These are smaller sized geckos from the genus Phelsuma, and hail from the islands surrounding Madagascar. They are primarily green in color, with red spots between their eyes and nose and in the middle of their back. They get their common name from the beautiful gold speckling they develop on their necks, legs, and hindquarters down the length of their tails. A few exceptional animals may even have blue toes! They are commonly available in the pet trade, although most specimens are not captive bred in the US. Although captive bred babies seem to be few and far between, this species readily breeds and lays eggs in captivity, so perhaps in the future captive bred animals will be more readily available.
Size and Longevity
Gold Dust Day Geckos reach lengths of 4.5” to 6”, depending on subspecies. With good diet and proper lighting, these geckos can easily live 10 years or more in captivity.
Substrate for these geckos depends on how you are setting up their cage. A planted, naturalistic vivarium is not only looks the best, but will also meet your geckos needs admirably as well.
Heating and Lighting
In order to achieve and/or maintain the beautiful coloration these geckos naturally develop in the wild, the use of high quality lights is an absolute must. Without proper heat AND light, Gold Dust Day Geckos will eventually turn drab and dark, even if you purchased the most brilliantly colored specimen in the store. With this in mind, there are a few different ways to light and heat the cage, depending on your budget and preference.
Water and Humidity
As a tropical species, Gold Dust Day Geckos should be provided with a lush, tropical environment in captivity. This means they typically need to be misted with water at least twice a day to increase the humidity within their cage, as well as provide water droplets on leaves for them to drink. While they may not often take advantage of it, a water bowl with clean, fresh water should be provided for them at all times.
In captivity, these little geckos readily feed on most commonly available feeder insects. This includes (but isn’t limited to) small crickets, small roaches, small mealworms, waxworms, small silkworms, and hornworms. Every opportunity to provide variety to their diet should be taken, as this list of feeder insects is extremely short compared to the variety of insects they would consume in the wild. Because of this, supplementation with a high quality reptile multivitamin in combination with a high quality reptile calcium (containing D3) is highly recommended. Generally speaking, calcium should be offered about every feeding for egg-laying females, and every other feeding for non reproductive animals. Multivitamins can be offered weekly, or as often as is recommended on the label.
Handling and Interaction
While very cute and pretty, these geckos are extremely sensitive and tend to stress easily, so handling is not recommended. In addition, their skin will also tear if handled too roughly, and their tails can drop. While their tails do regenerate, they will not look the same as the original, so care should be taken when handling is necessary to ensure they stay in one piece! Some geckos eventually become habituated to their keeper’s presence, and will take food from their keeper’s hands. With patience, most become at least habituated enough to remain out and about while their keepers are in the room, making them enjoyable to watch and entertaining display animals.
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