African fat-tailed geckos.
Geckos As a Pet :
7 Types of Geckos That Make Great Pets
courtesy to : www.earthsfriends.com/types-of-geckos/
Geckos are a unique variety of lizard known for their more than 2,000 species that can be found worldwide. While geckos thrive in warm and tropical habitats and have for approximately fifty million years, these diverse lizards are also often kept as pets. In this article, we will cover a number of gecko species commonly kept as pets including the giant day gecko, the white lined gecko, the Central American banded gecko, the Madagascar Ocelot gecko and more.
Why Keep a Pet Gecko?
Before we begin to cover the numerous species of gecko that are kept worldwide we will first try to understand why lizard lovers choose to keep these lizards as pets. Geckos are particularly versatile pets and there are so many species that even the most advanced herpetologist can find a challenge in certain species of gecko. In general, the most commonly kept species of “pet” gecko are species which thrive in a glass aquarium and are species that are gentler in nature. These gentle lizards make for unique and beautiful pets that are not only fun to observe but fun to learn from as these tropical lizards are not native to most non-tropical climates. As important members of the ecosystem, it is important to be able to learn from the various gecko species in order to fully understand their function as well as their importance to the natural ecosystem.
Geckos are not only fun and important in terms of providing educational opportunities, but these lizards are considered by many to be one of the most interesting varieties of lizard in the reptile community. With an incredibly diverse population of species that make them the largest of the lizard families, the gecko is one of the most unusual lizards for any herpetologist to learn from.
The Different Species of Gecko
As mentioned above the gecko is the single largest group of lizards in existence. In fact, there are over 2,000 gecko species currently recognized worldwide with many more expected to be discovered in the future. Of all of the species of gecko in existence, not all of these species are considered to be suitable for life in a glass aquarium. It is important for herpetologists of all skill levels to understand that while most species of gecko could be kept in captivity, not all of them should be because not all species will thrive. Of all gecko species however, there are a handful of species that are more commonly selected for life as a pet gecko due to a number of characteristics.
The Giant Day Gecko
The giant day gecko is a diurnal species of gecko meaning that they are active during the day rather than at night. This particular species of gecko is native to Madagascar and is considered to be a particularly hardy variety of gecko. The bright coloration of this gecko (bright green and red) makes it a particularly pleasurable gecko to observe. The giant day gecko has been known to grow as long as 12 inches long when kept in captivity and can live for as long as 30 years! The long lifespan of this particular gecko species is just one of the most appealing factors that make it the perfect pet for herpetologists worldwide. While not all gecko species are capable of the glass climbing that many herpetologists like to observe in pets, the giant day gecko is something of an acrobat and can easily climb the sides of a glass terrarium. When kept as pets these geckos prefer to live in solitary or in mating pairs (they do not thrive when kept in communal terrariums).
The giant day gecko prefers to live in a terrarium that is filled with plants and full spectrum lighting and it should be noted that these lizards prefer taller rather than wider tanks. It is important with most gecko species to ensure that the terrarium has higher levels of humidity in addition to having an adequate food supply and clean water source. The food supply that your gecko requires will vary depending upon the species of gecko you select. The giant day gecko prefers to feed on crickets, mealworms, wax worms, large fruit flies and fruit puree.
The White Lined Gecko
The white lined gecko is a somewhat docile gecko in comparison to various other gecko species. This thin but large green or brown gecko is so named after the white line that runs the length of its back and is native to the Indo-Australian Archipelago. This uniquely colored gecko is not only attractive to look at but it also possessed some of characteristics that herpetologists look for in pet lizards including the ability to climb, unique behavioral characteristics (curling of the tail when disturbed) and the ability to live in small communities. While most geckos prefer to live in solitary environments, the white lined gecko is capable of thriving in a communal tank if the tank is large enough.
