FAQ - Tokay Gecko Care
 

Tokay Gecko. Image courtesy of Kim Baker The Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) is a nocturnal arboreal insectivore native to rainforests from northeastern India to the Indo-Australian islands. The second largest gecko, males can reach an adult length of about 14 inches with females being slightly smaller. Tokay geckos are brightly colored with a pale grayish skin and red to orange markings. Know for their loud vocalizations, they have a range of chirps, hisses and croaks that are used to attract mates and warn off potential predators. In suburban areas of Asia and the Philippines, wild Tokay geckos can be seen on walls of homes and under roof lines seeking out insects viewed as pests.

Diet


  Tokay geckos are insectivorous reptiles. The diet for Tokay geckos should include the animal items listed below.  

Isopods (pill bugs)

Waxworms

Moths

Beetles & Roaches

Grasshoppers

Grubs

Crickets & Mealworms may be fed, but require gut-loading 2 days prior to feeding.

*Never offer scorpions or lightning bugs.

For variety or an occasional treat Tokay Geckos will also often eat fruit baby food. Place a small amount of baby food in a dish next to one of the glass walls of the cage in the evening. You can either mix a little calcium carbonate or sprinkle a little on top to ensure that the gecko is getting enough calcium. Choose baby foods without any sugar added and with fruit such as pears, and berries. It is usually best to avoid bananas, apples, and peaches.

When feeding live insects only provide as many insects as the animal can eat in a few hours. Because Tokay geckos are nocturnal, it is best to feed them in the evening after the lights are turned off. Vitamin supplements are unnecessary, and in fact are often harmful. Clean drinking water must be provided frequently. Tokay geckos will usually not drink from a water bowl but will lap up water misted on the walls of their cage or on plants placed in the cage. Misting should be done at least once per day.

Temperature and Lighting

Daytime ambient temperature (everywhere in the enclosure) for Tokay geckos should be maintained around 78-85 degrees F and they do not require any kind of daytime basking light. Nighttime ambient temperature should be maintained around 74-80 degrees F.

Tokay geckos require some UVB light. Fluorescent lamps with a moderate UVB output, such as Repti-sun 5.0 (ZooMed) or ReptiGlo 5.0 (Exoterra) are appropriate. The bulb should be within 18 inches of the animalís hiding places, with no glass or plastic between them. A nighttime only basking bulb should be provided. Choose a bulb that does not emit any visible light, such as an infrared light bulb or a ceramic heat emitter. Have the heat source only warm one part of the cage and check to make sure it isnít getting too hot.

 Housing

It is best to house Tokay geckos individually or as a male/female pair, as fighting with cage mates of the same sex can occur (especially males but females also). If a pair is housed together provide a large enclosureóat least 25 gallons in size with plenty of hiding places so the two geckos can get in places where they canít see each other. When choosing a type of cage to house the Tokay gecko in, glass or hard plastic enclosures work best. This way, the gecko can use the walls of the cage as climbing places.

Recommended cage substrates include coarse gravel, dry orchid bark, forest mulch, and folded paper. The majority of intestinal impactions occur due to sand (including Calci-Sand), crushed walnut shell, or other substrates composed of small, equal-sized particles; therefore, these are not recommended. Indoor-outdoor carpeting is also not recommended due to the possibility of carpet threads constricting toes or being ingested. Tokay geckos need plenty of hiding places which can be made by leaning flat objects (such as sheets of bark or palm fronds) up against the walls of their cage so they can hide between the object and the glass of their cage. It also helps to cover the sides and back of the enclosure to close in the hiding spots and help the gecko feel more secure. Live plants can be useful in the cage to increase humidity and provide visual barriers.

 Gut-Loading

Gut-loading is the practice of feeding insects a diet high in calcium, protein, and other nutrients prior to offering the insects to reptiles and amphibians. Domestic crickets and meal worms should be fed a commercial, grain-based calcium enriched cricket diet such as those made by Flunkers and ZooMed or a diet consisting of four parts chicken or turkey starter mash and one part calcium carbonate for two or three days before offering the crickets to your pet. Also, offer the crickets water in a shallow dish or wet sponge. Gut-loading beyond 2-3 days is not beneficial and can actually decrease the life expectancy of the insects.

 

© Sonora Veterinary Group, 2011  Free for distribution with proper citation.

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