The Chinese tiger gecko (Goniurosaurus luii) is fairly new to the reptile trade, and we do not know too much about the species. They come from China and are related to the leopard gecko and African Fat Tailed Gecko. They are exciting and colorful pets to care for, but there is much more to learn about their care. These are a relatively new species in the reptile trade.
Adults reach from 8-9 inches including the tail, and babies start off much smaller, closer to 3 inches. Young tiger geckos are mainly dark purple with yellow or white bands running across their body. Adults will either keep their bands, which will turn to a golden or nice tan color or they will break up into speckles of golden tan covering the body.
The eyes on a tiger gecko really stand out. They are a rusty red with a black slit as a pupil. Other than the coloration, tiger geckos very much resemble the popular leopard gecko.
Chinese tiger geckos are surprisingly calm, and it is unlikely that you will ever get bitten if you respect them. A hatchling may hiss and spit if startled, and they will drop their tails if frightened.
When handling a Chinese tiger gecko, stay close to the ground because they may get jumpy and a 4 foot fall will not be good. Start with short, gentle handling sessions until your gecko learns to trust you. Once you build trust in each other they will become quite docile.
Like their cousin, the leopard gecko, they will take a variety of insects. Crickets are the best choice because tiger geckos enjoy hunting and they have a thin exoskeleton. Variety is also good, so they can have to occasional wax worms, meal worm, and phoenix worm.
Hatchling tiger geckos need food every day to every other day. They will take small crickets, and feed them as much as they will eat in 15 to 20 minutes. Crickets should be as long as the width of your geckoís head so there is no problem swallowing or digesting food.
Adults will take larger crickets, and only need to be fed every 3 days or so. Some adults will eat more than others, and they all will prefer different things so it is good to experiment with different insect. Wax worms are treats only and 3 maximum can be fed a week. Wax worms are packed with fat an too many may result in fatty liver disease.
To keep your gecko in good shape, provide a small dish of powdered calcium (a milk cap works well) so their bones stay strong. This is especially important for growing juveniles. Gut loading, or feeding your insect is important as well. What goes into your crickets goes into your gecko.
The nice thing about the Chinese tiger gecko is that they do not require much room. Hatchlings and juveniles can be kept in 5 gallon tanks or Kritter Keepers. Adults need a minimum of 10 gallons, but the will enjoy the extra room of a 20 gallon tank.
Even though they are geckos, tiger geckos cannot scale glass so a longer tank is better than a higher tank. Even though they do not have the sticky toe pads, a screen should be placed over the top of the tank. Half of this screen should be covered with plastic wrap to keep in the humidity and heat.
Juveniles can be clumsy while hunting and loose substrates like sand or gravel should not be used. These small particles can get ingested and over time build up and eventually kill a gecko by blocking its intestinal track.
Usable substrates for this species include paper towel, newspaper, butcher paper, tiles, carpet, and Astroturf. Adults can handle a sand substrate better though many keepers still advise against it.
Donít use soil or bed-a-beast substrates because they may trap too much humidity and can cause upper respitory infections.
Two or three hide boxes should be found in the tank so your gecko has a place to feel safe and secure. Since they are night dwellers, they will hide in these during the daytime. A hide box can be as simple as an empty, cleaned out butter contain flipped upside down with a hole in it or as elaborate and expensive as you want. As log as it works, you gecko will not care.
Fake rocks and logs can also be used to hide behind, but you have to be careful they are sturdy so they do not roll or collapse onto a sleeping tiger gecko.
Since tiger geckos donít spend much time off the ground so an under tank heater should be used. These are great and they last about a year. If you are using paper towels as a substrate be sure that there are enough layers so the tiger gecko does not get hurt.
The basking spot should be about 85F, and the half of the tank can stay room temperature. This lets them choose what temperature they want to be at so they do not over heat or under heat.
A bowl of fresh, clean water needs to be found in the cage at all times. This is generally where they will drink. Mist the cage lightly about once a week to stimulate rain. You do not need to soak the cage, and with the top half covered with plastic, humidity should not be a big deal.
Another way of achieving humidity is to provide another hide filled will damp dirt, paper towels or moss. This hide allows the gecko to find a nice humid retreat while shedding.
Keep the substrate clean, and loose substrates nee to be replaced every 3 months. The water bowl needs to stay clean and filled with purified water, and the tank should be misted once a week. If you choose to use a humid hide, keep that damp at all times. Spot clean daily.
Very little is known about breeding Chinese tiger geckos, but it should be similar to the fat tailed gecko and the leopard gecko because they are all cousins. See the leopard gecko and African Fat tailed Gecko care sheets if you are interested in breeding the interesting creatures.
Hatchlings are fun to own because they are jittery, love hunting, and fairly easy to maintain. Hatchlings can be kept together until about 4-6 months of age when they start developing their reproductive organs. Two males should not be housed together and immature breeding may occur at this stage if a female and male are kept together.
Hatchlings will start to east after their fist shed, and should be fed every day. Dust crickets and provide a calcium bowl. Monitor to be sure all the little geckos are eating and growing healthily if you have more than one.
Conclusion Chinese tiger geckos make a great pet, and are slowly becoming discovered. They have similar care to the leopard gecko and African fat tailed gecko, but have adapted to their environment in the scrublands of China. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
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Julio - November 21, 2012
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