Phelsuma laticauda, Gold Dust Day Gecko

By Audra Barrios

The Gold Dust Day Gecko is a hardy gecko from northern Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Introduced populations can be found on O'ahu, Hawaii. 

Like all day geckos, they do best in vertically oriented planted vivariums. Pairs at LYE are kept in in front opening tanks that are 12" x 12" x 18" tall. We do not keep these geckos in groups larger than 1.1 (male : female) because they will be aggressive toward each other. Hatchlings are also raised alone to avoid aggression. 

Live plants are easy to keep alive in day gecko terrariums because of the UV light and daily misting. Pothos is an easy plant to grow, even for those of you who think you have a black thumb. Bromeliads and Sansevieria are a great choice because geckos will lay their eggs within the leaves.

Day geckos will lay their eggs with the leaves of Sansevieria.

Day geckos will lay their eggs with the leaves of Sansevieria.

When setting up a day gecko terrarium, create a 90° F  basking spot where the gecko can sit. The rest of the tank should range down from that to the mid 70's. Temperatures will naturally fall during the night. UV light should be on 12-14/hours per day. UV bulbs should be changed every 6 months to a year. Lighting plays a role in the color of your gecko. 

Basking areas can creatd using plants or branches. 

Basking areas can creatd using plants or branches. 

Freshly Hatched Gold dust day geckos.   

Freshly Hatched Gold dust day geckos. 

 

Feeding: 

Day geckos are opportunistic omnivores. In the wild, they can be found eating everything from moths hanging around the lights to the sugar packet you spilled on the counter. In captivity at Lick Your Eyeballs they are fed a diet of insects, fruit and Pangea gecko diet. Young geckos are fed fruit flies, while older geckos readily eat crickets, roaches, small moths, wax worms, maggots and isopods. Isopods are a great source of calcium that can live and breed in living terrariums with your gecko. 

Supplements: 

Live food and fruit should dusted with calcium and multivitamins. Dry calcium powder can be offered in a bowl to breeding adults. I seed my terrariums with isopods of various sizes, which the geckos munch on. These provides enough supplemental calcium that the extra bowl isn't needed. 

Eggs & Incubation: 

Eggs should be removed from the terrarium and incubated separately. Babies may be eaten by the adults if they hatch in the tank. We use Pangea's Hatch to incubate eggs. 

 

 

 

 

Correlophus ciliatus, Crested Gecko

20170109_125111.jpg

These beautiful geckos are great for those who have never kept reptiles. They are fairly easy to care for and tame down quickly with regular handling. 

What you'll need:                        

    1) An enclosure, 10 -Gallon tank minimum

    2) Substrate for the bottom

    3) Stuff for your gecko to climb on: Sticks & plants

    4) Calcium supplement

    5) Vitamin supplement  

    6) Spray bottle

    7) Thermometer

    8) Heat lamp with some way to regulate heat, either a dimmer switch or a thermostat

Crested geckos are native to New Caledonia, an island off of Australia. They were thought to be extinct, but were rediscovered in 1994 after a storm. Although there are crested geckos in the wild, their population is threatened by habitat loss, as well as predation by two introduced species to the island: fire ants and cats. Luckily they are very prolific in captivity and they are very well established in the pet trade. 

Habitat: These arboreal geckos live in the trees and do well in vertically oriented enclosures. Cresteds tend to sleep between broad leaves, so include leafy plants, which can be live or fake. Pothos is a great choice if you decide to go with live plants. It needs little light to thrive and has good sized leaves for the geckos to rest in. 

For substrate we like to use a mix of coco fiber or peat moss, orchid bark and sand. This holds humidity well, without getting soggy. Use soils without perlite and fertilizer. 

Mist tank daily to maintain humidity and to give your gecko the opportunity to drink from the water droplets on the glass and leaves. A shallow water dish should also be available at all times. A rock can be placed in the water bowl for crickets to climb out of. 

Temperature: Having correct temperature gradients is one of the most important things for reptiles. Crested gecko temperatures can range from the 70’s to the low 80’s, 78°-82° F is ideal.  A small heat light (black or red bulb) can be used to heat their enclosure, unless the ambient temperature is staying warm enough. Make sure to keep an eye on the temperatures throughout the entire cage, especially during the first few weeks and during season changes. It’s important that the cages does not overheat (over 85°). Overheating can cause brain damage or death.

Feeding: Crested geckos are omnivores and thrive on commercially produced powdered diets. Here at Lick Your Eyeballs, we use Pangea as their main food source alternating between flavors. We supplement with occasional pureed tropical fruits that are high in calcium such as papaya, figs and berries. Insects such as crickets and dubia roaches are offered a few times a month to promote physical activity and as a protein source. Don't leave extra insects roaming the cage - they often chew on uninterested reptiles. Hatchlings should be fed daily to every other day. Adults can be fed every other day.  All fruit puree and insects should be dusted with a 50/50 mix of calcium and vitamins.

Breeding: Always wait to breed any animal until they are fully grown and sexually mature. If a female mates before she is fully grown, her body will put all of her calcium into developing eggs instead continuing to grow. This can lead to stunted growth, calcium deficiency, deformity and possibly death of your gecko. If you are unsure if your geckos is big enough, weigh them. Females should weigh at least 35 grams. (1) 

We use minimal substrate in our breeding tanks and a plastic tub for a laybox. Eggs are collected without being rolled and moved into incubation containers with 1.5-2" of Pangea Hatch. They are incubated from 72-80°f. 

Female digging to lay eggs. 

Female digging to lay eggs. 

Female laying eggs. 

Female laying eggs. 

This photo was taken when I used vermiculite for incubation media. I now use Pangea Hatch. 

This photo was taken when I used vermiculite for incubation media. I now use Pangea Hatch. 

(1) Vosjoli, Philippe De, et al. Rhacodactylus: the Complete Guide to Their Selection and Care. Advanced Visions, 2003.

The Adjustment Period: Getting Your New Reptile to Eat

reptile party

When you bring home a new reptile, we recommend that you do not to handle your new friend for the first three days as this is an adjustment period and we know how stressful those can be. If after three days, you gecko still hasn't eaten, here are some things to  think about: 

PSX_20170819_214810.jpg
  • Temperature: Is your reptile warm enough at 3 am?  Understand the temperature range of your particular species (notice I said range here: your reptile needs to be able to thermoregulate by moving around his enclosure to areas of different temperatures) 
  • Appropriate size portions: Think about how big your new pets stomach is. If a baby gecko is getting a capful of food when it's stomach is the size of a pea, you might not notice food going missing. 
  •  Diet: every gecko has a different favorite food- try a different flavor or type of food. Perhaps he doesn't like the one being offered. 
  • Stress: could there be a source of stress such as a pet pestering him?