Panther Geckos as Pets

Basic Care of Pet Panther Geckos

Panther gecko
James Gerholdt / Getty Images

Panther geckos are rising in popularity as exotic pets due to their ease of care and similar requirements to that of a leopard gecko. They are small, ground-dwelling lizards with big eyes and an appetite for crickets. Perhaps a Panther gecko is right for you.

  • Name: Panther gecko, Ocelot gecko, Paroedura pictus, Madagascar Ground Gecko, Pictus gecko, Malagasy fat-tailed gecko, Madagascan Ground Gecko
  • Size: Four to six inches long with some larger males reaching eight inches
  • Lifespan: Over 10 years

Panther Gecko Habitats

Panther geckos are originally from Madagascar. They hang out in fallen leaves and other hideouts on the ground but do have the ability to climb up an aquarium wall, therefore a secure lid is necessary when housing these small lizards.

Typically a 10-gallon tank will suffice in captivity but if you plan on keeping more than one Panther gecko in the same enclosure you should upgrade to a 20 gallon (do not put males together). Substrate can be as natural as you want with bark chips and a dirt jungle mix that is available in pet shops or as simple and easy to clean as Repti-carpet or indoor/outdoor carpeting cut to the size of your tank.

Many owners do not recommend offering branches to climb on as these geckos can fall and hurt themselves. They should, however, have a humidity hide box to assist in shedding and to help maintain a 40-60% hygrometer reading in the tank.

A small water dish should also be provided if your gecko cares to get a drink of water as well as an assortment of hide boxes. Overall, Panther gecko enclosures are pretty basic.

Panther Gecko Lighting

These small geckos don't require excessive warmth but they do need a basking area in the mid-80's. This can be obtained by using heat lights.

Heat lights that emit white light should only be used during the day while heat lights that emit red or blue/purple light can also be used at night. If your tank is dropping below 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night because there are no heat lights on you should use the red or blue/purple lights or a ceramic heat emitter as to not disturb this nocturnal lizard.

UVB lighting is not usually necessary since in the wild Panther geckos do not get much sunlight. But if you are having issues with your gecko being lethargic and not eating well you can try adding UVB lighting for 10-12 hours during the day.

Panther Gecko Diet

Panther geckos are insectivores. They will eat whatever insect they can find in the wilds of Madagascar but in captivity, crickets are usually the food of choice for gecko owners. Crickets are easy to find and can be gut loaded and dusted with calcium powder to provide all the essential nutrients to your gecko that he needs.

Other insects, such as silkworms, small beetles, mealworms, and super worms can also be fed as long as they are gut loaded, dusted with calcium powder, and of appropriate size for your specific Panther gecko (no bigger than the space between your gecko's eyes).

Panther Gecko Personalities

These small geckos are known for not only their beautiful patterns but also for their interesting personalities. Juveniles can be very jumpy but tend to calm down and become quite docile as they get older.

Annual checkups and fecal exams with your exotics vet are recommended to avoid potential health issues. You should also be sure your gecko is shedding completely, eating well, and defecating.