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Golden Gecko Care Sheet



Golden Gecko (Gekko ulikovskii)

 

Golden Geckos (Gekko Ulikovskii)

Golden geckos are an arboreal species native to Vietnam. Their care requirements are easily met, and they have personalities that make them very interesting to observe if one is willing to stay up at night to watch them. Because the demand for golden geckos isn’t as high as for some other lizards, they are also very affordable.


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Golden Gecko Availability

Golden geckos are available in many pet stores and from many breeders. Many specimens are wild caught, due to the low demand for these lizards.

Golden Gecko Size

Male golden geckos are slightly larger than females, averaging lengths of 4 to 5 inches, snout-to-vent, 7 to 8 inches including the tail. Females typically reach 3 to 4 inches snout-to-vent length, and are around 6 or 7 inches with their tails.

Golden Gecko Life Span

Golden geckos are very hardy lizards and can live 8 or more years with proper care.

Golden Gecko Housing

Because these geckos love to climb, they should ideally be kept in tall terrariums. A standard 20-gallon tall tank with a screen lid would be adequate for a single adult, and a standard 29-gallon tank is an excellent fit for a pair or trio. Females can be housed together, but males are territorial, so there should generally only be one male per tank. Baby golden geckos do well in a 10-gallon terrarium.

golden gecko

Paolo Tonon/Flickr

Golden geckos are arboreal and require adequate hiding places.

Golden Gecko Lighting and Temperature

Golden geckos, like all reptiles, are ectotherms, so their environment needs to be kept within a proper temperature range so they are active and able to digest their food. Golden geckos are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures, but typically prefer temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (23-29 degrees Celsius) during the day and between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21-23 degrees Celsius) at night. A ceramic heat emitter works well to maintain adequate temperatures, but an infrared or night bulb is a good choice if you’d like to be able to view your gecko when it is most active, at night. Golden geckos are nocturnal, and do not require UVB lighting if they have Vitamin D3 in their diet. Use a thermometer to make sure proper temperature is being achieved.

Golden Gecko Substrate and Accessories

Because they are arboreal, a wide variety of substrates can be utilized in a golden gecko habitat, since they spend the majority of their time above ground. Coconut fiber and various bark chips designed for terrariums are good choices. Be cautious of small particles if your gecko is particularly aggressive when going after insects, as they may swallow substrate and become impacted.

Golden geckos require adequate hiding places, as they spend most daylight hours out of sight. Plants, logs, and commercial hides all work well. More than one hiding area per gecko is recommended, as some geckos will move between favorite spots frequently.

Golden geckos can excrete an unpleasant smelling liquid and leave trails of it on the glass of their terrariums. The glass should be wiped down often, to keep the glass looking clean, as although this excretion doesn’t harm the geckos, it can make observing them more difficult.

Golden Gecko Diet and Feeding

Golden geckos will enjoy a varied diet of insects, fruit, and even commercial crested gecko food. This author has found that these geckos particularly enjoy ripe mangos, and other softer fruits like papaya and banana. A meal replacement powder formulated for crested geckos mixed in a fruit puree is also readily accepted and more nutritionally sound than fruit alone. Also enjoyed are a wide variety of commercially bred insects, such as crickets, roaches, and mealworms. These geckos are voracious eaters and thrive on varied diets. These geckos often become disinterested if the same food is always offered, but this problem can be easily avoided simply by alternating insects and fruit. These geckos eat readily from dishes, and are generally very tidy and thorough eaters, making cleaning their dishes very simple. A calcium and vitamin D3 supplement should be provided once a week, and this can be achieved by dusting insects, or mixing the supplement into a fruit puree. Some geckos will accept supplement powder provided in a small dish, particularly females when they are getting ready to lay eggs. The following is a recipe for a puree that the author’s geckos enjoy. Mix pureed fruit, either fresh or baby food, with about 15% pureed protein source in the form of insects or chicken. Add a vitamin supplement powder and serve in a shallow dish in the evening, removing any uneaten food the next morning.

Golden Gecko Water and Humidity

Because their natural habitat is rainforest, golden geckos require a relatively humid cage. They will tolerate a wide range, but keeping relative humidity between 60% and 80% is ideal. An inexpensive hygrometer can help monitor this. Humidity can be increased by misting the enclosure daily. Most golden geckos will drink from a shallow water dish, but they will also drink droplets of water from the daily misting. Fresh water should be offered daily.

Golden Gecko Handling and Temperament

As is true with any reptile, new specimens should be given a chance to acclimate to their environment before any handling attempts. Golden geckos are not the best candidates for handling, because they have very delicate skin, and are incredibly quick. Some may bite, but most are not aggressive. If handling is necessary, approach the gecko slowly, and gently corral it onto your hand, or into a transport container. With patient, gentle handling, these geckos can become very docile and easily handled. Golden geckos can regenerate their tails, but it is still never a good idea to grab them by the tail.


Rebecca Scott has kept reptiles for as long as she can remember. Golden geckos were her first successful breeding project. For more information, she can be contacted at rebecca-a-scott@uiowa.edu.

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