morphs are unrelated gene sequences, various combinations, such as patternless albino and mack snow albino, have also been bred. Patternless, hypomelanistic, and blizzard morphs primarily involve the reduction or loss of dark spots. Giant is a size morph, giants are considerably larger than normal leopard geckos. Jungle morphs involve a change in the arrangement or pattern of dark areas. Snow morphs typically have normal dark spots, but little or no yellow pigment. Tangerine morphs have an orange pigment on part of their body, typically the head and/or tail.