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Everyone dreams of having a pet in their life. Do you remember the saying that a dog is man’s best friend? Well, a pet is more useful to humans because it assures them companion and gives a feeling of self-worth. According to Health Status, there are many benefits to pet ownership. For instance, patients with heart attacks are more likely to survive longer if they have a pet. Also, having a pet in the house reduces outbursts among Alzheimer patients.
There is more a pet offers to its owner that may be beyond the scope of this guide. There are different types of pets you can own. Whichever pet you decide to raise, it is essential to have all the background information about them to ensure it leads a healthy life when under your care.
Some pets, like dogs and cats, require minimal supervision. Most people with pet dogs sometimes leave them unattended at home for up to 8 hours while they go to work or school. Your level of responsibility to a pet depends on the type of pet you keep.
If you have decided to own a Golden Gecko, then you should be ready to make your hands dirty. A Golden Gecko will require your undivided attention, unlike most pets. You’ll have to do more than you can ever imagine. Well, this guide is designed to make your life simple by giving the facts you need to own and raise a Golden Gecko at home.
Stay put for all the tips and answers to most asked questions about this rare pet. By the end of this guide, you will find out that owning a Golden Gecko as a pet is not that difficult as most people would think.
Golden Gecko: What are they?
Golden Geckos belong to the Gekkonidae family – the common lizard family. There are over 2000 living species of lizards you’ll find around the globe.
The botanical name for the Golden Gecko is Gekko ulkivoski. Ideally, this species of lizards derives its common name, Golden Gecko, from the gold-colored scales that appear on its body. Like most lizards, they prefer climbing vertical places using their peculiar toe pads. If you decide to keep a Golden Gecko, then you must be ready to provide an ample environment. They don’t like people handling then and may bite if they feel threatened.
This breed of lizards grows up to eight inches long. Male Golden Geckos are longer than the female ones. An average female Golden Gecko measures 6-7 inches from snout to tail and 3-4 inches long from the snout to the vent. A common Golden Gecko will live up to ten years if given the right care.
The typical Golden Gecko originates from Vietnam in the southern part of Asia. In most cases, you will find these lizards in tropical forests. You will also find Golden Geckos in the northern part of India. Unlike most lizards, Golden Geckos are not that popular among people. It is not easy to find a Golden Gecko in its natural setting during the day, given that they are mostly nocturnal. You may call them rare or endangered species, but wait; you can easily find these pets from breeders and pet growers.
If you want to enjoy watching the Golden Gecko, then you must wait until night time. They are nocturnal species and only active during the night. The demand for this type of lizard is not that high because most people do not prefer to own them as pets. With the low demand for this species of lizard, you can expect to spend some few bucks if you decide to have them shipped to your house as wild-caught pets.
Having a Golden Gecko shouldn’t be that bothering with regards to feeding them. They are omnivorous and prefer a diet consisting of calcium-dusted insects such as wax worms, mealworms, crickets, butter worms, roaches, a variety of vitamins, and calcium supplements. To maintain a healthy bone, you must ensure the feeder insects you give to the geckoes are dusted with Vitamin D3 supplements and calcium.
Note that when feeding your gecko some crickets, you must ensure they are the size of the gecko’s head to stop the pet from choking. Most grown geckos will take less than 15 minutes to feed on a reasonable number of crickets. These species of lizard also feed on fruits such as bananas and mangoes. If you must feed them some fruits, then ensure you slice them into small pieces. Baby food is also suitable for geckos because it is easy to digest.
You should always feed your Golden Gecko pet in the late evening when they are active. Avoid handling gecko skins for long because they are sensitive and can easily damage. Ideally, you are not going to spend more on feeding your Golden Geckos.
It is advisable to feed the younger or hatchling ones every day and practice feeding the adult ones every two days. Altering the feeding schedule gives the Golden Gecko appetite. Also, if you want your Golden Gecko pet to crave for food, then you must alter the feeding schedule. Most geckos are gluttons. Therefore, ensure you have enough food whenever it’s time for feeding them.
Where to house your Golden Gecko
Whether you are keeping a hatchling or an adult gecko, you must have the necessary information about its habitat. In most cases, you will need at least 20 gallons of vertical space for an adult Golden Gecko. Most male Golden Geckos are territorial. Therefore, you should avoid having more males kept in a single terrarium. If you must keep multiple geckos per housing, then you must increase its size. For instance, you can have a 29-gallon tank for one male gecko and two female geckos.
Finding more space for the enclosure is more helpful because most Golden Geckos are active. If you have male Golden Geckos, then ensure you keep them on closed and spacious cages.