The Central American Banded Gecko
The Central American banded gecko is a variety of gecko that actually spends the majority of its life on the forest floor rather than in trees. This gecko variety is also known for being a nocturnal species rather than a diurnal species and as such it should be expected to make the majority of its movements during the night. Due to the fact that this gecko species is nocturnal, it is not always the best choice for amateur herpetologists who want to see a lot of activity from their pet gecko. The Central American Banded gecko is native to Guatemala southward towards Costa Rica and can grow to around seven inches long.
The Frog Eyed Gecko
The frog eyed gecko is another nocturnal gecko known for burrowing. These terrestrial geckos are also commonly called “plate tailed” or “wonder geckos.” The more commonly recognized of the frog eyed gecko species is the Roborowski’s gecko. Roborowski’s gecko grows to a length of 4.5 to 5.5 inches long and features brownish orange bands across its body. The scales of this particular gecko are fishlike and are used by the gecko in an attempt to scare away predators when it feels that it is being threatened. The rattling of scales is not only used as a method of self-defense, but Roborowski’s gecko also uses this display as a mating courtship behavior and a method of establishing territory to other males of the species.
Roborowski’s gecko in particular comes from China, Turpan to be exact – a location in northwestern China where the temperatures are extremely high in the summer and extremely low in the winter. The Roborowski’s gecko manages to survive in these extreme temperatures by burrowing into the sandy desert where it can maintain a healthy body temperature. When kept in a terrarium this gecko species requires a large layer of sand in the bottom of the aquarium in order to be able to burrow in to. Like many of the geckos previously mentioned Roborowski’s gecko generally thrives as a part of a pair and they prefer to live in terrariums of around 15 to 20 gallons so that there is enough room for both geckos’s to thrive. It is also important that these geckos have access to enough moisture so one end of the aquarium should be designated with moist sand so that the sand is easily moved to create a burrow in addition to water being put in to the aquarium for drinking.
Maintaining the proper temperature of a Roborowski gecko’s terrarium can be tricky since they require high levels of heat in addition to temperature drops during the night and winter but this can be attained through the use of a heat lamp. The Roborowski’s gecko is most active in the early afternoon and prefers to feed then on a diet of young crickets and mealworms.
The Central American Banded Gecko is one of the hardiest species of gecko to keep, but it should also be noted that they are not fond of being frequently handled particularly since the majority of handling occurs during the day when these reptiles prefer to rest. This gecko species is happy to live in a plastic shoebox type aquarium or a more traditional glass aquarium set up with a ten gallon aquarium being the perfect size for a breeding pair. While these reptiles are beautiful and hardy many herpetologists prefer not to keep them because they are not only nocturnal but they also do not exhibit the climbing skills of many other gecko species. For other herpetologists however, the fact that these geckos cannot climb is a drawing factor because it reduces the risk of escape from a glass terrarium. It is also important to note that for this nocturnal species of gecko it is particularly important to offer a selection of hiding places that can provide security. Not only do Central American banded geckos like to hide out during the day while they rest but these lizards also utilize seclusion when laying eggs and shedding skin. This particular gecko prefers to feed on young crickets a few times a week and wax worms occasionally. It is also important to ensure that the Central American banded gecko has a fresh daily water supply.
Geckos as Pets [VIDEO]
This is from a Pets 101 segment courtesy of Animal Planet TV. If you’re not squeamish, geckos are a cool and exotic pet!
The Madagascar Ocelot Gecko
The Madagascar ocelot gecko is a nocturnal gecko that prefers to live in arid regions of South Madagascar. These geckos can grow up to five inches long and are recognizable by their rather large heads. The Madagascar ocelot gecko can be either striped or banded in pattern and during the day prefers to hide under leaves, sand or rocks in order to rest before nocturnal hunting. One of the most recognizable features of this particular gecko is the large head that it utilizes to dig under sand and cover itself during the day which is why many people refer to this lizard as the “big headed gecko.”
