Chances are that if you are here now, reading this article, you are considering getting a new pet – probably a reptile pet – but you may find the actual process of deciding between a bearded dragon and a leopard gecko overwhelming.
And I TOTALLY get it. It’s great that you’re doing research to find out what pet is BEST for you. There are couple of things you need to know about both bearded dragons and geckos before making a decision. Some of the aspects you will have to focus on are price, size, behavior, and so on.
Fortunately, after hours of research, I have managed to come up with what I think it is the Bearded Dragon vs Gecko ULTIMATE guide. I will only be sharing with you cold, hard facts about these two lovely reptiles that are 100% meant to help you make an informed decision.
Here’s a quick overview of what I will cover in today’s post:
- Difference In Cost
- Difference In Size
- Difference In Life Expectancy
- Difference In Diet
- Difference In Behavior
- Difference In Cage Setup
- Bearded Dragon vs Gecko: What Are The PROS For Each?
- Bearded Dragon vs Gecko: What Are The CONS For Each?
Difference In Cost
Bearded Dragons: Generally, where you purchase your Dragon or Gecko will always have a direct impact on the price. I would advise buying your reptile from a reputable breeder or animal rescue. Often times, these are known to better care for the animal.
Additionally, chances are that if you buy your reptile from a reputable breeder, you will most likely get your hands on a healthier animal since these people can raise the reptile in a more suitable, stress-free environment.
Typically, bearded dragons are known to be inexpensive pets. Bearded dragons can be purchased from anywhere between $25 to $150. Baby Bearded Dragons are usually cheaper, costing anywhere between $25 to $70, whereas for an Adult Bearded Dragon you should expected to pay even over $100.
Leopard Geckos: Geckos are reasonably priced as well. If you don’t venture yourself into buying extremely rare, colorful leopard gecko morphs, you should expect to pay for a gecko anywhere between $30 to $150, with baby geckos being on the cheaper end of the spectrum.
I would recommend buying your gecko as young as possible. This gives you the ability to spend more time with your reptile pet, as well as have a real impact on its personality while forming a better bond with him as well.
Extremely rare gecko morphs, such as the Black Night Leopard Gecko go for at least $1,000 or even more.
Key Takeaway: I highly recommend that you stay away from large chain pet stores. Their bearded dragons and geckos aren’t properly cared for. They live in crowded places, which as you may know can have a real impact on their health due to increased levels of stress.
Reputable Breeders: In you are living in the US, I would highly recommend that you check out Dachiu Dragons – they are a couple well-known throughout the world for their amazing bearded dragon morphs.
As for leopard geckos, make sure to check out GeckosETC, a breeding business owned and operated by Steve and Debra Sykes, that’s been around for over 20 years.
Difference In Size
Bearded Dragons: Bearded Dragons are very manageable pets, making them great first pets for both kids and adults. They are small, nice-looking, funny to watch lizards that are easy to handle and carry around due to their size.
A healthy, full-grown bearded dragon can grow anywhere between 18 to 26 inches, and can weigh anywhere between 450 to 800 grams. If you’d like to dive deeper into the topic, here’s an article I have published a few months ago called How BIG Do Bearded Dragons Get? [For EVERY Species].
Leopard Geckos: Leopard Geckos will naturally be much smaller, with the typical adult Leopard Gecko being between 7 to 10 inches. The average size of a Leopard Geckos is 8 inches.
Leopard Geckos reach their adult size by 18 to 24 months, at which point they are expected to weigh anywhere between 45 to 60 grams, but they can weigh as much as 100 grams, making them lighter and smaller than their counterparts, the bearded dragons.
Key Takeaway: Although bearded dragons are on average three times bigger than geckos, both reptiles are small-sized, easy to handle, docile pets. They make great first pets for both children and adults.
Difference In Life Expectancy
Bearded Dragons: In captivity, a healthy, properly cared for bearded dragon can live anywhere between 8 to 14 years. Much longer than their wild counterparts that live on overage between 5 to 8 years.
In some very rare situations, extremely well cared for bearded dragons may live even more than that. To accomplish that, you will need to learn how to meet your dragon’s needs and provide him with a stress-free, happy life.
If you’d like to find out more about that, as well as how to properly care for a bearded dragon and help him live a longer and happier life, make sure to check out this article I have published a while back called How LONG Do Bearded Dragons Live? [PLUS 7 Tips To Help Your Dragon Live Longer].