The substrate is the most critical part of the pet’s bedding. The material used in making the underlying bedding must not be moist. Also, it should not be able to attract any moisture from the atmosphere. You can have some shredded coconut fiber or pure soil on the bedding. Reptile barks are also recommendable. Do not use potting soil on the enclosure because it contains moisture.
Since Golden Geckos are all climbers, you must include some branches inside the enclosure to make them playful. Most Golden Gecko keepers will advise that you include live plants, driftwood, or silk in the tank.
These lizards are nocturnal and prefer to hide during the day. If you are going to keep them as pets, then you must ensure the housing has some hiding spots. Include some clay plant pots and reptile caves on either side of the pet housing to give them the privacy they need. Sometimes the Golden Geckos may need to hide from each other. That means, if they are plenty of them in one enclosure, then you must have some hiding points in the cage to help them hide from each other.
Just like your dog pet hat needs a water or food bowl, the Golden Gecko enclosure must also include a water dish where you can pour some water. The Golden Gecko will not drink from this dish since it prefers to lick water droplets from the live plant leaves in the cage. However, the pet will mostly soak itself in the water to maintain body temperature.
The Golden Gecko housing should imitate the natural environment if you intend to make them healthy and lively as pets. These lizards need the perfect room for climbing, hiding, and feeding. Lighting is not that useful to the housing. However, some studies have shown that having UV light within the cage can help improve the gecko’s overall health. Note that some breed of a gecko will not require UV lighting. Therefore, you must confirm with your breeder or veteran before you can have the lighting installed in the cage.
Proper lighting may be essential if you intend to stay up at night and view your Golden Gecko. You will have to install some infrared or incandescent bulbs in the house. Note that as long as you include some vitamin D3 supplements in the gecko’s food, then you do not need the UVB lights in the gecko housing.
Temperature and heating
Ensuring there is proper heating and temperature in the tank is also critical. The Golden Geckos can only stay active and feed properly if their environment is kept within the recommended temperature range. Notably, the right temperatures for the housing should be 21-23 degrees Celsius at night and 23-29 degrees Celsius during the day.
You can always use a reptile thermometer to test the temperature in the housing. All Golden Geckos are ectotherms, and you must ensure the temperature in their tank is vital if you look forward to having a happier pet.
The best way of ensuring the pet stays heated during the day and night is to have some ceramic heat element installed in the housing. Incandescent bulbs can also be useful in keeping the enclosure heated. When you opt for bulb installation in the enclosure, you must ensure that the heat source is far from the pets. Use the red reptile bulbs at night to keep the tank warm and blue reptile bulbs to keep it warm during the day.
As mentioned before, you must ensure the environment your expose your Golden Gecko resembles the temperate rainforest, which is its natural habitat. Golden Geckos’ environment should have a moderate to high humidity during the day and night. You must maintain a relative humidity of 60% -80% at all times to ensure the Golden Geckos in your tank live a healthy life.
As a way of ensuring the temperatures in the tank is within the required threshold, you will need to get a quality hygrometer to test the humidity in the tank regularly. If you want your geckos to be happy and lively all the time, then the moisture in their enclosure should be favorable at all times.
You can mist the enclosure daily if you intend to increase the humidity level. Provide fresh water in the tank to boost the humidity level inside. Note that the geckos can sometimes drink the water you provide on the water dish. Most geckos prefer to drink from water droplets on the live plants in the enclosure.
Temperament and Behavior
If you want your Golden Geckos to have the best skin, then you should avoid handling them at all costs. Unlike dogs and cats that you can carry with you to the office, Golden Gecko is very exceptional when used as a pet. They have delicate skin that damages when you handle them. Another reason to avoid touching them is that they quickly get irritated.
These species of lizards will easily bite when they feel threatened, and you don’t want to lose your finger. Note that the Golden Gecko will eventually become docile as when it gets used to you. As a beginner keeper, you should be patient as you wait for the Golden Gecko to get used or acclimate to its new environment. Most reptiles take a lot of time to adapt to the new environment, and your Golden Gecko is no exception.
When a lizard’s tail is cut, another one grows after some time. Geckos are no exception to this unique biological trait that the lizards exhibit. Most geckos will shed their tails when they get stressed up. However, the tail will start growing after a while. Note that whenever you are picking the Golden Gecko, you must avoid holding them with the tail.
Holding the gecko with its tails increases the chances of shedding and is never a good idea. If you want to handle the gecko, then approach it slowly and let it corral onto your hand to get a good view. You can also put the gecko in a transport container if you want to clean the tank.
