Leopard Geckos are solitary animals that prefer to live alone. Male and female Leopard Geckos can be housed together but be aware that their natural instincts will take over and they will start to breed so be prepared to look after a family of geckos!
If you bought your Leopard Gecko from a pet shop you might’ve seen lots, maybe dozens, of geckos in the same tank. Or maybe you got your gecko from a friend who had a full litter and was trying to find homes for the new additions.
Regardless of how common this situation may be, it’s not what you will find in the wild. Leopard Geckos prefer to live alone but if you are thinking of keeping more than one, there are a few things to be aware of before diving in.
How Many Leopard Geckos Can Live Together?
In terms of pure space, a 10 gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a single gecko. A 20-gallon tank can house a maximum of 3 Leopard Geckos but just because they can physically fit, it doesn’t mean they will be happy with those living arrangements.
It’s less about the physical space though and more about the type of Leopard Gecko, that is, whether you have males, females, babies, or some combination of the three.
Two make geckos should NOT be kept in the same tank. Male geckos can be very territorial and they will almost certainly fight as their territorial instincts take over and they vie for dominance over the habitat. This is obviously not what any pet owner would want for their pets and as you would imagine, this is incredibly stressful (not to mention dangerous!) for your geckos, particularly for the smaller, younger or weaker male as there’s a very real chance that they will be seriously injured if they are housed with a larger, more aggressive male.
Two (or more) female geckos should be fine to house together. They will generally tolerate their neighbor quite well and not cause any problems. That being said, it is still very important to keep an eye on their behavior, especially when they are newly housed and getting used to their new home and neighbor, as one may try and assume the role of the dominant gecko in the tank (particularly if she is much larger) and this could lead to the less dominant female struggling to get the food she needs to stay healthy.
Whenever you have two or more geckos living together and one of them is being dominant and/or aggressive it can cause an incredible amount of stress for the less dominant gecko(s). This stress can lead to health issues, loss of appetite, and some rather strange noises coming from your gecko so keep an eye out for any changes in behavior and be prepared to separate them before any problems become more serious.
As mentioned above, male and female geckos should only be kept together if you want them to breed. Female Leopard Geckos can lay a clutch of eggs every 15-22 days in breeding season so you might have quite the family to look after if you pick this combination!
Even if you are happy to start a little gecko family you’ll need to consider if your habitat is ready to support a sudden influx of tiny geckos. More geckos means more food and more space required. If things start getting too cramped it can be another cause of stress for your geckos and in extreme cases can even cause the adults to attack or kill the babies so make sure you have enough space or a separate habitat to move the new arrivals to if required.
Baby or juvenile geckos (up to the age of 10-12 months) can be kept together and don’t necessarily need a bigger tank as they take up less space. Once they reach around 10 months old you will need to check if they are male or female because at that stage the above considerations come into play and they may need to be split up depending on gender and size.
Why Shouldn’t You House Multiple Geckos Together?
The first reason is pretty obvious and we’ve touched on it several times already but the main reason you shouldn’t keep more than one Leopard Gecko in the same tank is because there is a risk that they can fight, injure, and sometimes even kill the other gecko.
This is definitely a major concern (and almost a certainty) with two males, but even two females aren’t guaranteed to get along. It’s also not uncommon for two Leos to be getting along fine, sometimes for years, and then all of a sudden develop problems that lead to bullying, fighting, and potentially life-threatening injuries. The trigger for a change in behavior isn’t always clear (or predictable) either – a change in diet, the temperature going up or down slightly, even the amount of time you as their owner spend around them can all impact how your geckos feel and could potentially be the start of an unhappy living arrangement.
Which brings us to the other reason you might want to think twice about having more than one gecko in a tank – dominance.
If one of the geckos is substantially larger than the other, either an adult and a juvenile or just two adults where one is a lot bigger, the larger gecko may decide they want all the food which can lead to increased stress and lack of nutrients for the smaller resident.
If this happens you’ll need to separate them to prevent further and long-lasting problems for the smaller gecko.
The last reason, and unfortunately another potentially serious concern, is health. If you have multiple pets in the same tank and one of them gets sick, it’s much easier for it to spread to everyone else if they live in the same habitat. Even if you isolate and treat the gecko with the problem, there’s always the chance that you don’t notice in time and it’s already spread to the others.
This is of course something no gecko owner wants to have to deal with but it’s an important situation to be aware of so you can act quickly if you ever need to.
There are other aspects to consider but for these three reasons we think that outside of breeding, you should always keep just a single Leopard Gecko per tank.
Can Baby Leopard Geckos Live With Adults?
Probably not. The sad truth is that adult Leopard Geckos might see a young gecko, particularly one that’s newly hatched, as prey and try to eat them.
You might be surprised (and shocked) to know that this can even be the case with a mother and her own offspring. No motherly love here – once you hatch you’re pretty much on your own if you’re a gecko!
It is best to remove newly hatched Leos from the tank and if you are going to try reintroducing them, wait until they are large enough to catch prey by themselves and be sure to keep a close eye on how the new relationships are forming as there’s no guarantee they will be accepted back into the tank.
Do Leopard Geckos Get Lonely?
Ok, so now you’re convinced that the optimal number of geckos in a tank is one but that does beg the question – Do Leopard Geckos get lonely? Short answer – No. Leopard Geckos are, by nature, solitary creatures that don’t need, want, or seek out companionship so they will be perfectly happy by themselves and don’t get lonely.
That’s not to say they don’t appreciate a bit of extra attention every now and then from a well-meaning owner, just don’t expect them to be wagging their tails in excitement to see you when you walk in the door after a long day at work. If that’s what you’re after, get a puppy!