Leopard geckos are some of the most popular reptile pets. They've been domesticated and bred in the US for more than 30 years, and they've been appreciated for their calm and tame nature.
Although they tend to be the first reptile companion that a lot of people, there are quite a few questions that a lot of people have about leopard geckos. Perhaps the most prominently-asked question is: How much does a leopard gecko cost?
We've calculated that the initial cost of ownership is between $315 and $905 for the first year, with each additional year of ownership costing between $80 and $260. There are quite a few factors that can contribute to higher or lower costs of your leopard gecko, though.
Leopard Gecko Cost Breakdown
When calculating the total cost of a leopard gecko, you need to take into account quite a few different factors. There's a good amount of supplies that you need to purchase in addition to the gecko itself.
Housing, food, substrate, and occasional medical care are all factors that play into a leopard gecko's cost. In the table below, we've broken down some of these factors into concrete costs.
The "Initial Cost" column adds up the cost of the first year of ownership, including the purchasing of initial necessary supplies. "Yearly Cost" covers the recurring costs of leopard gecko ownership.
For a more detailed breakdown of each item, you can either click on the name of the product / service or simply scroll down past the table.
Product / Service
$30 - $100
$100 - $300
$10 - $30
$20 - $50
$30 - $100
$10 - $20
$5 - $15
$60 - $120
$60 - $120
$10 - $20
$10 - $20
$10 - $20
$10 - $20
$0 - $50
$0 - $50
$0 - $50
$0 - $50
$315 - $905
$80 - $260
Cost Of Purchasing The Leopard Gecko Itself
The leopard gecko itself can either be a small or large portion of overall ownership costs. This factor depends largely on the kind of leopard gecko that you want to get. There are tons of different kinds of leopard geckos, all with unique traits and appearances. Prices of these geckos are all unique, too.
Normal and Hypo leopard geckos are some of the most common kinds, and they'll generally cost you between $30 and $45. Tangerine leopard geckos generally cost around $130, and they're characterized by their unique orange skin.
Some species get even more expensive, such as the Mandarin Tremper Enigma, regularly costing around $600. While the more expensive leopard geckos generally look very unique, a $35 leopard gecko makes for an equally awesome pet.
There are a few places that you can buy a leopard gecko from. The obvious place is a pet store near you. While big brand pet stores generally all carry leopard geckos, it's a common consensus that they shouldn't be supported as they treat their animals poorly.
Instead, if you want to be a bit more conscious, you can seek out a local pet shop that's smaller and puts more care into their animals.
A few specialty websites exist that sell and safely ship leopard geckos to your door, such as Morph Market and BHB Reptiles. These websites are excellent for finding more expensive, unique leopard geckos.
If rescuing is more up your alley, you can use a website such as Petfinder, although leopard geckos are very rare on that website.
Leopard Gecko Enclosure & Accessories Costs
A leopard gecko is not an animal that can be thrown into a cage and expected to thrive. There is a healthy number of supplies that you'll need in order to provide a safe and comfortable home for your leopard gecko.
Their enclosure should closely mimic the environment that they've been living in for thousands of years. Fortunately, most of these items only need to be purchased once as they should last a lifetime.
Your leopard gecko's enclosure itself is extremely important and should be safe, customizable, and the correct size. You'll want to find a tank that's at least 10 gallons, but most owners opt to go for a 20 gallon tank.
Too small and there won't be enough space to adequately decorate it, but too large and your gecko may struggle to find its heat source. As for the height of the tank, nothing more than 1 foot high is necessary. A mesh lid should be kept on the tank at all times for safety.
Fortunately, a tank that meets these requirements is not extremely expensive. A 10 gallon tank with a mesh top generally won't cost more than $50. A 20 gallon tank and mesh top will cost a bit more, but tend to stay under $100.
Leopard geckos are reptiles. As such, they require an effective heat source to be readily available for them. This heat can either be provided through a heat lamp or a heat mat. Either one of these placed on one side of the leopard gecko's enclosure will help to provide a great spot to warm themselves.
There are many different heat lamps available on the market, but you need to be picky. The heat lamp shouldn't be too strong, and it shouldn't actually emit any light as it can damage a leopard gecko's eyes. You can get a good quality lamp and 100w bulb for around $10 each, which is very affordable.
A heat mat can also be placed underneath an enclosure to create a warm spot for the leopard gecko to lay on. Expect to pay between $15 and $25 for a mat that covers a good amount of space and is strong enough to penetrate the tank and the substrate.