Male geckos are the most unfriendly compared to female geckos. They prefer to stay in private and cannot withstand having other males sharing the same enclosure with them. Since they are a bit longer than the females, experts recommend that you enclose them in a more spacious environment.
The female geckos are the most playful. They can move on vertical surfaces easily using their specialized toe pads. They are a bit greener and darker than the male geckos. The male gecko exhibits the yellow-golden color, making them the most sought for pets.
Like most reptiles, Golden Geckos can only breed if they are old enough. The male geckos are the most hostile and will mostly injure the female geckos if you put them in the same enclosure. Therefore, only put the male and female gecko in the same tank if you want them to breed, then separate them once the breeding process is over. In most cases, the breeding process will take at most two weeks.
You will have to boost your enclosure from 20- gallons to 40 –gallons if you intend to create a perfect environment for your aged geckos to breed. Ensure you meet all the conditions of a quality Golden Gecko tank like having the right substrate, feeds, temperature, and humidity.
The breeding process of a Golden Gecko is similar to that of a Tokay Gecko. A female gecko hatches two glued eggs. You must separate the two eggs on hatching because the female gecko can feed on them when angry.
When the Golden Gecko is breeding, you must ensure that it gets enough food. Provide enough food for the female gecko to give it the desired weight for egg-laying. All food items you give to the female gecko must contain calcium. The easiest way to enrich the gecko diet with calcium is to dust all its meals with calcium supplements.
Also, transport the female gecko to its tank when it is ready to lay the eggs. Put an egg-lay box in the tank. The egg-laying box should be spacious enough and measure about 4-6 inches. You can also put some potting soil or vermicular in the box to make it comfortable for the female gecko.
When the female gecko is done laying the eggs, you can place the eggs in an incubator. Keep the temperatures at 75.0 degrees F. Place the baby geckos in 10-gallon housing once they are hatched to prevent the female gecko from feeding on them. The baby geckos will spend some months in the small enclosure as they grow and gain weight. In order to ensure they grow faster, you can feed them some small crickets
The small Golden Geckos will get dehydrated quickly when the temperature in the enclosure is higher than the recommended 23-29 degrees Celsius. Also, ensure you maintain the relative humidity level at 70% to keep your smaller Golden Geckos live and healthy. Note that if you intend to raise healthy Golden Geckos, then you must enhance the housing and provide all the vital accessories to help them cope with the new environment.
Avoid holding the younger Golden Geckos because they may be very delicate. If you don’t know how to handle them, for instance, when you need to clean the enclosure, then you can ask for assistance from an experienced gecko breeder or a vet.
How to choose a Golden Gecko
So, have you decided to finally have a pet? Golden Geckos are not that popular as pets because not many people understand how to take care of them. The most common reptile pets include crested geckos and leopard geckos. However, with the information provided here, you have all the tips for taking care of your pet, and you don’t have to worry about having one in your house.
If you are going to buy a Golden Gecko to keep as a pet, then you must be patient enough to get the right one for you. There are different varieties and species of geckos you can buy. Whichever gecko breed you choose, you should ensure you understand how to take care of it. Unlike other pets, a Golden Gecko will need your effort and undivided attention to stay healthy and lively.
Most Golden Geckos caught in their natural temperate environment are sold to potential buyers. If you want to buy a Golden Gecko, then you can place your order from a trusted gecko breeder in your region. They will arrange to have the pet shipped to your doorstep. Whenever you opt for wild-caught Golden Geckos, you must be cautious enough to avoid the health problems that they may have.
Wild-caught Golden Geckos may carry parasites such as salmonella that may cause a lot of diseases to you. The best option of Golden Gecko pet is a captive-bred gecko. They are friendly and less likely to carry parasites. Also, they are already used to the new environment, which means you don’t have to train them to be docile and acclimate to their new habitat.
A healthy Golden Gecko will have smooth skin. The male Golden Gecko has a yellow-golden appearance while the female ones have greener skin. When choosing a Golden Gecko for a pet, you must be keen on the skin. Most people do not handle their geckos well, damaging their skins. Dry patches on the skin are an indication that it is damaged, or the Golden Gecko is sick. It may also indicate that the gecko is shedding its skin.
Feeding a gecko is not that easy if it lacks the appetite for food. Before buying a Golden Gecko pet, you want to ensure it has the right appetite for food. The Golden Gecko should crave for food; this way it can be easier to tame it on a new environment.
