Sunglow Leopard Gecko: Info, Pictures & Care Guide for Beginners


The leopard gecko is a popular reptile pet because it readily tolerates being handled, has easy care requirements, and is fun and intriguing to watch. In fact, such are the gecko’s requirements, that the most difficult aspects of caring for one is the regular feeding of insects and ensuring an appropriate temperature in its habitat.

The sunglow leopard gecko is a melanistic morph, which means that it has a different amount of melanin than a standard morph. In this case, it is hypomelanistic, which means that it has less melanin and is closer to being colorless, but in the case of the gecko, it has a bright yellow color.

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Quick Facts about the Sunglow Leopard Gecko

Species Name: Eublepharis macularius
Common Name: Sunglow Leopard Gecko
Care Level: Low
Lifespan: 10–20 years
Adult Size: 6–8 inches
Diet: Insects
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Temperature & Humidity: 75°– 90° F temperature, 30% – 40% humidity

Do Sunglow Leopard Geckos Make Good Pets?

Leopard geckos are considered excellent reptile pets. They tolerate and even seem to enjoy being handled, although they can be quite quick so care does need to be taken when handling. They are also easier to care for than a lot of other reptile species. This combination makes them a popular pet choice. The vibrant color of the sunglow morph makes it an even more popular choice.

Sunglow Leopard gecko
Image Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Appearance

The leopard gecko grows to a maximum of 8 inches in size. They tend to be brown or yellow with black spots, giving them the name of leopard. Unusually, the leopard is one of the only lizards that have eyelids and it does not have sticky toe pads like other geckos. This means that it is unable to climb walls or vertical surfaces.

The sunglow leopard gecko is one of dozens of morphs, each of which has its own unique appearance. The sunglow is a hypomelanistic morph, which means that it has less melanin in its body. It is a bright yellow color and lacking in the leopard spots of other morphs.

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How to Take Care of Sunglow Leopard Geckos

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

To ensure the good health of your reptile, you need to provide the following conditions and setup, as a minimum.

Tank

A single gecko can live in a 10-gallon tank, but a 20-gallon tank is preferred and should be considered the minimum size for one to three geckos. The tank will need to contain at least one hide, some décor to improve the feel of the tank, and it will need to hang lighting and house heating. Because a leopard gecko’s tank is smaller than other lizards, and the humidity requirements are not too strict, you can buy a glass terrarium. Wood is a possibility but poses more of a fire risk.

The tank and its contents will need regular cleaning. Spot-clean daily and give everything a thorough clean every month, disinfecting items like bowls and hides, to ensure that bacteria does not grow.

Lighting

Leopard geckos are nocturnal, which means that they are more active at night. This also means that they do not have complex lighting requirements. Provide a low-wattage light that is left on 12 hours a day. You will not need a UVB basking light.
Heating

As with all reptiles, you will need to provide a temperature gradient in the tank. The cool end of the tank should be approximately 75º F, while the hot area should be 90º F. Humidity does not need to be too precisely measured but aim for between 30% and 40% for ideal gecko conditions.

Substrate

Intestinal impaction is a concern for leopard geckos, especially when they are young. Avoid certain sands that will solidify when swallowed. Use artificial turf or pea gravel. Even newspaper will suffice. It is common for geckos to use a specific corner of the tank as a toileting area. This enables you to spot clean just this section, making it easier to manage the substrate in the tank.

Tank Recommendations
Tank Type: 20-gallon tank
Lighting: Night light
Heating: Heating pad
Best Substrate: Artificial turf

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Feeding Your Sunglow Leopard Gecko

The sunglow leopard gecko is an insectivore and does not eat fruit or vegetables. You will need to provide insects like crickets and locusts, mealworms, waxworms, and super worms. Do not feed pinkies, and make sure that all insects have been gut-loaded at least a day before they are fed to your reptiles. Gut loading means feeding the insects nutrient-rich food to enhance the nutritional value they provide to your lizards when eaten.

Adult leopard geckos should be fed two or three times a week and be given 6 or 7 large crickets. They can also be given mealworms or super worms once a week as a treat.

You should also give an occasional multivitamin supplement. This comes in powder form. Dust the gecko’s insects once every week or two to ensure that your gecko is getting the full range of vitamins and minerals that it requires.

Diet Summary
Fruits: 0% of diet
Insects: 100% of diet
Meat: 0% of diet
Supplements Required: Multivitamin dusting

Keeping Your Sunglow Leopard Gecko Healthy

Generally, leopard geckos are healthy little reptiles. Ensure yours has a good diet and clean and well looked after habitat, and they will remain free from even the most common health issues.

Common Health Issues

With that said, the most common health issues seen in leopard geckos are:

  • Metabolic Bone Disease –MBD, is caused by a deficiency in calcium, or an inability to properly metabolize the mineral. It causes demineralization of the bones and can lead to deformities.
  • Impaction – Impaction occurs when a lizard eats substrate or another substance, and this is allowed to harden in the gut. Materials like sand can set like concrete and cause problems ranging from an inability to eat to lameness.
  • Parasites – Your leopard gecko should regularly have a fecal examination. This can identify parasites like helminths and cryptosporidium, which are two of the most common leopard gecko parasites.

Lifespan

In captivity, the species will usually live between 10 and 20 years, although in rare circumstances they can live as long as 30 years.

Breeding

In order to breed, house one male and one or two female sunglow leopard geckos in a single tank and ensure that each gecko has its own hide. Females reach sexual maturity at approximately 18 months of age. Breeding is temperature dependent so cool the ambient temperature down to 72° to 75° F to encourage breeding.

Eggs are usually laid in pairs and a female can lay between 12 and 20 pairs a year, given ideal conditions.

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Are Sunglow Leopard Geckos Friendly? Our Handling Advice

Leopard geckos are relaxed and friendly, in fact, they are generally considered one of the best breeds of lizard for handling. When you first get a new leopard, give it a week to 10 days to settle into its new habitat, before you try handling it. Once this time has elapsed, start with short 5-minute sessions each day, and increase this each week. Eventually, the gecko will enjoy being picked up and will like to spend time in hand.

Shedding & Brumation: What to Expect

The gecko usually sheds in a single go, rather than in patches, and this will occur roughly every 4-8 weeks, depending on how quickly the lizard is growing. You can try raising the humidity in the tank a little when your gecko starts to shed because this will help it more easily shed its old skin.

How Much Do Sunglow Leopard Geckos Cost?

Leopard geckos start at around $50, with some of the more exotic and rarer morphs costing thousands. However, as striking as the sunglow morph is, it is quite common compared to some. Expect to pay approximately $200 for one. If you find a sunglow that has unusual genes, such as tangerine genes, you may have to pay double—up to about $500.

Care Guide Summary

Pros

  • Enjoy being handled
  • Only need a small tank
  • Striking appearance

Cons

  • Needs to be fed insects
  • Need taming before they enjoy being handled

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Conclusion

The sunglow leopard gecko is a beautiful looking and happy, mild-mannered gecko. After initial taming, taking approximately 10 days, it will not only tolerate being handled but seems to genuinely enjoy the process. The sunglow leopard is also easy to care for, requires minimal space compared to other lizards, and is not inclined to bite people, making it a highly desirable and enjoyable pet for your home.


Featured Image Credit: Valentina Po, Shutterstock





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