The Madagascar ocelot gecko is much like the Central American banded gecko in that it prefers to live as part of a breeding pair or as a single male with two females in a larger aquarium. Unlike many other geckos because of its natural arid environment, this gecko prefers to live in a lower humidity aquarium with a higher temperature of between 82 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. While this gecko does require lower humidity levels, it is still recommended that the sides of the terrarium be sprayed with water daily to provide adequate moisture. The Madagascar ocelot gecko prefers to feed on young crickets and mealworms and require a daily supply of clean water to drink from.
Uniquely this species of gecko is a prolific breeder and is known to lie between twenty to thirty eggs per laying season. Because these geckos do lay so many eggs during a single season, it is critical to provide her with a healthy level of calcium supplementation or else all of her body’s supply of calcium will go into her eggs and she will become sick and potentially die from a lack of calcium.
The Leopard Gecko
The leopard gecko is a species of gecko that is commonly carried in pet stores and is native to South-Asian Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northwest India. This species of gecko averages around 6 to 10 inches long and prefers to live in rocky areas or grasslands as opposed to sandy areas like many of the other gecko species mentioned above. This particular species of gecko generally lives from 6 to 10 years; however, they have been known to live as long as 20 years.
The leopard gecko is one of the most popularly kept reptiles second only to the green iguana. The leopard gecko can thrive in glass or plastic aquariums that offer a secure hiding place where the gecko can seclude itself. This particular type of gecko is nocturnal and as such they don’t bask like many other gecko species.
Leopard geckos prefer to feed on young crickets and mealworms like most other geckos. The optimal temperature for the leopard gecko terrarium is between 82 to 88 degrees, but they generally thrive much more when night time brings a drop in temperature. The appropriate size terrarium for the leopard gecko varies based on how many are being kept in one tank; however, it is important to know that these geckos prefer to be housed in breeding pairs or alone. A 10 to 20 gallon aquarium is recommended for housing one to two leopard geckos, but the larger choice is preferred to allow enough space for hiding places and other terrarium decoration. Some of the most favored terrarium decorations for the leopard gecko are live plants or artificial plants that provide a more natural setting.
The Gargoyle Gecko
The gargoyle gecko is native to New Caledonia and is considered one of the easiest types of geckos to care for and as such they are recommended for beginning reptile keepers. Unlike many of the other geckos covered in this article, the gargoyle gecko is a tree-dwelling lizard and thrives in taller vivariums. These geckos grow to approximately 8 inches long including the tail and they can live anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
The gargoyle gecko requires a tank at a minimum of 20 gallons, but the larger the tank,the happier the gecko will be. This species of gecko can live in small groups with a single male and multiple female geckos. Keeping multiple male gargoyle geckos in a single tank is not conducive to healthy living as the males will fight. This particular species of gecko prefers a tank that has a temperature between 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit during the day with a drop to the low 70’s at night. Since these geckos prefer cooler areas at times, it is important to be able to offer a section of unheated tank so that they can move to regulate their body temperature naturally.
The gargoyle gecko feeds on many things including live insects, crested gecko food.
Why Geckos Make Great Pets
If you have been considering bringing a lizard or reptile of any sort in to your home, one of the best places to begin is with the gecko. Not only are there many species of gecko to choose from when it comes to selecting the right gecko for you, but there is also a wide variety of experience levels available. While the beginner reptile keeper can find a gecko that is easy to care for and one that has a simple learning curve, the more advanced reptile keepers can also find a vast number of geckos that suit their needs as well! What better way to learn about one of the largest and most varied groups of animals in the world than with a gecko that is unique to your needs as a pet owner!
ABOUT AMY BRANNAN
Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.
While the fact that this gecko species is nocturnal may be a turn off for some, this species is also very beautiful in terms of patterning and can make it irresistible to some herpetologists.
7 Care Tips for Leopard Geckos | Pet Reptiles
Pets 101- Geckos
Other And Recommended Websites :
Which Gecko Species Is Right For You?
