T O P

I recently adopted a gecko from PetSmart. The picture below is the tank I have her in, 20 long but I need advice about her behavior.

I recently adopted a gecko from PetSmart. The picture below is the tank I have her in, 20 long but I need advice about her behavior.

kitttgonewild

The temps are all correct in her tank and she has a UTH set at 88 f. She hides in her cool hide all day long and poops in it too. Whenever I move her hide to clean it she slowly moves to a corner and just sits there. Some days she doesn't want to eat. She looks healthy and plump but I'm worried she's too stressed.


Fraxinus2018

Leopard geckos require a [heat gradient](https://www.reddit.com/r/leopardgeckosadvanced/comments/ormkcv/visual_guide_temperature_gradient/) to properly thermoregulate. This gradient can be difficult to achieve with a heat mat, which is why overhead heat in the form of a heat projector or halogen bulb is recommended. Do you have a way to measure the air and surface temperatures in the enclosure? It also takes leos some time to acclimate to new surroundings, so it might just be a phase. If you haven't seen these already, here are some [guides to setup and care](https://www.reddit.com/r/leopardgeckosadvanced/comments/o3gzrr/compendium_of_visual_guides_and_resources/) with lots of good information.


kitttgonewild

I have two thermometers and a hydrogemeter, how're you spell that. I have a basking lamp on during the day the ambient temp on the hot side is around 90 and on the cool side is around 80. The heating pad stays on 24/7 At the pet store she was hiding too.


fionageck

Just letting you know: analog/dial gauges are very inaccurate, digital ones are needed. A temperature gun is best for surface temps. A heat mat is unnecessary with a properly setup heat lamp. Also, once your gecko has been quarantined for six weeks (it’d be a good idea to get them checked out at an exotic vet too considering they came from PetSmart, which is not a good place to get animals), I’d switch to a suitable loose substrate such as a soil/playsand mix for digging enrichment.


kitttgonewild

I plan to add a little dig hide for her like in a jar of some sort. Are there any digital ones you recommend I've bought a few but all of them were broken.


fionageck

A dig hide honestly won’t offer much enrichment, loose substrate (or at least half loose) would be a million times better. After quarantine of course. Pretty much any digital thermometer/hygrometer will do for ambient temps and humidity. You can get one with a probe from brands like zoo med or exo terra, or ones not branded for reptiles on Amazon. Although temp guns are best for measuring the basking spot temp


kitttgonewild

I'm nervous to try loose because she's still a baby and licking everything for some reason so for now it's tile. I could always take out half the tiles and do the cool side with a loose substrate.


fionageck

Ahh, ok. You could wait until they’re six months old if you want (although not knowing their age complicates things), although with proper husbandry (basking spot of 92-95, etc.), a suitable loose substrate is safe regardless of age. Here’s a good article about it https://reptifiles.com/does-loose-substrate-cause-impaction/


kitttgonewild

Yeah the lady didn't know so I'm just guessing right now, I don't want to stress her out anymore by moving stuff around and the tile is super easy to clean so I don't have to touch her to take her out


xxdankpatataxx

Yeah your good where u are its a good stearl tank for the leopard gecko to get used to and rember there nocturnal/prepuscular, if thats how u spell it, witch means there active during dawn, night time and dusk so your most likily not gonna see them moving durin the day so just let your gecko get used to its new environment i think shes fine


Fraxinus2018

More foreground clutter might help, but honestly in a tank that size there's not much room for exploration or enrichment. Your gecko is more than likely just going to pick a spot and stay there, unless they need to warm up or cool down. Your ambient temps are also on the high end, so it makes sense that she'd be in her cool hide a lot.


kitttgonewild

At night she goes in her warm hide and lays on the tiles. What would you suggest for foreground clutter? Also isn't 20 long the recommended size, she's still a juvenile too.


