Two leopard geckos living together

Can Leopard Geckos Live Together?

Leopard geckos are among the easiest reptiles to keep. This leads many new leopard gecko keepers to consider purchasing a second, third, or even fourth leo. In your research, you may have noticed that many experienced reptile enthusiasts cohabit their leos. However, this begs the question: Can leopard geckos live together?

As you consider purchasing a second leopard gecko, this article will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision for the good of your leos.

Can Leopard Geckos Live Together and Share the Same Enclosure?

In general, leopard gecko keepers agree that each leo should have its own enclosure. However, there are some circumstances in which leopard geckos can live together. When deciding whether or not to cohabit two or more leopard geckos, there are several factors you should consider.

Are Leopard Geckos Social?

If you purchased your leopard gecko at a pet store, you probably noticed that it was kept in the same enclosure with multiple other leos. And no doubt in your research you’ve come across a number of experienced leopard gecko keepers who keep a couple leos in one terrarium.

You may have gotten the impression that leopard geckos are social creatures. But they aren't.

Leopard geckos are “asocial” creatures. They are solitary and highly territorial. Typically the only come together for breeding purposes. Anything beyond that and they may become highly competitive and quite aggressive toward one another.

This is understandable considering that their natural habitat is the desert, where they have to compete for limited resources like food and water, and where they always have to be on guard against predators.

But what about in captivity? Can “domesticated” leopard geckos have roommates?

Before going out and buying a second leopard gecko to keep your current leo company, be sure to take these five things into consideration.

1. The Sex of Your Leopard Geckos

Male and Male Cohabiting

All leopard gecko keepers agree that cohabiting two or more mature male leopard geckos should be avoided at all costs.

Even when he doesn’t have a female around, the male leo’s reproductive instincts compel him to jealously guard his territory. If another male should wander into his domain, the two will inevitably come to blows. They’ll also fight over hides, food, basking areas, and pretty much anything else.

Unfortunately for your pets, it’s survival of the fittest, even in domesticated enclosures. If kept in the same enclosure long enough, two male leopard geckos will eventually injure one another, and one or both may end up dead.

When housing two male leopard geckos, you risk:

  • Injury
  • Tail loss
  • Death

Male and Female Cohabiting

As with cohabiting two males, cohabiting a male with one or more females is generally considered a bad idea. In addition to competing over food, water, hides, and other resources, you’ll also have to deal with the leos’ reproductive instincts.

Generally you’ll want to avoid cohabiting male and female leopard geckos unless you’re specifically trying to breed them. If that’s the case, then housing a single male with multiple females will increase egg production in the females.

However, housing a male with one or more females should always be a temporary situation, and the males should be removed as soon as the females begin laying eggs. Males are known to eat the eggs and hatchlings.

Female and Female Cohabiting

This is the only arrangement under which you should consider cohabiting your leopard geckos, and then only if you’re an experienced leopard gecko keeper.

Generally speaking, so long as your female leos are given sufficient space, hides, and other resources, they may cohabit peacefully. However, you must take personality into consideration.

As with people, some leopard geckos are more sociable and are perfectly fine sharing their living space. Others prefer to be left to themselves and don’t appreciate having their space invaded. You’ll have to monitor your leo and gauge whether she is the more sociable type, or if she prefers to be on her own.

Pro Tip: “Clutch mates” – two females that have been raised together since birth – have a higher chance of getting along than do two “strangers.”

Leopard geckos’ moods may change rather suddenly as well. Two females that were getting along just fine one day may begin fighting without any warning. To prevent injury or death, it’s best to keep a second terrarium on hand and set up for occupation.

2. Their Sexual Maturity

Leopard geckos, like most other lizards, don’t reach sexual maturity by age, but by weight. A leopard gecko is considered sexually mature when it reaches 35 grams, or 1.23 ounces. This typically happens between 18 and 24 months.

Prior to reaching sexual maturity, juvenile leopard geckos can be safely housed together. This is why pet stores can safely keep many leos in a single enclosure. Once leopard geckos reach sexual maturity, however, hormones kick in.

The sudden change in hormones leads to sudden changes in behavior. The males especially become more aggressive and territorial at this point. Females are also more likely to become territorial and aggressive at this age.

3. Their Size

You’re also going to want to take the size of your leopard gecko(s) into consideration before cohabiting. You want them to be roughly the same size.

Because of their survival-of-the-fittest instinct, the larger of two leopard geckos will inevitably become something of a bully toward the smaller. It will not only dominate the hides, the basking areas, and other spaces that you set up for them, but, more importantly, it will dominate the food.

Pro Tip: If you notice one of your cohabiting leopard geckos growing quicker than the other, or one losing weight, separate them immediately.

4. The Size of the Habitat

You may think that cohabiting your leopard geckos could be a good way to save some space. But this just isn’t so.

A single leopard gecko on its own needs at least a 20 gallon terrarium and 3 hides – one in the warmer area, one in the cooler area, and an optional humid area for shedding.

To safely cohabit two leos you must double that at minimum.

Pro Tip: The minimum habitat size you need to cohabit two leopard geckos is a 40 gallon – or 36” – terrarium and six hides.

5. Your Leopard Geckos' Overall Health

Finally there’s the question of your leopard geckos’ health. Cohabiting two or more leopard geckos comes with many risks, including:

  • Increased stress
  • Bullying
  • Difficulty monitoring health
  • Weight loss
  • Tail loss

Imagine taking a look into your leos’ enclosure and noticing a stool with blood in it. When you have multiple leopard geckos in a single habitat, you have no way of telling which leo the bloody stool came from. This prevents you from responding quickly to a potential health crisis.

In some cases, if you fail to isolate a sick leo from the others, you risk allowing the illness to spread to your other leos.

Regardless, you’re going to need to keep a second terrarium on hand and ready for immediate move-in, just in case you need to isolate a leo.

In short, cohabiting leopard geckos is just not worth the risk.

Takeaway: Leopard geckos are asocial creatures who thrive in solitary environments. Although cohabiting two or more female leopard geckos is possible, it’s generally not encouraged.

If you have questions or would like to give feedback, please email us at team@dragonsdiet.com 

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