You should also decide on whether you want to have a male or a female Golden Gecko. Male geckos are hostile compared to female geckos. Also, you are not going to keep both male and female geckos in the same enclosure. If you intend to breed the geckos and get younger geckos, then only buy sexually mature and healthy geckos.
Your Golden Geckos are not going to be friendly with you until you can tame them, and they get used to their new environment. Therefore, if you want one that you can handle some time when you stay late in the night, then the female Golden Gecko is the best option.
How can I win my Golden Gecko’s trust?
Reptiles are not like most organisms. If you have a leopard gecko or a Golden Gecko, then you know how challenging it can be to get these unique pets to like or even trust you. You want to make the pet feel at home and appreciated, but you don’t know how to go about this whole thing. Well, reptile Golden Geckos are not that friendly and can bite if threatened.
You need some tips to help you make the Golden Gecko get used to your presence. Note that the new environment you have exposed the Golden Gecko may not be that friendly to them, especially if you just bought a wild-caught Golden Gecko. Reptiles have their unique personalities, which makes them difficult to tame like most common house pets. Here are some tips you need to make your Golden Gecko to like you and enjoy having it in your house.
Speak to the pet
It sounds weird. But trust me your Golden Gecko needs to hear your voice whenever you come closer to the tank. If you talk to the gecko always, it will be able to recognize your voice and feel comfortable whenever you come closer to its cage. You can make it a habit to talk to your Golden Gecko every time you get in the house from work or school. Say hello often when you stand close to the terrarium. The more you do this, the more your pet gets used to your voice and begins to feel comfortable having your closer.
Always, when we get inside the house, we switch the lights on and wake the Golden Geckos because they are mostly nocturnal. When you always talk when you enter the house, the Golden Gecko can identify your voice and feel relaxed. Like most home pets, you can condition your pet and make it familiarize with your voice.
Golden Geckos are nocturnal, but that does not mean that you should not stay around during the day to watch them move in the tank. Sometimes the Golden Geckos may be afraid to come out of their cage if the light in the house is intense.
You should consider using dim lights in the room, then probably the Golden Gecko may be willing to come out and stare at you when you least expect them. You can also do some quiet activities around the gecko housing like reading a book to get them used to your presence.
Maintain your smell
Yes, you got it right. Your Golden Gecko can recognize your unique fragrance. Reptiles have a strong sense of smell and use this to their advantage. That means you should maintain your natural aroma if you want the reptile to recognize your presence in the house.
A useful tip is to hold the Golden Gecko as often as possible after washing your hands with your usual soap. The gecko will get used to the soap you’ve used to wash your hands.
The more you handle your pet, the more it can trust you, but you must maintain the smell of your hands to let them know it is you holding them. You can also put something inside the terrarium that has your scent, for instance, a piece of your cloth with your favorite perfume.
Make use of the feeding time
When feeding the Golden Geckos, you must take advantage of this special time when they are most vulnerable. Come closer to the pet and let it hear your whistle and sense your smell when you feed them with fruits or crickets. Golden Geckos like hunting for their prey. You can put some live crickets in the tank and watch them hunt. Always stay around when it’s time for this reptile to feed and hunt for its prey. They will get used to you before you know it.
Touch the cage
Building trust between you and the pet takes a lot of time. The quickest way of getting your Golden Gecko to like you is by placing your hands in the cage and waiting for them to come and inspect your hand. If you are afraid of being bitten by the Golden Gecko in the cage, then you still have some trust issues with them.
Take your time while you remain cautious. The Golden Gecko will not be hostile or bite you if it is used to your hands. Let the pet crawl on your hands and climb on you without touching them. This way, they can feel relaxed having you around them.
Try picking it up
If you still cannot pick your Golden Gecko pet from its resting place at night, then you need some time to build that trust between the two of you. That moment when you can pick the Golden Gecko or allow it to corral on your hands, confirms that both of you are comfortable staying together. It trusts your hands if it can permit you to pick it up from the cage.
There you go! Try these six tips and see you Golden Gecko growing to like you more than before. Note that it takes time for the Golden Gecko, or any other pet, to get used to their new environment. It takes patience and commitment to build that mutual trust between you and the gecko. With these simple tips, you are good to have your Golden Gecko pet around.
What are the common diseases and health problems that can affect your gecko?
Like any other pets, a Golden Gecko is just likely to be sick or develop some health problems that may affect its behavior. You must be on the watch to look out for any unusual behaviors in your Golden Gecko pet. This way, you can prevent fatality by reaching out to your vet for timely medication.