BY JULIE BERGMAN
What is an ultimate gecko? A gecko that fascinates the keeper. This gecko is beautiful, a pleasure to keep and has a long life expectancy, one that frequently outlives the family cat or dog. We are in luck. This gecko is within our grasp! Today, we can obtain some really sensational geckos from breeders and pet shops. We can also get captive-bred specimens, so they are healthy to start out with and are used to being in captivity. Wild-caught lizards do not offer these advantages and should be avoided.
The ultimate geckos that are great choices for a gecko enthusiast are:
The eublepharine (eyelid) geckos: the leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius) and the African fat-tailed gecko (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)
The diplodactyline geckos from New Caledonia: the crested gecko (Rhacodactylus ciliatus), the gargoyle gecko (R. auriculatus), the mossy prehensile-tailed gecko (R. chahoua) and the giant New Caledonian gecko (R. leachianus)
From the wide-ranging Gekkonidae family: the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko); the Madagascar ground gecko (Paroedura picta); and the day geckos from Madagascar, the giant day gecko (Phelsuma grandis) and the beautiful neon day gecko (P. klemmeri).
Let’s begin our adventure with one of the easiest geckos to keep. The leopard gecko (E. macularius) is the gecko gold standard in herpetoculture, with a long list of reasons why it is an ideal beginner gecko. Many of the basic principles of keeping leopard geckos apply to all of our ultimate geckos, so we will discuss them in detail here.
A snow leopard gecko.
Ranging from western India to Afghanistan and Iraq, the sturdy leopard gecko is recommended as a first gecko because of its sturdiness and the ease of care that is necessary to keep it healthy. It is a nocturnal, terrestrial lizard of considerable size, measuring up to 10 inches (though 7 to 8 inches on average) and weighing up to 150 grams (with an average of about 50 grams). Males are typically larger than females and are heavier boned. A leopard gecko’s life span is long, ranging from 15 to up to 30 or more years in captivity!
The leopard gecko’s size, tolerance of handling, and gentle disposition makes it an ideal pet for children ages 8 years old and up. There is a dizzying array of morphs available, exhibiting many colors, patterns and even different eye colors (with red eyes appearing in the RAPTOR/APTOR strains by Ron Tremper). Leopard gecko tails do come off when exposed to stressful situations, such as an aggressive terrarium-mate or rough handling. They do regenerate in a typical “turnip” shape that is plump, yet different looking than the original tail.
Leopard gecko setups can consist of a glass terrarium with a screen top or well-ventilated plastic tubs, such as those manufactured by Sterilite. Terrariums should be 10 gallons or larger and need to be at least 1 foot tall. Plastic tubs should be at least 16-quart capacity, with a well-fitted lid (solid plastic lids that may come with the tubs should be modified to allow proper ventilation). Setups of this size can house an adult combination of a male and two females, or three adult females as long as they are of similar size. As with most geckos, males cannot be put together because they may fight to the death. Greater numbers of juveniles can be housed in these setups as long as they, too, are of similar size.
Read More: Leopard Gecko Heating and Care
Each gecko should have its own secure, close-fitting hiding place (a good rule of thumb for all geckos). At least one hide must be available in the warm area of the setup and another in the cool area (see below). Also provide at least one moist hide, with moist vermiculite and/or moss inside to assist the gecko with shedding. Terrarium furniture may consist of rocks or pieces of wood, anchored as necessary with glue to prevent tipping and crushing of the geckos. Small live or plastic plants may also be used. Substrate can be simple, such as newspaper, paper towels or reptile carpet. Avoid ingestible substrate, such as sand and pea gravel. Leopard geckos are curious and may ingest more than they can digest.
The leopard gecko terrarium should have a basking site at one end that reaches 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, with a cool area at the other end in the 70-degree range. Temperature can drop into the low 70s at night. Several options are available to heat the terrarium. Infrared or low-wattage incandescent lights are good choices for heating as well as UTHs (under-tank heaters).
Ultraviolet lighting is optional for this nocturnal lizard, though it can be used if live plants are in the terrarium. Lights should be turned off at night.
