Why you shouldn’t use sand for leopard geckos

Before I start this blog post, I’d like to say that these are my beliefs. Please read multiple blog post and watch multiple videos and make the best choice for your leopard gecko.

I don’t like sand for leopard geckos. It’s simple, I will never use it. I knew early on in my research on leopard geckos that I would never use it for mine. I avoid any loose substrate.
Even if you know someone who keeps their gecko on sand and they’re fine, why would YOU risk it for your little guy?

Leopard geckos don’t live on sand in the wild, but on rocky terrain and dry grassland. I know a lot of people think they do, but you can find tons of pictures of their habitat online that proof the opposite.
Because they live in the desert, people assume they live on sand. But desert doesn’t always mean sand. The definition of a desert is ‘a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life’.

Impaction is a serious condition that can be caused by many different factors, one of them being sand.
Some symptoms of impaction are loss of appetite, constipation, bloated belly…

Geckos constantly lick their environment to explore. They can also mistake sand for calcium and lick it on purpose. They can’t properly digest sand, which causes impaction.

You should take impaction very serious as it can lead to dead. If you suspect your gecko is impacted, please contact an exotic vet.

What substrates can you use?
There are many different substrate you can use that are much better and safer than sand. A few examples are:
Pros: Easy to clean, looks nice and clean
Cons: Doesn’t look very natural
Reptile sand mat
Pros: Looks natural
Cons: Harder to clean
Reptile carpet
Pros: Looks nice
Cons: Your gecko’s nails may get stuck, not that easy to clean, not very hygienic
Paper towel
Pros: Very easy to clean, hygienic
Cons: Doesn’t look that great or natural

Sand is something you need to buy every so often to replace the old sand and keep your tank clean. While tile, for example, is a one time purchase. Sand is a way more expensive substrate than tile or paper towel. Pet shops make a lot of money on sand, so they sell it without explaining the risks.

Videos to watch:
Facts about sand impaction
Symptoms & treatment of sand impaction
What’s impaction and how do reptiles get it? FACTS

Please make sure you do as much research as you possibly can on this topic before you get a leopard gecko. If you think I missed something or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message me here or on instagram.

Check out some of my other posts here ↓

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