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Geckos Pets

Geckos Featured Image

Geckos are a type of lizard that falls in the Order Gekkotan and the Family Gekkonidae.  Vocalization differentiates geckos from lizards, and the voice will vary between species.  Geckos are found in warm areas all over the world.

Unlike lizards, geckos are small, with their size ranging from 1.6 to 60 cm (0.64 to 24 inches).  Species within the Gekkonidae family are very social and interact with clicking or chirping sounds.  Geckos are nocturnal species, who sleep during the day and are active at night.

Why people like to have Geckos as pets:

  • They are easy to care for and don’t require a perfect home.
  • They are calm by nature like to walk on children’s hands and behave playfully.
  • They smile from ear to ear, making them seem affectionate.
  • Geckos live a long time, with a life span of 6-14 years.
  • Under the right conditions, geckos breed themselves.  Unlike lizards, geckos lay eggs every time.
  • The unique design of their skin provides an antimicrobial feature.  Geckos scatter their shadow, making them invisible when sticking to a tree.
  • Geckos replace their full set of 100 teeth every 3-4 months.
  • Some species of geckos can reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis.
  • Like lizards, geckos cut their tail as a defense mechanism, so make sure not to grab your gecko by the tail.
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Are Geckos a lizard?

Yes, geckos are lizards!  What differentiates geckos from other lizards is that they lay eggs in pairs instead of large clutches and can vocalize with chirps and barking noises.  Most geckos also lack eyelids and have sticky toes that allow them to climb walls. 

There are roughly 6,000 species of lizard, and geckos make up 1,500 of those.  The life span of a gecko is 6-14 years, whereas lizards only live for 1-2 years.

Types of Geckos:

Species Friendliness Lifespan (Years) Size Cost Colors Terrariun Country
Crested gecko low-maintenance pet. 5 - 10 5-8 inches $50-$100 very pale cream- very dark (oilve - red) 30 - 50 gallons tank. Island of New Caledonia
Tokay gecko They can't be a pet because of their painful bites. 10 8-12 inches $20-$50 Blue gray with bright orange and blue spots 10 gallon aquarium Asia and pacific island
Common house gecko It can be a pet but as they can cut the tail sooner, they will not suit for children. 15 3-6 inches $5-$20 Pinkish - Grayish with dark spots. 20 gallon South and southeast Asia
common leopard gecko Popular beginner friendly pets 15 7.9-11 inches $30-$50 Yellows. 20 gallon Semi desert areas like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan
Gargoyle gecko Best pets for beginners. 20 7-9 inches $200-$500 Greys, browns, white, yellow, orange, and red 20+ gallons Island of New Caledonian
African fat-tailed gecko Can be a great pet. 10 - 25 7-9 inches $189.95 – $569.95 Pale pink or half white 20 gallons West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon
Moorish gecko Can't be a pet 15 5.5- 6 inches _ Uniform cream or pale yellow 10 gallon Mediterranean region from the Iberian Peninsula and southern France to Greece and northern Africa
Golden gecko _ 8 7-8 inches $10-$50 Yellow golden 20 gallon Sri Lanka
Phelsuma Grandis Not a perfect pet for everyone 10 - 15 12 inches $75 Bright green or, rarely, bluish green. 15 gallon Monroe County, Florida, USA.
Gold dust day gecko Can be a great pet. 10 6-9 inches $50-$250 Bright green or yellowish green or rarely blue 10 gallon Northern Madagascar.
Gehyra mutilata Can't be a pet. 5 42-50 mm $30-$100 purplish/pinkish gray with golden spots 10 gallon Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, Southeast China, The Philippines, Indonesia

Is it hard to take care of Geckos?

Geckos are one of the most commonly kept pet reptiles because they are beginner-friendly.  Leopard geckos are particularly easy to take care of and adoringly called Leos.  They can adjust to small environments, so you don’t have to set up the perfect cage.

Because geckos are a nocturnal species, they will be active during the night and sleep during the day.  They are calm animals by nature and like to play with children.

Height and weight of Geckos

Geckos are not hard pets to care for if you live in a warm region.  People in warmer climates often find geckos as uninvited guests on their walls.  Geckos are cold-blooded, so their body temperature is dependent on the environment around them.

The smallest gecko is 1.6 cm long and is known as the Jaragua sphere.  This gecko was discovered on the island coast of Hispaniola in 2001.  The largest species, kawekaweau, was found in the basement of a museum in France and measured 24 inches (60 cm) in length

These geckos are native to the forests of New Zealand and weigh about 100 grams. Like other reptiles, geckos are ectothermic and not capable of producing a lot of metabolic heat.

Are Geckos harmful?

Geckos are not harmful, but they can transmit the Salmonella bacteria to humans, which can have adverse effects for children and those who are immunocompromised. 

While geckos don’t harm humans, two male geckos living in the same terrarium will get stressed and attack each other.  If you have two male geckos, you will have to house them separately.

If a gecko feels scared, it may bite.  If this happens, clean the wound with antiseptic immediately and apply an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin to avoid transmission of Salmonella.  It can take reptiles like geckos some time to adjust to a new environment.

A Gecko’s diet

Geckos don’t eat packaged or prepared food like dogs and cats.  Most geckos are insectivorous (they eat insects), but some eat fruits.  If your gecko eats fruit, you can provide pureed fruit mixes or prepared fruit mixes.

Some geckos, like African fat-tailed geckos, house geckos, etc., are purely insectivorous.  Crested geckos and day geckos eat fruits.  Feed your geckos with:

  • Crickets:  This is the easiest food to purchase for your gecko.  It will be their main food.
  • Mealworms:  The second major food for geckos.
  • Waxworms and Superworms: This food should be fed to your gecko twice a week.  They are rich in nutrients, so don’t forget these.

Gecko behavior

The pads on geckos’ feet are covered with thin hairs, making it easy for geckos to climb fast.  They have the ability to climb upward, backward, and even upside down.  The tiny hairs provide constant grip with their movement.

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Geckos cut their tail when they feel threatened. However, it will grow back in a few days as they do this often throughout their lifetime.

Do Geckos like to be touched?

Geckos are fine with being touched, but make sure not to pick your gecko up by the tail.  If this happens, they will often cut their tail as a natural defense mechanism.  If they cut their tail, place your gecko in a separate terrarium from other geckos until it grows back.

Do Geckos represent spirituality?

In Latin, the word gecko means fortune and renewal.  It is believed that having an image of a gecko in your barn will protect animals from snakes.  Harming or hurting a gecko can bring unhappiness and misfortune.  When you are in a complex situation or are unclear about a decision, seeing a gecko can make the situation easier for you to handle.

If you see a gecko hiding and observing something in a dream, it is a warning sign for someone who might be noticing you.  If a pregnant woman sees a gecko in her dream, this means positive fortune for the child’s life.

Can Geckos swim?

There is some debate among gecko owners on this topic.  Research has shown that some types of geckos have the ability to swim, and some geckos become aggressive around water.  They can run on the water at the same speed they run on land.

Some species of gecko have a hydrophobic quality to their skin that supports their ability to run on water.  Like other reptiles, geckos cannot breathe underwater.  Sometimes a gecko who jumps into a large body of water will drown.