Tips, Recommendations and Advice
We are often asked just what exactly we use for our own animals? Whether it's food, vitamins and calcium supplements, etc... So I wanted to create this page as a reference for those that may still be looking for answers to their own questions.
Repticon - This has really proven to be a great venue in our experience, and we frequently vend at the Lakeland, Orlando and Jacksonville Florida locations. One of the best things about this show, is they have multiple shows throughout the year at the same locations, so you don't have to wait a year between shows! You can find more details by following the link below:
National Reptile Breeder's Expo - An annual expo that finds its home in Daytona, Florida around the 3rd weekend of August each year. Large venue, with many breeders showcasing their latest and greatest! You can visit their page here for more details.
The Leopard Gecko Advisor, by Ray Roehner. Ray Roehner has been breeding leopard geckos for many, many years, and owns Designer Geckos. This book is a terrific resource for both novice and experienced keepers alike, where you can learn quite a bit regarding all aspects of leopard gecko care - from proper husbandry to diet and breeding. You can find it on Amazon, or you may buy it directly from the author himself, from the Leopard Gecko Advisor website. Runs about $25, and worth every penny, even if you can only find a used copy.
We'd like to share where we get our feeders. We've ordered from a number of different online vendors, and after several years, we found that Rainbow Mealworms has become our primary choice for our staple feeders - superworms. It's been our experience that not only are they the most affordable for bulk feeders, but the quality of their insects is second to none. Additionally, their customer service is impeccable.
Originally, our staple diet of choice was mealworms, but have since transitioned to superworms, with zero regrets. Not only are superworms a superior choice when it comes to nutritional value for the geckos, but they are also much easier to care for. Win, win.
We would also like to recommend DubiaRoaches.com as a great source for your roach feeders. We do not use them ourselves, due to a combination of restrictions in the state of Florida and our own personal squeamishness towards roaches in general. The only species of roaches we would have considered for geckos, is strictly prohibited in Florida. However, we have ordered supplemental feeders from them (NutriGrubs), with great experiences and quality insects. Customer service is terrific as well.
Heating: For proper husbandry, it is crucial that proper belly heat and temperatures are available for your gecko(s). At Summa and Sons Leopard Geckos, we use 3" Flexwatt tape for all our racks, which are controlled by Herpstat 2 and Herpstat 4 thermostats. Flexwatt has been available to the reptile community for many years now, and have proven their quality. Herpstat has as well, and provide a tremendous amount of features to meet your most basic leopard gecko husbandry needs, as well as advanced functions that you may find you need in the future or if you expand into other species of reptiles. We highly recommend a quality thermostat that may cost a little more initially, over one that you may find yourself replacing due to poor quality or even worse, failure to function resulting in total loss of your animals and/or eggs in your incubators.
You can purchase these from another great online vendor, The Bean Farm. They have been in business for quite some time, and are very reliable. I believe they would even wire the flexwatt for you if requested.
Incubation Trays and Hide Boxes: We get our incubation trays and hide boxes, directly from Reptile Basics. We use the small size for our adults, and the x-small size for our hatchlings. However, for 2019, we will be testing out the use of Genpak microwaveable food containers from Webstaurantstore.com, for both our adults as well as our hatchlings. At less than $50 dollars for a case of 300, its worth the gamble. We will update this web page once we have tested them.
Bowls: The details for the bowls we use is quite comprehensive, and as such, we've created a page devoted to those details. This page goes into great detail about the different bowls we use and why. We've also listed exactly where anyone can purchase them directly themselves. Take a look here if you're interested - this page also includes details of the tub setup for each stage (hatchling, juvenile, adult). Hope you find it useful.
Infrared Temperature Gun: Maintaining proper temps cannot be achieved by the thermostat alone, you must also invest in a temperature gun to give you accurate surface temps, which you would use in conjunction with your thermostat to achieve optimal temps. As an example, we set one of our thermostats to 95 degrees, to provide an average of 92 degrees on one of our racks. We maintain and recommend a temp range of 89-93 degrees. This provides adequate temps for healthy leopard gecko digestion. You can pick one up for less than $20 dollars via Amazon, see here, but have also found that our local Walmart now carries these as well.
