Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma Grandis) are the largest and one of the most colorful of the day geckos. They originated from Madagascar, and interact with the townsfolk found there. They reside in warm damp areas and are out and about during the day. They have bred and multiplied in Florida’s wilderness from pet owners letting them go.
These day geckos have a bright green body with red slashes across the back. The red line running from the eye to the nostril is the easiest way to identify them.
If taken care of properly, the gecko can live a long life to the age of 15 years. Sadly from poor housekeeping, very few make it past 8. Giant day geckos will reach a length from 8 to 10 inches long, one of the largest geckos in the world. These day geckos are extremely fast, so be prepared.
Giant day geckos are speedy critters and will try to escape your clutches whenever possible. Occasionally giant day geckos will become tame, and calm down around you. They are a more of a gecko to admire than to cuddle with. If provoked, they will bite, and when touched, their skin will “fall off” as a defense. Their skin is very soft, so if handling is necessary, be gentle.
In the wild giant day geckos will eat any kind of bug, and have even eaten smaller lizards. In captivity, they like to eat both fruit and insects. Crickets are one of the most nutrient-filled insects, but silkworms and even super worms are good as well. Avoid hard-shelled insects like meal worms because it makes it harder to digest, and are not filled with the same nutrition as crickets or silk worms.
Do not catch insects for your lizard because they can be filled with bacteria and pesticides. When you purchase insects, they are not usually gut-loaded, so feed them for 24 hours before giving to your gecko. This way your gecko gets the most nutrition out of the insect, and they will be more filling. Crickets and worms should be dusted with 100% calcium especially if you have a gravid female or a hatchling that is still growing.
Insects should make up about 2/3 of your gecko’s diet but the rest is fruit. Some of the easiest to acquire include fruit baby food, flavored peach or banana. They also commercially sell giant day gecko food with vitamins already in, that can replace the diet of fruit and crickets. It is good to still provide crickets so your gecko does not become fat and lazy. Provide 5 crickets a couple times a week and always have baby food available. Babies can live on baby food, but give them crickets every couple of days.
A 20 gallon tank will work fine for one adult. Every adult after that needs 10 more gallons of space. Giant day geckos have pads on their toes allowing them to stick to surfaces so higher enclosures are preferred over longer ones. Since they are big, and can climb walls, a lid is required to prevent escape. Hence the name, day geckos are awake during the day, and need a place both to rest in and branches to explore. Foliage will help keep the humidity up.
Paper towel should be used for babies so loose particles cannot be ingested. Paper towels are a good choice for adults, but if you prefer, loose substrates can be provided. Bed-a-beast or non-fertilized potting soils are good at holding humidity and look nice. Avoid sand because it is messy, does not hold humidity, and is easier to swallow than other substrates.
Giant day geckos spend most of their life off the ground so leaves, branches and other places for them to hide will be used more often than a hide on the ground. Have at least two or three places where the gecko will feel secure and hidden.
Live plants are a good hiding place, and are attractive. When purchasing them, be sure to double check that they are non-toxic and will not give off fumes.
Bulbs work best for the giant day gecko because under tank heaters do not transfer heat into the air. UV bulbs of any kind are not needed. There has been no evidence to show that they live better with or without the extra light.
Temperatures should stay between 80 and 86F during the day, and can drop 10 degrees at night. Do not use hot rocks or heating devices inside the enclosure because they will burn your gecko.
High humidity has to be provided, or else dehydration will occur. Many beginner reptile enthusiasts do not realize how important humidity is, and reptiles and amphibians may die because of it. Mist the cage daily, but be sure to let it dry out a little before misting again so mold or pools of water do not start collecting in the tank.
Misting every morning, and a little at night is sufficient. You can be flexible, and adjust to what you think your gecko needs. Giant day geckos will drink water from the mister, so a water bowl is not needed.
Remove feces as you see them, and mist the cage daily. Cleaning will take very little of your time. Paper towels need to be replaced when soiled and loose substrate about every 6 months.
Before you just jump into breeding giant day geckos, be sure you have done your research, and have everything ready beforehand.
Males can be kept with more than one female during the breeding season, but more than one male in the same tank may result in one or both becoming seriously injured. A male and female can be placed together in April or May, and the humidity should be raised a bit. Raised humidity will help them get into the mood. Within a week, they probably will have mated. Once they have mated, the female should be put in her own enclosure.
The female will need to be provided with daily calcium on all of her food. She may act hungrier than usual too. Females will lay 2 eggs a month, and you can expect her to be laying for quite a few months. For her to do this, the substrate should be paper towels so she doesn’t lay them randomly. Now a lay box that provides plenty of space for shifting around in needs to be provided.
Once eggs start appearing they need to be removed and placed into an incubator. Incubators should stay a constant 82F for anywhere from 50 to 80 days. Eggs can be kept in vermiculite, perlite, or coco fiber. Make sure the eggs don’t dry out, 80% humidity is required.
Hatchling giant day geckos are small, fast, and hungry. They can be kept in the incubator until they have had their first shed. It is after this first shed when they will start eating. Day geckos will need food every day, and all the food should be dusted. Hatchlings can be kept together if you monitor each to make sure they are all growing properly and eating. If one is having problems, separate it until it is big and strong enough to join the rest.
When they first hatch there needs to be 2 gallons per gecko, and as they grow, the gallons per gecko should increase. Once they can be sexed, males and females should be separated. Give them crickets and baby food in a small bowl.
Giant day geckos are nice because you can view them during the day, and are a brilliant green color. It is fun watching them devour insects, and lick baby food. They are a rewarding pet if you get their care right, and have done your homework.
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