There are varieties of diseases that may infect your Golden Gecko, exposing you to the risk of contracting the infection. In most cases, lizards, especially the wild-caught, can come with a lot of parasites that harm them. If you buy a wild-caught Golden Gecko, then you must consult your vet for a medical check-up to ensure the Golden Gecko is not in danger.
Here are some common diseases that your Golden Gecko is likely to contract
Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)
Metabolic Bone Disease is a common disease in most lizards. MBD occurs when the amount of calcium in the reptile body is low, resulting in the body using the calcium present in the bones. If your Golden Gecko has MBD condition, it develops disfigured bones on the tail, spine, and hips. Swollen limbs and weaker jawbones are clear indications of your Golden Gecko having a severe MBD condition.
If you want to prevent your Golden Gecko from having this condition, then you should ensure it eats food rich in calcium. As indicated on the feeding guide given earlier, you should always dust all the meals you give to the Golden Gecko with vitamin D3 and calcium supplements.
Parasites are likely to feed on your Golden Gecko pet if you don’t maintain some hygiene by cleaning the cage regularly. Most parasites are likely to infest your pet by using an intermediary host like a cricket.
Your pet is infected with a parasite if you feed it a cricket that has fed on a parasite. Ideally, it can be challenging to find out if the prey you put on the tank for your pet has a parasite or not. You need some special skills to select the best crickets to feed your Golden Gecko.
Most wild-caught geckos are likely to be infected with bacterial diseases from fungi, viri, and bacteria. Salmonella is a common bacterium that will infect any wild-caught Golden Gecko. Note that salmonella can infect you if you touch a Golden Gecko with the bacteria.
If you have multiple geckos kept in a tank, then you risk spreading bacterial diseases from one Golden Gecko to another. Practicing quarantine or exclusion is helpful if you notice any unusual behavior with your Golden Gecko.
Other virulent parasites that are more likely to infect your Golden Gecko include the coccidia, unicellular eukaryotic organism, and cryptosporidium. Some parasites are useful in the pet’s body because they help in speeding digestion.
Impaction is a common problem in most pets that stay in a cage for most of their lifetime. If you have pet housing with unfavorable conditions, then your pet is at risk of developing an impaction. For instance, a Golden Gecko can easily feed on a foreign material that finds its way into the cage.
You must inspect the cage as often as possible to ensure there is no foreign material stuck inside, which may hurt your pet. Golden Geckos prefer crawling and climbing vertical objects. Therefore, if you decide to put up some climbing objects like tree branches in the cage, then you must position them well to prevent the gecko from falling.
Skin shading problems
All lizards, including the Golden Gecko, will shed its skin after some time. Skin shedding is a normal part of the lizard’s life cycle and should not worry you when it happens to your Golden Gecko pet. However, sometimes, the Golden Gecko may not be shedding the skin properly, and your assistance will be essential. If your Golden Gecko has a bad shed, blood flow in the gecko’s body is affected, and this may result in loss of tail tips and toes.
Bad shed happens when the Golden Gecko is not well dehydrated, and the humidity in the cage is below the recommended level of 70%. Most young geckos experience bad shedding and may need your assistance to recover soonest. Always check your Golden Gecko when feeding them to ensure they are not having any skin shading problem.
Dystocia (Egg Binding)
Your Golden Gecko is likely to develop this problem during the breeding period. Egg Binding or dystocia is a common problem in most female Golden Geckos. It happens when the female gecko cannot lay the eggs at the appropriate time through regular ovulation. If the female gecko does not reabsorb the semi-developed eggs in the reproductive tract and back to the system, then the female gecko is said to have developed a dystocia disorder.
If you want to prevent your female Golden Gecko from developing egg binding disorder, then you must ensure it is old enough before you can breed it. Sexual immaturity is the leading cause of egg binding in female geckos.
If you are looking forward to raising a Golden Gecko as your pet, then you should be ready for a full-time responsibility. Taking good care of Golden Gecko requires your commitment, patience, and time. You must set up the right environment for the gecko to survive. This guide gives you the attributes of a suitable terrarium. You can follow them to set up an ideal enclosure that will ensure you have a healthy and happy Golden Gecko as a pet.
Golden Geckos have their specific diet that you must follow if you intend to maintain their good health. Their mode of feeding right from the time they are young must be adhered to give them a better life. Geckos can be hostile, especially males. Therefore, you must be patient enough to make them docile and win your trust.
With this guide at your disposal, you are always ready to venture into having a Golden Gecko as a pet. Remember to play you part a responsible Golden Gecko owner, and you won’t regret taking that step to cage a Golden Gecko in your home.