With good reason, geckos are one of the most popular reptiles to keep as pets, especially among novices. They are docile and simple to tame, as well as being generally low-maintenance. When it comes to reptile pets, the leopard gecko is unquestionably the most popular. Other species, such as the crested gecko and the house gecko, are becoming more popular.
Geckos are small to medium-sized lizards that are native to tropical regions of the world. Geckos come in over 1,600 different species, however not all of them are kept as pets. The geckos most commonly kept as pets are usually under a foot long and have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Geckos have become popular pets due to their small size and long longevity, however their care varies depending on the species.
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What exactly is a gecko?
Geckos are little lizards that live in warm regions around the world and are unique in that they can communicate with other geckos by making chirping sounds. They’re also uncommon in that they don’t have eyelids, instead licking the transparent membrane over their eyes clean with their tongue, and that their toes have an incredible capacity to attach to a variety of surfaces without the use of surface tension or sticky liquids. The leopard gecko is an exception, as it does not have eyelids and no toe pads, limiting its ability to climb.
Geckos are popular “house guests” in many parts of the world, particularly in tropical areas, where they live on walls and ceilings and serve to manage bug infestations. Geckos come in a rainbow of colors and patterns, which helps to explain why they’re so popular as pets. Some species can even change color in reaction to temperature variations or to fit in with their surroundings.
Popular Gecko Species for Pets
As pets, a few gecko species have gained popularity:
- Leopard geckos
- Crested geckos
- Tokay geckos
- Day geckos
- African fat-tailed geckos
- Common house geckos
There are many other species of geckos in the wild and as pets, although they are not as common as the ones named.
Where is a good place to keep my gecko?
Geckos can be kept together, but don’t put more than one male in the same tank since they’ll battle to the death. Only keep males and females together if you’re ready to deal with a large number of offspring!
A 15-20 gallon tank is usually suitable for 2-3 geckos, however larger is preferable. Make sure you have plenty of hiding spots and climbing challenges, like as logs, commercial reptile caves, and other elements. You may also use plain old cardboard boxes. Make sure one of the hiding spots is wet, since this will aid in the shedding process. A plastic container filled with moist soil or moss with a hole in the lid for access can easily be used for this.
Substrates such as paper or indoor carpet work well. Sand and wood shavings should be avoided by young geckos since they can be swallowed and create intestinal obstructions, while adult geckos thrive on sand substrate. Because leopard geckos are nocturnal, you won’t have to bother about supplying UV lights for them. They do, however, require a basking location under an incandescent bulb, which should be dimmed by using a red light or even a ceramic heating element to offer warmth. Under-tank heaters can also be employed. The temperature should fluctuate between the low 80s F (about 27 C) during the day to the mid 70s F (about 25 C) at night, with a basking spot of around 90 F. (32 C).
Despite the fact that there are many different types of geckos, several of them have similar temperaments and behaviors. Geckos are generally pleasant, docile pets, but they prefer not to be handled by people on a regular basis because it can be stressful for them.
Most geckos, such as the well-known leopard gecko, crested gecko, tokay gecko, and African fat-tailed gecko, are nocturnal, meaning they are most active at night. However, other geckos, such as the appropriately called day gecko, are active during the day.
When protecting their territory or enticing a partner, certain geckos emit noises including chirping, barking, and clicking. Geckos are almost always quiet.
Temperament: Unless two male geckos are housed together, geckos are normally not aggressive reptiles. As a result, it’s essential to keep male geckos apart because they can fight each other without notice. A gecko biting a person is uncommon, although some species, such as the tokay gecko, are more inclined to do so.
Feeding your gecko
In the wild, leopard geckos eat insects, therefore a diet of crickets, mealworms, wax worms, and even pinkie mice once in a while will be appreciated. Make sure the insects have been “gut-loaded” (that is, fed nutritious diets so that the nutrition is passed on to your pet) for at least 24 hours before feeding, and dust them with a calcium or vitamin D supplement, especially for young lizards. The majority of juveniles require daily feeding, although adults can be fed every other day.
Geckos make excellent pets, particularly for novice reptile keepers, but even for experienced keepers, the range of species will keep things fresh and fun.
Housing a Gecko
Geckos require different levels of care according upon on species, but for the most part, they require enclosures with branches for climbing, a water bowl, a hiding area, and lockable lids. Because geckos can escape through minor gaps, it’s best to keep them in an enclosure with a tight-fitting top. Because geckos are small reptiles, they only need a 10 or 20 gallon tank, but larger species would require more area.
