- Care of Day Geckos (Phelsumas) -
Day geckos originate primarily from Madagascar and the surrounding islands. Most of their habitat is warm and humid with abundant vegetation. Keep this in mind when setting up your habitat.
The primary food for day geckos in captivity will be crickets. These crickets should be fed a healthy diet so that they will BE a healthy diet for your geckos. There are many commercially available cricket foods. We also sell cricket food in the dry goods section of our web site. The crickets should be dusted with ©Repcal with D3 added 3 times per week and ©Herptivite twice per week. We do this by placing the crickets in a plastic cup, sprinkling the supplements over them, and shaking the cup until the crickets are evenly coated with the powder. The supplements are absolutely essential for normal growth and to prevent metabolic bone disease. Day gecko diet can also be supplemented with fruit baby food. (Look for only fruit on the label, no added sugars, corn syrup, or tapioca for your gecko.) The baby food can be mixed with ©Gecko Gourmet or honey for enhanced appeal. Baby food is a treat, not a daily diet, no matter how many flips they perform when they smell the jar come into the room. Geckos need protein and calcium and vitamins/minerals to stay healthy.
Your gecko will also need a source of water. This can be achieved easily by spraying/misting down the cage with a spray bottle twice daily. The geckos will drink from the leaves of the plants. This practice also helps maintain a high humidity necessary for ease of shedding. Some have reported success with water dishes. I have found my geckos would rather soil them than drink from them. Geckos should be kept at 70-80% humidity. Phelsuma standingi (Standings Day Gecko) are from a dryer area of Madagascar, and can tolerate 55-65% humidity.
The setup for your day gecko should be taller than it is wide. However, aquariums are a convenient cage, especially if you are planting a vivarium. A 10 gallon tank is appropriate for a Peacock or Gold-dust day gecko. A Giant Day or Standingi will need a 20 gallon high tank as a minimum! The geckos will need a lateral basking area around 85 degrees F. The rest of the cage should be held at 80-82 degrees during the day. The tank should be maintained 70-72 degrees at night. Phelsuma Standingi (Standing’s Day Gecko) will appreciate a slightly hotter basking area, 90-92 degrees F. Geckos, like other reptiles, will want to thermoregulate themselves, so provide a temperature gradient in the cage. Potted plants can be used with a Co-Co brick (compressed shredded coconut shells) substrate with bamboo branches for climbing and basking. A lateral (horizontal) basking area is absolutely essential for Phelsuma standingi (Standing’s Day Gecko) to prevent a condition known as flap-tail. This is caused by hanging upside down or sideways to bask, with gravity pulling the heavy tail down, sometimes breaking the vertebrae, leaving a permanent disfigurement. I have had p. standingi breed successfully in this condition, but it is preventable. Every once in a while you get a stubborn one who refuses to use the basking spot and insists on hanging upside down from the cage lid anyway. Hey, all we can do is try.
All day geckos need full-spectrum lighting from sources such as ©Vitalite, Zoo Med, ESU, and others. This is needed to utilize calcium supplements. I have conducted an experiment raising clutchlings under identical conditions except for the presence and absence of full-spectrum lighting. Those raised without were half the size of their siblings, and more prone to flap-tail.
To further enhance the appearance of your gecko set-up, please see more information on how to construct your own vivarium. All of breeding adults are maintained in this manner. I find the maintenance to be minimal with proper set-up.