? asked in PetsReptiles · 1 decade ago

leopard gecko substrate?

I just put exo terra brand dry forest bark for the substrate in my leopard geckos terrarium(same as the pet store used for them where I got him) with the plantation soil in his two hides for dampness. I dont feed him in the terrarium incase he chokes on the bark while getting the crickets. I dont ever see him licking and picking them up the bark pieces in his mouth when he's just exploring his terrarium. The question is do they have the character to just put random non moving things in their mouths ?

8 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    Many pet shop Leopard geckos die soon after purchase because, unknown to the purchaser, they are already partially or fully impacted when they are purchased. It's very sad that so many pet shops give them improper housing. This leads to their new owner doing the same.

    Just because you don't see him licking it doesn't mean he isn't. Leos are nocturnal and active when you're sleeping.

    Leos originate from arid rocky regions of hard packed earth. Nature didn't design them to live on a loose substrate. Wood chips/bark of any kind should never be used for a Leo. Impaction is very painful for your pet and can result in death.


    Leos lick everything in sight. It's how they experience their world. I would recommend a safe substrate such as paper towels, aged newspaper (at least 2 wk. old), non-adhesive shelf liner, short nap reptile carpet or slightly texture ceramic tile (not smooth or gloss).

    Good luck and enjoy your pet.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hey, it could be possible for them to put things in their mouths so life threatening as that.... so i recommend that you change their substrate as on the bark you are getting them can easily impact them (which may even cause death). Also whatever you use please do not use Cedar as it is toxic to these reptiles.

    There is an abundance of products on the market that claim to be safe substrates. Most however are not safe to use. A substrate is what you put on the bottom of the cage for the lizard to walk around on. If a Leopard Gecko ingests any of the substrate accidentally the substrate must pass through the digestive system.

    Trust me they will ingest substrate, sometimes on purpose. If it does not easily pass through the digestive system compaction will occur. Compaction is an extreme blockage of the digestive tract and is often fatal. Some substrates that I consider unsafe because they can cause compaction are: sand, orchid bark, crushed walnut shells, lizard litter, gravel, aquarium gravel, and coconut fiber. The safest substrate is using paper towels or plain newspaper. For any leopard geckos that are younger than six months I advise using paper towels or plain newspaper until they are at leat six months old.

    Young Leopard Geckos get compacted very easy even with some of the close to safe products like calcium carbonate substrate. Once the Leopard Gecko is Six months or older you can then switch to Calcium sand. Calcium sand is not fully digested no matter what it claims. The stuff just does not break down completly.

    Though it does break down some and is much less likly to cause compaction than regular sand. I advise using esu caclium sand because they have finer particles.

    Hope this helped :)


    Source(s): reptile enthusiast
  • 1 decade ago

    Leopard geckos should never be put on a loose substrate. There is no bark in the natural habitat of a leopard gecko so i don't really know why you would use that. Obviously the people you got him from don't know anything. Leopard geckos also aren't from a place that is covered in sand dunes so just sand as a substrate also doesn't make sense. Leopard geckos come from a place that is mostly packed clay with little sand. They hide in their microclimate in cracks in the ground. Leos lick ALOT. So yes they will put non moving objects in their mouth. The best substrates to use is repti carpet, paper towels, or slate tile. Slate tile holds heat the best and looks the most natural. Repti carpet still has a risk of getting your leos toe nails caught in it. So I guess your on your with your decision. Hope I helped.

    Source(s): Leopard Gecko Breeder
  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Orchid Bark Substrate

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  • 1 decade ago

    It is like small children, whenever there is a small peice that can go in the mouth....most likely it will go in the mouth. I would advise a reptile carpet. It is easy to clean, safe, and cheap. If you want more of a natural look, then go with crushed english walnut shell. It is about $8.00 for a big bag and you can sift it and reuse alot of it. Plus it is 100% fully digestable. Also geckos do not eat dead crickets because they are smart little lizards. Plus do not feed it to big of crickets. If they are too big the gecko will back down and be afraid.

  • 1 decade ago

    no, I too own a leopard gecko. When we first got him, we got a kit with the cage, water dish, vitamin powder, and dead cricket food. Some leopard geckos will eat the dead crickets if you teach them, but most wont even try. They like the challenge of chasing their food like they would in the desert. So the answer is no, they dont have the character to put random non moving things in their mouth. :)

    Source(s): my leopard gecko
  • 1 decade ago

    No they dont. i personally use Zoo Med repti-bark i also feed my leo in his tank and if he does get a piece of bark in his mouth which is rare he spits it out.

  • 1 decade ago

    Maybe he likes things that don't move. Because maybe he is afraid of the live crickets.

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