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Care of Pet White Lined Geckos

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Skunk Gecko frted/Creative Commons/Flickr

Species Name:

Gekko vittatus

Other names: skunk gecko is the most commonly used other name. Sometimes called white striped gecko (which may lead to confusion with other species) or Indonesian skunk gecko.

Life Span:

White lined geckos may be expected to live 10-20 years or so, though they are realtively new to the reptile hobby so this is a bit uncertain.

About White lined Geckos:

White lined geckos reach an adult length of around 9-10 inches (incluidng tail). Their bodies are brown, green or tan, and have a white stripe on each side of the heads that converges on the back and runs down to the tail base (the tail has broad white bands). They have specialized toe pads that allow them to effortlessly move along vertical surfaces.

Housing White Lined Geckos:

A 20 gallon tall terrarium is sufficient for a couple of white lined geckos (never house males togther), but bigger is better as white lined geckos are active lizards. White lined geckos need vertical space for climbing so use a tall tank. Males are territorial so should only be kept one to a cage. A glass terrarium with a screened top or side for ventilation works well.

Substrate:

The substrate for white lined geckos should be something that retains moisture to aid in humidity levels, such as coconut fiber bedding, cypress mulch, moss, or peat, though paper or paper towels can be used as well.

Accessories:

White lined geckos need room to climb, so provide a mix of branches, driftwood, corkbark, bamboo, and vines at a variety of heights and orientations. Add a variety of silk and/or sturdy live plants (e.g. dracena, snake plants) as they will hide in the plants for cover. Provide caves, bark, or other items suitable for hides. A small shallow water dish can be provided, with fresh water daily, though they will likely prefer to drink water droplets from leaves.

Temperature:

A daytime temperature gradient of 82-85 F (27-29.5 C) should be provided for white lined geckos, with a drop at nightime to 70-75 F (21-24 C). A heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter makes a good heat source for day time; at night a red night time bulb or cermic heat emitter is a good choice. Undertank heat can also be used. Do not rest a heat source right the top of the tank, as these climbing geckos could get too close and burns could result.

Lighting for White Lined Geckos:

White lined geckos are nocturnal so do not need special UV lighting. However, many experts feel providing low levels of UV lighting is still beneficial to their overall health. You must ensure, however, that the geckos can hide from the light if desired. A red night time bulb allows viewing when they are most active.

Humidity:

White lined geckos need a moderately high humidity level; aim for 65-75 percent relative humidity (get a hygrometer and monitor levels as humidity is very important). Provide humidity with regular misting with warm filtered water; depending on your cage set up you may need to mist a few times a day, and make sure the cage is well-misted at night when their activity is highest. White lined geckos will likely drink from water droplets left from the mist.

Feeding:

White lined geckos can be fed a diet mainly of crickets. A variety of other insects can be added for variety: roaches, locusts, cutworms and silkworms (waxworms and mealworms should be fed only occasionally). Prey should be about the size of the space between the gecko's eyes, and 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 feed daily but adults do not need to be fed every day (every other day, for example). Feed as much prey at one time as the gecko eagerly eats, and don't leave uneated crickets roaming aroung the tank.

Notes

  • White lined geckos tend to be less aggressive than their close relative, tokay geckos. They are pretty fast, somewhat delicate, and will bite if feeling threatened, so care is required when handling.

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