This is an optional accessory that entirely depends on the location of your leopard gecko in your house. Leopard geckos are crepuscular, meaning that they're active during dawn and dusk. Therefore, you need to make sure that their light exposure allows their circadian rhythm (their body's awake and sleep cycle) to function.
If your leopard gecko is located near a window and gets plenty of sun during the day, then there's no need for additional lighting. If daylight is more scarce, you may want to provide them with supplemental light.
You can get a UVB bulb for around $20, and it should last you for quite a long time. Make sure that you turn the light off at night, as leopard geckos shouldn't have constant exposure to light. They like the darkness at night just like us!
Rocks & Other Decor
Putting rocks, bark, and different structures into your leopard gecko's tank is how you're really going to transform it into a gecko paradise. These will be placed in your gecko's tank in addition to their 'hides', which are covered a little further down in this guide.
You don't need to purchase decorations that are specifically marketed for reptiles -- this is your time to get creative!
There are three main kinds of decor that owners put into their gecko's tank. There's wood, rocks, and plants. Although it may seem economical to get these items from your own backyard, this isn't recommended as they may have parasites and other harmful things on them.
Combining these different environmental decorations is a great way to provide your leopard gecko with a stimulating and interactive home.
You shouldn't expect to spend more than $50 for an average tank, but an advanced tank could cost around $100.
Thermometer / Hygrometer
The environmental conditions of your leopard gecko need to be monitored in order to ensure that they're healthy. Both the temperature and the humidity of your gecko's tank need to be monitored, so you'll need both a thermometer and a hygrometer, respectively.
Fortunately, there are products that combine the two into a single unit, such as this one. This tool typically only costs around $15 and is absolutely invaluable.
Your leopard gecko's enclosure should have a temperature gradient. This means that one side of their enclosure should be around 70°F to 75°F, while the warmer side is right around 90°F.
As for humidity, a level of between 20% and 40% should always be maintained, especially when your gecko is shedding.
Keeping track of the temperature and humidity is a very important part of leopard gecko ownership.
Food & Water Containers
Unsurprisingly, leopard geckos eat and drink, so they need bowls to contain that stuff! For water, you can either get a standard ceramic dish or a more natural-looking rock dish. Just make sure that the dish is cleaned regularly and has a constant supply of reptile-safe water in it.
If you're feeding your gecko live food like meal worms, it's smart to supply them with a food dish that contains the food well.
These dishes shouldn't cost much more than $20 combined, and will easily last a lifetime with consistent cleaning and care.
Geckos need things called hides in order to feel comfortable and safe in their environment. It's generally recommended that you supply your leopard gecko with 3 hides, two of which should be dry hides.
You should place one dry hide in the colder area of the tank, with the other dry hide being placed under the heat lamp. This allows for good diversity in your gecko's tank and lets them feel secure in whichever temperature they prefer.
Getting crafty with your gecko's dry hides is a great way to make their tank interesting and fun to look at. $30 is the most that you'll spend for a leopard gecko hide.
A humid hide is very similar to a dry hide, with the main difference being that this hide should be kept humid (duh)! This environment will give your gecko a nice place to relax and, primarily, shed their skin. Therefore, it's important that you always provide your gecko with a well-maintained humid hide.
Like the dry hide, you can also make this humid hide from scratch! Safe tupperware filled with moss will work just fine, and this costs under $10.
However, there are some excellent pre-made humid hides that provide a comfy and humid environment for leopard geckos and don't cost much more than $20.
Leopard Gecko Consumables Costs
Consumables are the main source of yearly costs of leopard gecko ownership. Food, substrate, and moss will all eventually be used up and need to be replaced. It may be tempting to get cheap variants of these items in order to save money, but that's not recommended.
Your leopard gecko will come in contact with these items every day, so you'll want to provide them with the highest quality variants possible.
Leopard geckos are insectivores, meaning that they eat insects and only insects. This makes feeding time a little bit easier, as there's not too many foods to choose from. The four most common leopard gecko foods are crickets, mealworms, superworms, and dubia roaches.
It's up to you to decide which food to feed your gecko! Leopard geckos are pretty weird creatures, though.
You may find that your gecko can become picky quite randomly and entirely shut down a food they've been eating for years. This is annoying, but easy enough to deal with as the common insects used for gecko food are basically interchangeable.