Tub Liners: We have two rack styles here for our adult breeders, our DIY racks use the Sterilite 1753 tubs, and our Animal Plastics brand rack uses the Iris men's shoeboxes available from The Container Store. While both boxes differ about an inch or so in length, the width is the same and allows me to use the same indented kraft paper roll for both. We now use the 18" wide indented kraft paper rolls from Aviditi - available through Amazon - cut in half with a miter saw, giving us two 9" rolls, with 300' each. For our Iris tub, we simply cut the liner at a length of 12.75", and for our Sterilite tub, we cut the liner at a length of 13.5". Price per 18" roll is currently $28.30, for 300' ($14.15 for each 9" roll).
Racks: First and foremost, I highly recommend building your own DIY rack, as you will definitely save money compared to purchasing one from any vendor. It's not difficult at all, and you will find a lot of resources online to help you in doing so. We built our first four racks ourselves, with materials found at our local Home Depot and/or Lowes. Just be sure to write down your details during the process, so you don't forget and you have them handy to reference when you decide to build your next rack.
However, if you do decide to buy your rack, rather than build yourself, I highly recommend Animal Plastics. They've been around for quite some time, and put out some quality racks. We only recently upgraded and purchase one from them, the Iris 375 Economy Plastics Rack. Has 12 shelves and holds 24 of the Iris brand men's shoeboxes. Putting it together was very easy, and all parts fit like a glove. The quality is exceptional. You definitely get what you pay for, and it was worth the price. So much so, we ordered a second rack... the second rack is the Iris 330 Economy Plastics Rack. Has 15 shelves and holds 45 of the Iris brand women's shoeboxes. The only caveat I would add is, order early as they do advise a turnaround time of 10-12 weeks. Worth the wait I assure you.
The reptile industry is inherently plagued by scammers and evil-doers, that really have created a bit of angst and apprehension for the consumer. For that reason, we want to share a few leopard gecko breeders who we highly recommend due to their customer service (including after the sale), the quality of their animals, and the confidence in the genetics they advise with each of their animals. Here is our own shortlist of those we have had direct experience with:
John Byer of JB Leopard Geckos
John Scarborough of Gecko Boa Reptiles
Rudy Aguin of Bold and Bright Geckos
Laurie Mitchell of LM Leopard Geckos
Ron Tremper of LeopardGecko.Com
Chris Charlton of SuburbanGeckos.Com
You will find many wonderful and well respected breeders that were not listed above in your search for the right animal that suits your needs, but we only listed those we have transacted with personally.
Additionally, you can visit the Fauna Classifieds BOI (Board of Inquiry) thread, and search the names of the breeders you are considering. This thread is used among many, to provide feedback for many reptile breeders, whether it be good... or bad. It can save a lot of heartache, and financial loss, taking this additional step to confirm the breeder's reputation before making payment. Fauna Classifieds also provides a great number of forums for a many reptile related topics, as well as classifieds sections for all types of reptiles.
Online Genetics Resources
Here we are sharing a few websites that we use to assist us in our own research with the multitude of morphs and genetics that come into play with leopard geckos.
Gecko Boa Reptiles - John Scarborough has put in a lot of time and effort with his Leopard Gecko Genetics page. There's a lot to absorb and learn, so please take your time reviewing it yourself, a great, valuable resource.
Geckos Etc. Herpteculture - Steve Sykes has also compiled a comprehensive guide on his Leopard Gecko Genetics page as well.
Morph Market - While I don't use this site to actually buy animals from, it does offer a very useful tool that will allow you to enter the genetic make-up of your adults, to predict what potential offspring can be made from the pairing. Check out the Leopard Gecko Genetic Calculator and test it out!
ReptileCalculator.Com - Another site with a great calculator to predict possible offspring, provided you know the genetics of the parent animals.
LeopardGeckoWiki.Com - This site has a lot of useful information for a great number of different morphs and their history.
We hope that the information shared above will assist you in your journey into the world of leopard gecko care and, if you're so inclined, breeding as well.
- Summa and Sons Leopard Geckos