24 Crucial things to know about Golden Gecko
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on July 20, 2021
Although not as popular as other pet reptiles, Golden Geckos are truly intriguing lizards from the tropical rainforests of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Despite the color-describing name, only males are really golden-yellow while females tend to be a lot darker and a lot greener.
Since most pet Golden Geckos are wild-caught, they can be a handful compared to captive-bred lizards. However, with a little bit of experience and commitment, Golden Geckos can make excellent pets. Plus, their care and housing needs are relatively straightforward.
With that being said, are you ready for your new Golden Gecko? Here are the 22 crucial things to know about this nocturnal lizard with an accented distaste for handling.
9 things to consider before buying a Golden Gecko
Are Golden Geckos easy to handle? The Golden Gecko is not a good handling candidate. In fact, this little lizard has an aversion to being handled. Unused to captive conditions, the Golden Gecko is true to its wild origin and prefers being left alone. The Golden Gecko has a notorious biting reputation and, if highly stressed, will not hesitate to shed its tail. In addition to being skittish, the Golden Gecko is relatively small and has sensitive skin, thus making the handling even more challenging. The good news is with time and patience your Golden Gecko ** can become docile** and less reluctant to handle adventures.
Is taking care of a Golden Gecko complicated? In terms of maintenance, Golden Geckos are not much different than any other pet lizard. They are fascinating to watch and can learn to become a bit friendlier. However, like any other lizard, they need proper housing conditions and daily care. To ensure a thriving environment, they also need ** pristine living arrangements**. Here is a cool video explaining some unique Golden Gecko care tips and facts.
Which level of hardiness do Golden Geckos belong to? The Golden Gecko is relatively easy to look after, but it is ** not recommended for inexperienced owners** for two reasons. First, reaching a bite-free and stress-free handling experience requires patience, and that is not something novice lizard owners have. Second, the Golden Gecko is a ** nocturnal lizard**, and first-time owners usually lack the discipline and routine necessary for keeping a nocturnal pet.
Is the cost of keeping a Golden Gecko reasonable? Interestingly, despite being relatively rare lizards, Golden Geckos are not expensive. As a matter of fact, with prices as low as $15, they are remarkably affordable pets. This is the initial cost; once you have the Gecko, you will need a cage that, based on its type, can cost between $50 and $250, and cage supplies that usually cost between $75 and $200. Anyway, you can start with the primary option, which will cost a bit over $100, and then upgrade.
Can I easily find a Golden Gecko? Unlike most captive-bred lizard species, Golden Geckos are usually wild-caught. However, that does not mean they are hard to get. If your local reptile store does not offer this tropical lizard, you will easily find reputable online stores to set you up with the perfect Golden Gecko.
Are Golden Geckos a long-term commitment? Usually, the average Golden Gecko lifespan is between 8 and 10 years. However, considering the wild-caught nature of this lizard, predicting the actual life expectancy is almost impossible. The most responsible thing you can do is provide top-notch care and living conditions and hope for a long and disease-free lifespan.
Can I keep more than one Golden Gecko per cage? As long as they are not same-sexed, Golden Geckos do not mind roommates. Male Geckos should never be kept together as they get very territorial, and by territorial, we mean aggressive. In theory, females can live together, but they prefer being alone if they are about to lay eggs. All in all, a male and a female Golden Gecko can be housed in one enclosure. However, if not raised together, make sure the introduction is slow and monitored.
Is the Golden Gecko a good pet for me? The Golden Gecko is the right pet lizard choice for you if you are patient and open to the idea of parenting a nocturnal pet. This lizard can prosper and transform into a rewarding pet as long as you do not push the handling part too strong and too fast.
How to prepare yourself for owning a Golden Gecko – the 8 things you need to do before purchasing your new pet
- Set up a great enclosure. Do not be fooled by their size; Golden Geckos are lively and active, which means they need a relatively spacious habitat. Usually, a 20-gallon terrarium is enough, but the bigger, the better. However, there is one more trick – the Golden Gecko is an arboreal species that spends most of its time high off the ground. In simpler terms, it is not just the terrarium’s surface you should consider – you also need to make sure it is ** taller than 24 inches**. Finally, make sure the terrarium has a reliable roof. The Golden Gecko’s sticky toe pads can easily climb the walls, and then you will have a loose lizard. In this short video you can see how to set up a Golden Gecko enclosure.
Find the suitable substrate for the enclosure. Ideally, the substrate should be able to retain moisture, something like shredded coconut fiber bedding or reptile bark. If you opt for a more budget-friendly option, you can use paper towels or reptile carpets. Some owners use potting soil, but this is a mistake. Potting soil contains perlite – an inorganic compound that, if ingested, can cause life-threatening impaction.
