Whilst you may know how to care for a leopard gecko, the rules for looking after a hatchling are slightly different. Just like human babies, newly hatched geckos aren’t as strong as their parents and will need certain assistance to ensure that they grow happily and healthily.
Feeding the Hatchling
Adult leopard geckos should ideally be given access to fresh food every couple of days, but hatchlings (and breeding females) require access to fresh food every single day. They can generally eat the same food as adults such as live insects (which will help them hone their hunting skills) but I’d personally recommend mealworms as they’re easier to gut load and dust and won’t cause any problems if your gecko doesn’t eat them straight away. Some people like to feed the hatchling pinkies (newly born mice) as well as they’re nutritious but – aside from being awful in my opinion – they are very fattening and addictive.
Dusting and gut loading are important when feeding hatchlings as they need a lot of vitamins and calcium. Make sure you put calcium powder in a bowl for them to lap up as well as this is an important part of their diet.
How to Care for a Leopard Gecko Hatchling: Shedding
Understanding the shedding process is a key part of understanding how to care for a leopard gecko hatchling.
As with other reptiles, geckos shed their skin as they grow. You can tell when the process is about to begin because the colour of their skin will fade and become pale. Generally, shedding is a quick and simple process for the gecko hatchlings and they’ll often eat their skin once they’ve successfully shed it.
Hatchlings will shed their skin more often than adults as they’re growing a lot more quickly, so it’s important that you provide them with the necessary conditions they require to successfully complete the process. The main thing a leopard gecko requires to shed its skin is a good level of humidity (20-40%). The humidity makes it easier for the hatchling to shed its skin because it becomes a lot more moist and thus easier to remove.
To monitor the humidity it’s important that you invest in a hygrometer as you can quickly identify any changes you need to make. You can raise the level of humidity by misting the tank, the hatchling itself or even the moist hide (a moist shelter which you gecko will shed it’s skin inside). Simply adding more water to the water bowl in the tank can also help to raise the level of the humidity in the tank. On the other hand, you can lower the humidity by creating more space for air circulation, allowing warm air to leave the tank and cool air to enter it.
A common problem that can occur during the shedding process is the skin becoming caught between the leopard gecko hatchlings toes. This can be extremely uncomfortable for your pet and can lead to several different health issues if not dealt with quickly enough. In order to help your gecko remove the trapped skin, you should dampen a cue tip and gently remove the skin from between its toes with the cotton. This is an extremely important part of knowing how to care for a leopard gecko hatchling because you are the only one who can truly help the baby lizard should this problem arise.
The hatchlings can use the same bedding as their adult counterparts but it’s often recommended to let them walk on kitchen roll at first because it’s softer to walk on and also ensures that their prey is a lot more visible which will help them gradually develop their hunting techniques whilst also ensuring that they eat. On top of this, kitchen roll is also cheap and easy to replace in the tank when you have to clean it out.
Now that you have the key information that you’ll need to successfully know how to take care of a leopard gecko hatchling, you can help your gecko with the breeding process confidently.