Gold Dust Day Gecko Care: Phelsuma laticauda
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.
They are arboreal and 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. Due to aggression between individuals, we do not keep these geckos in groups larger than 1.1 (male : female). Hatchlings are also raised alone to avoid tail nipping.
Temperature & Lighting:
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 through the 80's to the mid 70's. Temperatures will naturally fall during the night.
UV light should be on 12-14/hours per day. The length of the day can be adjusted with the seasons to encourage breeding. UV bulbs should be changed every 6 months to a year. Lighting plays a role in how brightly colored your gecko is. Captive bred geckos tend to have duller color as they aren't getting natural sunlight. Regardless, it is better to purchase a captive bred gecko as it is nearly impossible to know how and where an animal was collected. Wild caught animals also tend to have more parasites.
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 we feed them a diet of insects, fruit and Pangea gecko diet. Hatchlings are fed fruit flies, isopods and springtails. Older geckos will also eat crickets, roaches, small moths, wax worms, maggots, blue bottle flies and isopods. Isopods are a great source of calcium that can live and breed in you terrarium. They also serve as a clean-up crew, keeping the tank cleaner.
Live food and fruit should dusted with calcium and multivitamins. Dry calcium powder can be offered occationally in a bowl to breeding adults or animals that are defiant in calcium.
Many live tropical plants thrive in day gecko terrariums because of the UV light and daily misting. Bromeliads and Sansevieria are both easy and female geckos will lay their eggs within the leaves. If you aren't confident in your plant abilities, Pothos is a great starter. Orchids, begonias and ficus also do well in terrariums.
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 and incubate at about 82* f.