Vertical decoration is a must-have in the tank. As mentioned, the Golden Gecko is an arboreal lizard species meaning it enjoys climbing. You can use driftwood, branches, live or faux plants to create a climbable network of paths. Just make sure they are safe and well-fixed – you do not want your Golden Gecko injuring itself.
Golden Geckos spend time on the ground too. Just because you are housing an arboreal lizard does not mean you should neglect the ground level of the enclosure. Make sure you arrange an excellent hiding spot for your Golden Gecko – an overturned log, a special cave, or a cardboard box. It would also be nice if you added some artificial plants to mimic the Gecko’s natural habitat.
Ensure proper temperature within the tank. Like all reptiles, Golden Geckos need a temperature gradient in the enclosure – a warmer side with over 90°F and a cooler side with temperatures as low as 75°F. At night, the temperature can drop around 70°F. You can use heat pads, ceramic heating elements, or reptile bulbs in reflectors as heat sources. Whichever source you choose, make sure the heat source is not positioned at the tank’s top – your climbing Gecko might accidentally burn itself.
Lighting matters too. Just because the Golden Gecko is nocturnal, it does not mean UV lights are redundant. While it may not need a particular light spectrum, your Golden Gecko will benefit from some UV lighting. To differentiate between day and night, you can use incandescent or blue reptile bulbs or just leave the regular room lights on during daytime – your Golden will sleep at this time anyway. Then for night time viewing of your pet’s activity, you can use red reptile night bulbs.
Aim for a high humidity level within the enclosure. As rainforest lizards, Golden Geckos like humid environments – between 60 and 80%. Since humidity is critical, do not rely on guessing. Instead, purchase a reliable, high-quality hygrometer and monitor the humidity levels daily.
Practice regular misting but set up a water dish too. Misting is vital for maintaining proper humidity levels. It will also support the formation of water droplets – your Golden Gecko’s favorite drinking method. Sometimes Golden Geckos like to drink from a standing water source or, in captivity terms – a water dish. Just make sure the water is filtered and clean. Keep in mind that your Gecko may decide to use its water dish as a toilet. In such a case, immediate cleaning is warranted.
How to keep a Golden Gecko – 6 things to success
Proper nutrition is the foundation of good health. Live insects are the Golden Gecko’s favorite meal. Usually, crickets, super worms, and mealworms are the main diet staple, while roaches and fatty wax worms make excellent snacks. Occasional fruit chunks (mangos, papayas, and bananas) are approved snack options too. Ideally, the insects should be gut-loaded before feeding and sprinkled with a calcium supplement three to four times per week. Younger Golden Geckos need daily feeding, while adults can be fed five or six times a week. Because of the Golden Gecko’s voracious appetite, ensure the feeding time does not last more than 15 minutes. In this video you can see how the Golden Gecko hunts insects.
Proper enclosure hygiene keeps diseases at bay. Staying on top of your cleaning duties is a must. Golden Geckos like pristine living conditions meaning you will need to be vigilant about daily spot cleanings. More ** thorough deep cleanings** should be practiced on a monthly basis.
Your Golden Gecko appreciates its privacy. It would be best if you found the perfect spot for the terrarium. Your Golden Gecko prefers to be in a secluded and low-traffic area of the house. Plus, because of its nocturnal lifestyle, the daily fuss of your everyday activities can disrupt your sleep unless the terrarium is in a calm and quiet place.
Kids do not make good Golden Gecko handlers. As already mentioned, Golden Geckos are not fans of being handled and can get stressed and defensive. Small children should never be allowed to touch or handle sensitive Golden Geckos.
Do your homework on common Golden Gecko health issues. The most common health problem is Metabolic Bone Disease ( MBD) which develops due to insufficient calcium and vitamin D intake and presents with brittle bones and deformed legs. Undernourished Geckos and Geckos living in dry environments can develop a condition called dysecdysis manifesting with an inability to shed and impaired vision. Golden Geckos are prone to respiratory problems, especially pneumonia. Finally, unhygienic living conditions lead to skin irritations and rashes.
Find an excellent reptilian veterinarian in your area. The above-mentioned health issues require veterinary attention. It is advisable to look for a reptilian veterinarian near you before you need his/her services.
Hopefully, these tips will set you on the road to becoming a proud and responsible Golden Gecko owner. Please let us know if there are other things you would like to know about this intriguing, nocturnal lizard.