Leopard geckos are exclusively insectivorous. They should be fed a diet of commercially available insects, such as mealworms, super worms and crickets. Crickets should be 90 to 95 percent of the gecko’s head size — an adult should be fed an approximately 3-week-old or 3/4-inch cricket. Wax worms should be given only occasionally because of their high fat content. Insects should be gut-loaded (fed nutrients) and supplemented with a reptile-specific supplement containing calcium, vitamin D3 and other essential vitamins and minerals, such as phosphorus and vitamin A (or the pre-cursors to make vitamin A). Provide a shallow water dish for drinking.
African Fat-Tailed Gecko
The African fat-tail(H. caudicinctus) may be considered the leopard gecko’s cousin from Africa. They share many characteristics, such as size, shape, weight, terrestrial and nocturnal behaviors, and a long life span of 15 or more years. The fat-tail’s natural wild form is a banded or striped-and-banded morph. In recent years, morphs have increased to almost as large a number as their leopard gecko cousin’s, including albino, patternless, white-out, Zulu, zero, oreo and ghost, to name a few.
Fat-tails, too, are easy to keep and it’s fairly easy to find captive-bred specimens. They are also mild-mannered and tolerant of handling.
The terrarium setup for an African fat-tailed gecko can be the same as that described for the leopard gecko, though the moist hide box is even more important for a fat-tail because it is from a moister environment than the leopard gecko. A daily misting is required to achieve a proper humidity level of 70 to 80 percent. A moisture-retaining substrate, such as peat moss or orchid bark (medium grade to prevent accidental ingestion) can be used to increase humidity.
The African fat-tail’s feeding regimen is the same as the leopard gecko’s, except this gecko seems to prefer crickets over mealworms. It may also accept commercially available cockroaches, such as Dubia or Madagascar hissing roaches
The crested gecko (R. ciliatus) is also a great entry-level gecko with many ultimate-gecko qualities, such as beauty (many morphs), longevity (15 to 20 years) and ease of care.
Once thought extinct, this charming, soft-skinned gecko with the big eyelashes appeared during a rainstorm in New Caledonia in 1994 and pleasantly surprised everyone! Crested geckos have gentle dispositions that allow them to be handled, and they are hardy, making then a good choice for a first gecko.
The crested gecko is an arboreal, nocturnal gecko with a wide body and large head. Specimens measure approximately 4 to 5 inches without the tail, and can weigh an average of 35 grams when they are sexually mature at 15 to 20 months. Crested geckos’ tails do come off when they are exposed to a stressful situation, and they do not regenerate. Those missing their tails are known in the hobby as “frog butts” because their rear ends look like a frog’s. Tailless crested geckos can live perfectly normal lives, so there is no cause for concern if one’s tail is lost.
The arboreal, tropical crested gecko needs a vertically oriented terrarium. An adult should be kept in a 20-gallon terrarium or larger, and multiple females may be kept with one male, but not with two males because they will fight. Several manufacturers offer tropical kits that include a suitably tall terrarium (18 inches long, 18 inches wide and 24 inches tall) with front-opening doors. They also include accessories such as temperature and humidity (hygrometer) measuring devices, substrate, food and water dishes, artificial plants and foam terrarium walls. If you prefer the do-it-yourself method, buy an arboreal terrarium without the kit and create a custom jungle look with real plants and vines (there are also nice artificial vines available, as well as real grapevine), bamboo, and cork bark walls and tubes.
Hiding places are important, and bamboo and cork bark tubes are a favorite of crested geckos. At least one long piece of bamboo, cork bark or PVC pipe should be placed diagonally across the terrarium. Substrate can be a peat moss and/or orchid bark. If you use orchid bark, the pieces must be larger than the gecko’s mouth to avoid accidental ingestion.
You may also go the simplistic route and use an all-screen cage or 20-gallon plastic Sterilite-type tub with a screen top. Some crested gecko enthusiasts do not use substrate with these more basic setups, as substrate is not critical to an arboreal gecko that spends little time on the ground.