Fraxinus2018

Fake plants, pieces of wood...pretty much any decor that can offer some cover or additional hiding spots. 20 gallon, long tanks are the bare minimum recommendation in terms of usable floor space. I don't think you need to rush out and get something bigger, but a larger enclosure would be a significant improvement if you have the opportunity to upgrade.


kitttgonewild

I plan to eventually get a bigger one with a front opening door but for right now this is what I can do. Is it okay if the floor is a little crowded?


Fraxinus2018

Having clutter and climbing opportunities might encourage your leo to come out and explore a bit. Don't be worried about too much of it. Leos are prey animals that like to be hidden. I don't think you can go wrong filling the space. Just make sure there's at least a small basking area under your lamp.


kitttgonewild

When should I be worried about her? She's keeping weight and eating somewhat regular but I have to actually look for her to see if she's okay. Is it just a new reptile thing?


Rebel_816

Yes. They're somewhat skittish by nature. Don't be surprised if it takes a couple weeks for her to settle in her new environment. You seem to have a good grasp on the habitat needs, so as long as she's eating and pooping I wouldn't worry. I do agree that a few more decorations might make the tank feel less exposed.


Silly_0ne

This is more about you than her. She's likely fine. It's normal to be paranoid at first, but you'll get over it once you know her better and know what's normal behavior for her.


kitttgonewild

She doesn't explore her tank at all even at night she only comes out to drink water at around 11 pm.


reptileskatie

Do you have an thermostat and a thermometer


kitttgonewild

Two thermometers and a thermostat for the UTH


TaxiSoda

Never be afraid of adding lots more, there are never TOO many decorations for a Leo :) They prefer crowded with lots and lots of sneak spots, they usually like being able to move from hide to hide in secret/partial covering:)


kitttgonewild

Do they like having hanging Vines?


TaxiSoda

They may not use them as much a crestie but all decorations are a plus, especially if you hang them where she can mess around in them :)


kitttgonewild

Thank you so much I just want to make sure she's happy I already love her even though she doesn't like me XD


TaxiSoda

Haha, they take time! There is no such thing as too much! Promise! They love the different textures;) And new smells and fun things to climb on at night once she feels more comfy


kitttgonewild

Thank goodness, she's my first ever reptile so I'm still super unsure about everything.


TaxiSoda

Of course! Dm me if you have questions, I remember how scary it was being a noob!!!!!


kitttgonewild

Thank you!


dishonestscorpion

add a lot of clutter in the tank, rocks, sticks, fake plants, etc! also i would research what decor to get because ive heard some woods are toxic


kitttgonewild

Is there such thing as too much clutter?


dishonestscorpion

(i think this was a satirical comment but just incase im gonna give advice) i would keep it so theres a decent space for your leo to walk, but still a decent amount of decorations for climbing and hiding!


kitttgonewild

It wasn't! I just don't want her to feel crowded :( I haven't seen her climb anything. Do those reptile ladders work?


crescentcactus

You keep seeming to be worried about it being "too cluttered", but keep in mind they have instincts to stay out of sight in the wild or else they will be killed. If you want her to actually explore then she NEEDS more clutter. They feel safer next to and under logs and rocks and plants. Have some logs proped up on the hides diagonally so she can go under and around them. Maybe one of those ladders that she can use or even go under. Fake plants would be awesome. She'll explore more if she has more nooks and crannies to explore.


dishonestscorpion

i never researched them but in my experience, my leo has always liked those reptile hammocks, fake vines, rocks, and sticks, but i would research the reptile ladders, they might be good! leos like crowded spaces, but make sure to leave a bit of walking space


kitttgonewild

Okay! I'm gonna look on Amazon since things seem cheaper there. I didn't buy any since I thought she wouldn't like them but it's the opposite!


