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Care of Pet House Geckos

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Species Name:

Hemidactylus frenatus

Common names: House gecko, common house gecko, Asian house gecko

Life Span:

5-10 years

About House Geckos:

Common house geckos reach an adult length of 3-5 inches (total length). Their color varies the from a yellowish tan color with darker spots or blotches in the light to a pale greyish-white; they often appear more pale at night. They have specialized toe pads that allow them to effortlessly move along vertical surfaces and upside down.

Housing House Geckos:

A 20 gallon tall terrarium is sufficient for a couple of house geckos, but bigger is better. Keep in mind that house geckos need vertical space for climbing so use a tall tank. Males are territorial so should only be kept one to a cage, but females get along.

Substrate:

The substrate for house geckos should be something that retains moisture, such as reptile bark or shredded coconut fiber bedding.

Accessories:

House geckos need room to climb, so provide branches, driftwood, and silk or live plants. They also need hiding spots such as reptile caves or small clay plant pots placed on their sides. Provide enough hides to give multiple geckos space to hide from each other. A small shallow water dish can be provided, with fresh water daily, but they may prefer to drink from water droplets on leaves.

Temperature :

A daytime temperature gradient of 75-90 F (24-32 C) should be provided, with a drop at nightime to 65-75 F (18-24 C). Heat can be provided a ceramic heat element or reptile bulbs in a reflector, or heat mat under the terrarium. White incandescent bulbs or blue reptile bulbs can be used, but only during day time hours. A red night time bulb can be used for heat at night.

Lighting for House Geckos:

Golden geckos are nocturnal so do not need special UV lighting. However, many experts feel providing UV lighting is still beneficial to the overall health of nocturnal animals.

Humidity:

House geckos need a moderate to high humidity level; aim for 60-75 percent relative humidity (use a hygrometer to measure). Provide humidity with regular misting; the geckos will likely drink from water droplets left from the mist.

Feeding:

House geckos should be fed a variety of smallish prey items. Crickets can make up the main part of the diet, with the addition of fruit flies and other small flies, silkworms, the occasional mealworm, and other insect prey. Prey should be gut loaded prior to feeding, and dusted with a calcium supplement two to three times a week and a multivitamin once a week. Feed in the evening; juveniles should be fed daily but adults can be fed every other day (feed as much prey as your house gecko will consume eagerly).

Notes

  • Common house geckos are native to much of southern Asia, but have established breeding population in many other warm areas of the world. They are thought to have become such a successful invasive species laregly by hitchhiking on ships and other transport, but owners should be careful not to contribute to the problem by releasing pets.
  • While house geckos live in less inhabited areas as well, they are commonly found around human habitation, including the walls and ceilings of houses, which is how their name arose. They are good at keeping insect populations in check.

Return to Guide to Geckos

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