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Do you like bearded dragons or leopard geckos? The two reptile species are so different, yet many people can’t help but compare them. Although they share some similarities, such as being lizards and living in a terrarium, there are numerous differences between the bearded dragon and the leopard gecko.

A bearded dragon is a lizard whose scientific name is Pogona. It is a common pet reptile, and it is known for its impressive beard of spikes that run down the center of its chest to its belly. These spiky “beards” have given bearded dragons their other name – beardies!

A leopard gecko, or Eublepharis macularius, is another lizard that is commonly kept as a pet. It gets its name from the distinctive leopard-like markings on its body, and it is known for its large eyes and unique toe pads that allow it to climb walls and even glass.

It can be difficult to know which reptile makes the better pet at first glance, but there are several key differences between bearded dragons and leopard geckos that you should consider before making your decision.

Key Differences between Leopard Gecko and Bearded Dragons:

Size:

One of the biggest differences between these two reptiles is their size. Bearded dragons can grow to be 2-3 feet long, while leopard geckos rarely get longer than 8-10 inches. This difference in size can make a big difference in the type of terrarium you need to house your pet, and it can also impact how much interaction you can have with your reptile.

Activity:

Bearded dragons are generally more active than leopard geckos, so they require a larger enclosure to move around in. They also need more hiding places and basking spots to allow them to thermoregulate, or control their body temperature. Leopard geckos, on the other hand, can be kept in smaller enclosures and require less space for exploring and hiding.

Feeding:

Another important difference between these two lizards is how they are fed. Bearded dragons are omnivores that eat both plants and meat, while leopard geckos are carnivores that primarily eat insects. Because of this, leopard geckos require a special diet that is high in protein and low in fat, while bearded dragons can be fed a variety of foods like crickets, mealworms, vegetables, fruits, and even pinky mice.

This difference in diet can also impact the cost of feeding your pet, as special carnivore diets for leopard geckos can be more expensive than omnivorous diets for bearded dragons.

Interaction:

Bearded dragons are also generally more tolerant of handling and interaction than leopard geckos. They often enjoy being held and pet, and they can even be trained to do simple tricks. Leopard geckos, on the other hand, are generally more shy and may hide or even tail-spin when they are first handled. They typically take longer to get used to human interaction and may never be as comfortable with handling as bearded dragons.

Lifespan:

In general, leopard geckos tend to have a longer lifespan than bearded dragons. Bearded dragons can live for up to 15 years in captivity, while leopard geckos may survive for 28.6 years. The oldest recorded beardie to live was 18 years, actually almost 19 years! This means that you need to consider the long-term commitment involved with keeping a beardie as your pet versus a leopard gecko.

Temperature

Leopard geckos prefer 72-85 F as their overall temperature, with a basking site of 88 F. Bearded dragons enjoy a warmer 75-88 F as their overall temp, but they need a basking site that is 95-110 F.

Terrarium Size

A leopard gecko’s preferred size for its terrarium is 10 gallons or more. By comparison, bearded dragons need at least 30 gallons in order to thrive.

Handling:

Leopard geckos are generally more shy and less tolerant of handling than bearded dragons. While some leopard geckos may be comfortable with being handled, they often take longer to get used to human interaction, and they may never enjoy it as much as a bearded dragon.

Cost:

The cost of feeding and housing a leopard gecko can be much lower than that of a bearded dragon. Leopard geckos can survive on relatively simple diets of insects, while bearded dragons require more varied and nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, and even pinky mice. Additionally, leopard geckos don’t need as much space as bearded dragons, making them less expensive to house.

On the other hand, it is costly to get larger terraiums and to purchase all the equipment and food needed to keep a bearded dragon as a pet.

Diet:

Ultimately, the main difference between bearded dragons and leopard geckos is their diet. Bearded dragons are omnivores that can be fed a wide variety of foods, while leopard geckos are carnivores that require highly specialized diets high in protein and low in fat. This means that feeding a leopard gecko often costs more than feeding a bearded dragon. Additionally, leopard geckos may be more difficult to care for than bearded dragons because they require more space and they are generally less tolerant of handling.

Bearded dragons are opportunistic omnivores which means that they will eat anything that they can find and that is safe for them to eat. Their diet in the wild generally consists of insects, small vertebrates, flowering plants and fruits. In captivity, their diet should be made u ofp 50-60% vegetables and greens, 20-30% live insects and 10-20% commercial diet or supplements.

Leopard geckos are nocturnal carnivores that hunt and eat a variety of small invertebrates in the wild. Their diet generally consists of crickets, mealworms, waxworms, cockroaches and other invertebrates. In captivity, their diet should consist of approximately 70% protein and 30% calcium to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need. They can be fed a commercial insect-based diet or a varied diet of insects supplemented with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods.

Geography:

Bearded dragons come from the semi-arid, arid and sub-humid parts of Australia whereas leopard geckos are found in the dry desert regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

Reproduction:

Bearded dragons reproduce by laying eggs whereas leopard geckos give birth to live young.

Eggs:

Bearded dragons lay their eggs in clutches of 8-30 eggs which are then buried in the ground and incubated for 60-80 days.

Leopard geckos generally give birth to 2-6 live young per clutch.

Similarities:

  • Both are nocturnals: Bearded dragons and leopard geckos are both nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night.
  • Both have live births: Bearded dragons and leopard geckos both give birth to live young.
  • Both can drop their tails: Bearded dragons and leopard geckos can both drop their tails as a defense mechanism. When they are scared or feeling threatened, they will drop their tails and run away. The tail will eventually grow back, but it will not be the same as the original tail.
  • Both can be found in the pet trade: Bearded dragons and leopard geckos are both popular pets and can be easily found in the pet trade.

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