Giant Day Gecko Care
Giant Day Gecko Care
Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis)
one variety of 70 kinds of day geckos
Popularity: Make good house pets but they are not good for handling as it breaks their skin and scales. They should be handled with a net when it is necessary to touch them. Other than that, they are easy to care for.
Origin: Madagascar and other Indian Ocean Islands
Native habitat: Most Giant Day Geckos are arboreal, so they inhabit tropical trees such as banana trees, coconut palms, and others.
Size: Up to 12 inches
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Appearance: Day Geckos have rounded pupils and, rather than eyelids, they have a clear, fixed plate covering their eyes that they clean with their tongue. The body is usually bright green, but once in awhile it is bluish green. A red stripe runs from the nostril to the eye. There are usually, but not always, red dots or bars on the back. Some specimens may have small blue spots. Adults sometimes have large calcium storage sacs on their necks. The underside is ranges from creamy white to egg-yellow.
Diet: Insects, small vertebrates, nectar, pollen, soft fruits, and sometimes their own young
Activities: Mainly active in the daytime, as per their name.
Defense Mechanisms: Males can be confrontational and territorial. They will not allow other males in their area, but they will let females enter their territory; however, sometimes in captivity where the females cannot get away, a male may sometimes critically wound a female. Giant Day Geckos normally move slowly, but when startled they can move quickly and are good at escaping their enclosures. About half their length is tail, which they break off if necessary to escape a predator.
Misc characteristics: Breeding behavior includes the shaking of the tail or body, and vocalizing. If the female does not like the male, she may turn dark green. Many Day Geckos are like cats because they always land on their feet when they fall out of a tree. Rather than claws, they have suction plates covered with fine hairs on their feet so they can walk vertically and upside down on a surface. When they walk, they pick up one toe so they don’t damage the suction plates. They make barking and squeaking noises to communicate.
Housing and Furnishings
A tall 20-gallon container with a secure screen top is best for housing. This will house up to three of these lizards. They like to climb and bask, so tall, live plants and bamboo are necessary items in the housing. Place climbing plants in both the warmer (85 degrees F.) and cooler (75 degrees F.) sections of the housing. Branches for climbing should be at least as wide as the gecko’s body to provide good support. The smooth surface of horizontally arranged bamboo makes an ideal basking spot, and it should be around 90 degrees F.
A Giant Day Gecko needs hides where it can go to get away. These can be commercially made, or they can be brush or containers from around home. The substrate should have two tiers, with the lower level consisting of small pebbles, gravel or other material that will provide good drainage. That should be covered by mulch, peat moss or orchid bark. This provides the necessary humidity (50 to 85 percent) and helps the live plants thrive.
These lizards need UVB and UVA lighting to help them process vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D3 and calcium. It also makes them more colorful and enhances their natural behavior. The light source should be within 12 inches of the gecko in both the warmer and cooler area of the enclosure, and there should be a timer to vary the level of exposure according to the season: 10 hours of UVB and UVA light in the winter, and 14 hours in the summer.
Feed Day Geckos insects such as wingless fruit flies and other flies, wax moths, crickets, small super worms, small butter worms and mealworms. Fruit is necessary a few times a week, and should be small pieces of banana, papaya, fruit-based baby food, or commercial gecko nectars. A Day Gecko should be fed insects that are about 90 percent the size of its head. Chlorine-free, fresh water should be provided daily.