Geckos are often the beginner reptile owner’s first choice for lizard ownership. Pet lizards are fun and a popular choice for reptile enthusiasts due to their easy care requirements. Adult geckos can be a good choice for someone looking for a new pet that is unique, quirky, sassy, and low maintenance.
While geckos are comparatively easy to care for they have simple but specific needs in terms of shelter, nutrition, and light.
Pet stores are full of bearded dragons and crested geckos, asking you with their cute reptile eyes to take them home to your caring castle.
Remember though, that proper research and knowing how to care for your gecko is of the utmost importance for reptile enthusiasts! As a gecko owner, your learning never stops.
Do Geckos Make Good Pets?
Geckos can be excellent pets, but you’ve got to do your part and provide them with proper care. That starts with being a well-informed owner.
In this article, we dive into the shelter, feeding, and artificial lighting information you should know before you start scouring the pet shops.
Shed any misconceptions and lick your eyes clean before deciding if geckos are a good pet for you. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about geckos!
Types of Pet Geckos
There are many different species of geckos but the most popular types for pets seem to be the Leopard gecko, the Crested gecko, and the Fat-tailed gecko.
List of Types of Geckos
- Crested Gecko
- Flying Gecko
- Frog Eyed Gecko
- Gargoyle Gecko
- Giant Day Gecko
- Leaf Tailed Gecko
- Leopard Gecko – Leopard geckos are a good choice for beginners
- Tokay Gecko – Tokay geckos are not recommended for beginners
Gecko Habitat Requirements
Geckos need adequate space and a proper type of enclosure to avoid stress and possible depression.
A 20-gallon aquarium tank should work fine for most geckos, but a larger enclosure may be necessary for some species.
Glass aquariums work well, but make sure they are properly ventilated with a screen roof. Purpose-built reptile enclosures are also available if the budget allows, with ventilation built-in.
Should I put anything inside my gecko’s enclosure?
Yes, place some branches in the enclosure for climbing.
Geckos Like to Hide
Multiple hiding places give your pet gecko areas to relax and chill their reptile selves. In their natural environment, wild geckos utilize camouflage to conceal themselves from predators.
Without some hiding spots, your gecko will feel exposed and stressed, the more concealment they have available, the better.
Can I Put Live Plants in a Gecko Tank?
You can use live plants to provide hiding spots or artificial ones work as well. If you prefer live plants make sure they are not poisonous and they will require effort to keep them alive.
Temperature and Humidity for a Gecko Tank
Geckos shed their skin somewhat frequently depending on the breed. A humidity box helps them keep this process smooth and new skin healthy.
A temperature between 72 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained, dependent on which gecko species you own.
One end of the enclosure should be warmer than the other to allow your gecko room to cool down or heat up at its needs and leisure.
How Do I Control My Gecko Tanks Temperature?
Heat lamps help your gecko get into that tropical vibe.
Geckos primarily inhabit the warmer regions of our globe and often require some supplemental warmth, depending on where you live.
Inexpensive heat lamps can be a great heat source for your tank.
Can I Use a Heating Pad in a Gecko Tank?
Heating pads, designed for reptile tanks, can also be effectively utilized to keep your gecko’s cute little belly warm.
NOTE: You must research your breed’s ideal temperature range and adjust your pad accordingly.
A thermometer is part of the essential equipment needed for keeping that perfect tropical environment inside your gecko’s home.
Don’t rely on your own hand’s sense of heat, invest for the long term as the enclosure’s temperature gradient is somewhat critical to your gecko’s shed cycle and health.
Types of Gecko Tank Lining
A substrate is needed to gather your gecko’s droppings and keep your enclosure a healthy lizard living space.
Natural substrates are the preference of pros, but paper towels and newspapers also function just fine. Frequent changes are essential if using paper products.
Coco coir, cypress chips, and orchid bark all work well as natural substrate choices.
The closer you can mimic the wild, real-world habitat of your gecko species, the better your gecko will adapt and thrive in captivity.