MasonP13

The tank looks nice! Add more decor for her to climb on. Plus make sure temperatures are correct. You want one side to be warm and the other side should be okay being as low as room temp. ALL HEAT SHOULD BE ON THE SAME SIDE. That way she can go to colder parts if she is too warm


MasonP13

Secondly. Babies are very shy. They're BABY! Very smol things. She might just be getting used to her new home. --- As long as temperature is good, They are drinking water, and they aren't losing weight... They are perfectly fine. I've had my Leo's go on hunger strikes for up to a week before I cave and give them roaches or super worms or something fancy.


kitttgonewild

Thanks for the advice! I've been making sure all her temps are right. But for some reason my UTH which is hooked up to a thermostat is always lower then the set temp.


MasonP13

Personally, it's better to be lower than you want it, rather than higher


kitttgonewild

What temp should it be at?


MasonP13

75 on the cold side, 85 on the hot side


fionageck

85 is too cold for the basking spot, it should be in the low to mid 90s


kitttgonewild

That's what it's averaging now. Is it bad if some days is hotter than others? Texas weather is wack right now


MasonP13

I keep my room at 72. Try to keep the cage below 90, or else I'd start turning off lights or the UTH


kitttgonewild

On some websites I read to leave it on 24/7 which is what I'm doing now.


MasonP13

The light? Leo's are nocturnal and like to come out in darkness. The UTH? If you're in Texas and room temperature doesn't go below 80, she doesn't need heatm


Rebel_816

No need for 24/7 lighting. They need a day and night cycle. Even though sites will say they can't see the red night bulbs, they can still see the light from them. (Think black and white tv). They can absolutely see a dot from laser pointer.


Academic_Monk_3105

How long have you had her?


kitttgonewild

A little over a week.


Academic_Monk_3105

She might still just be getting used to her surroundings then.


kitttgonewild

Is it normal for her to go a day without eating? She looks interested in the mealworms but wont eat them.


Academic_Monk_3105

A day isn't too much to worry about. You should also try giving her more cover in order to feel safer. The front of the enclosure looks a little too open.


kitttgonewild

Should I add fake plants? I don't want her to get too cramped since it already seems too crowded with the three hides.


anon0630

Not a reptile expert by any means, though I like them. I have a lot of experience with fish though. The more hiding places you give fish, the more they are out in the open. I can't exactly explain the reasoning - perhaps the fish are more comfortable because they know that they are always close to a hiding spot, but it definitely works.


xxdankpatataxx

Also that warm hide is a little open, i had that exact one and my gecko was very exsposed when he was in in and when he did hide in it he went to the very edge of the hide just to have cover


ThatOneShyGirl

I agree with this! My gecko tanks are extremely busy and cluttered—lots of fake plants, rocks, bridges, etc. Now that they're full of stuff, all 3 of my babies tend to lay out in the open! It's strange! /u/kitttgonewild


Silly_0ne

You are spot on. Leopardgeckos are the same and I suspect that your reason why is correct too.


Academic_Monk_3105

Yeah, a fake plant would be good.


kitttgonewild

Is there any too stay away from? That might hurt her?


Academic_Monk_3105

Any of the exo terra or zoo med plants are a good option. You can get them for a pretty good price on Amazon. Anything that is marketed for reptiles should be fine.


kitttgonewild

Okay! I'll get her a few my next paycheck hopefully she'll be happier.


coyotelovers

It can take a month for them to fully acclimate. It's also not unusual for them to be in a hide all day. I wouldn't worry too much at this point.


Able_Cryptographer66

More clutter can be better. They live in rocky out croppings in Pakistan. If you were feeling crafty you could get some flat rocks and build a stack that you like the look of and then silicon it together with GE 1 silicon as it is 100% silicon and safe for them. This way she could get a better heat gradient and would mostly likely climb on it as they like to sturdy on their feet. If you do decide to make a rocky outcropping then just double check to make sure there is not chance for then rocks to move or fall over.


LpSweetPea

How old is she?


kitttgonewild

I don't really know? I adopted her from PetSmart and she was larger then the other baby's I would say she's closer to juvenile since she's around 4 inches.


