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Frog-Eye Gecko

Teratoscincus spp.

  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Range: Middle East across Asia, Iran, Pakistan, and west to Mongolia and China.
  • Habitat: Hot, dry scrubland in rocky areas, in conjunction with open desert and sand.
  • Captive Lifespan: 12 to 20 Years
  • Dangerous: Yes
  • Care Level: Intermediate

Overview

Captive Housing

The frog-eye gecko, or wonder gecko,  as it is also sometimes called, likes a dry enclosure. An aquarium measuring 30 inches long by 12 inches wide by 12 inches tall can easily house a single adult or a sexed pair. Males should never be housed together. 

I like to get a bit elaborate with frog-eye setups. I get some PVC pipe measuring about 3 inches in diameter and 6 inches long. I place a hide, usually made of plastic, at the bottom of  an empty aquarium. Then I place the PVC pipe at a 45-degree angle from the opening of the hide to what will be the surface of the sand substrate. Then I add the sand, covering the hide and most of the pipe, except for the end that is sticking out of the sand. Once the sand is in place, I add water to it—just enough to make the sand at the bottom damp, but not soaking wet.  I then repeat this, but with another hide that is much closer to the surface, once again with a PVC pipe provided for a ready-made tunnel. Having two buried hides like this will give your gecko both a dry and a humid hide, and it can choose its preferred hiding spot. 

Create a hot side by placing a heat emitter, red or black lamp, at one end of the enclosure. You want the hot spot to be about 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface of the sand. No other lighting is needed. 

Place a water bowl at the other end of the enclosure, one that the gecko will be able to access easily. Provide a secure screen top—frog-eye geckos more than likely won’t try to climb out, but you never know.  

Diet

The frog-eye gecko is an insectivore. Provide them with crickets, mealworms (in an escape-proof bowl) and dubia roaches. This gecko will eat almost any insect small enough to catch and swallow. Dust feeders with a calcium and multivitamin supplement at each feeding. Insects should be provided about three nights a week, depending on your gecko’s appetite. 

What’s Available

 There are six different species of frog-eye geckos.  They vary just a bit in looks, and all reach 6 to 8 inches in length. No significant morphs are available, but depending on species and locality, expect to spend either a bit of money or a lot. The less expensive geckos make just as good a pet as the expensive ones do. Most frog eyes are imported from Asia, but captive breeding is on the increase. Buy captive-bred geckos if given the choice.  

Extra Info

Handle frog-eye geckos gently. When picking them up and holding them, allow the gecko to settle in your hand and allow it free movement. Never restrain them roughly.  


Ken Foose produced his first captive-bred snakes at age 11. With a Master’s Degree in zoology, he has been both a zookeeper and curator. He opened Exotic Pets, which specializes in reptiles and amphibians, in Las Vegas in 1991. He is currently president of the International Herpetological Symposium.

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