A temperature range in the upper 70s to low 80s during the day works best. Temperatures can drop into the low 70s at night. If you need to heat the terrarium to reach the proper temperature, apply the same techniques as those used with a leopard gecko enclosure.
Ultraviolet lighting is optional because a diet that includes proper vitamin supplementation (again, seek recommendations from the person selling you the gecko) makes UV lighting unnecessary to maintain your crested gecko’s health, although it may be used for live plants in the terrarium. Lights should be turned off at night.
Feeding crested geckos is easy with the advent of Repashy’s Crested Gecko Diet, a commercially available fruit-flavored protein diet supplemented with vitamins and minerals. This is an excellent choice as a dietary staple for your crested gecko. It is mixed 2 parts water to 1 part food and offered in a shallow, sturdy dish that cannot be easily tipped over, such as a crock. Replace it with a fresh serving after 24 to 36 hours. Fruit purée may also be given to crested geckos, but you must supplement it before feeding.
You may also offer crested geckos commercially available insects, such as crickets and roaches. An adult crested can easily eat 3-week-old (3/4-inch) crickets; hatchlings can start with 1-week-old crickets. Young crested geckos are enthusiastic insect eaters, but this seems to change as they get older and begin to prefer fruit-based diets. Prepare insect food items with a vitamin and mineral supplement the same way as described for leopard geckos.
Water should always be available in a sturdy, shallow dish. Relative humidity in the enclosure should be at least 50 percent, achieved through misting either by hand or he use of a commercial misting system or humidifier.
Another beautiful New Caledonian gecko that does well in captivity is the gargoyle gecko (R. auriculatus). Just like the crested gecko, this beefy-bodied lizard (35 grams or more in adults, 4 to 41/2 inches in length without tail) is tropical, nocturnal, arboreal and can live for 15 to 20 years. It is found in the southern part of Grande Terre, exclusively among scrub brush and clearings of primary forest. At night, gargoyles may be found walking on roads, so at times they are also terrestrial.
Gargoyles are captivating geckos because of their unique look. The name “gargoyle” does provide an indication of their intriguing appearance, and they earn it because of the bony protuberances around the head above the ears. Their marbled eyes are also fascinating. Many morphs are available, the most common being the reticulated and striped. The red-striped morph is particularly stunning.
Gargoyle setup, care and husbandry is nearly identical to the crested gecko’s, with a few small differences. Gargoyles are not as social with each other or with people, so approach handling with caution. They may bite, and they have sharp teeth. They tend not to hang out together in the terrarium, so lots of uncluttered space is preferred. Grape vines for climbing work well for gargoyles in this type of setup. Unlike the crested gecko, if a gargoyle’s tail is lost, it will regenerate. Finally, some specimens may be more insectivorous than others. Its diet is essentially the same as the crested gecko’s, though more insects may be consumed.
The mossy prehensile-tailed gecko shares many characteristics with the other New Caledonian gecko species previously mentioned. It is also nocturnal, tropical and arboreal, and it has a lengthy life span at 20 to 30 years. Its snout-to-vent length can be as long as 5.7 inches, and specimens may weigh between 40 and 60 grams when sexually mature. Given that the tail only partially regenerates, it is fortunate that they do not readily drop their tails.
Setup and husbandry for R. chahoua is the same as for a crested gecko, with special attention to vertical space and adequate climbing furniture, including grapevine, cork bark and bamboo.
Giant New Caledonian Gecko
The last of our ultimate New Caledonian geckos is the giant New Caledonian (R. leachianus), a favorite among both gecko breeders and hobbyists because of its large size and beautiful coloration. There are two types: the largest form from Grande Terre (R. l. leachianus) and a smaller form, the Henkel’s giant (R. l. henkeli).