LpSweetPea

Looking at her on your profile I’d guess around 1-2ish months, so that could also mean she’s close to shedding (decrease in appetite). That in addition to the new environment could be why. :) Aside from adding some additional clutter to the tank and the advice you’ve already gotten from other users I don’t think you’ve got much to worry about, especially if she’s not showing any signs of illness or malnutrition. It took mine three weeks when I got her to adjust and explore and she couldn’t be more healthy and active now. :D


MasonP13

You can usually ask the store at least how long the babies have been in. From a petco employee, the hatchings are usually around 4 months when they arrive, USUALLY, but they don't tell us exact numbers.


singing_softly

I think your hides are a little too big, they should feel nice and snug for your baby so she feels safe and comfortable. A hidden baby is a happy baby.


veryhairytoast

Agreed; the one on the left is probably too big to even be considered a "hide" for a gecko. There's no where in there to hide.


singing_softly

Honestly I kinda see a few things wrong with the setup, but I don't want to be rude or patronizing because no one is perfect when we're still learning. I've had my elder crestie for 13ish years and I have made plenty of mistakes along the way, the important thing is that you fix them for the health and happiness of your animal because they shouldn't just survive in your care, they should *thrive*. I recommend OP check out Wickens Wicked Reptiles on YouTube because he has a great care guide while being entertaining to watch, I feel like he cuts through the bullshit to give you straight facts.


kitttgonewild

The one on the left came with the tank so I'm using that as a place holder till I find another that I like. Is it going to be too big even when she's a adult?


singing_softly

Yes


Silly_0ne

Mostly the entrance is the problem. If you can block off part of it with a rock or something then it could be fine. A hide needs to be dark so that the gecko is actually... well hidden in there.


kitttgonewild

I'm buying a ton of fake plants and tree limbs for it!


sexygollum_

Shes probably just a little stressed from being in a new home. try to let her be and get used to it for a little. I'd suggest some kind of fake plant like in front of one of the hides or in the front of the tank, and maybe some kind of sticks or something to climb on rather than only the hides. Overall not too bad of a setup!


reptileskatie

You need some plants


TroLLageK

The big warm side hide might have too big of an opening for her to feel safe inside! Others have mentioned adding clutter, I would definitely put something to help "decrease" the size of the entrance of the hide. :) Mine LOVES his wooden pieces, he climbs all over them at night. I algo got him a hammock which he enjoys!


kitttgonewild

Would it be better to put a fake plant blocking half of the entrance? Ive seen the hammocks at PetSmart but wasn't sure if they would use them too much


StrictJackfruit387

My gecko hides a lot too. She barely comes out unless she wants food. Other than that, My gecko is healthy and has a really big appetite lol. I think some geckos just feel safer when they hide a lot. I’d also say that it took a month until my gecko felt more comfortable. For literally an entire month, my gecko barely ate. The only thing I was able to get her to eat were waxworms which obviously aren’t even that good for them. She’s completely fine now though and eats any insect that comes her way.


kitttgonewild

It's my first gecko so I was super excited for it and I get that it'll take a bit I just want her to be not stressed. She hates when I have to move her houses to clean


StrictJackfruit387

Do you by any chance check on her at night? Leopard geckos are nocturnal so they become more active at night. And yea same. My gecko hates it when I move things around in her tank and I have to be careful to not move too quickly around her cus that scares her. And I can’t be too loud.


kitttgonewild

I do she comes out to eat her calcium and drink.


UrsaWizard

The advice about clutter here is great and I saw your comment about her spending a lot of time in her cool hide, which may be because the warm hide has such an open mouth. When you get some clutter, maybe some fake plants, I’d put them partially covering the mouth of that cave so it’s much harder to “look in”, which might make her feel more comfortable using it in the day time. I also found that using a DHP as a main heat source with a mild UVB for lighting really upped the activity level and natural cryptic basking behavior of my leo :))


kitttgonewild

Everywhere I've seen has been an UTH as a suggestion I've looked at like ten different websites and videos. There seems to be so many different ways to do it.


