This comprehensive care guide will show you how to look after a Gecko in 3 easy steps
How long will my Gecko live? They can live for 10+ years
How big will my Gecko grow? They will grow approx 10cm
What size of tank is recommended for my Gecko? They require an enclosure of at least 30 x 30 x 30cm
What does a Gecko eat? - Crickets, woodies and silkworms
How easy is it to look after a Gecko? They are a low maintenance pet
The size and shape of a gecko’s enclosure should be determined by which species of gecko is being kept as some are terrestrial (ground dwelling) and others are arboreal (climbers).
The recommended minimum sized enclosure for one adult gecko is 30x30x30cm, however a 60x45x45cm enclosure would be suitable to house between one and three adult geckos.
Hatchling geckos should be kept in smaller enclosures for the first 6 months. It is important that the enclosure has sufficient ventilation as well as a secure, lockable door or lid.
The enclosure can be furnished with a hide, artificial plants, timber or rock ornaments and a small water bowl. An absorbent substrate is also important such as a fine-grade reptile safe desert sand or coconut fibre.
Geckos have a very specific set of requirements in regards to general care, however if all of these elements are provided they thrive in captivity.
Providing adequate temperature gradients within a gecko’s enclosure is essential for their health and wellbeing. Most gecko species require a basking spot maintained between 28-32˚C and a cool end of approximately 18-24˚C.
Many species of gecko do not tolerate high temperatures, therefore the enclosure must be regulated with the use of a good quality thermostat and temperatures checked daily with a thermometer. Recommended sources of heat include the use of low wattage incandescent, halogen or ceramic globes with larger glass enclosures. Infrared or purple globes are ideal for nocturnal use. Heat mats and heat cable are also ideal for smaller plastic enclosures.
Being nocturnal creatures geckos do not require ultraviolet light (UV) like other reptiles do, however it is still important that they have a day/night cycle. A low output (2.0) UV light can be used to light up a geckos enclosure during the day and run on a timer for 10-12 hours.
It is important to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene within the gecko’s enclosure. Daily ‘spot checks’ should be carried out, sifting substrate to remove any faeces, shed skin or uneaten food. A full substrate change should be carried out every 2-3 months (depending on what substrate is used) and the enclosure thoroughly cleaned with a reptile-safe disinfectant.
Geckos have delicate skin and do not tolerate handling particularly well, so care must be taken when removing them from their enclosure for cleaning. Geckos also require high levels of humidity and the enclosure should be lightly misted with water at least once every two days.
Most Australian geckos are insectivorous, reptiles that naturally consume a wide variety of invertebrates.
In captivity they can be fed on a number of commercially available insects such as crickets, woodies, silkworms and mealworms (small amounts). Appropriately sized insects should be fed to the gecko, as a prey item that is too large can cause blockages in the gecko’s digestive tract or if not immediately consumed these insects may also chew and damage the gecko’s fragile skin.
As a general rule, the size of the insect should be no larger than the space between the lizard’s eyes. Mealworms should be fed sparingly as their exoskeleton can be difficult for geckos to digest.
Hatchling geckos should be offered food daily and juveniles and adults fed three to four times a week. Offering food in the late afternoon or evening is beneficial as this is when the geckos become most active.
A powdered calcium and multivitamin supplement should be dusted over the insects at least 1-2 times per week to provide the geckos with an adequate source of calcium and essential vitamins.
A small, shallow water dish should always be available and changed daily.
All native reptiles are protected in NSW and a Reptile Keeper's licence must be obtained from the Office of Environment and Heritage to own one as a pet.
You can apply for a licence online through the OEH website or alternatively, our specialist reptile staff would be more than happy to assist you in applying for your licence in-store.
We have created a Shopping list to show what you need to look after a Gecko:
- Enclosure; 30 x 30 x 30cm minimum
- Water bowl
- Timber or rock ornaments
- Artificial plants
- Heat fitting and globe
- UV fitting and globe (optional)
- Reptile disinfectant
- Water sprayer
- Sand sieve
- Live food
- Feeding Tongs
- Calcium and multivitamin powder
Common health issues in Gecko's
Calcium Deficiency: Geckos require a calcium and vitamin supplement as part of their diet. If they do not receive adequate amounts of calcium, they may become deficient, leading to health complications.
Dysecdysis (Abnormal Shedding): Low humidity levels can sometimes result in a gecko having an ‘incomplete’ shed.
Tail Autotomy (Dropping their tail): If geckos are not handled gently, or handled too frequently they may drop their tail as a defence mechanism. This causes significant stress to the animal and risk of infection.
Is your Gecko showing any of the signs of disease or illness? If yes, please consult your reptile vet.
At Kellyville Pets, we encourage responsible pet ownership.
CARE GUIDE © Copyright 2016 Kellyville Pets - All information found in this care guide is based upon our own experience. The information provided is not the only information available. In any medical situations, you should always consult your vet, including questions regarding your pet's diet.