Be aware that sand particle size matters. Some geckos can become ill and experience gut compaction if they ingest the wrong size sand grains.
Does My Gecko Need a Light in Their Tank?
Some species are nocturnal while others are known as day geckos. This affects the type of lighting your gecko needs so make sure you do your research.
Ask questions at the pet store before making a gecko purchase.
Nocturnal geckos don’t necessarily need UVB light, while day geckos will require the purchase of a UVB bulb to keep your friend at their light-loving best.
Some research does suggest that even nocturnal species benefit from UVB, so a deep dive into this might be worth it for your gecko’s longevity.
Make sure the UV light you purchase isn’t red if you have some species. Some people think red light can damage nocturnal gecko eyes.
What Do I Feed My Gecko?
Find a good source for nutritious live food. Most geckos eat a diet of live insects and are purely carnivorous.
Some, however, may eat fruit or other vegetation so research your specific species to make sure you’re not feeding your gecko the wrong things.
Gut-loaded insects are recommended by pro reptile breeders. These insects will have been fed a nutritious diet that transfers to your little lizard via the insect’s digestive system.
Leopard gecko adults can be fed six to seven gut-loaded crickets or mealworms per meal. These meals should take place two to three times per week.
What is a Wax Worm?
Gecko owners often feed their pets wax worms to help them gain weight. Wax worms are the larvae of wax moths and are thick and juicy which your gecko will love.
Be careful though not to give them too many because your gecko may start refusing to eat anything else! Wax worms are kind of like candy or dessert for your gecko!
Other Gecko Diet Tips
The insects you feed shouldn’t be any larger than the space between your gecko’s eyes. This helps make sure that they go down the gecko’s hatch with zero problems.
Clean fresh water should be maintained at all times. A shallow dish is best, change it regularly and your gecko will appreciate it.
Too deep of a bowl can end in heartache so make sure your gecko can get out safely if it gets in.
Do Geckos Need Vitamins?
Calcium and vitamin d3 supplements will help your gecko maintain its best condition. Geckos shed every two to eight weeks depending on breed. They need nutrients to aid in this process.
Calcium powder is a good way to supplement your gecko’s nutritional intake. You can even dust their insect food with it two to four times a week.
Do Geckos Like to Be Held?
In general, geckos do not like to be held by a human. Yes, I realize that most people want to hold their gecko pet and will!
While geckos have a docile temperament keep in mind they are a reptile!
How Do I Hold My Gecko?
Always be very careful when holding your gecko! Be gentle and don’t hurt them.
Can You Pick Up a Gecko by Its Tail?
Never grab a gecko by its tail! Geckos, like some other popular lizards, can regrow that tail, but you don’t want to do that!
Upon regrowth, your gecko’s tail might have a different texture, color, and size. Don’t let your dog near your gecko if you want to keep those lovely lizard colors and health intact.
How Long Do Geckos Live?
Geckos are long-lived little lizards so they are a major commitment for a pet owner.
They can be with you for 10 to 20 years if you treat them right and take care of their health issues.
What is the Oldest Gecko Ever?
The oldest gecko is known to have lived to the very ripe age of 27 years.
Most geckos are probably three to four inches long and only weigh two to five grams. However, some Leopard geckos can reach lengths of nine inches and have a substantial girth.
A large amount of the overall length of a gecko is often represented by its tail. A chunky tail is a sign that your gecko is well-fed, happy, and healthy.
The fat stored in the tail will be used in case of famine, so if you see it shrinking you need to figure out what is wrong with your gecko’s environment.
Gecko Health Issues
What’s Wrong With My Gecko?
Geckos can have health issues and become depressed if they are overstressed or housed in an inadequate enclosure size.
Lack of appetite, tail wagging, and skittishness when handled are all signs your gecko ain’t too happy.
What is Gecko Surfing?
Glass surfing is also something to watch for in terms of your gecko’s happiness.
