Leopard geckos are becoming an increasingly popular pet choice due to their relatively low purchase price and easy maintenance requirements. But how much does a leopard gecko really cost?
While a Leopard Gecko may only cost around $50 for a basic type, expect to pay around $500 for a proper habitat setup, plus food costs of about $30-$50 per month for a baby or juvenile, or about $10-$20 per month for adult leopard geckos.
To answer this question, we need to look at both the initial purchase price and the ongoing costs of keeping one as a pet. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at all of the factors that you should consider before buying a leopard gecko. We’ll also provide helpful tips on where you can buy them for the best prices and what it takes to care for them properly so they live long, healthy lives.
Cost of Leopard Geckos – an Overview
Before we dive into the details, here’s a quick summary: A cheap leopard gecko may cost about $30 in a local pet store, but we recommend going to a reputable reptile store or professional breeder, as they tend to take much better care of their geckos. Expect to pay between $50-$100 for a healthy leopard gecko, or around $200-$500 if you are looking for a rarer morph (color variation).
A full tank setup will cost you another $500, depending on the setup you choose. However, don’t be cheap here, a smaller, simpler setup can cause serious health problems for your new gecko!
Finally, expect to pay about $30-50 per month for food for baby and juvenile leopard geckos, and about $5-$10 per month for adult leopard geckos.
Cost of buying a Leopard Gecko
When it comes to purchasing a leopard gecko, there are several factors that can influence the price. The most significant factor is the location where you buy the gecko. The cost of a leopard gecko can vary significantly depending on whether you purchase it from a local pet store, an online pet store, or a breeder specializing in specific morphs.
Local Pet Stores
Local pet stores typically have a smaller selection of leopard geckos available for purchase. The cost of a leopard gecko at a local pet store can range from around $30 for a basic, wild-type gecko to several hundred dollars for a gecko with a more rare or unusual color morph. However, these are rarely offered in regular pet stores.
We recommend always choosing specialized reptile stores over general-purpose pet stores, as these often don’t know how to take good care of specific reptiles such as leopard geckos.
The price of a leopard gecko at a local pet store may also be influenced by factors such as the gecko’s age, size, and overall health.
Online Reptile Stores & Breeders
Online reptile stores and marketplaces offer a convenient way to purchase a leopard gecko, but the cost may be higher due to shipping and handling fees. The price of a leopard gecko from an online pet store can range from around $40 for a basic, wild-type gecko plus around $30-$50 for shipping. Rarer morphs can go for anywhere from $100 to $500, sometimes even more.
It’s worth noting that the cost of shipping a live animal can be quite high, especially if you are purchasing the gecko from a breeder located in a different state or country.
If you are interested in purchasing a specific morph of leopard gecko, you may need to purchase from a breeder who specializes in breeding specific color morphs. The cost of a leopard gecko from a breeder can range from several hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars, depending on the rarity and demand for the specific morph.
Cost of Leopard Gecko Tank Setup
A leopard gecko tank setup can range in price from about $500 to over a thousand dollars, depending on the size and quality of the tank, the type of lighting and heating you choose, and the type of substrate you use.
The first thing you’ll need is a tank. Leopard geckos are relatively small reptiles, so a 20-gallon tank is the minimum size you should consider. Quality tanks can cost around $200, but you may be able to find a cheaper one if you shop around. (Example 20-gallon tank, Example 50-gallon tank)
Read our guide on choosing the right tank for your Leopard Gecko for more!
Lighting & Heating
Next, you’ll need to consider lighting and heating. A full setup will cost you around $200, or more for a bigger tank.
Leopard geckos need a source of heat in order to regulate their body temperature and digestion. A heat mat is a good choice, and these can cost around $50, plus a thermostat for another $20-30.
In addition to a heat source, leopard geckos also need a source of light to help them regulate their sleep/wake cycle and metabolism. A lighting setup can cost around $100, which includes a basic timer.
When you use lamps that give off heat, a heat mat will be enough for heating. If using cold lamps, an additional heat source may be necessary.
The substrate is the material you’ll use to fill the bottom of your tank. There is a wide range of options available, including cheap alternatives like newspaper or paper towels, as well as more expensive options like bioactive substrate or coconut coir.
The cheapest option is likely to be a substrate mat, which can cost around $30.
Bioactive substrate is a long-term investment that can cost up to $100, but it has the advantage of creating a more natural environment for your leopard gecko and helping to keep the tank clean.
One more note: Don’t be fooled into buying any kind of sand – it can create serious health problems. Leopard geckos live in “desert” regions, but not the sandy kind of deserts!
Utility & Decoration
Finally, you’ll need to purchase some elements for your leopard gecko’s tank, such as a water bowl, a humid hide, and some decoration. These can cost around $100 in total, again, depending on the size of the tank.
Tank Setup Summary
Altogether, the cost of setting up a small habitat for a leopard gecko can be around $500, depending on the quality of the tank, lighting and heating, and the substrate you choose.
Our recommendation: Don’t be cheap when shopping for the tank & equipment – you will have to replace it or create poor conditions and make your leopard gecko sick!
Cost of Food & Supplies
In addition to the upfront costs of setting up a habitat for a leopard gecko, there are also ongoing monthly costs to consider. One of the biggest expenses is likely to be the cost of feeding your leopard gecko.
Food for your Gecko
Leopard geckos are insectivores, so you’ll need to provide them with a steady supply of live insects.
Follow our guide on a healthy leopard gecko diet if you want to take good care of your little one. In short, an adult needs about 6-10 insects, 3x per week. Babies and juveniles need more, up to 8 insects per day (~30 per week, ~120 per month).
You can buy insects in bulk from a pet store or online, and 100 insects will typically cost between $3 and $6, depending on the type of insect and where you buy them.
This means that the monthly cost of feeding an adult leopard gecko is likely to be around $10-$20 per month, even if you offer some variety in their diet.
For juveniles, the cost of feeding may be slightly higher, as they need to eat more often and in larger quantities to support their rapid growth. You can expect to spend between $30 and $50 per month on feeder insects for a baby or juvenile leopard gecko.
Maintenance & Health
Another ongoing cost to consider is the cost of substrate. Many substrates need to be replaced every few months, which can add an additional $5 to $10 per month (averaged out) to your expenses.
Finally, you may need to take your leopard gecko to the vet for check-in once a year, or more often if something seems off with your gecko. Vet visits can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to budget for at least one visit per year.
Altogether, the monthly costs of keeping a leopard gecko are likely to be around $50 to $70, depending on the size and age of your gecko and any additional veterinary care they may need.
This may seem like a lot of money, but it’s important to remember that caring for a pet is a long-term commitment, and the costs of caring for a leopard gecko are a small price to pay for the companionship and enjoyment they can bring.
In conclusion, owning a leopard gecko is an incredibly rewarding experience and can be done within the budget of most people.
Setting up the habitat for your new pet may cost around $500 initially, with ongoing costs averaging between $50 to $70 per month depending on factors like food quantity, substrate replacement, and veterinary care.
While these expenses should not be overlooked when considering whether or not you’re ready to take on a new companion in your life, they are well worth it for the joy that comes with having such a unique animal as part of your family.