Use a substrate like coconut husk or orchid bark to line your gecko’s cage. Both of these materials maintain moisture and are not toxic to your gecko if swallowed in little amounts. Paper towels and newspaper can also be used, however some reptile owners prefer more natural solutions because to worries about the bleaching and dyeing of these paper items.
Geckos Need Heat and Humidity
Most geckos like temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees, while others demand greater basking temperatures in the 100s. Heat lights and heating pads are used to achieve this high temperatures. A good temperature gradient in the right temperature range for the gecko species you are caring for should be provided. This usually implies that one side of the enclosure will be in the 70s and the other in the 90s or 100s.
No UVB-emitting bulbs are usually required for nocturnal species, but gecko species that are active during the day will require this particular lighting. UVB rays are invisible, but they are critical for many reptiles’ growth, hunger, and activity.
There are many various types of UVB, heat, and light bulbs available, and some may be more suited to your gecko than others. However, regardless of the bulbs used, the enclosure should be illuminated using a proper day and night cycle. White light must be visible during the day, even if it does not provide heat or UVB rays, or your gecko may grow stressed and confused.
The humidity level in a gecko’s enclosure should be between 70% and 80%. The most popular technique of obtaining this percentage is misting the enclosure with water, but having a large water dish will also assist. A hygrometer can be used to determine the humidity level in a gecko enclosure.
Handling your gecko
Never grab a gecko by the tail, as they frequently drop it (a natural defense against predators). However, there is no reason to be concerned if this occurs. It will regrow, but in a different shape and/or color. Until the tail has regrown, the gecko should be well fed and kept away from any cage mates.
Keep gecko enclosure clean
It’s vital to know that Salmonella is carried by practically all reptiles. After petting your pet or cleaning its tank, remember to wash your hands. No matter how cute your lizard appears, never kiss him!
Geckos a reptile for beginners
If you’re seeking to expand your pet collection to include reptiles, geckos are a popular choice. Beginners will find them to be wonderful pet lizards. Not only are geckos fascinating pets with their distinct appearance—some could even call them adorable—but they’re also low-maintenance.
Common questions about geckos
Below you will answers commonly asked questions related to keeping geckos a pets.
Are geckos a good pet?
These amiable critters are typically gentle and simple to tame, as well as low-maintenance. With good reason, geckos are one of the most popular reptiles to keep as pets, especially among novices. They are docile and simple to tame, as well as being generally low-maintenance.
Are geckos good pets for beginners?
If you’re seeking to expand your reptile collection, geckos are a popular choice. Beginners will find them to be wonderful pet lizards. Not only are geckos fascinating pets with their distinct appearance—some could even call them adorable—but they’re also low-maintenance.
What is the best gecko for a pet?
7 Stunning Geckos That Make Wonderful Pets
- Leopard Geckos (Eublepharis macularius)
- Crested Geckos (Correlophus ciliatus)
- Tokay Geckos (Gekko gecko)
- Fat-Tailed Geckos (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)
- Gargoyle Geckos (Rhacodactylus auriculatus)
- Frog Eyed Geckos (Teratoscincus scincus)
- Giant Day Geckos (Phelsuma grandis)
Are geckos affectionate?
Leopard geckos, if raised in a human environment for their entire lives, are pleasant, affectionate creatures who are very easy to get along with. Leopard geckos do best when nurtured in groups of two or more, but human company will keep your pet happy as well.
Do geckos bond with their owners?
We don’t know if leopard geckos or other reptiles form attachments to their humans. Handling the animal, taking it out for enrichment activities outside of its cage, and creating a healthy habitat can all help to build relationships between a leopard gecko and its owner.
Do geckos like music?
Nature noises are not only beneficial to them, but they are also relaxing to us humans. So, whenever you want to unwind or put something peaceful on to help you fall asleep, your gecko may enjoy it as well.
Are geckos smart?
While leopard geckos have intriguing personalities and activities, most reptile specialists consider them to be primitive animals that lack the intellectual capability of more intelligent reptiles like monitor lizards and tegus.
How long do geckos live as pets?
The geckos most commonly kept as pets are usually under a foot long and have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years. Geckos have become popular pets due to their small size and long longevity, however their care varies depending on the species.