Often new reptile owners wonder whether giving their Leopard Geckos water is necessary or not. Initially, I wondered about it too.
Since taking care of them is different from that of taking care of mammals, such doubts and confusion often arise. But, now after spending more than six years with my Leopard Gecko, I can say for sure whether they need water or not.
So, do Leopard Geckos need water? Yes, Leopard Geckos do need water but they don’t drink water too often. Leopard Geckos can live without water for one to two days. Keeping a dish of fresh water inside their vivarium or misting the enclosure a few times a week is considered to be sufficient for fulfilling their water requirements.
Many people think that caring for reptiles is very difficult and daunting. But, in reality, taking care of reptiles like Leopard Geckos is not at all difficult in any way. But yes, they require a different way of caring than a mammal pet.
Especially when it comes to giving them water, their needs are different than other mammal pets like cats or dogs. Read on to know more about the water requirements of Leopard Geckos.
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A detailed insight into Leopard Geckos needing water
Leopard Geckos are not such kind of lizards who belong to an extremely wet environment. Rather, like the majority of the reptiles all over the world, their habitats are dry and warm areas. However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t require water.
Despite being used to heat and humidity; Leopard Geckos still need water to stay hydrated.
Do Leopard Geckos need water?
Leopard Geckos usually receive a lot of their daily required moisture from that of the bodies of the insects they eat. While some insects contain less water content, some come with a higher water content which helps Leopard Geckos to fulfill their moisture requirements.
But, apart from that, they also drink water. Yes, indeed, they do not drink water as often as a mammal pet; but they do need it.
We explain how long leopard geckos can survive without water here and what to do when you are away.
Why do you need to give them water?
Keeping a shallow bowl or dish of fresh water inside the enclosure of the Leopard Geckos is always suggested. Wondering why exactly? Well, though they do not drink water too often and also gain moisture from the insects they eat, sometimes they may wish to have water.
Often, when Leopard Geckos haven’t eaten too many insects to fulfill their moisture requirement, such as when they shed, they drink water. Hence keeping water readily available inside their terrarium can be a good idea.
How to offer water to Leopard Geckos?
There are usually two ways to give your Leopard Geckos water to drink that they need to fulfill their moisture needs. One is you can simply put a dish or small bowl of clean water inside the vivarium, from where the Leopard Geckos can drink water anytime they want to.
And the other one is misting the vivarium. For those who don’t know what misting a lizard’s enclosure is then know that misting is a water spraying process for maintaining the humidity inside the enclosure which is ideal for the pet lizard.
Maintaining around 30 to 40% humidity inside the vivarium can not only help the Leopard Geckos with easy shedding but also make the Geckos learn to drink water.
During misting, Leopard Geckos often drink the sprayed water drops which are enough for their daily water needs.
In case there is no water for them to drink, daily misting, sometimes misting more than once a day is suggested for the well-being of the Leopard Gecko.
Things to keep in mind when offering water to Leopard Geckos
Since Leopard Geckos are small reptile animals with lesser water needs compared to a mammal pet, you need to keep in mind a few things when giving them water in a bowl or dish. Let’s take a look at some of the safety measures to follow when offering your Leopard Geckos water:
Make sure the water you give to your Leopard Gecko to drink is chlorine-free. We also recommend using Reptisafe – we explain why here.
As Leopard Geckos tend to be small reptiles who aren’t made for swimming or surviving in water, it’s best to give water in a bowl that is not too deep. We explain here why you should not let your Leopard gecko swim!
Especially, if there are baby Leopard Geckos in an enclosure, make sure to avoid deeper large bowls since they may increase the risk of baby Leopard Geckos getting stuck or stumbling into the water or even drowning in the water bowl.
It’s ideal to offer water to your Leopard Geckos in a water dish than in a bowl. A water dish that is more wide than deep can reduce any chances of water-related harm to your Leopard Geckos, particularly the baby Geckos.
Some water dishes even come with tiny steps to help the Leopard Gecko position itself properly to drink water. Opting for such a dish is sure to serve your Leopard Gecko better.
If you are worried about the insects or crickets you give your Leopard Gecko to drown in the bowl of water you keep inside the enclosure, make sure to place a rock in the middle of the dish or bowl.
Make it a point to maintain fresh and clean water inside the enclosure of your Leopard Gecko. Yes, it is always suggested to give your Leopard Geckos clean and fresh water with no insects in it.
Avoid keeping the same dish of water for days as the water may get dirty or contaminated.
Make sure to refill the water dish or bowl with cold fresh tap water every day or on consecutive days to prevent any water contamination.
Wash the water dish or bowl if it looks dirty, before filling it up with fresh water. (In fact, it is very important that you clean the whole tank frequently – here is why!)
Giving your Leopard Gecko water in a dish has another benefit. Often Geckos tend to trample through the water kept in the dish while walking inside the terrarium, which helps their toe skin to get moisturized which eventually helps them with shedding and maintaining nice skin.
When giving your Leopard Gecko water to drink, make sure it doesn’t get evaporated by the warmth that your heat mat or heat bulb creates inside the vivarium. To prevent the vaporization of water, keep the water on the cool side in your vivarium.
Remember, the water that you provide in a shallow dish will not only help the Leopard Gecko drink from it but also play a crucial role in maintaining the required humidity inside the enclosure.
Keeping a dish with water also helps Leopard Geckos to soak their bodies in it when they feel too hot or warm.
Especially when a Leopard Gecko prepares for shedding, giving it a large enough dish with freshwater helps it soak its entire body for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a week, which promotes shedding and good skin.
Things to keep in mind when misting your Leopard Gecko’s enclosure
When it comes to maintaining the right environment inside the enclosure of your Leopard Gecko and fulfilling its daily moisture needs, misting plays a crucial role.
It not only helps the Gecko to drink water in the form of sprayed water droplets but also maintains the humidity level inside the vivarium which promotes skin shedding.
Let’s take a few things you need to pay attention to when misting your Leopard Gecko’s enclosure:
- If there’ s no water source inside the vivarium, make it a point to mist the enclosure daily. Though Leopard Geckos are believed to be reptiles of dry environment, they do need water and humidity to survive, shed and stay healthy.
- When misting the vivarium of your Leopard Gecko don’t forget to maintain the humidity level that is ideal for your Gecko. Humidity is the amount of water vapor or moisture that an atmosphere contains. And for Leopard Geckos the ideal humidity level is 40% or below it. Misting too much and too often can cause high humidity level in the vivarium and even fogging, if the ventilation is poor.
- Though Leopard Geckos do not need high humidity, keeping the humidity levels too low such as below 20% can cause the Gecko to experience difficulty with shedding.
- High humidity levels inside the vivarium can result in your Leopard Geckos to become susceptible to various infections.
- For baby Leopard Geckos, misting the cage several times a week and occasionally the baby Geckos is considered to be ideal misting.
- Remember, the only purpose of misting the vivarium of your Leopard Gecko is to maintain the humidity level of the vivarium and offer the Geckos the much-needed moisture. Don’t confuse the reason for misting with watering the enclosure.
- Once misting is done, the substrate inside the vivarium tends to hold on to the sprayed water which makes actual watering rarely necessary.
- Do not use a waterfall in a leopard gecko enclosure – here is why!
In the end, it can be said that, though misting the enclosure of your Leopard Geckos can fulfill their moisture requirement, you need to mist the Geckos as well to help them shed easily.
But if you keep a shallow bowl or a dish of water inside the vivarium always, your Geckos can not only drink water anytime they want but also soak their body in it anytime they feel the need to.