UrsaWizard

Yeah that was the older standard and it’s not terrible but the newer careguides seems to be moving towards DHPs, halogens, etc. If you do some googling on them it makes a ton of sense why. Sure they need “belly heat” but in the wild they’re getting that by laying on rocks that have absorbed the sun’s heat from above. So I totally noticed more behaviors of moving out to “bask” in the morning or late evening when I switched to the DHP. He just seemed to “comfortably” roam the tank and use more when I switched, which is why I recommended it since you were seeing all hiding behaviors in this set up. My guy spent way more time on hot tile in a hide just sleeping when he was on belly heat. When I switched to DHP + loose substrate + stone basking area, I started to see him do some really cool stuff :) (though I get using tile until they’re a bit bigger, agree with the other commenter that the risk from impaction with a proper loose sub mix and good husbandry is lower than the risks of joint issues from a full life on hard tile, plus the enrichment).


kitttgonewild

Would taking half the tiles out to make the cool side loose substrate be a good idea? Do you leave the deep heat on all day long or off at night? Cause right now she's on a day night light cycle but the UTH is on all day


UrsaWizard

Yeah half and half would work great I think! Fun enrichment there too. For my set up I have a DHP for hot spot, which I leave on 24 hours a day on a thermostat. Then I have a halogen lamp to up the ambient temperate that’s on a timer (in a cheap flukers dimmer lamp so I can adjust it in summer/winter), along with a low UVB bar that also is on a day/night cycle :)


[deleted]

Never Buy Animals from Petco or PetSmart | Animal Mills https://youtu.be/CPeN643dBu4


ezio_diaz

Just a suggestion but I noticed you said the hot side is roughly 90 maybe try bringing it down a few degrees if possible like 88 or 87 maybe 90 is to hot for your gecko every gecko reacts differently


kitttgonewild

We have our ac set to 75 right now. I think it gets a little hotter since it's a room we use a lot. I'm trying to mess with the temps to see


DandelionPinion

Cover the sides with something. I like black poster board, but paper will work.


kitttgonewild

Would it being dark inside be a bad thing?


DandelionPinion

Hasn't hurt either of mine.


kitttgonewild

I might just get another printed stocker like I have on the back


DandelionPinion

That would be perfect if you can find them. Also be sure to tape them to the outside that way they don't get poop in them or get wet when you mist her humid hide.


kitttgonewild

Yeah that's what I did with the back one it goes on like a window tint.


DandelionPinion

Cool!


Gloves_Guy

Tile can get really hot, especially when you aren't measuring its surface temps. While I agree that she's young and not likely to move around much the first few days, she might not be moving around because it's too hot on the ground for her. The fact that she's defecating in her hide is concerning to me, because animals normally don't want to crap where they sleep unless they don't have a lot of choices. Tl;Dr: a substrate would be better than tile, use a heat sensing digital t-stat, and add some more clutter to the cage so she feels protected.


kitttgonewild

I'm buying more fake plants and I'm more worried about her eating the substrate. Everywhere I say said that tile was a good option because it's easy to clean and holds heat good. I have the thermostat set on top of the tile to make sure it doesn't get too hot.


kitttgonewild

All of these comments are super helpful! I'm going to buy a ton of fake plants and climbable branches for her, as well as a deep heat projector to replace my UTH, after a while. I'm also going to get a digital thermometer and hydrogemeter if anyone has recommendations for that please please put the link in the comment.


Silly_0ne

Sounds like you're doing great for a new owner. Be aware that a Deep Heat Projector needs a dimming thermostat. By the way it's spelled hygrometer, but I like your spelling too. : D


kitttgonewild

Google autocorrect is a hell of a thing XD and I plan to get that later on when I have money and she's actually coming out


kitttgonewild

Just an update I bought a new more enclosed hide to replace the bigger one. I bought a ton of fake plants and vines for the sides of the tank. I also bought two digital thermometers and hygrometers for each side of the tank and she'll be switching to homemade loose substrate once she gets older as well as a deep heat projector!