Not only are they nutritionally-similar, but they also cost a similar amount. You can expect to pay between $60 and $120 yearly for your leopard gecko's food.
One more cost that you may incur is for something called a gut-loading food. This food is given to feeder insects around 24 hours before they're fed to your gecko. This makes them much more nutritious for your gecko, giving you more of a bang for your buck.
This is a very cheap investment, fortunately, and will only cost about $10 to $20 per year.
Substrate is the material that you place at the bottom of your leopard gecko's enclosure. This works to make for a more comfortable floor, and it also absorbs waste and makes the enclosure much cleaner. There are several different kinds of substrate, and all kinds cost different amounts and require differing amounts of work.
First of all, there's reptile carpet which is simply laid down at the bottom of an enclosure like normal carpet. It may be a bit of a pain to clean, but it's very cheap, safe, and not messy at all. Reptile carpet is extremely cheap in the long run because it's washable and reusable, so you'll spend about $15 on substrate.
Loose substrate is also an option, such as a coconut substrate. It's easy to replace and looks very natural. You do have to be cautious with the dustiness, though. Leopard geckos come from a dry area, meaning that their substrate also needs to be dry.
Dry substrate can get quite dusty, which may irritate a gecko. Since leopard geckos don't need deep substrate, you'll only spend about $20 a year with coconut fiber.
Be sure to avoid fine substrate like sand and gravel! It may be cheap, but it can cause impaction if ingested.
Sphagnum moss is an excellent moss to use in your leopard gecko's enclosure. This moss holds moisture for longer than other kinds of moss, making it more hands-off. It's also very good at not decomposing.
Sphagnum moss will mostly be used within your gecko's humid hide, and it should be soaked regularly.
When you notice the moss starting to break down, simply replace it with fresh moss. This is a very cheap component of your gecko's cage, only about $10 per year, so it will barely contribute to the total cost of ownership.
Leopard Gecko Medical Costs
Leopard geckos are living creatures, and as such may run into random medical problems. Even if you take excellent care of your leopard gecko, there's a chance that they may experience issues that were unavoidable.
Therefore, it's important that you stay watchful and observant, giving yourself time to care for your gecko if a problem does occur.
There isn't a high chance that your leopard gecko will run into a lot of problems, but it's good to be prepared emotionally and financially.
Parasite / Disease Meds
Parasites, mites, and other diseases in leopard geckos are fortunately not very common. If you're careful about what you put into your leopard gecko's tank, then they likely won't run into one of these problems.
However, this doesn't mean that they're immune. Leopard geckos can get mites from a bad batch of bedding, and they can get infections from several different sources. Therefore, you need to keep a watchful eye on your leopard gecko and take action when you notice a problem arise.
The most expensive part of this would be the veterinary visit, which can easily cost around $100. The medication itself, though, varies greatly in price from a few dollars to several hundred.
Random Medical Needs
Once again, leopard geckos can get sick quite randomly, even if you're a very vigilant owner. This list of the 10 most common diseases in leopard geckos is a great resource for new leopard gecko owners.
It's important to learn about what can cause common issues so that you can work to avoid those. Once you know what most commonly effects leopard geckos and you take the steps to avoid those problems, the chances of your gecko living a long and healthy life rise greatly.
Many of the problems that leopard geckos experience can be fixed for either a low cost or for nothing at all. Many over the counter products cost between $10 and $50. Surgical remedies will cost quite a bit more, however.
Are Leopard Geckos Cheap Pets To Own?
Overall, leopard geckos are actually quite cheap to own. The initial cost of leopard gecko ownership is decently high as there's a lot of initial supplies required, but the yearly costs after that are substantially lower.
Of course, if you decide to invest in higher-quality supplies (which is recommended), then your initial and yearly costs will be slightly higher. Most owners only spend between $100 and $150 a year.
The ongoing costs of leopard gecko ownership remain consistent throughout their lifetime. Food and substrate consumption will essentially remain the same from adolescence until late adulthood, meaning that you shouldn't see many fluctuations in your yearly spending.
The main variable that may contribute to varied costs would the health of your leopard gecko. If you have a healthy gecko, ownership costs will be next to nothing. A sick gecko can rack up the medical bills, though.
So, leopard geckos may be a bit expensive to purchase initially, but they're very cheap pets to own. Regardless, leopard geckos are amazing pets that are so funny and interesting to watch and experience. My leopard geckos had such unique personalities that I really appreciated during the years that I had them.