Leopard Gecko Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Come learn about the spotted leopard gecko! In this lesson, you will explore some cool facts about leopard geckos, and you'll learn where they live and what they eat.

What Is a Leopard Gecko?

Imagine you're wandering the desert at night, and you feel like you're being watched! You swing your flashlight around and see something with cat-like eyes and a very familiar spotted pattern hiding by a rock. Is it a leopard waiting to make you a snack? No, it's much too small for that. It's actually a leopard gecko!

Leopard geckos are yellow-bodied lizards with light purple tails, and they get their name from their black spots that look like a leopard's. These animals are reptiles, which means they are cold-blooded and have scales. They lizards can grow to be around 7 to 10 inches long, and about half of that length is the tail.

Leopard gecko have yellow bodies, black spots and purple tails.
Leopard Gecko with Light Purple Tail

Leopard geckos have many very interesting features. For instance, they can lick their own eyes to clean them. Imagine having a tongue long enough to reach your eyes! Unlike some other kinds of geckos, leopard geckos also have eyelids and can blink and close their eyes to sleep, just like you do. These lizards also have unusual ears. If you look through one ear of the leopard gecko in just the right way, you can see out through the other ear.

Where Do Leopard Geckos Live?

While some people keep leopard geckos as pets, these lizards normally live in the grasslands and some rocky deserts of Asia. During the day, they sleep in burrows in the ground or beneath rocks to protect themselves from the hot sun, and they hunt for food during the night when it's cooler. When an animal is most active at night, like the leopard gecko, it's called nocturnal.

Leopard geckos sleep under rocks and in burrows.
Leopard Gecko

In the desert, leopard geckos have many predators, such as snakes and other larger reptiles. So, they have ways of protecting themselves. For instance, their black spots help them blend into their surroundings and make them harder to see.

If a leopard gecko is attacked, it can snap off its tail to distract the predator (the disconnected tail flips ad wiggles around), letting the gecko make a clean getaway. The tail will eventually grow back, but it will be shorter, less brightly colored, smoother and fatter than the original.

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