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Day Gecko - genus Phelsuma

All day geckos are in the genus Phelsuma, one of the many genera in the family Gekkonidae. There are over 68 known species and subspecies of day geckos. Most day geckos are from Madagascar and the surrounding islands of the Indian Ocean. The "GEICO Gecko" is a day gecko

Day geckos have a flattened body with a relatively large head. Most are green in color (ranging from olive green to turquoise). Most day geckos have patterns of red spots on their backs. They have large colored eyes, but they don't have eyelids. Instead, thay have a clear, fixed, transparent plate protecting their eyes. All have flattened toe pads that consist of rows of flap-like plates covered with microscopic hooklike projections  that can catch onto any surface, hense the ability for them to climbs glass tank walls and walk across ceilings.


Average Size
- Depending on the species, day geckos usually grow to be between 4 to 10 inches long.

Life Span - Day geckos can live from 3 to 15 years

Diet - Day gecko diets are insects which include crickets, waxworms, waxmoths, wingless fruitflies, and flies. Most day geckos also eat fruits including papaya, mango, and baby food fruit. Remember to "gut load" crickets a day before offering to your pet. This can be done by feeding with any of the commercial insect foods available at pet shops. You should also dust crickets or other insects about twice each week with a calcium and vitamin supplement. 

Feeding - Feed adults every other day; juveniles daily

Housing - Most day geckos require a vertically oriented enclosure with tall plants and tree limbs to climb on. Smaller species should be housed in a minimum of a 10 gallon enclosure for a pair of day geckos. The larger species should be housed in 20 gallon or larger enclosures for pairs of day geckos. Individual animals and juveniles can be kept in smaller enclosures. It is also important to provide proper ventilation in the enclosure while keeping proper humidity.

Substrate - If you are going to plant your enclosure with live plants the enclosure should be set up  as a terrarium. Plants such as Snake plants, Orchids, bromeliads, and other tropical plants are good choices. Both vertical and semi-horizontal tree limbs should be provided for climbing and basking. If you are going to use artifical plants, paper towels, artifical turf or coconut fiber would be good substrate choices.

It is also important to provide plenty of hiding places for day geckos which will help to reduce stress.

Temperature - Most species of day geckos require daytime temperatures of 81 to 89 degrees and night temperature around 70 to 80 degrees. Most species of day geckos require a relative humidity of 50 to 85 percent that can be maintained by misting the enclosure several times a day. Plants and proper substrate are important in maintaining required humidity levels.

Lighting -Adequate lighting is required for the day geckos and plants in the enclosure. Full-spectrum fluorescent lights should be placed at the top of the enclosure. A full spectrum light that produces UVA and UVB should be used.  An incandescent light or ceramic heater should be provided on one side of the enclosure over specific basking areas so that the gecko can pick its preferred temperature. Lighting should be from 12 to 14 hours per day. 

Water - Provide a constant supply of clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water in a shallow bowl that cannot be tipped over. Mist the enclosure about twice each day.

Recommended Supplies:

  • Habitat with secure lid 
  • Substrate 
  • Fluorescent light 
  • Book about geckos  Non-toxic plants, branches, log, and cork bark 
  • Shallow water and food dishes 
  • Thermometer, humidity gauge 
  • Vitamin/mineral supplement
  • hide box
Normal Behavior and Interaction DAy geckos are diurnal (active during the day), Because of their ability to climb up glass walls and across ceilings they are great escape artists.
Habitat Maintenance 
Change water and remove feces daily; mist several times a day to maintain humidity. Thoroughly clean the tank at least once a week. Set gecko aside in a secure tank/container. Scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all smell of bleach; add clean substrate

Grooming and Hygiene Always wash your hands before and after touching your gecko or habitat contents to help prevent Salmonella and other infectious diseases
Signs of a Healthy Pet: 

  • Consistent behavior 
  • Healthy skin
  • Clear eyes 
  • Eats regularly 
  • Clear nose and vent
  • Body and tail are rounded and full
Common Health Issues and Red Flags:

  • Mucus in mouth or nose 
  • Lethargic 
  • Swelling 
  • Labored breathing 
  • Paralysis of limbs or tail 
  • Abnormal feces 
  • Bumps, sores or abrasions on skin 
  • Weight loss or decreased appetite

If you notice any of these signs, please contact your exotic animal veterinarian.

As with all pets in this category, it is important that you find a veterinarian that practices in EXOTICS – this is critical. The typical small animal practitioner may not have sufficient knowledge in this area. Even this guide is general in nature and should not be used to diagnose your pet.   

Page Last Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 21:25 EST
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