Mossy Prehensile-Tailed Gecko
In recent years, the mossy prehensile-tailed gecko (R. chahoua) has soared in popularity among gecko enthusiasts. This striking New Caledonian gecko has a beautiful mossylike patchwork of greens, reds, browns and sometimes whites on the shoulders. It originates from the Isle of Pines, where larger specimens with more distinct patterns are found, and from the mainland of Grande Terre, where it exhibits less distinctive patterning. This gecko’s gold eyes are captivating, and individuals are often quite tame.
In recent years, the mossy prehensile-tailed gecko (R. chahoua) has soared in popularity among gecko enthusiasts.
The giant New Caledonian is one of the largest geckos in the world.
The large size and tremendous strength of the giant New Caledonian geckos makes them a good choice for an experienced gecko keeper, one with a good foundation ofRhacodactylus husbandry knowledge, ideally after having kept crested or gargoyle geckos.
The giant New Caledonian is one of the largest geckos in the world. It can measure up to 13 inches from snout to vent, and Grande Terre specimens can weigh up to approximately 450 grams. It has a large head, thick body and short tail. Many locality-specific morphs exist; most have a green to brown base color with round or checked spots of many colors, including white, pink, green, yellow, red and orange seen in different morphs. This gecko also has one of the longest gecko life spans in captivity: 20 to 35 years.
Terrarium setup and conditions should be similar to that of the crested and mossy prehensile-tailed geckos, except for this gecko the terrarium needs to be “supersized!” A 40-gallon enclosure is a good starting point for a single adult; 50 gallons or larger should be used for a pair. Exo Terra makes a large terrarium that works well and has a two-door front-opening style. It measures 24 inches long, 18 inches wide and 36 inches tall. In New Caledonia, both types live in trees and tree hollows, so offer large branches or bamboo for them to climb on. A large sheet of cork bark is a favorite and is durable enough to support their large size. Select only sturdy plants, as small plants will be crushed by these huge geckos.
Giant New Caledonians should be housed singly or in male-female pairs. House juveniles singly in small terrariums, such as 11/2-gallon Critter Keepers. Juveniles are intimidated by large setups.
There are few insects in the natural range of the giant New Caledonian geckos. Pets will prefer a crested gecko or fruit-based diet and an occasional insect offering. Juveniles may be more receptive to insects than adults. The Grande Terre form is an exception to this generality, as it is known to become more insectivorous with age, taking commercial insects, such as large crickets and super worms. It will also accept pink mice.
Now we are off to Asia, India and Indonesia to find our next ultimate gecko, the vocal Tokay(G. gecko). Like the giant New Caledonian gecko, the Tokay gecko is one of the largest geckos in the world. Males can easily reach 14 inches in length and weigh 300 grams or more. The Tokay is also one of the most visually appealing geckos. Bright red spots on a blue-gray body color is the natural variation, but many morphs exist, with various colors and patterns that are highly sought after by collectors.
The Tokay is arboreal, tropical and nocturnal. It, too, is a long-lived gecko, with frequent reports of individuals living 20 years or more. If lost, its tail will regenerate. The Tokay differs from the giant New Caledonian in that it is very social when it comes to mates and offspring; all live together well in a large terrarium setup, though the usual no-two-males-together rule continues here. Tokays are best kept in male-female pairs or as multiple females. They may or may not tolerate handling, especially if they have not been handled since they were juveniles. Approach Tokays with caution; they can inflict a nasty bite!
Read More: Tokay Gecko Information
Vivarium setup and husbandry is the same as described for the giant New Caledonian gecko, with the exception that Tokays are mostly insectivorous. They will eat any commercially available insects, taking up to 6-week-old crickets as adults.
Madagascar Ground Gecko
We finish the last leg of our ultimate gecko journey in Madagascar. Here we find the Madagascar ground gecko (P. picta). Found in the southern part of Madagascar, these tropical and nocturnal geckos are mostly terrestrial, living under leaf litter during the day and chasing insects at night. They are not large at 51/2 inches, including the tail, and they are highly active and alert when seeking prey.
Madagascar ground geckos have large gold to copper eyes, which add to their appeal. There are two basic morph patterns, banded and striped, though there are also xanthic forms. There are seemingly infinite variations on these morphs.
