Are you interested in getting a gecko as a pet? If so, you might already know that these lizards need a certain type of care. The average lifespan of a gecko is between 10-20 years. Since you will likely have the gecko as a pet for the majority of their life, it is important that you are able to provide them with the care that they need. Learning more about geckos can help you to be prepared for having a gecko as a pet.
Common Gecko Pet Species
If you are looking to get a gecko as a pet, one of the first things that you might want to know is what type of gecko you are going to get. Some of the common gecko species that people often have as pets include the following:
- Common house
- African fat-tailed
There are numerous other types of geckos that live in the wild and that people can get as a pet. However, the ones that are listed here are most commonly found as pets. If you are going to get a gecko, you can learn more about each one of these species to decide which one is right for you.
Picking Out a Gecko
When it comes to gecko pet care, it is going to depend on what type of gecko that you get. You will want to ensure you are getting a gecko from some place reputable. It is important that the gecko has been well-taken care of before they come into your home. Wild-caught geckos have a high chance of carrying ailments and diseases. You will want to pick out a gecko with skin that doesn’t have a bunch of dry patches. The gecko should have clear eyes and all of their toes and fingers. They should have a great appetite, as well.
Behaviors of Geckos
If you have a gecko as a pet, you will need to know some gecko care tips. One of these tips is to make sure you are familiar with gecko behavior. This way you can take the best care of your gecko.
There are numerous types of geckos that you can get. Some geckos are similar in their behaviors and temperaments. However, they can be a bit different, too. Most geckos are docile and pleasant to have as pets. With that being said, they don’t usually like humans to handle them too often or they become stressed out.
You should learn all you can about the activity of gecko species. For instance, leopard gecko needs in regard to activity might vary from a tokay gecko. The majority of geckos, including crested, African-fat tailed, leopard, and tokay geckos, are more active during the night. This is because they are nocturnal. However, there are certain geckos that will be active more throughout the day than the night. The day geckos are in this category.
The majority of geckos aren’t vocal. However, some types of geckos will make certain noises when they are attracting their mate or trying to defend their territory. They might make clicking, barking, or chirping noises. Geckos are usually silent though.
With gecko pet care, you should also be aware of their temperament. Geckos aren’t usually going to be aggressive unless you have 2 males that are living together. If you do get 2 male geckos, you should put them in separate tanks. It is also important to know that geckos generally won't bite humans. However, some gecko species are known to bite more than others. The tokay gecko is one of those that are known to bite.
Now, that you know more about the behaviors and temperaments of geckos, you should also know more about what type of living space geckos need.
Gecko Living Space
The living space is something else that you need to consider when it comes to gecko pet care. If you are going to get a gecko, you need to ensure that they have a proper enclosure. It should have branches, so your gecko can climb. You should also have a hiding place and water bowl in the enclosure. Every gecko enclosure should have a secure lid, so they can’t escape. Even the smallest holes are big enough for a gecko to slip out of. The majority of geckos will need a 10-20 gallon tank. While they are small, they still need the extra space to move around and be active.
Gecko tanks should be lined with substrate. Orchid bark or coconut husks are both great options. These options will retain the moisture that your gecko needs without causing any harm if your gecko ingests it in little amounts. You could also choose to use newspaper or paper towels. However, it is important to use products that aren’t filled with dye or bleach, as these could cause fatal reactions in geckos.
Humidity and Heating Needs for Geckos
The majority of geckos are going to need an environment that is between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, certain geckos might need the temperature to be around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can get the temperature to this level with heating pads and heat lights. It is important to make sure that one area of your gecko’s enclosure is closer to 70 degrees with the other side being close to 100 degrees.
If you choose to get a gecko that is nocturnal, you shouldn’t need any UVB bulbs. However, if you get a day gecko, for instance, you will need this type of light to help with their activity, appetite, and growth. You can get numerous types of UVB lights and other lights for geckos. No matter what type of you choose, just ensure that it provides your gecko with the night and day cycles that they need.
The humidity of a gecko’s tank should be between 70-80 percent. You can mist their enclosure with a water bottle and keep a big water bowl in the enclosure to help achieve this percentage. You can use a hygrometer to check on the humidity of your gecko’s enclosure.
When it comes to gecko care tips, one of the most important is ensuring that you are properly feeding your gecko. The majority of geckos aren’t going to eat vegetables or plants. You will probably need to get your gecko live insects. Some of the insects that your gecko might need include the following:
For most geckos, mealworms and crickets are for meals. Waxworms and superworms are usually given as treats. Depending on the species of gecko that you get, they might need some fruit in their diet.
Based on the species and age of your gecko, you might need to feed them daily or in some cases, weekly.
Gecko Handling Tips
It is important that you never pick a gecko up from their tail or it will fall off. If you do happen to do this, you shouldn’t panic. The tail is going to grow back. However, the tail might be a different color and/or shape when it comes back. If the fail has fallen off, you should make sure your gecko is being properly fed and kept apart from other geckos until their tail comes back fully.
Health Problems Commonly Seen in Geckos
If you are getting a gecko as a pet, you need to know about some health problems that are common with geckos. Some of these include the following:
- Stomatitis - This is also known as mouth rot. It needs to be treated early on and quickly. If you see a red discoloration and possibly pus on the mouth of your gecko, they could have stomatitis.
- Respiratory problems - If your gecko is drooling or wheezing, they might have an infection of the respiratory system. This is generally caused from low temperatures or drafts in their enclosure.
- Parasites - Externally and internally, geckos can be affected by parasite infections. Tiny eggs and worms might be in their feces. They might have tiny mites on their skin. These things can cause an infection. If you notice a red rash on your gecko’s skin and they have a tough time shedding, they could have a parasite. You might also notice your gecko is sluggish, their droppings have changed, or they lack an appetite.
- Dysecdysis - If your gecko doesn’t have the proper percentage of humidity in their tank, this can lead to dysecdysis, which means trouble shedding.
These are some of the common health issues that arise with geckos. To help prevent these issues, it is important to always make sure your gecko is properly cared for.
Geckos can be great pets. However, if you are going to get a pet gecko, be sure that you learn all you can about proper gecko care before doing so.