Think exotic pets, what better than a Tokay Gecko to talk about!
With a riot of colors on its skin coming as a visual treat for your eyes, a Tokay Gecko can entertain you throughout the night with its distinct chirping or barking. Living originally in the rainforest regions of the Asian continent, these pretty looking lizards sometimes raid the homes in the surrounding rural areas.
- Scientific name – Gekko gecko
- Habitat – Asia (India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, and other southeast Asian regions), Pacific Islands
- Lifespan– around 10 years
Tokay Geckos look grey or appear full of vivid colors. The former is the female gecko, while the latter is a male. A full-grown adult can grow up to a foot long or slightly more. Keep this in mind when you plan the tank size for your pet.
These geckos are moderately easy to care for; however, they are not the best choices for beginners. If you happen to bring one home as a baby, then there are chances of taming it.
It would help if you had oodles of patience to do this. Equip yourself with a pair of heavy-duty gloves, and do not ever make the blunder of putting your hand close to the gecko’s mouth. They are nippy, and they might not let go of your hand for a long time.
You might find a lot of excellent options to house a Tokay Gecko. An excellent old glass tank, preferably one with proper height for climbing for these arboreal animals, make the optimum setup. A 20-gallon tank can be a reliable long term setup that you can use from the time you bring your gecko home all through its adulthood.
A tank of size 1 to 2 feet in length and width with a height preferably above one and a half feet is ideal for Tokay geckos.
There are 3 main components to create the living condition –
- Substrate – cypress mulch, coconut fiber or any other substance that is good at retaining moisture
- Barks – cork bark, orchid bark, or low maintenance logs. These serve the purpose of providing a surface for the gecko to perch on to and climb as well as for it to hide. This helps mimic tree branches in the rain forest.
- Plants – live plants like bird’s nest fern, dracaena, calathea zebrina are some of the popular choices. These make an excellent live terrarium, which can be a treat for the eyes. The key is to pick something that is not hazardous for the gecko and something with strong stems that do not give away when the reptile climbs. Artificial vines and plants are also useful to add.
Besides the basic setup, the temperature in the gecko’s tank should be around 90 to 105 degrees in a dedicated basking spot and approximately 85 degrees otherwise. Heating a single side of the tank allows the gecko to move as close or farther from heat as his body prefers.
When they are out living in the forest, they feed on insects and even tiny lizards. Geckos feed on insects, and this is something that makes them beautiful additions to a garden. They can keep those crickets, mosquitoes, cicadas, dragonflies, ants, wasps, beetles, and a variety of other critters that can harm your crops. To keep your gecko healthy, you would have to feed him or her live feed on a regular basis; there are no substitutes.
Do not get home a gecko if you are squeamish about handling bugs. The next time your kid brings home some rare finds, bugs from his outdoor expeditions, your gecko would be more than happy to relish on them. When you do feed them these bugs, make sure that these are gut-loaded.
The insect should have a full stomach when your gecko eats it. The food that the insect feeds on before entering the gecko’s stomach influences the health of your gecko. Geckos only feed on live insects. Therefore before you place the batch of live feed inside, the tank isolates any dead insects.
Other than insects, your geckos also love to munch on fruits now and then. Remember to prep the fruits before offering them to your pet. Its bite might be strong enough to scare you with that death grip that stays intact for hours; however, its jaws are weak. Remember to stick with the tropical fruits, ones that are native to the natural habitat of geckos. Grapes, berries, figs, pears are some excellent options to feed in moderation.
Frequency of feed
As babies, geckos need daily feeds. They can eat around 6 mealworms a day. Wait till they grow at least 4inches or longer to reduce the frequency. Some geckos tend to get obese if you do not follow healthy feeding patterns.
Most geckos need a healthy supply of gut-loaded crickets or other insects, a serving of 6 or 7 of them, twice or thrice a week. Make sure that you also include calcium and vitamin D3 supplements for your gecko’s healthy growth.
Besides food, your gecko would need a clean source of fresh drinking water or spring water. Some of them can drink from bowls if you train them to do so right from the time they are babies. In general, drinking water from their moist surroundings is what they prefer. Investing in a good spray bottle and misting the plants in your gecko’s tank regularly can help keep geckos hydrated.
If you do plan to bring home a Tokay Gecko anytime soon, make sure that you look for local ones bred in captivity. You do not want to encourage illegally imported ones. Locally bred ones tend to be a tad bit more expensive, but these are healthier. Do not be lured by the dirt-cheap pricing that some importers offer.
Some of them even sell these vibrant geckos for $10 or less. Those bred in captivity can cost you around $20 or more. The extra price you pay comes with the assurance of taking home a well taken care of the animal. Imported ones are often shipped with heavy infections. Therefore you might end up spending vast amounts on vet bills after momentarily thinking that you saved money while bringing the pet home.