This behavior consists of your gecko standing on its hind legs and pawing at the glass. A larger enclosure might be needed in this case.
Do Geckos Shed?
Yes, geckos need to shed as part of a healthy life.
If your gecko has trouble shedding you can help by bathing it. Wiping it with a wet paper towel should be sufficient, don’t completely submerge it.
Pet Gecko Related Questions
Why is My Gecko Making Noise?
Geckos are the only lizards known to have vocal cords. This gives some species the ability to click and chirp like birds.
Some geckos can hiss or even bark when startled. It is the best advice to not try to get in your gecko’s space if this reaction occurs
How Do I Breed My Gecko?
A female gecko can have a gestation period numbering years. Breeding takes an experienced and patient hand and should not be attempted until your gecko and you are very well acquainted.
Gecko eggs can change their sex based on the incubation temperature the breeder maintains.
In leopard geckos, temps between 80-84 degrees will produce females, while temperatures from 85-90 will be males.
Can I Put More Than One Gecko In An Enclosure?
Geckos can only be paired with the opposite sex but prefer to be solitary.
Some geckos have the ability to reproduce without the need for a male of the species to be present.
This capability is known as being parthenogenic and is thought to be one of the reasons for the gecko’s wide geographical range.
Are Geckos Good With Kids?
Geckos are not the best pet for young children or people with particularly rambunctious and destructive dogs. Geckos can easily be hurt so they are a better pet choice for older children.
Geckos are small reptiles and crocodile tears are in the future without great supervision.
You can let your gecko roam in a safe room to explore. Supervised exploration can help satiate your gecko’s curiosity. Just make sure they don’t get lost.
Do Geckos See Color?
Geckos can still see color long after it is too dark for the human eye to distinguish. In the wild, geckos use this to recognize potential dangers from delicious food in the moonlight.
If you think your eyes are sensitive to light, think again. Geckos are 350 times more sensitive to light than humble homo sapiens peepers.
How Many Different Geckos Species Are There?
There are over two thousand gecko species in the world. However, only a limited number are considered good pets that thrive in captivity, so research and buy from a reputable source.
Do Geckos Live at the South Pole?
No, Antarctica is the only continent on earth where geckos do not have a residence.
They have been found in a great many diverse environments from chilly boreal forests to hot, dry, desolate deserts, but Antarctica is a little much to ask don’t you think?
What Are The Biggest and Smallest Geckos?
The largest known gecko species is the New Caledonia gecko. It can reach lengths of 14 inches and weigh 8-12 ounces.
Some amazing, colorful, and completely undiscovered geckos might probably exist in the remote and unexplored regions of the world.
The smallest gecko species known is the Jaragua gecko. It is so small that it can make a bed out of a dime, about 2 cm of total cuteness.
What are Some Strange Facts About Geckos?
- The only substance known to stop a gecko’s toe pads from sticking is Teflon.
- Scientific research is still being done to determine the exact forces involved in geckos’ ability to adhere to surfaces but it looks like they found the one weak point.
- Some geckos do not have eyelids, while others do possess this feature.
If you see your gecko licking its corneas, it is cleaning off dust and debris like the windshield wiper on your car.
- Geckos have around 100 teeth on average. These teeth are constantly replaced and have about a three to four-month turnover period.
- Geckos have been around the Earth for about 300 million years. That’s an incredibly impressive reptilian run on this planet.
Geckos can make great pets and are one of the most popular pet reptiles.
As the prospective owner of a gecko, you owe it to yourself and your long-lived friend to learn as much as you can about them.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there is a wealth of information available related to specific breeds and their care, so your deep dive into ownership has just begun.
Now it is time for you to decide whether to bring a gecko into your life and your home.
You’ve got to decide if you have the drive to gain knowledge, the desire to care, and the attention to detail needed for gecko ownership.
Armed with the information in this article, you can confidently make that decision. Geckos can be fantastic pets if you take the time to learn about them.