How much does a leopard lizard cost? Where do you buy it? How to raise?

Leopard lizards, also known as leopard geckos, are becoming increasingly popular among reptile enthusiasts around the world. They are one of the most commonly kept reptiles due to their unique appearance and easy care requirements. In this article, we will explore how much a leopard lizard may cost, where to buy one, and how to properly care for them.

1. Introduction to Leopard Lizards

Leopard lizards, scientifically known as Eublepharis Macularius, are a nocturnal species of lizard that can be found in the wild living on the ground and climbing high tree branches. In recent years, they have gained popularity as pets and are now commonly bred and raised in captivity. Many people are drawn to leopard lizards as they provide a unique alternative to more traditional pets such as cats and dogs.

Common names: Leopard gecko, leopard lizard

Scientific name: Eublepharis Macularius

Class: Reptilia

Family: Eublepharidae

2. Origin of Leopard Lizards

Leopard lizards are primarily native to dry grassy areas with rocks and deserts in Afghanistan, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Nepal. The first successful breeding of leopard lizards in captivity took place in the United States in the 1970s. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that large-scale breeding started to occur. Since then, a variety of leopard lizard morphs with unique colors and patterns have been developed and gained recognition among reptile enthusiasts.

3. Characteristics of Leopard Lizards

Leopard lizards possess several notable characteristics, including their appearance, behavior, and reproductive abilities. Here are some key features of these reptiles:

3.1. Appearance

Leopard lizards are relatively small in size compared to other lizard species, but they stand out with their striking appearance. Adult leopard lizards can reach lengths of 18-29 cm, including the tail. They have a stout body with a tapered tail and large, round eyes. Their skin is covered in small bumps, giving them a unique texture. Leopard lizards come in various morphs and color patterns, ranging from the classic yellow and black to more vibrant colors like orange, red, and white.

3.2. Behavior

Leopard lizards are primarily nocturnal, meaning they are most active during the night. During the day, they seek shelter and hide in cool and dark places, such as under rocks or in burrows. They are known for their docile and easygoing nature, making them suitable for novice reptile owners. Leopard lizards are not typically aggressive and can be handled gently.

3.3. Reproduction

Leopard lizards are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. Females can start breeding at around 9-12 months of age, while males can begin breeding slightly earlier at around 8-11 months. They have a relatively long lifespan compared to other reptiles, with an average lifespan of 15-20 years in captivity.

4. How much does a leopard lizard cost?

The cost of a leopard lizard can vary depending on various factors such as age, morph, and where you purchase it from. On average, the price of a leopard lizard ranges from $20 to $100. Common morphs like the normal leopard gecko are usually on the lower end of the price range, while more rare and exotic morphs can reach higher prices. Additionally, younger leopard lizards are generally cheaper than adults.

5. Where to buy a leopard lizard?

There are several options for purchasing a leopard lizard. It is important to choose a reputable source to ensure you are getting a healthy and well-cared-for animal. Here are some places where you can buy a leopard lizard:

5.1. Reptile Specialty Stores

Reptile specialty stores often carry a variety of reptiles, including leopard lizards. These stores typically provide a wide range of supplies and knowledgeable staff who can assist you in choosing the right lizard and provide guidance on care.

5.2. Reptile Expos

Reptile expos or reptile shows are events where breeders and sellers come together to showcase and sell reptiles and reptile-related products. These expos provide an opportunity to see a variety of leopard lizards and interact with breeders and experienced keepers. It’s important to research the sellers before purchasing to ensure they have a good reputation and offer healthy animals.

5.3. Online Reptile Breeders

Many reputable reptile breeders have online platforms where they sell and ship leopard lizards to customers. When purchasing online, it is essential to research the breeder’s reputation, read customer reviews, and ensure that they follow responsible breeding practices.

6. How to raise a leopard lizard?

Proper care is essential for the health and well-being of leopard lizards. Here are some essential guidelines for raising a leopard lizard:

6.1. Housing

Leopard lizards require a suitable enclosure that provides ample space for them to move around and exhibit natural behaviors. A 20-gallon tank is recommended for a single adult leopard lizard, with additional space for climbing structures and hiding spots. The enclosure should be heated using an under-tank heating pad or heat lamp to provide a temperature gradient of 88-92°F on the warm side and 75-80°F on the cool side. Additionally, a UVB light source is essential for their overall health.

6.2. Substrate

The substrate in the enclosure should be safe, easy to clean, and mimic their natural environment. Common substrate options include reptile carpet, paper towels, or ceramic tiles. Avoid loose substrates like sand or wood chips, as they can be ingested and lead to impaction.

6.3. Feeding

Leopard lizards are insectivores, meaning their diet consists of various insects. The main staple food for leopard lizards is live crickets or mealworms, supplemented with occasional treats like waxworms or silkworms. It is important to provide a balanced diet and gut-load the insects before feeding them to the lizard. A calcium and vitamin D3 supplement should also be dusted onto the insects to ensure proper nutrition.

6.4. Hydration

Leopard lizards obtain water from their food; however, it is still important to provide a shallow dish of water in the enclosure for them to drink from if needed. The water should be changed regularly to maintain cleanliness.

6.5. Handling and Socialization

Leopard lizards can be handled gently and enjoy human interaction. However, it is crucial to wash your hands before and after handling them to prevent the transmission of bacteria. When handling, support their body and avoid grasping or squeezing their tail, as they may drop their tail as a defense mechanism.

7. Conclusion

Leopard lizards have become popular pets due to their unique appearance, docile nature, and relatively low maintenance requirements. They can provide years of enjoyment and companionship for reptile enthusiasts. When considering a leopard lizard as a pet, it is important to research their care needs, find a reputable source to purchase from, and provide a suitable habitat. By providing proper care and attention, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your leopard lizard.