Leopard geckos are one of the most popular pet reptiles available. Part of their appeal is that they are relatively hardy and can survive a long time. However, what is the maximum leopard gecko lifespan? In this article, we look at this question.
What is the Leopard Gecko Lifespan?
The leopard gecko is known to live for up to 20 years in captivity. The oldest known leopard gecko was a male who lived until he was 28. This is the exception though.
In reality, most leopard gecko keepers should expect to have their leopard gecko live for about 13-20 years.
Maturity of a Leopard Gecko
A leopard gecko matures pretty steadily. They are born at approximately 3-5 grams, with four being the average. In the first few weeks, a leopard gecko will put on about 1 gram per week and by about four weeks old, they will start to gain between one and two grams per week on average.
Sometimes a leopard gecko will not gain any weight in one week but will gain about four or six grams the next week. By about 9 months old, a leopard gecko will reach maturity, though they don’t stop growing until they are about 18-24 months old, especially for female leopard geckos.
As leopard geckos get older, they tend not to show any signs of old age.
Comparing Dog and Leopard Gecko Lifespans
To get a sense of the long life a leopard gecko can have, it is best to compare their maximum age to dogs. Many dog breeds do not live as long as leopard geckos. Recently, the oldest known dog, Pebbles, died at 22 and the oldest known dog was 30.
On average, most dogs will pass by their 14th birthday.
So, in comparison, leopard geckos will tend to last longer than dogs.
Maximising your Leopard Gecko Lifespan
Some factors can lessen the lifespan of your leopard gecko, but generally speaking, these are easy to avoid. Here are some ways to improve the chances of your gecko reaching maximum age.
1. Varied Diet
One of the biggest factors in any long lifespan is to ensure that the diet is properly maintained. At DJL Exotics we offer a variety of food from crickets and mealworms to locusts. These live prey items are in constant supply and therefore, we keep the interest of the geckos high.
At the same time, crickets, mealworms, and locusts all have different nutritional values, so there is a more balanced diet.
Supplements are on offer to all Leopard Geckos. It isn’t just about calcium, a good source of vitamins and minerals is also needed for the best care. This can be done in one supplement that should be taken every feed for babies and once or twice a week for adults.
Supplements can prevent a range of conditions, such as swollen eyes, MBD, and other conditions.
The enclosure’s substrate is an interesting subject. Ideally, most people keep to a naturalistic environment such as sand and soil mixes. However, naturalistic substrates can have issues such as an easy build-up of germs and hidden debris.
Another factor is that loose substrate is sometimes connected to impaction. But this is usually the case when other environmental factors are not properly set up. You can find out more about the correct Leopard Gecko setup here.
Paper towels are a good option as it is more hygienic, but for some, they can spoil the look of the enclosure. If you go for a naturalistic substrate, a good cleaning routine is essential.
Whether UV is necessary or not is debatable. Some studies have proven that geckos with UVB exposure will have more calcium in their blood when compared to those with no exposure. However, the study didn’t mention any use of supplements. Another study found that UVB against supplements made no difference. You can read more about these here.
If you choose to use UVB, be sure that you don’t use it too much and research has shown that just four hours of exposure during the day, at dawn and dusk periods, is all that is needed.
5. Regular Health Checks
Another factor is to conduct regular health checks. You need to look for any unusual lumps and bumps present, check for cuts, and more. If you notice any signs of ill health, visiting an experienced exotic vet and moving your leopard gecko to your sterile environment is always the best option.
In most cases, reptiles are resilient and can recover from most illnesses. If you’re not sure how to conduct a leopard gecko health check, you can always speak to a local breeder/vet who can help.
6. Bought from a Trusted Source
Finally, it is about ensuring that your gecko has been bought from a reputable and licensed breeder. These individuals are required by law to meet specific standards. Part of this is ensuring they have the right genes in the mix.
For example, you want to make sure that you avoid Enigma and Lemon Frost which both have problems. Lemon Frost is particularly troublesome as this morph is known to develop tumours by about five years old. These are both thankfully very rare morphs now.
7. No Cohabitation
While there are some exceptions to this, we know that Wicken Wicked Reptiles has successfully cohabitated with leopard geckos in the past with success, generally, it isn’t recommended. There is always the possibility that one gecko will become dominant, stealing more food or bullying the other one until it becomes stressed.
In some rare cases, the bullying can become so bad that one leopard gecko can attack another.
Some mammal species require breeding (or neutering) to lengthen lives, such as ferrets. However, there are many species, in both reptiles and mammals where breeding will shorten the lives of the animal. This is a natural process and something that can’t be stopped.
So unless you have a licence and are experienced, we don’t recommend randomly breeding your leopard geckos. It puts a strain on your leopard geckos, especially the females.
Final Word: What is the Maximum Leopard Gecko Lifespan?
The maximum leopard gecko lifespan is 28, which is the age of the oldest known leopard gecko. However, generally speaking, the average leopard gecko will live between 13 and 20 years, depending on the quality of care.