The Madagascar Day Gecko and Its Care – A Rewarding Gecko for Moderately Seasoned Herpetologists

The Madagascar Day Gecko is one of the most interesting reptiles from Madagascar. Its beauty and quiet demeanor make it a great gecko for reptile lovers.

Madagascar Day

The Madagascar Day Gecko is one of the largest gecko species alive, growing close to a foot in length. Its neon green skin splashed with red makes this gecko arguably one of the most beautiful animals on the island of Madagascar. The folds of loose skin under its chin that store extra fat just gives the gecko more lovable appeal.

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As its name suggests, the Madagascar Day Gecko is a diurnal gecko. This member of the genus Phelsuma feeds on nectar and pollen as well as insects, and even the occasional soft fruit like bananas. Although most species of day geckos are native to Madagascar, they can now be found in many tropical areas, such as Hawaii, where they were introduced as a natural form of pest control.
Like most geckos, the Madagascar Day can be spotted in arboreal locations: in trees, on the sides of buildings, etc. Because of this, a taller rather than larger habitat is best for these geckos. It’s also important that a rainforest-type environment is simulated. Otherwise, the gecko’s skin will get too dry, and this can cause a variety of problems, such as difficulty shedding.

The Madagascar Day Gecko’s Habitat

Madagascar Day Gecko

Fake tree branches and plants provide security for the gecko and are aesthetically pleasing. Not only that, fake shrubbery is easy to clean! For the seasoned green thumb, it’s not a problem to use live plants either. Just check to make sure they aren’t dangerous to the gecko. Bromeliads are a common, and pretty, flower addition to a tropical herp’s terrariums. Bromeliads can also collect tiny pools of water, making a natural waterbowl for the gecko.

There are a couple of ways to provide a rainforest environment. One can mist the terrarium several times a day, or if money is not an issue, buy a terrarium mister that can be programmed to mist at certain intervals. If live plants are in the terrarium, frequent misting benefits them as well. Optimum temperature for the gecko and any live plants is mid seventies to mid eighties. Putting a thermometer in the terrarium makes it easy to monitor temperature. Heat lamps or programmed heating devices will get the terrarium to the right temperature.

Handling Madagascar Day Gecko

Madagascar Gecko Face

Geckos are not made to be handled frequently. It stresses them out and can result in skin loss, and dropping their tail. Both of these stress reactions result in a less brilliantly-colored animal as the skin that grows back will be a dull grey color.

Diet in Captivity:

  • Mealworms
  • Crickets
  • Baby food
  • Soft fruits (almost overripe) like papaya or banana

Sprinkle a small bit of calcium supplement on the gecko’s food each day. If feeding crickets, be aware that the crickets will sometimes bite the gecko, exposing raw flesh. If this happens, neosporin or store brand antibiotic cream can be gently dabbed on the wound.

Although not as cuddly as a puppy, the Madagascar Day gecko is still a great pet. It doesn’t require as much quality time as other pets, and after the initial chunk of money for terrarium supplies and the gecko itself, these reptiles are not too expensive to maintain. They are beautiful to observe, and also quiet. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?

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