Tangerine Leopard Gecko Care: From Diet to Habitat Setup

Tangerine Leopard Gecko

In the fascinating world of herpetoculture, few creatures inspire the awe and admiration as the Tangerine Leopard Gecko. Named for their strikingly vibrant and varying shades of orange that mirror the brilliance of a summer sunset, these creatures stand out as one of the most visually stunning morphs of Leopard Geckos available today. Yet, their allure doesn’t just reside in their appealing colors.

Their docile temperament, straightforward care requirements, and endearing behaviors make them a favorite among both beginner and experienced reptile enthusiasts alike. This article aims to be your comprehensive guide on the Tangerine Leopard Gecko, delving into every aspect from their distinct characteristics to their housing and nutritional needs.

Whether you’re considering adopting one of these fantastic reptiles or simply curious about their vibrant world, this exploration into the life of the Tangerine Leopard Gecko promises to be enlightening. Now, let’s venture into the captivating existence of these extraordinary creatures.

What are Tangerine Leopard Geckos?

The Tangerine Leopard Gecko is a captivating morph of the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius), a species renowned for its rich diversity of colors and patterns. Originating from the deserts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Northwest India, the Leopard Gecko has evolved over time, and through selective breeding, a multitude of morphs have been developed, each unique in their own way.

Tangerine Leopard Geckos, as the name suggests, are characterized by their varying degrees of tangerine, orange, or deep red hues that are prominent over their entire body or only on specific sections. They aren’t a single, defined morph, but rather a color classification encompassing a variety of morphs. Tangerines can range from nearly solid orange to simply possessing orange-tinted highlights.

The name “tangerine” in Tangerine Leopard Geckos isn’t merely a catchy title; it represents a goal within the herpetoculture community. Breeders continuously strive to produce geckos with the most vibrant and widespread orange coloration, creating a spectrum of tangerine morphs, including Carrot Head, Carrot Tail, and Tangerine Tornado. This spectrum allows for an extensive choice for enthusiasts and breeders, meaning there’s a perfect Tangerine Leopard Gecko out there for everyone. Some of them may be rare, but you will likely find one that appeals to you.

So, whether you’re looking for a pet with a burst of orange brilliance or prefer a more subtle play of hues, Tangerine Leopard Geckos offer a delightful palette to choose from. Each individual, from the most blazingly bright to the softly shaded, carries a unique charm and personality, which is part of what makes them so endearing to their human caretakers.

For other colors, I’d suggest looking at morphs like the High Yellow or the Blazing Blizzard Leopard Gecko.

Physical Characteristics

Understanding the physical characteristics of the Tangerine Leopard Gecko is key in distinguishing this particular morph and appreciating its beauty. From its unique coloration to its size and features, each detail adds to the charm and appeal of these fascinating creatures.

Size and Weight

Tangerine Leopard Geckos are medium-sized reptiles, with adults typically reaching a length of between 8 to 10 inches from snout to tail tip. Male geckos are generally slightly larger than females. Regarding weight, a healthy adult Tangerine Leopard Gecko can weigh anywhere between 45 to 90 grams, depending on its sex and individual genetic factors.

Color and Patterns

The standout feature of Tangerine Leopard Geckos is their vibrant coloration. These geckos can exhibit a variety of shades, from a bright, fiery orange to a softer, pastel tangerine, and even deep reds in some instances. Their body color is often complemented by lighter or darker spots, and the distribution and intensity of the orange can differ significantly from one individual to the next. Some geckos may boast a fully tangerine body, while others have tangerine coloring mainly on their tail or head (known as Carrot Tails or Carrot Heads respectively).

Some Tangerine Leopard Geckos may also exhibit additional traits such as a lack of spots, known as the “Super Hypo” trait. This, combined with tangerine coloration, results in a nearly solid orange gecko, a sought-after variation among breeders and enthusiasts.

Eyes and Ears

Like all Leopard Geckos, Tangerines have distinct, large eyes with elliptical pupils that adjust to varying light conditions, an adaptation to their original desert environments. Eye color can vary but often reflects shades of smoky gray to a rich, chocolate brown. Leopard Geckos, including Tangerine morphs, are also known for their external ear openings that are visible on the sides of their head.