This gecko is a bit jumpy to handle and is best handled minimally. Its tail does regenerate if lost, which happens most often if individuals are kept in overcrowded conditions. With proper care, Madagascar ground geckos can live six to 10 years in captivity.
Terrarium setup and husbandry is similar to that described for the African fat-tailed gecko. It requires 60- to 70-percent humidity. A moist hide box, though optional, is beneficial. Substrate can be paper towels, peat moss and/or medium-grade orchid bark.
Giant Day Gecko
Another great gecko from Madagascar is the giant day gecko (P. grandis), which is from the lush, tropical northern and northwestern part of the island. The giant day gecko is true to its name, reaching 7 to 12 inches in length. It is diurnal, with a spectacular bright-green body color and red markings on the face and head, including an ever-present red nose-to-eye stripe. Red markings on the back may or may not be present.
I recommend the giant day gecko as a second gecko, after you have first had experience keeping a leopard or crested gecko. Specimens have been known to live as long as 30 years, with life spans in the teens being the most common in the hobby.
The giant day gecko is an excellent display gecko. It cannot be handled because it does not like it and its skin is delicate. As with most of our ultimate geckos, and all types of day geckos, its tail does regenerate if lost.
Keep giant day geckos singly or in male-female pairs. Terrarium setup is nearly identical to the crested gecko’s, though giant day geckos do best in a glass-and-screen combination, which helps maintain the required 70- to 80-percent humidity, with a bright basking light. A T8 fluorescent will provide the necessary brightness, and a heat source, such as an incandescent light, can be used to heat a basking spot to 86 to 88 degrees during the day. At night, temperatures can drop to the low 70s. Full-spectrum lighting is optional, but compact fluorescents can provide both heating and the bright light all day geckos need to metabolize their food properly. Place at least one piece of 2-inch-diameter bamboo or PVC pipe diagonally across the terrarium, along which the gecko can choose its preferred temperature.
Feeding a giant day gecko is very similar to feeding a crested gecko, except that the giant day gecko is equally insectivorous and frugivorous while the crested gecko leans toward the latter. Giant day geckos prefer crickets to most other commercially available insects, and also do well on Repashy’s Day Gecko Diet or Crested Gecko Diet.
At least once a day, mist the terrarium, as this gecko prefers to drink water off of plants and the enclosure’s walls as opposed to drinking from a water dish.
Neon Day Gecko
Our last ultimate gecko is the small (up 33/4 inches) neon day gecko (P. klemmeri) from northwest Madagascar. Like the giant day gecko, it is tropical and diurnal. It exhibits a beautiful striped coloration of blues and blacks and has a yellow-green head. This striking gecko has an engaging personality and will tolerate a limited amount of handling, which is unusual for a Phelsuma species. It is a great day gecko for someone who has previously kept a giant or other type of day gecko, and its life span in captivity ranges from 10 to 12 years if kept in optimal conditions.
P. klemmeri is considered endangered in the wild but captive bred specimens are available.
The setup for a neon day gecko is similar to the giant day gecko’s. It can be kept in a smaller terrarium, such as a 10-gallon tall, and smaller-diameter bamboo is needed. A basking spot between 85 and 95 degrees should be provided. It’s best kept in male-female pairs, though “hareming” — keeping one male with multiple females — has been done successfully. Feed the same foods as described for P. grandis, though adult neon day geckos require 2-week-old crickets. Fruit flies are also accepted.
Now that you’ve seen all the wonderful choices, where will you start your ultimate gecko journey?
Julie Bergman is the owner of Gecko Ranch, LLC and has been breeding many gecko species for more than 20 years. She is a frequent contributor to REPTILES magazine and is the author of the Advanced Vivarium Systems book, Geckos. Visit her website at geckoranch.com.
Geckos Species :
DWARF GECKOS GROUPE :
Geckos Species :
DWARF GECKOS GROUPE :
Please Select !! ?