Leopard Geckos: On the other side, you can expect a well cared for Captive Leopard Gecko to live anywhere between 10 to 20 years, so owning one is a BIG commitment. Once again – if properly cared for – Captive Leopard Geckos can live even longer than that.
Key Takeaway: We all want our pets to live long and happy lives, and to key to accomplishing that is mostly based on our willingness to learn how to properly care for them.
Difference In Diet
Bearded Dragons are omnivores, whereas Leopard Geckos are carnivores, meaning that Bearded Dragons can be fed both animal protein and plant protein, whereas Leopard Geckos will only feed on animal protein such as insects and worms.
Because both lizards need animal protein, the cost of feeding one is pretty much the same since you can feed a Bearded Dragon small portions of Vegetables and Fruits that you keep around the house. However, fruits and veggies should be fresh.
Expect to pay anywhere between $250 to $400 per year for food for Bearded Dragons. Feeding Leopard Gecko should cost you slightly less on an annual basis.
Key Takeaway: I have not included the price of supplements and vitamins. However, the amount of money you will have to invest in supplements and vitamins is pretty much the same for both reptiles, which is why I didn’t include it in here.
Difference In Behavior
There is NOT much of a difference between these two reptile in behavior. Both of them are docile, easy to care for pets, with bearded dragons slightly more social.
Bearded dragons tend to be laid back reptile that enjoy being handled once they get used to you. For that you will have to learn to form a bond with your bearded dragon. Same principles apply to Leopard Geckos as well. However, it is known that Leopard Geckos don’t like being handled that much, as opposed to their counterparts, the bearded dragons.
Probably the BIGGEST difference between the two of them is the fact that Bearded Dragons are diurnal lizards, whereas Leopard Geckos are nocturnal. That being said, unless you are a night person, a bearded dragon will be less noisy during night time and more active during day time.
Key Takeaway: While most Leopard Gecko Morphs are docile and pleasant pets, there are some species such as the Tokay Leopard Gecko that tend to be a bit more aggressive.
Difference In Cage Setup
The BIGGEST difference between Bearded Dragons and Geckos when it comes to cage setup is the actual size of the tank. Since Leopard Geckos are reptiles much smaller in size than Bearded Dragons, they require a smaller tank.
An adult Bearded Dragon should be housed in a 75 Gallons tank [Ideally 120 Gallons], whereas an adult Leopard Gecko can very well live in a 10 Gallons tank [Ideally 20 Gallons]. Make sure to check this article called BEST Tank Size For a Bearded Dragon [Baby vs Adult] if you wish to learn more about this.
There are some Leopard Gecko Morphs known to grow bigger than the usual 7 to 10 inches Gecko, but for the most part, a 20 Gallons tank will work just fine for most of them.
Both reptiles need heating pads and UVB Lights in their cage, as well as substrate and some fun accessories to give their tank a more like home feeling.
Key Takeaway: Since Leopard Geckos can live very well in a much smaller tank, you should expect to spend slightly less money on their cage setup when compared to Bearded Dragons.
Bearded Dragon vs Gecko: What Are The PROS For Each?
Now that you have a BETTER knowledge and understanding on some of the main differences between a Bearded Dragon and a Leopard Gecko, let’s take a quick recap at what are some of PROS of owning each of the species:
Bearded Dragons PROS
- Easy To Care For
- Friendly & Sociable
- Manageable Size
- GREAT First Pet
- Likes Handling
- Decent Priced Tanks
- Kid Friendly
- NOT Dangerous
Leopard Geckos PROS
- Easy To Find & Easy To Care For
- Cheap Diet
- Docile & Pleasant
- Manageable Size
- Easy To Carry Around
Bearded Dragon vs Gecko: What Are The CONS For Eat?
Bearded Dragons CONS
- Expensive Diet
- MUST Be Fed Live Bugs
Leopard Gecko CONS
- LONG Lifespan [It Is a Negative Aspect For Some People]
- MUST Fe Fed Live Bugs
- They Sleep During The Day
- They Are NOT Playful
- Electricity Bill [Leopard Gecko Light 24 Hours/Day vs Bearded Dragon 12 to 14 Hours/Day]
I genuinely hope that by now you have some more clarity on which pet is a better fit for you and your family. But if that’s not the case, let me just say that these 2 lovely reptiles are not that different.
Regardless of which pet you choose to go forward with, the BEST possible advice I can give to you is to do your own research to ensure you make a responsible and educated decision.
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