It’s natural for someone who has had a leopard gecko for a while to also want to get a bearded dragon. After all, these are two of the most popular reptiles out there. But can they live together?
Leopard geckos and bearded dragons can’t live together. This is because both these reptiles are territorial and are willing to fight others invading their space. And since bearded dragons are bigger than leopard geckos, they are likely to try to dominate the latter or even eat them.
Can leopard geckos and bearded dragons live together?
While both leopard geckos and bearded dragons are gentle and docile, they are territorial, especially the adult male ones. This makes them prone to getting into fights with other adult male dragons and those of similar species. And while their female and juvenile counterparts tend to be less aggressive, they can also seek to dominate those they deem weaker.
That’s why the size difference between leopard geckos and bearded dragons is a big issue – it makes it easy for the latter to attack the former. Also, it means that they have different tank size requirements.
Related: What Can Live with a Leopard Gecko
How does an ideal tank for a leopard gecko differ from a bearded dragon?
Since leopard geckos grow up to around 6 to 9 inches in length, a 20-gallon tank is ideal. A 10 gallon tank can be sufficient but may be a bit tight. On the other hand, bearded dragons can grow to about 18 to 22 inches in length and need a 75 to 120-gallon tank.
This means that to your leopard gecko, a bearded dragon looks like an intimidating giant – living with them would create a constant state of anxiety.
Moreover, if your leopard gecko moved into your bearded dragon’s ideal tank, they would be confused by its sheer size.
Alternatively, if you try to introduce your bearded dragon to your leopard gecko’s tank, they would be cramped.
Beyond this, these two reptiles require different tank setups, making it impossible to design a habitat that suits both of them. For one, since leopard geckos are terrestrial, they will need a wide rather than tall tank, which will provide them with enough space to walk around. Also, they won’t need a lot of plants in their tanks – a plant coverage of 20% is enough. They would prefer rocks and logs for basking and hiding.
On the other hand, young bearded dragons are semi-arboreal and will need a lot of vertical space and plants to climb and play with. Interestingly, as they get older, these reptiles become terrestrial, making them share something in common with leopard geckos.
Another thing that bearded dragons have in common with leopard geckos is their ideal substrate materials. They would both do better with materials that aren’t made of small particles that are likely to be eaten during feeding. These could cause impaction and intestinal blockages. As such, you should avoid using materials like wood chips and gravel. You should also stay away from high humidity substrates.
Instead, opt for paper towels, newspapers, or reptile carpets.
No matter which type of substrate you choose, ensure you replace it every few months and clean your pet’s tank at least once a month.
Do leopard geckos and bearded dragons have the same temperature and humidity requirements?
Native to Australia, bearded dragons are used to arid areas such as deserts, scrublands, and savannas. These are the same environmental conditions leopard geckos are used to. These two reptiles thrive under similar temperatures – 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Even their basking areas should be the same temperature – around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s even overlap in their preferred humidity levels. While leopard geckos do well at levels between 30% and 40%, bearded dragons thrive between 20% and 40% humidity.
Do leopard geckos and bearded dragons need the same lighting setup?
Both leopard geckos need lighting during the day but not at night. However, since leopard geckos are nocturnal, they don’t need UV lighting, although it can benefit them. On the other hand, bearded dragons need this kind of lighting for 12 to 14 hours each spring/summer day and 8 hours each fall/winter day.
The best UV lighting option for a bearded dragon is a 10% to 12% fluorescent tube, and it’s best placed in the basking area of your pet’s tank. This will effectively protect them from getting metabolic bone disease. Since the UV rays produced by such lighting options can’t pass through mediums like glass and plastic, always ensure that there is no barrier between the UV bulb and your bearded dragon.
Also, remember to replace these bulbs every six months, even if they are not burnt out. More importantly, pair up these bulbs with heat emitters – they don’t produce any heat on their own.
How does the ideal diet of a leopard gecko differ from that of a bearded dragon?
While leopard geckos usually rely on insects for all their nutritional needs, bearded dragons are omnivorous and will eat both insects and plants. They can eat live crickets, mealworms, calciworms, and locusts as long as they are not bigger than their mouths. Moreover, they can eat plantain leaves, dandelions, clovers, chicory, watercress, rocket, and grated butternut squash.
However, it’s important to remember that not all plants are safe for bearded dragons – you have to do some research before offering a new plant to your pet. You should particularly avoid offering spinach because it prevents calcium absorption. Also, don’t feed your bearded dragon a lot of cabbage or kale – both of them can affect your pet’s hormones.
Another thing to keep in mind is that bearded dragons should always be fed fresh food. Anything left uneaten from a previous meal should be immediately removed from the tank. Also, young bearded dragons need more live food than older ones. They thrive on a diet of 65% live insects and 35% plants – they will eat more greens as they grow. But even as this happens, gut loading remains essential.
So whether you are keeping a leopard gecko or a bearded dragon, ensure you gut load their feeder insects 24 hours before feeding and dust them with calcium and vitamins. And ensure that they have a bowl of water available to them, although they will probably get all the moisture from somewhere else.
What problems can arise from placing a leopard gecko and bearded dragon in the same tank?
Because of their differences, placing a leopard gecko and bearded dragon in the same tank can lead to several problems. For one, they can fight and get injured – the leopard gecko can even die.
Secondly, the two pets can steal each others’ food, leading to health issues. Another thing that could happen is that both pets may have their sleeping patterns interrupted, causing stress and confusion.
This is because they have conflicting sleeping schedules – leopard geckos sleep during the day while bearded dragons sleep at night. So when one of them is sleeping, the other will be walking around and interfering with their sleep. To make matters worse, these pets can transmit parasites to each other, causing illness or even death.
While it may seem like a good idea to house your leopard gecko and bearded dragon together, it’s not.
Even though they can live under the same temperature and humidity conditions, they are both territorial and can’t share a tank without fighting. And their different dietary, lighting, space, and sleeping needs make things much harder.
For the sake of peace and prosperity, these two reptiles should never be housed together.