5 Amazing Day Gecko Species You Should Know About
Day geckos are immensely popular lizard pets thanks to their astounding diversity, different behaviors and looks, and availability. If you’re not familiar with day geckos, here’s what will most likely convince you to check them out.
There are over 70 species under the umbrella of ‘day geckos,’ providing you with astounding diversity.
We cannot summarize all of them here, so we will look at the most popular and beloved ones instead.
Madagascar Giant Day Gecko
The Madagascar giant is among the most popular, thanks to its vibrant coloring and imposing presence. This lizard is bright green with orange spots over its back, with juveniles being even more brightly-colored than the adults.
This species measures up to 11 inches, which is gigantic by gecko standards. Madagascar giant geckos rank as intermediate in terms of care.
Although they require specific temperature and humidity to be comfortable and healthy, they are less pretentious than other species. So, you can have a Madagascar giant gecko as a beginner, provided you take notes on its requirements.
Madagascar geckos are highly active during the day, and they like climbing more than most gecko species you may have encountered.
So, you need to decorate their habitat with a variety of climbing areas to keep them happy and active.
Plus, keep in mind that this species isn’t fond of cuddling too much. So, you will have difficulties holding your gecko.
To prevent squirming and biting and prevent the gecko from hurting itself when trying to escape, minimize your interactions with it as much as possible.
Banded Day Gecko
This is another giant, also coming from Madagascar. The Banded day gecko can grow up to 10 inches and has a conservation status as vulnerable. You can easily distinguish this gecko species by its grey, green, and yellow mix, covered with a banded pattern from head to tail.
Depending on the specimen, the body and head may also display a more intricate pattern.
While this species displays an omnivorous diet, it will prioritize insects above everything else. They may even consume smaller lizards given the opportunity, so don’t even think about pairing the Banded gecko with other, smaller day geckos.
All geckos display territorial behavior since they are not social animals. They like solitude and peace and will fiercely protect their territory and nesting area. The Banded day gecko takes this behavior to the next level.
Banded geckos are extremely territorial to the point where even females will fight each other almost as fiercely as the males.
So, this gecko is supposed to live alone in its habitat. Don’t try to pair it with other Banded geckos, no matter how large or well-crafted the environment is. Banded geckos have thick skin because they live in the Madagascar’s drier regions, so they need it to improve their survivability.
Even so, constant tensions and fighting between your geckos will stress the reptiles and cause extensive health issues as a result.
Serrated Day Gecko
This is a bitter-sweet entry. The bitter part is that Serrated geckos rank as endangered, primarily due to excessive illegal pet trading. The sweet part is that you can get Serrated gecko from private breeders and even specialized marketplaces.
So, all your Serrated geckos will be born and grown in captivity.
The Serrated gecko also comes from Madagascar and displays a rather unique look. Both males and females showcase a bright green with a few orange or red spots near the tail and around the head.
But it’s the lizard’s tail that’s the real VIP here. In males, the tail is often as wide as the body, giving the gecko a funny and interesting look.
This is among the few gecko species that display a healthy social behavior. Serrated geckos live in groups of 1 male and several females, usually around 3-5. This would be known as a harem and the group only needs to have 1 male.
Males are extremely possessive, violent, and territorial and cannot become part of the same group.
Given that Serrated geckos only grow up to 5 inches, you can easily house several of them in a 30-40-gallon tank. Just make sure you always monitor your geckos’ interactions to make sure there are no unnecessary tensions between them.
Reunion Day Gecko
This is one of the most gorgeous geckos in the category if you are to ask me. As the name suggests, the Reunion gecko resides in the Reunion Island and currently ranks as endangered.
Reunion males will grow up to 6.5 inches, while the females won’t go over 5 inches by much.
This is a beloved species due to its intense coloring and pattern displayed. Reunion geckos have a brown head and a brown and blue pattern traversing their entire back, all the way to the tip of the tail.
The belly and legs are a mix of brown and light green. It’s undoubtedly a beautiful gecko that will look great in a lush and well-balanced terrarium setup.
This species is notoriously difficult to keep and even more difficult to breed. I don’t recommend the species if you’re a beginner in the gecko growing business.
As an interesting point, Reunion geckos live in open groups. These are not social groups in the true sense of the word, but more like distant collaborations. In other words, Reunion geckos will tolerate each other’s presence so long as they don’t get too close.
So, keeping them in the same habitat might require some serious brainstorming and logistical work.
Ornate Day Gecko
We’re closing this list with a small and gorgeous gecko that’s making waves in the industry. The Ornate gecko is as beautiful as it sounds.
This reptile showcases a green and brown body with a banded tail and red spots covering its back. The head displays a green and red pattern that varies between the different specimens.
Ornate geckos have long, frog-like toes designed for climbing even on smooth surfaces. So, always secure your tank to make sure you won’t lose them.
Ornate geckos typically reside on the Island of Mauritius but have also made their way towards other areas. They are highly adaptable, so it comes as no surprise that Ornate geckos are often seen around human settlements.
Ornate geckos are difficult to keep due to their high demands regarding temperature and humidity, as well as a complex and well-balanced diet.
Be careful how you’re handling the Ornate gecko. These lizards have notoriously thin and fragile skin that’s known to break in some cases.
This is an evolutionary feature, increasing the lizard’s chances of escaping any potential predators that will work against it in captivity.
These are just a bunch of the most popular gecko species, but there are many others to consider. Interestingly enough, while geckos differ in many areas, they also display many similarities.
Here are some basic parameters to consider when looking to keep your geckos healthy and happy in the long run:
- Temperature and humidity – All geckos demand temperature and humidity gradients, necessary to promote their comfort and physiological prowess. The gradient refers to both the available space and the time of day. So, temperature and humidity need to vary throughout the tank and based on a healthy day/night cycle. This way, the gecko can migrate from one area of the terrarium to another to regulate its temperature accordingly.
- Adequate lighting – All geckos require UVB lighting to remain healthy in the long run, and this is not about heating. UVB lighting promotes calcium and D3 synthesis, preventing health issues like MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease).
- An optimized diet – Most day geckos are omnivorous, so they will consume both fruits and insects. Some species require more insects than others. So, it’s necessary to provide your geckos with personalized diets based on their age, species’ profile, and preferences. Keep in mind that some geckos reject commercial gecko foods, at which point you will have to improvise. Fortunately, feeding a gecko is rather simple. Overripe fruits are great, and you can grow live insects in specially-designed vivariums to offer geckos a steady supply of fresh meals.
- Regular cleaning and maintenance – Geckos aren’t known to make a lot of mess, but they do require frequent maintenance to prevent bacterial, fungal, and mold formation. After all, these organisms thrive in humid and warm environments with a lot of organic matter around. Coincidentally, these elements describe the gecko’s environment perfectly.
- A stress-free lifestyle – This is a small but powerful point. Happy and comfortable geckos will remain healthier and enjoy longer lives. Avoid handling or disturbing your gecko too often if it shows signs of discomfort. And respect your gecko’s social profile. If it’s more of a solitary animal, don’t add any tankmates that could cause stress and increase tensions. Most day geckos will do just fine by themselves.
Day geckos are incredibly diverse, which comes with both pros and cons. The main con here, I think, is the fact that you need to assess each species before committing.
Not all Day Geckos have the exact same requirements.
Choose your favorite species, learn about its needs and preferences, and craft the ideal home setup for your little friend.
Many day geckos will live up to 15-20 years or more with adequate care and love.