Skin and Tail

The skin of a Tangerine Leopard Gecko is covered in small bumps, giving it a rough texture, which is contrary to the smooth appearance it might portray. Another fascinating feature is their fat-storing tail, a crucial survival trait in the wild where food can be unpredictable. In Tangerine Leopard Geckos, the tail often exhibits the richest concentration of the tangerine coloration.

The physical characteristics of the Tangerine Leopard Gecko, especially their vibrant coloration, undeniably contribute to their popularity. However, remember that each gecko is unique, and variations in size, color, and pattern are common.

Tangerine Leopard Gecko

Behavior and Temperament

Behavior and temperament are essential aspects to consider when choosing a pet, and Tangerine Leopard Geckos are no different. Their behaviors can reveal much about their health and overall well-being, while their temperament can dictate their suitability to your lifestyle.

Activity Patterns

Tangerine Leopard Geckos, like their other Leopard Gecko counterparts, are crepuscular. This means they are most active during dawn and dusk, unlike most animals that are either diurnal (active during the day) or nocturnal (active at night). You can typically observe them exploring their surroundings, hunting, or socializing during these periods. During the day, they usually retreat to hideaways to sleep and escape the heat.


Tangerine Leopard Geckos are generally quite sociable creatures, displaying a level of comfort around their human caretakers. While they may be shy initially, with regular gentle handling, they typically grow accustomed to human interaction and may even appear to enjoy the stimulation. However, it’s important to respect their boundaries and observe their comfort levels to ensure a positive relationship.

When it comes to cohabitation with other geckos, it’s essential to follow appropriate guidelines. Male Leopard Geckos are territorial and should never be housed together. Females can live together if provided with enough space, but it’s important to watch for signs of stress or aggression. A male and female pair can cohabitate but be prepared for possible breeding.


Tangerine Leopard Geckos are known for their docile demeanor, making them great pets, even for beginners. They are typically not aggressive, but their comfort with handling can vary by individual. They display curiosity about their environment, often observed through their exploratory behaviors within their habitats.

Signs of Stress

While Tangerine Leopard Geckos are generally laid-back, they can still experience stress. Common signs of stress include a lack of appetite, excessive hiding, and abnormal behavior. Changes in environment, improper habitat conditions, and illness can lead to stress in these creatures.

Understanding and respecting the behavior and temperament of your Tangerine Leopard Gecko are vital to their well-being and your enjoyment of these lovely creatures. They are not merely displays of vibrant colors but interactive pets that can form unique bonds with their human caretakers.

Habitat and Housing

Creating a suitable habitat for your Tangerine Leopard Gecko is a fundamental aspect of their care. Here, we’ll explore what constitutes an ideal housing setup for these charming reptiles, focusing on factors such as enclosure size, temperature regulation, and lighting requirements.

Enclosure Type and Size

For housing your Tangerine Leopard Gecko, a terrarium or vivarium is most suitable. While the market offers various types of enclosures, a glass tank with a screened top is recommended for proper ventilation.

The size of the enclosure should correspond with the size and number of geckos housed. For a single adult Tangerine Leopard Gecko, a 20-gallon tank is typically sufficient. If housing more than one gecko, remember to increase the enclosure size accordingly and avoid housing two males together due to their territorial nature.


Choosing the right substrate is crucial as the wrong choice can lead to health issues like impaction. Acceptable substrates include reptile carpet, newspaper, or tile. Loose substrates, such as sand or small pebbles, are generally not recommended due to the risk of accidental ingestion.

Hideaways and Landscaping

Leopard Geckos are natural hiders, so providing them with multiple hideaways is necessary for their well-being. At least two hide spots should be included, one on the warm side of the tank and one on the cooler side. A moist hide filled with damp moss or a similar material can also help aid in shedding.

Other landscaping elements like rocks and branches can be included to mimic their natural environment and offer additional climbing and hiding opportunities. However, ensure these elements are secure and pose no risk of toppling over and injuring your gecko.

Temperature Regulation

Tangerine Leopard Geckos, like other reptiles, are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources for body heat regulation. The ideal temperature range for these geckos lies between 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with one side of the enclosure being warmer (the basking area) and the other side cooler. An under-tank heating pad is a good choice for maintaining these temperatures.


