Although hanging out with your leopard gecko is fun, sometimes you need to go on vacation without them – just to get some time to unwind. But can you leave your leopard gecko alone for a week? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.
While leopard geckos can go one or two days unattended, leaving your gecko alone for a week is not safe. For one, they could run out of food and water. Alternatively, they could overheat or freeze. As such, it’s best to get someone to check on them every couple of days while you’re away.
Will your leopard gecko starve if you leave them alone for one week?
Even if you don’t feed your leopard gecko for a week, they won’t starve to death. Instead, they will just survive off their fat reservoirs, particularly those in their tail. In fact, leopard geckos can survive up to 3 months without food – that’s what they do during brumation.
Ultimately, if you’re thinking of leaving your leopard gecko alone for a week, you need to be more worried about providing a steady water supply rather than food. Also, you need to ensure that your leopard gecko’s tank is maintained at optimum temperature and humidity levels.
What should you do so that you can safely leave your leopard gecko alone for a week?
If you’ve been planning to go on a one-week vacation for a while now and don’t want to carry your leopard gecko along, there are some things you can do to make the experience seamless for both of you. These include:
1. Get someone to check up on your leopard gecko
This is one of the most important things you need to do before leaving your leopard gecko alone for one week. You could easily ask a friend or family member to do this for you, especially if they’re already coming to your place to bring your mail or feed your other pets.
The major thing you have to do is give them clear instructions on how to check the temperature and humidity of your gecko’s tank, top-up their water, and ensure that they have food.
Also, remind them to ensure there’s no power outage and check whether any of the water or food has spilled in the tank. Make sure you leave instructions for such occurrences – the clearer they are, the better.
If the person you send is comfortable handling insects, you can even ask them to dust a few insects before adding them to your leopard gecko’s food bowl. Just remember that this isn’t compulsory – though not ideal, your leopard gecko can survive with little to no food while you’re away.
If your friends and family members aren’t comfortable with checking on your leopard gecko, though, you can hire a sitter or an experienced caregiver. The latter is particularly suitable for those with several eggs, hatchlings, and leopard geckos with special needs.
You can pay these professionals to come to your house every few days to care for your collection. Just ensure that they have your contact details, those of your vet, and any special instructions.
If you feel like your leopard gecko needs more experienced care, you can leave them at a pet store or another facility that offers gecko sitting services. These facilities usually have experienced personnel who stay onsite for prolonged periods. They can provide superior care as long as you choose them wisely.
They do have their disadvantages, though. For instance, they are usually expensive. Also, you have no way to ensure that your leopard gecko will be quarantined from other reptiles to your standards while they’re there.
2. Clean out your leopard gecko’s tank
Before you leave your leopard gecko in the hands of your chosen caregiver, you’ll need to clean its tank. This will ease the caregiver’s burden and keep your gecko from getting any diet-related diseases while you’re away. This is particularly important if your chosen caregiver doesn’t have a leopard gecko of their own and has no experience cleaning their tanks.
Leaving this responsibility to them can even introduce bleach and other harsh cleaning chemicals to your leopard gecko’s tank. This can irritate your pet and cause them great discomfort. So before you go on vacation, remove any poop from the tank, clean all the food/water bowls, and change the substrate if necessary.
3. Get all your leopard gecko’s supplies beforehand
Since only you know the specific food and supplies your leopard gecko likes, ensure you stock up on these before you go. This is particularly important if you have a baby gecko – these need to eat every day. Keep in mind that leopard geckos are known for refusing food that they’re not used to and even going on hunger strikes until they’re offered what they crave.
4. Create a checklist and care sheet
Whether you choose to leave your leopard gecko with your friend, family member, pet sitter, or local reptile store, you need to brief them and provide a checklist and a care sheet. The sheet should include all the information your caregiver needs to know. If you both have time, you can even physically show the caregiver how to perform the necessary tasks.
5. Get your heating and lighting system set up
If you usually use a heat mat to heat your leopard gecko’s tank, ensure you leave it on when you leave. If you use a heat lamp instead or as an additional heat source, you’ll have to turn it off and depend on the caregiver to turn it on when needed.
But to ensure that your heat lamps turn on and off in sync with day-night cycles, it’s best to get them set up on programmable timers. Alternatively, you could use a smart plug – these devices allow you to control your tank’s lights using your smartphone.
Related: What to do if your leopard gecko escapes from its tank
Ultimately, you can have a great vacation with a little planning and preparation while ensuring that your leopard gecko is well taken care of.