Leopard geckos are a popular reptile choice for pet owners due to their docile nature and relatively low maintenance requirements.
The average male leopard gecko lifespan is about 15-20 years, while females tend to live slightly shorter lives, with an average lifespan of 10-15 years. (1)
However, there are a few factors that can decrease the lifespan of your gecko by years, or cause its health to deteriorate quickly with age. Let’s go through them!
Lifespan Factor #1: Sex/Gender
There are several reasons why females tend to have shorter lifespans than males. One of the main reasons is that the process of ovulation and egg-laying requires a lot of energy and can tax the body, leading to a shorter lifespan in female leopard geckos.
However, it’s worth noting that females that are not bred may live just as long as males. Additionally, as the lifespan has wide ranges, female geckos can easily outlive males as well!
Lifespan Factor #2: Diet
One of the most important factors in determining a leopard gecko’s lifespan is diet and overall health. These animals require a healthy and well-balanced diet to thrive, and providing them with the necessary supplements can help to ensure their long-term health.
In the wild, their average lifespan is only about 6-8 years due to various deficiencies – mainly calcium. That’s why calcium is the most important supplement you add to almost every meal! (read all about supplements for leopard geckos in our guide!)
Lifespan Factor #3: Temperature & Humidity
Leopard geckos are very sensitive to temperature and humidity levels, so if their environment isn’t properly maintained it can have a significant impact on their lifespan. An improper temperature and humidity setup can cause dehydration, stress, respiratory issues, poor appetite, and other health problems.
To ensure your leopard gecko lives the longest life possible, you must provide them with an appropriate habitat that includes the right temperature range and relative humidity in the right range. Learn all about this in our complete guides to temperature setup and humidity setup for your gecko tank!
Additionally, providing a shallow water dish for soaking and a humid hide for shedding is necessary to keep your lizard hydrated and healthy.
Lifespan Factor #4: Stress
Stress is one of the main factors that can affect the health of a leopard gecko, and it’s important to provide them with a calm and stress-free environment. Loud noise, flashing lights, and lots of movement can all irritate a leopard gecko. Especially in the beginning, when you just brought your new pet home, make sure it has a place in a calm room.
Other factors are lights during night-time, excessive handling, or threatening situations. This includes reaching into the tank from above, as birds are a major threat to leopard geckos, which usually reach for them from above.
10 Practical Tips to Extend your Leopard Gecko Lifespan
With proper care, a leopard gecko’s lifespan can be extended to about 20 years, while improper care can cost years of its life.
Here are ten practical and applicable tips to help you keep your leopard gecko healthy and extend its lifespan:
#1: Provide an appropriate habitat: Create a comfortable and naturalistic environment for your leopard gecko by using a well-ventilated terrarium (minimum 10-gallon capacity for juveniles, minimum 20-gallon for adults). Include multiple hiding spots, a heat source, and a UVB light for their well-being.
Learn more about selecting the proper tank for your leopard gecko.
#2: Maintain proper temperatures: Leopard geckos need a temperature gradient in their habitat, with a warm basking spot (88-92°F) and a cooler side (around 75°F). Use an under-tank heater or a ceramic heat emitter to maintain consistent temperatures and monitor them with a digital thermometer.
#3: Supply adequate humidity: Keep the humidity level in your gecko’s habitat between 30-40%. Include a moist hide box filled with damp sphagnum moss or paper towels to aid in shedding and prevent dehydration.
Read more about managing leopard gecko humidity levels.
#4: Feed a varied diet: Offer a balanced diet of live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, and dubia roaches. Supplement their diet with calcium and multivitamin powders to ensure proper growth and bone health.
Click here for our full guide on leopard gecko diets & food schedules.
#5: Keep a clean environment: Clean your gecko’s habitat regularly, removing waste and uneaten food daily. Perform a thorough cleaning, including disinfecting the tank and replacing the substrate, at least once a month.
#6: Handle with care: Limit handling to when necessary and always handle your gecko gently to reduce stress. Wash your hands before and after touching your gecko to minimize the risk of transmitting diseases or parasites.
#7: Schedule routine check-ups: Take your leopard gecko to a qualified reptile veterinarian for regular check-ups and parasite screenings. Early detection of health issues can significantly improve your pet’s chances of recovery and prolong its life.
#8: Monitor your gecko’s weight: Keep an eye on your gecko’s weight and body condition. Overweight or underweight geckos may suffer from health issues, so adjusting their diet and exercise accordingly can help maintain their health.
#9: Provide mental stimulation: Enrich your gecko’s environment with a variety of textures, hiding spots, and climbing opportunities. This will encourage natural behaviors and keep your gecko physically and mentally healthy.
#10: Educate yourself: Stay informed about leopard gecko care and join forums or social media groups to connect with other owners. Keeping up-to-date with the latest care practices will help you provide the best possible environment for your pet, promoting a long and healthy life.
By following these practical tips, you can ensure your leopard gecko stays healthy and lives a long, fulfilling life as your companion. Remember to consult with a reptile veterinarian if you have any concerns about your gecko’s health or well-being.
Leopard geckos can live a long and healthy life with the right diet, environment, and stress-free lifestyle. The key is to provide them with an appropriate habitat that includes the right temperature range and relative humidity in the right range.
Additionally, providing supplements for their meals as well as a shallow water dish for soaking and a humid hide for shedding will ensure your lizard stays hydrated and healthy. With proper care from you, your pet leopard gecko may even outlive its average lifespan of 15 – 20 years!
What affects the lifespan of leopard geckos?
The main factors that shorten the lifespan of a leopard gecko are: Malnourishment (not enough food or lack of calcium), improper temperature setup, and an environment with too many stressful factors.
Are there any genetic factors that can influence a leopard gecko’s lifespan?
There are genetic factors that may cause your leopard gecko to be frequently ill, which can shorten its lifespan. This usually happens when their breeding was done improperly – another reason why we always recommend buying from professional reptile stores, or even better, directly from reputable breeders.
Can a leopard gecko’s lifespan be extended through medical intervention or veterinary care?
While there is not much you can do to extend the lifespan of a leopard gecko, you can make sure it lives a very long and healthy life by getting your pet checked regularly and being well-informed about potential illnesses and health issues.