While Tangerine Leopard Geckos are crepuscular and do not need intense lighting, providing a natural light and dark cycle (12 hours each) is beneficial for their physiological well-being. UVB lighting can also be included but is not mandatory if the gecko’s diet is properly supplemented with vitamin D3.

Creating a comfortable, stimulating, and naturalistic habitat for your Tangerine Leopard Gecko is essential for their happiness and health.

Diet and Nutrition

Proper diet and nutrition play a vital role in the health and lifespan of your Tangerine Leopard Gecko. Providing them with a balanced and varied diet can ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients, promoting their overall well-being.

Dietary Requirements

Tangerine Leopard Geckos are primarily insectivores, which means their diet should consist mainly of live insects. Common choices include mealworms, crickets, and dubia roaches. Waxworms can also be offered, but sparingly, as they are high in fat and can become an addictive treat.

It’s crucial to remember the concept of ‘gut loading’ – feeding nutritious foods to the insects before they are offered to your gecko. This process enhances the nutritional value of the insects, contributing to the health of your Tangerine Leopard Gecko.

Supplementing Diet

Alongside a staple diet of insects, it’s important to supplement your gecko’s diet with necessary vitamins and minerals. The most critical are calcium and vitamin D3, which help prevent Metabolic Bone Disease, a common issue in Leopard Geckos. Supplements can be dusted onto the insects before feeding.

Feeding Schedule

Juvenile Tangerine Leopard Geckos have a higher metabolic rate and should be fed daily. As they grow into adults, their feeding frequency can be reduced to every other day. The quantity of food offered will depend on the size and appetite of your gecko, but a general rule is to offer 2-3 insects that are no bigger than the space between your gecko’s eyes.


While Leopard Geckos get most of their water intake from their food, a shallow dish of fresh water should always be available in their enclosure. The dish should be shallow to prevent your gecko from possibly drowning.

Proper feeding and nutrition are paramount to the care of your Tangerine Leopard Gecko. Providing them with a balanced, nutritious diet can enhance their colors, increase their lifespan, and most importantly, ensure their happiness and well-being.

Breeding Tangerine Leopard Geckos

For those interested in taking their passion for Tangerine Leopard Geckos to the next level, breeding these unique creatures can be a rewarding endeavor. It’s important, however, to understand the process and responsibilities involved before embarking on such a venture.

Determining Sex

Before you can start breeding, you’ll need to accurately determine the sexes of your geckos. Male Leopard Geckos have a distinct V-shaped row of pre-anal pores and hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail, while females have a less pronounced row of pores and lack hemipenal bulges.

Age and Health of Breeders

Your Tangerine Leopard Geckos should be mature and in good health before they are bred. Generally, females should be at least one year old and weigh a minimum of 50 grams. Always ensure that your geckos have been regularly eating and show no signs of illness before breeding.

Breeding Season

Leopard Geckos usually breed in the warmer months, typically between January and September. Mating usually occurs soon after the female has shed her skin.

Egg Laying and Incubation

After successful mating, the female will lay her eggs approximately three to five weeks later. Leopard Geckos usually lay two eggs at a time, which should be carefully removed and placed in an incubator. Incubation temperatures can be manipulated to control the sex of the hatchlings – higher temperatures tend to produce males, while lower temperatures produce females.

Hatchling Care

Newly hatched Tangerine Leopard Geckos should be kept separately to prevent any possible aggression and ensure they’re receiving adequate food. It’s crucial to monitor their health closely during the first few weeks of their life.

Breeding Tangerine Leopard Geckos is a task that requires responsibility and commitment but can be incredibly fulfilling. Not only does it allow for the continuation of this spectacular morph, but it also allows breeders to contribute to the understanding and appreciation of these amazing creatures.

Health Concerns and Lifespan

Like all pets, Tangerine Leopard Geckos can encounter health issues. Familiarizing yourself with potential health concerns and understanding their average lifespan will ensure you’re well-prepared to provide the best care possible for your gecko.

