It may not be easy to choose between a leopard gecko and a bearded dragon as both are affectionate pets. This article highlights the critical differences between the two pets to help you choose one that best suits your lifestyle.
1. Physical appearance
Leopard geckos have a leopard-like appearance, unlike other gecko species that feature a transparent membrane. They are tall with a broad head. Their skin is rough, while their belly is smooth and soft.
The leopard gecko’s movable eyelids make it easy to differentiate it from other gecko species. Leopard geckos come in different colors. Some of the colors are blizzard, jungle, carrot tangerine, and more.
Bearded dragons have a beard under their jaw, and that explains their name. They have some spikes on the body and can make a whistling sound as soon as they sense danger.
Just like the leopard geckos, bearded dragon also comes in different colors. The most common colors you will come across include red, white brown, tar, orange, blue, and yellow.
2. Size and weight
Leopard geckos are small in size. The young ones will measure between 2-4 inches long while the adult ones grow up to 10 inches.
Young geckos weigh about 7 grams while mature females weigh 40 grams. The males will weight some about 85 grams. Bearded dragons grow fast than their counterpart leopard geckos.
The young ones are about 5 inches long while adults measure up to 25 inches. The newly hatched bearded dragons will measure about 3 grams while adults’ weight up to 800 grams.
Some species of bearded dragons such as German giant dragons grow fast and can weigh up to 950 grams during adulthood. Leopard geckos are easier to handle, especially among kids.
Leopard geckos will be sexually mature by the age of 1 year. It is recommended that they are bred when more than 55 grams in weight. Bearded dragons become mature between 9 -18 months. They should be bred when they weight about 450 grams and are 18 months to prevent immaturity and other issues.
Leopard gecko comes across as settled and friendly around members of the family. They remain calm when you lift them gently.
Beaded dragon, on the other hand, appreciates gentle and calculated handling. They also get attached to people around them easily and are safe to be handled by young members of the family.
As compared to the leopard geckos, bearded dragons are more affectionate to the family members.
5. Tank size
How much space do you need for a leopard gecko? What about the bearded dragon? Young leopard gecko needs about a 14-gallon tank to move around freely.
This is an adequate space for them to thrive in. They require less space compared to most pets. For an adult leopard gecko, you will require a tank that is about 28 gallons to facilitate free living.
Bearded dragons require more space as compared to the leopard gecko. A young bearded dragon needs about 16 gallons of the tank. An adult bearded dragon requires a tank that is about 68 gallons. Again, it all depends on the size of the dragon you intend to buy. Adequate space allows your pet to move freely for better growth.
Leopard geckos can live up to 22 years. However, for them to live to this age, they need optimum care. Some geckos will die as early as 5 years when not properly taken care of. On average, the leopard geckos live between 12-22 years.
Bearded dragons have a lifespan between 9- 13 years. However, they can live up to 16 years when properly taken care of. Likewise, a bearded dragon may not live beyond five years with improper care.
7. Food consumption
There is a difference in food requirements between these two pets. Bearded dragons are bigger in size as told earlier, and that explains why they consume more food than the leopard gecko.
To give you a clear picture , the bearded dragon can eat an average of 55 insects in a week while an adult leopard gecko feeds on average of 30 insects during the same duration.
It is also important to note that the amount of food that these pests feed on depends on their age, health status, and individual food preferences. In an assumption that both the bearded dragon and leopard gecko are in good health, regardless of the age, you can expect the bearded dragon to eat twice the food eaten by a leopard gecko.
The two pets have different playtime preferences. For example, bearded dragons will be active during the day while the leopard dragons are more active at night.
A leopard gecko is your best if you are looking for a pet that stays less active during the day. It is best to go for a bearded dragon when you are looking for a pet to play with, feed, go for trips during the day.
Bearded dragons are easy to handle when you have created a bond with them. They will even ask you to go out for some sun.
They are affectionate animals that kids find easy to handle. A leopard gecko can quickly go into hiding in a new environment or when around unfamiliar people, including kids, approach.
It takes some time for them to be able to stay calm around members of the family. Both pets are easy to handle, but you will find it easier to handle the bearded dragon because of its enormous size. Leopard geckos are delicate to handle and will require confidence on your part as you approach them.
10. Maintenance costs
You must know how much it will cost to care for any of these pets before you commit to buying. Bearded dragons are more prominent and will require a larger tank. Additionally, they thrive well in areas with high temperatures. This means that you require UVB lighting. Leopard geckos are smaller in size and have no specific temperature demands. You will save a dime if you choose to buy a leopard gecko.
Both leopard gecko and bearded dragon are perfect for beginners. We hope this article made it easier for you to choose between the two pets.
Forrest is a lover of dogs, the wild outdoors, deep mysterious conversations… and coffee. He is the owner of several websites, including Canine Weekly. He resides in Austin, Texas.