7 Differences: Leopard Gecko vs Bearded Dragon
Are you wondering what the differences are between a Bearded Dragon (Click here to see how this guide can help you avoid making critical errors with your Bearded Dragon) and a Leopard Gecko? Well if yes, you are in the right place. I will be breaking this down looking at 7 different factors.
What are the main differences between a Leopard Gecko & a Bearded Gecko? Bearded Dragons are bigger and eat more food and also require UVB lighting. Leopard geckos are smaller, do not require UVB. But both are great for beginners.
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To help you make a decision on this, I have taken it open myself to compare these fine lizards, looking a number of different factors, such as food, activity times, life expectancy and more.
01. Activity times
Let me explain to you the differences in their activity. Bearded dragons are mainly active during the day, at which point you can see them feeding and moving around in their tank.
Leopard geckos on the other hand are more of a nocturnal animal. Meaning most of their activity is during the night. Therefore, they will feed and move around in the nighttime, which is the opposite to bearded dragons
02. Life expectancy
Both of these lizards have quite long life expectancies. Therefore, if you are planning on buying one, make sure you are in this for the long term. Reason being, Leopard Geckos have been known to live up to 28 years.
But to be honest this is quite a rare occurrence, but gives you an idea of how long they can live. On the other hand bearded dragons can live anywhere from 15 to 20 years to give you a comparison.
03. The cost to maintain
Now lets compare the costs to maintain these two lizards. Bearded dragons are bigger animals and therefore require larger tanks (Click here for the best bearded Dragon Tanks). They also require UVB lighting and higher temperatures.
Leopard Geckos, on the other hand, do not require UVB lighting. They are also smaller, a lot smaller, so so you can have a smaller tank enclosure.
04. Size of the enclosures
As discussed earlier, Bearded Dragons are larger animals. Therefore, they require a larger enclosure. For this reason you can expect at least a size of 30 gallons for the them.
However, for the leopard gecko you can get away with anything from 10 to 20 gallons depending on how many you want to store in the tank (more on mixing Leos later).
05. Food requirements
In this section I’m going to explain the difference in food requirements for the leopard gecko and a bearded dragon. Bearded dragons eat a lot more than leopard geckos. This is mainly to do with the size difference.
To give you an idea of the difference of food, a Bearded Dragon could be expected to eat up to 50 insects in a week, where as a Leopard Gecko could be up to 25. This is just an indication because there are other factors to consider here.
This largely depends on the age of the Lizard, health of the lizard, location, etc. So there’s a lot of different things that can affect the real volume of food that your lizard will consume. But as a general guide, this is a good indication of the difference.
Looking at these averages, you can expect a Bearded Dragon to consume almost twice as much as the Leopard Gecko. Also if you are dealing with younger juvenile Bearded Dragons you can expect them to consume a lot of food as well.
06. Mixing lizards
Leopard Geckos, in general, can be mixed together. However, you need to make sure that you have enough space for them in the tank to keep them happy. For example, if you have one leopard gecko you can expect a minimum tank size of 10 gallons.
However, if you increase this to say two Leopard Geckos, the recommendation is at least 30 gallons. Depending on how many you want to put in a tank this will obviously increase.
Mixing Male Leos
With regards to male Leos, it is not a good idea to mix more than one male, because they are quite territorial. There is a good chance that they will fight. These fights can also disrupt any female Geckos that may be sharing a tank enclosure with them.
Therefore, regardless if you’ve got a male and thinking of mixing it with another. Or maybe more than one male along with females it is not a good idea.
Mixing Female Leos
Females mix together ok, but if you do decide to mix them together, you still need to take precaution. It is a good idea to make sure that they are a similar size and that you’ve got enough space for them in the tank. As I mentioned earlier if there is not enough space in the tank then they may fight over space.
Mixing Male & Female Leos
If you decide on mixing a male and female leopard geckos, do not have less than 3 females for one male. The reason is, there will be too much mating and breeding. Also, the problem is, the females will not be able to keep up with the demands of the male Leo.
Another consideration is the health of the leopard geckos, when mixing. For example, if you buy a new leopard gecko and attempt to mix it with some existing geckos, their could be a chance that the new gecko could have some kind of parasite infection.
This can pass on to your other geckos therefore it is important to check this out before you continue.
Mixing bearded dragons
In general mixing bearded dragons is not a good idea. However it is possible, in some cases, which we will discuss now. But if it can be avoided this is the best.
Another thing to consider, if you attempt to do this, just be prepared to separate them if need be. So that would mean that you need a separate tank on stand by if the arrangement is not working out, are you with me?
If you do decide to mix the the bearded dragons, here are a few things that you should consider before going ahead. It is very important that you have a very large tank to deal with both of these lizards.
For the simple reason of their sheer size. To achieve this you would need a tank of at least 125 gallons, which is quite a big tank. And obviously, an increase in the cost for you.
Also you need to make sure that the Beardies that you decide to pair up are similar in size. If they are different sizes, the bigger bearded dragon is very likely to bully the smaller one
One thing for sure, never consider mixing two male bearded dragons. This is definitely asking for trouble. And will result in fights and injury.
If you consider mixing a male and a female together, just make sure that you do not mix a male with a young female. She needs to be at least 2 years old. This is because she needs to be at the correct age for breeding.
Even if she is the correct age, it is still “hit or miss” if they will pair up OK without any issues. There is still a chance, even if the Dragon is at the breeding age, the male could become too aggressive and may cause problems with the female so you’ll have to make a decision after you see how they behave together.
07. Overall Factors
In general as you can see the bearded dragon requires a lot more space, requires UVB lighting, as well as he consumes almost twice as much food, on average, than a leopard gecko. For all of these reasons.
If it comes down to it, in my opinion, you’ll be better off looking at a leopard gecko. However if cost is not an issue, and you really do like bearded dragons then at least you understand the differences.
Are Leopard Geckos and Bearded Dragons Beginner friendly? Yes, they are both great selections for beginners. However, I feel that the Leo is even easier for a beginner for the reasons explained in this article.