Keeping frog eyed gecko? 6 Things to know!
The frog-eyed gecko aka the wonder gecko comes from the desert and arid lands in Central Asia. The hallmarks of the species are the disproportionally large and lidless eyes, fish-like body scales, unusually short tail, and highly territorial docile temperament. The frog-eyed gecko is briefly described as a terrestrial, nocturnal, and burrowing reptile.
In this article, we will briefly discuss the things you need to consider before getting a frog-eyed gecko as well as the things you need to know so you can take proper care for your new lizard friend.
What to consider before getting?
If you are thinking about getting a frog-eyed gecko you need to do your homework and educate yourself on the subject. Here is what you should consider:
When it comes to handling, there are no specific details you should know because you probably won’t be doing it much – frog-eyed geckos hate being handled.
If you put your hand inside the cage, the gecko will start running, hissing, and squeaking. The term squeaking is relatively light for what these geckos actually do – they are particularly vocal and tenacious. Additionally, the stress may cause instant scraping of the tail scales.
If these activities do not scare you of and you still grab it, your gecko will detach its tail. Plus, considering its skin is extra thin it may even start dislodging in pieces.
To avoid such dark scenarios, the handling should be reduced to minimum and performed only when inevitable, for example, when cleaning the enclosure.
The frog-eyed gecko does not require any particular needs despite the ones every pet lizard entails. Just like any other pet, they benefit from regular vet checkups – the exact frequency will depend on the age and overall health status.
What the frog-eyed gecko lacks in care specifics, it compensates in commitment. Namely, if planning to get this gecko you need to be ready for a long-term relationship – its lifespan in captivity varies between 12 and 20 years.
The frog-eyed gecko is relatively simple – it needs constant warmth and low humidity. The feeding part is easy and performed every day and the cleaning needs to be performed on a monthly basis.
Plus, the frog-eyed gecko is a nocturnal reptile, meaning you will not be seeing much of it during the day. You may need to practice more frequent misting during shedding season.
Luckily, for-eyed geckos are not hard to find. Every exotic pet shop sells them and they can be found on many exotic online shops.
Lizards in general are not particularly expensive. For example, the frog-eyed gecko is likely to cost around 60$. As for the additional enclosure costs, a simple reptile tank will probably set you back between $75 and $150 while a more complex, high-quality vivarium can cost over $300.
Other things to consider
The frog-eyed gecko is a docile and curious lizard. When well-settled into its enclosure and get used to its surroundings it will frequently run out of its cave or burrows and observe you.
However, pure observing is where the interaction ends. Any handling attempt will put an end to your friendship.
Interestingly, in addition to the scale scraping and tail detachment, when angry the frog-eyed lizard can make a hissing or rattling sound produced by moving the tail from one side to the other really fast.
How to care for?
Now that we have covered the things you need to consider before getting a frog-eyed gecko (or two) it is time we discuss the basics of taking care of this amazing lizard.
There are two main types of enclosures for frog-eyed geckos – wooden and glass. Generally speaking, the wooden enclosure ensures better heat insulation while the glass better visualizes your gecko.
If keeping one gecko, the minimal size of the enclosure is 2ft and if keeping a duo or trio at least 3ft. it goes without saying that the bigger the enclosure the better.
It is worth mentioning that frog-eyed geckos need more floor area than enclosure height as they are not particularly skilled climbers. Anyway, they are genuinely fond of digging and burrowing.
Heating and humidity
Heating and humidity are vital environmental factors for all lizards. For heating purposes you can use a basking bulb or ceramic heater. Both heat sources must be connected to a correct thermostat – you do not want to freeze or boil your frog-eyed gecko.
The ideal ambient temperature for a frog-eyed gecko is somewhere between 29⁰ C and 34⁰ C (84⁰ F and 93⁰ F) while the temperature in the basking area should be around 35⁰ C and 38⁰ C (95⁰ F and 100⁰ F). At night, you can let the temperature fall to 20⁰ C and 25⁰ C (68⁰ F and 77⁰ F).
As for humidity, the frog-eyed gecko does not because it comes from a particularly arid region. In its natural habitat, the lizard rarely encounters water yet alone as a standing source.
