tank/bin - sizes - warning provocative



I know you all will hate me for this post, but I want to express my concern about what I see and read in this forum over and over again. Some people seem to keep their 'animals' in shoe box sized containers, locked into a rack. Just in a very recent post abut terra cotta hides there is a picture of a leo in his 'habitat'. To me it looks tiny and very boring for a leo. I am wondering if we do those animal justice by locking them into small bins or tiny tanks. You would not get a dog and lock it up for the rest of their lifes in a small crate, barely twice their size, would you?
I think we should give our animals more credit. I think we all experienced that our leos are really interested in their environment. They explore everything and seem to be always interested what happens around them.
To me this somehow seems to be very cruel. I don't know about you, but I rather only have a few leos and house them in the best way possible for me, instead of building up a 'collection' that reminds me more of a stamp collection than of animals.
We decide to keep those animals against their will in tiny enclosures, isn't it our responsibility to take care of them and make life as bearable as possible?
I am not pointing fingers here, I am just raising the question and I want us to reflect on what we do. Does really every animal keeper have to breed their animals, so they end up with more animals they can house comfortably?
In some of the posts I get the impression it becomes a prestige thing on how many leos they have and what kind of leos they have. I don't say those people don't love their animals, I just think we should pay a little more attention to what our animals need/want instead of our needs.
Again, don't get me wrong, I also keep 2 leos in a 40gal and this is also not perfect, so I am doing the same thing and I am also forcing them to live in a very small habitat compared to what they would have in the wild.

Sorry if I offended anyone, that was not my intention. I would love to hear what other people think about this topic.



Staff member
Somerville, MA
I'm not particularly going to weigh in right now, but, if you're interested, there have been other discussions on the forum about this issue which you may be able to find if you can figure out the right thing to search for. Usually it divides into 2 schools of thought: "my leo loves to see what's going on" and "my leo has been so much more comfortable and healthy now that I've given it the hiding security it craves (in the rack)." Different things for different beings . . .



New Member
You'll have to think about it as what the animal needs/wants as opposed to what you would want if you were a pet.

If the leo is more secure and eats better and is less stressed in a small rack, then racks would be better for the leo. But you don't want it in a rack, because YOU(as a human) prefer to have plenty of space to run around and curiousity to look at new places. In this case, you are anthromorpizing the animal, instead of considering it's wants and needs.

Case in point, ball pythons. Make a giant 100 gallon tank, with huge open spaces, bright light 14 hours a day, spacious and airy. You'd love it, and it would look grand. And 90% of ball pythons would be misrable and not eat and not shed properly and could even stress to the point of getting ill and dying. Put the same snake in a dark bin in a rack, and he'll thrive, and be lively and stress-free, eating and pooping and doing snakey stuff like sitting in one place continiously.

Ball pythons are secretive animals that prefer to hide inside a termite mound and have their little rodenty snacks come to them.

Are leos similar? A leo in the wild would probably stay hidden most of his life, only scurrying across open areas when absolutely neccasary, because being in the open is the most stress one can be in. Open areas exposes you to predetors both ground and air. Rushing around a huge space hunting for your food is not exactly an enjoyable thing in and of itself. Would you like to be hungry and ready to eat, but you had to run all over a ten acre plot to pick up each mouthful of your dinner?

Now consider.. answering that question will again, have NO bearing on whether a LEO would enjoy it, or not enjoy it. You might enjoy the daily easter egg hunt, or hate it. Would he? Is he stressing about "will I find enough food", or is he enjoying looking for it?

I currantly have 4 AFT geckos. 2 females in a 20gL, who stay hidden most of the time. 1 male in a 10g, who stays hidden all the time. 1 amel female in a bin in the rack, who is occasionally seen outside her hidespot, but it's hard to judge how often she's out, since I'm not looking at her. All the geckos seem to eat okay. The amel seems to eat her food items faster.

You have to consider FIRST.. what does the animal need, and not what do I want it to need. Properly done, tanks OR bins can be equally satisfying to the geckos, as shown by the success of keepers using both to house geckos.

This is my long winded reply, because I just woke up from a nap. Contents may have settled in transit, but contents are measured by weight, not volume.


La Española
Melbourne, Florida
I still would have to agree that for most of my geckos, they would be miserable in a small bin. I provide them plenty of places to hide under or behind in their tanks, and despite this they are always out and about walking around. They love to come out to the front of the tank and follow me back and forth as I do things near them. Maybe it's because they are so darn social lol. However, I do have one male who fears all living things. So he would probably would thrive in a dark tub where he couldn't see me walking around. But he'd be happier just because it would be dark and hidden, not necessarily because it's smaller. The same can (and has) been achieved with plentiful decoration of his tank.

I would never deny my geckos as much space as I can afford. I give them their hides and put their water and food near them, and if they want to walk around for the fun of it, the space is there for them to use. If not then whatever.


New Member
I have a few mixed feelings here about this subject. I think that geckos are naturaly secretive animals but when kept with people all the time and with out the fear of the wild and things eating them then they grow very accustomed to being care free. I have some geckos that dont even go to sleep during the day and instead sleep at night. Sure they enjoy hiding, but they also like coming out and looking around. At times a few of my geckos will even scratch on the side of the enclosure thats facing me so that they can get my attention. Perhaps wanting food or water, or just company. But not all geckos are the same and every one seems to have a different personality. Some of them hold onto that natural instinct to hide and only feel secure when hidden. But I understand why breeders keep the geckos in racks. The reason why they do that is cause geckos breed better in secret. So because of this it is nessisary to keep them in the racks for security that encourages breeding. If you like owning geckos you should accept this method of husbandry cause with out it you wouldnt have very many on the market for sale.