Common Health Issues

Some health concerns commonly observed in Tangerine Leopard Geckos include:

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD): Caused by an imbalance of calcium, vitamin D3, and phosphorus, this can lead to deformities, weakened bones, and in severe cases, death. Regular supplementation can help prevent this disease.

Impaction: This is a blockage in the digestive tract usually caused by the ingestion of a loose substrate. Symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, and a swollen abdomen.

Shedding issues (Dysecdysis): Geckos normally shed their skin without problems. However, sometimes, patches of old skin can get stuck, particularly around the eyes and on the toes. A moist hide and proper humidity can help prevent these issues.


With proper care, a Tangerine Leopard Gecko can live a long and healthy life. On average, these geckos have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years in captivity. This longevity is one of many reasons why they are such desirable pets.

Regular Vet Checkups

Routine vet checkups are crucial to maintaining your gecko’s health. An experienced reptile vet can provide thorough exams, offer advice on diet and care, and diagnose any potential health problems early.

Your Tangerine Leopard Gecko’s health should always be a top priority. Regular monitoring, proper husbandry, and veterinary care can ensure that your gecko leads a long, healthy, and happy life.


Choosing to bring a Tangerine Leopard Gecko into your life is an exciting decision. Their striking coloration, unique behaviors, and friendly disposition make them fascinating and enjoyable pets. However, like any other pet, they come with their specific needs and responsibilities.

Their care involves providing a suitable habitat that mimics their natural environment, a balanced diet filled with nutritious live insects, and appropriate supplements. Regular handling can foster a bond between you and your gecko, enhancing the pet-keeping experience.

While there are challenges, such as potential health issues and the requirement of a long-term commitment due to their impressive lifespan, the rewards are plentiful. The joy of watching your Tangerine Leopard Gecko thrive and the companionship they offer is genuinely worth the effort.

Whether you’re a beginner herpetologist or an experienced reptile enthusiast, Tangerine Leopard Geckos can make a wonderful addition to your life. With proper care and understanding, you can ensure your vibrant pet lives a healthy and happy life, bringing you joy and fascination for many years.


What sets Tangerine Leopard Geckos apart from other Leopard Gecko morphs?

Tangerine Leopard Geckos are distinguished by their vibrant orange coloration, which can vary from a light, pastel orange to a deep, intense tangerine. They’re a result of selective breeding to enhance this color trait.

How long can Tangerine Leopard Geckos live?

With proper care, Tangerine Leopard Geckos can live for 10 to 20 years in captivity. This impressive lifespan makes them a long-term commitment as a pet.

Can Tangerine Leopard Geckos be handled?

Yes, they are generally known for their docile temperament and can be handled. However, it’s important to handle them gently and regularly to help them grow accustomed to human interaction.

What do Tangerine Leopard Geckos eat?

Tangerine Leopard Geckos are insectivores, meaning their diet primarily consists of live insects, including mealworms, crickets, and dubia roaches.

Can Tangerine Leopard Geckos live with other geckos?

While female Leopard Geckos can potentially live together if provided with enough space, males are territorial and should not be housed together. A male and female pair can cohabitate, but be prepared for potential breeding.

Do Tangerine Leopard Geckos require a specific habitat setup?

A proper habitat for a Tangerine Leopard Gecko includes a temperature gradient, hiding spots, a safe substrate, and a source of moisture. They do not have high requirements for lighting, but a natural day and night cycle can be beneficial.

What health issues are common in Tangerine Leopard Geckos?

Common health issues include Metabolic Bone Disease (due to improper calcium, vitamin D3, and phosphorus balance), impaction (from ingesting loose substrate), and shedding issues.

Can I breed my Tangerine Leopard Geckos?

Yes, you can breed Tangerine Leopard Geckos, but it’s a responsibility not to be taken lightly. It requires proper understanding of their breeding habits, sex determination, and care for the eggs and hatchlings.

How often should I feed my Tangerine Leopard Gecko?

Juvenile Tangerine Leopard Geckos should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every other day. The amount of food will depend on the gecko’s size and appetite.

How can I tell if my Tangerine Leopard Gecko is stressed?

Signs of stress in your Tangerine Leopard Gecko can include a lack of appetite, excessive hiding, and abnormal behavior. Changes in their environment, improper habitat conditions, and illness can all lead to stress.