I also feel like not very many average people know how to care, for Geckos. At least I didn't. There's a lot of false information out there. We made mistakes! At the pet stores, the workers seem to know very little, in comparison to dogs and cats. There are a lot of things sold there that just isn't the right care strategies, for geckos.
I know it's hard to read in the two page spread on here, so I typed it in below.
Types of Geckos That Make Great Pets
• Crested Gecko
• Day Geckos
• Fat-Tailed Gecko
• Gargoyle Gecko
• Leopard Gecko
• Pictus Gecko
What to Buy Your First Gecko
There are a lot of unnecessary kits and items that stores try to sell first time gecko owners. Be mindful of what your pet really needs.
A Gecko’s Home
Start out with at least a 20 gallon tank. If you buy a gecko as a baby this size of tank may seem huge. Fill the tank up with hides, rocks, and branches then it will not seem so big. A screen top is important to get. If you already have a tank, you can get screen tops separately. The top will keep unwanted bugs out.
Gecko’s need belly heat, for proper digestion, so heat mats for the bottom of the tank are a must. Only half the tank will need heat mats. The other half will be the cool side of the tank. The mats do not always stay put, so make sure you have some Duct tape to secure them.
On the Floor
The floor of the tank should not include substrate, or sand. Both of these things pet stores try to sell consumers. It’s in the gecko’s nature to lick as they walk sometimes. Any loose flooring can make a gecko impacted. Then you’ will have to go to the Vet.
Instead of sand or substrate, use paper towels, floor tile, non adhesive shelf paper, or cork tiles. Tiles, cork and shelf paper wipe up easily. Paper towels are inexpensive to replace.
Hide and Seek
Geckos like to hide, so get them three to four hide structures. You can make your own hides if you’d like to. They even like to lay under rocks and logs. There should be a hide in the cool area of the tank, and in the warm area of the tank. When they shed, they do best with a moist hide.
For a moist hide, lay damp paper towels in a mason jar, or in a plastic container that has a hole cut out of it. Make sure you sand down, or burn the edges of the plastic opening. Freshly cut edges can be sharp.
Keep it Cozy
A temperature | humidity gauge is important. A gecko’s tank should be kept around 92 degrees, on the warm side of the tank. Remember they are cold blooded animals.
It is a rumor that geckos need an orange light at night. Orange bulbs are sold in gecko kits at the pet stores. Do not buy into this. An orange bulb is hard on gecko’s eyes, and will actually over time blind them
They do however need light during the daytime; if they are not in a well lit up area.
Food and Water Dishes
Your gecko will need a few flat food dishes, or you could repurpose throw away lids to be feeding dishes. Your gecko will need a dish for water, food, and calcium with vitamin D3.
What do Geckos Eat?
• Dubia Roaches
• Wax Worms
Their staple diet should be Mealworms, Crickets, and Dubia Roaches. It is best to vary their diet.
It is best to feed their food (bugs and worms) veggies, for a few days before feeding it to your gecko. This is called, “Gut loading” their food. It is also great to shake the bugs and worms in calcium with vitamin D3 powder before feedings. Geckos like their food alive.
Traits of Geckos
Geckos are nocturnal. They do very well with no lights on at all. When you sleep, they party and play.
Geckos sleep during the day. Often times they lay flat on their belly, with their legs in a sprawl. This way of laying is called “Splooting”, or “Sploot”.
To Be Held, or Not to Be Held
Geckos are good around people. Usually they only like twenty minutes of human interaction a day. The timing varies, from each individual gecko. Not all geckos are the same. They do like to climb up on your shoulder. Be careful to not let them fall.
You can pet a gecko. They love the top of their head, back, and tummy rubbed.
A gecko’s tank should be cleaned once every other week. They typically go to the bathroom in one spot. Check that spot to keep it clean. Change their water daily.
Geckos can have a shallow warm bath. Do watch them the whole time they are in there. They can not swim. Bathing does help when they are having problems going to the bathroom, and helps their skin when they are about to shed.
• Do not ever pick geckos up by their tail. They can loose their tail. It will grow back. It is not desirable to have a gecko loose their tail.
• Do not hold a gecko on their back. Gecko’s can not breathe if they are on their back.
• Do not put more than one gecko in a tank. They are solitary animals.
• Do not have loose substrate, or sand in their tank. This could lead to digestive impaction.
• Do not use red light. This could lead to blindness.
• Do not remove their shed. They will do that on their own. You can assist them with putting them in a moist hide, or by giving them a shallow bath.
Enjoy Your Pet
The most important thing is to enjoy spending time with your pet. Geckos are super fun to watch!
If you are serious about buying a gecko for the first time:
Download this this sheet. It will help you with your gecko's care.