Therefore, there is no need to leave a water bowl. Not only will the gecko not be using it but it will throw substrate inside and make a mess. However, the decorative plants and the area around the burrows can be misted (no more than once or twice per week).
As mentioned, frog-eyed geckos are nocturnal animals, meaning they do not need UVB lighting as they will probably spend most of their time hiding or burrow underground.
However, you can still use a low percentage light just to stimulate the difference between day and night. You can either use a UVB stripe or small UVB compact light with either 2% or 5%. During summer months, the frog-eyed gecko needs between 10 and 12 hours of daylight and during winter months 8 hours.
In terms of decorating the enclosure, you will need to provide caves, plants, and rocks. These décor items will make the environment more aesthetically pleasing while supporting two instinctual habits – burrowing and exploring. Plus, rocks and other rough surfaces will help with the shedding.
Anyway, you need to make sure the décor items are well-fixed and in places of the enclosure where there is no substrate for burrowing – otherwise you risk the substrate collapsing and the décor hurting your gecko.
Frog-eyed geckos are strictly insectivorous, voracious, and quite aggressive feeders. In the wild they would feed mainly on beetles. However, even in captivity settings they are simple to feed because of their non-fussy eating habits.
Namely, all you have to do is provide live insects like locusts, crickets, mealworms, roaches, moths, and wax worms. To ensure a more natural-like diet, you can let some of the mealworms turn into beetles.
The feeding schedule is one meal every other day. The portion size is as many prey insects the gecko can eat in 5 minutes. And, the feeding timing is before dusk when they are warm and waking up.
Calcium supplementation is vital for frog-eyed geckos. In fact every feed needs to be sprinkled with calcium and vitamin D3 (this is particularly important for females because they produce hard-shelled eggs). Occasionally, instead of the regular calcium you can use a high-quality mineral and vitamin supplement.
Interestingly, frog-eyed geckos need a cooling period before they can mate. In fact, the enclosure temperature will have to be gradually decreased to 10-16⁰ C (50-61⁰ F) for between two and three months and then gradually increased to normal.
Another critical consideration is the egg fragility. Unlike most lizard species, frog-eyed geckos lay eggs with hard shells, meaning the eggs are much more prone to damage and need to be removed before the geckos accidentally crush them.
You can encourage the female to lay her eggs in the cool end of the enclosure by practicing regular misting and providing a deep enough burrowing substrate.
Frog-eyed geckos are clean and require a neat living environment. To ensure this, it is recommended to practice frequent spot cleaning (ideally every day) and monthly full cleaning.
When performing a full cleaning you should take the gecko out and clean the enclosure itself as well as all decorations and replace the bedding. For the enclosure and décor items you can use a reptile-friendly disinfectant. The right use instructions will be provided on the package.
Another important consideration is making the appropriate roommate choice. Namely, a frog-eyed gecko must not be housed together with a gecko from another species.
These geckos are particularly territorial and aggressive and can even kill other lizard species if they start fighting. For the same purpose, if keeping several frog-eyed geckos you need to make sure there is only one male per enclosure.
Finally, you need to pay attention to the type of bedding substrate you choose. Sand is not very suitable as it will not support the burrowing tendencies (it easily collapses). Clay-based options are a better alternative because they are easily moldable. Just make sure to use the right water to clay powder ratio (if the clay is too dry it poses a health risk).
Who are frog eyed geckos right for?
Frog eyed geckos are perfect for everyone looking to expand its family with a new lizard member. They are suitable for novice keepers willing to do some research and provide the ideal living conditions.
Frog eyed geckos are also the right choice for owners who will admire their beauty, but from afar as handling can be devastating for this highly sensitive and individual lizard. For the same purpose, the frog-eyed gecko is not recommended for families with small children.
It is safe to assume that the frog-eyed lizard is the perfect pet lizard. The frog-eyed gecko is relatively straightforward to care for, thus suitable for first-time lizard parents (willing to learn) while rare and fun enough to spark curiosity in experienced owners.
However, before making the final decision and getting a new frog-eyed gecko you need to thoroughly consider whether you and your future pet make a perfect match.