House Gecko Care Sheet

House gecko on broad green leaf

Introduction

When you think about the common house gecko, you probably think about that little lizard you see on the Geico commercial all the time but what kind of breed that is, is debatable and they’ve dropped some clever hints but always cut him off before he has time to tell us. However, the house gecko is basically the most common household pet out there when it comes to owning a gecko and they’re relatively easy to maintain as well. People all over the world love owning these things as pets because not only are they small and tiny in nature but they’re relatively inexpensive as well, which some lizards just aren’t worth the trouble of owning and some breeds are worth more trouble than what they’ll end up costing you.

 

Also, it’s extremely easy to maintain them in captivity and it’s one of the easiest pets to own period. Some people say that it’s a lot easier than owning a dog because while it might be man’s best friend, there are a lot of things you have to worry about and common household pets like the dog can be very expensive if you’re on a shoestring budget. The house gecko is meant for an observational type of pet that you can watch every now and then and while some gecko are easily handled, it’s really not recommended that you handle a house gecko because of how fragile they are.

 

While it’s true they’re very gentle, they’re also very fragile and can break easy, kind of like a toy. Unlike some other particular breed of gecko, the house gecko is also relatively quick so if it escapes out of your hands and starts running through the house, you’re going to have a fun afternoon on your hands running through the house trying to chase it down. However, unlike some pets which can be self-sufficient such as a cat that can go out on its own and hunt when you stop feeding it, the house gecko relies solely on you to feed it. The common life span of a house gecko tends to be around 5 years or a little less depending on how well they’re taken care of.

 

If you’re taking poor care of the gecko, then obviously the life span will go down but some owners have reported that the life span of a house gecko can be extended for up to 7 years if they’re under ideal conditions. However, as a new owner, you shouldn’t expect your house gecko to make it the full 5 years (at least the first one) because you’re brand new to raising one and there will be some things you miss. House geckos tend to have some amazing characteristics that set them apart from other gecko and while others have this unique and distinct ability, they tend to climb a lot of walls and don’t really spend too much time near the ground. It’s not common for a lot of breed of different gecko to avoid the ground the majority of the time.

 

So if you’re purchasing a house gecko with the idea of gifting it to your child in mind, then you might want to re-think and re-consider your purchasing options because these definitely aren’t the most ideal pets for children to own. Instead, you might want to look into some more docile and easier to handle species of geckos or perhaps another type of species altogether. Not only that but taking care of a gecko requires immense attention to detail and some children won’t have the attention span to deal with them or take care of them.

 

Housing

When you’re purchasing housing or looking at different enclosures, you’re going to want to make sure you pick the most appropriate and right sized enclosure for the particular combination that you’re setting up. For instance, if you only have one single gecko or you’re housing a pair of them, then you might want to look into a tank that can accommodate 20 gallons. This will not only be able to one house gecko adequately but a house gecko and a mate if you’d like (but be warned, if you do this, you will more than likely have a lot of baby gecko running around not too far down the road).

 

What you want to look for in your tank more than anything is a vertical incline that’s not only steep but high enough to climb for the gecko since they’ll spend a lot of time climbing the aquarium or enclosure that you place them in. As one of the few species of gecko that likes to be airborne and climb around, you’re going to want to make sure that you provide them with quite a few different amenities for doing so and you have quite a few options for doing that. You want to make sure that your gecko is given the freedom to hop around, climb up the walls or other things can put inside of your enclosure.

 

Basically, a house gecko when it’s beginning to feel threatened or just bored, it will climb up to the highest point that it can to avoid any danger on the ground. This is a mechanic that keeps it alive in the wild and this basic survival instinct carries over to captivity as well. If your gecko is spooked, is suddenly scared or you try to handle it for the first time, you might find it running up something inside of the enclosure or up the aquarium walls themselves. So what are some of your options for giving them things to climb?

 

First, you can opt to put real nature in there such as logs and little trees. A lot of people don’t like to use real plants because plants die and need replaced when they do, so this can be a hassle when the time comes. However, then there’s the option of having fake and non-toxic plants for the gecko to climb. This is a fairly popular option and should be available at just about any pet store you walk into and ask. Not only are these great for climbing but you’ll find that these are great for hiding as well because if the gecko can’t find something to climb immediately, it might just go into hiding mode on the ground.

 

Also, an important housing issue will erupt if you ever try to store more than one gecko in the cage at a time. Whether you have an aquarium or a cage doesn’t matter but if you ever try to store two males together then you may very well be purchasing one or two new geckos because for reasons unknown house geckos like to fight each other when in each other’s presence. No one’s really honestly sure why the exact reasoning of this is, but many suspects that it’s because they’re fighting over territory and who owns the territory that they’re on.

 

Whatever the reasoning behind it may be, it’s far better off to just not put them in the tank together and to let a male live by itself. However, there’s no real issue that arise out of keeping a female with the male so you should be good if you decide to go with that route. However, in that instance, you have another housing issue because then you’ll also have to take care of eggs and if this is your first gecko, then you probably shouldn’t worry about eggs yet until you have a good grasp on basic maintenance and care for the gecko.

 

It’s said for a beginning pet owner that the house gecko is one of the best pets you can own because of their simplicity to take care of and just how easy they are to house and clean up after.

 

You’ll want to consider the substrate as well when you’re building or planning out the housing because there are a lot of different types of substrates out there. When you’re building your enclosure or selecting your house, you want to make sure that you’re using a newspaper if you plan on having any juvenile or baby geckos in there. This goes for all different species of geckos but the little ones tend to have a habit of chewing on everything in sight which is why pellet style substrate or any other kind of substrate other than newspaper isn’t the best idea.

 

It’s easy to lay down newspaper and you only have to continue to do this for the first six months then you can switch to a mulch type of substrate, at least for the house gecko. Some people have even found success in using a specific type of carpet type substrate for cages but this isn’t very common and not something particular heard of, so we’ll stick with the normal options for now which is mulch and newspaper. Also, if you ignore this advice and decide to use whatever substrate you want, you could be causing serious injury to your house gecko because when it eats substrate it might cause something called impactation. This is when it has a hard time digesting the substrate it has eaten and it can actually kill your pet.

 

Now one thing you need to do that most owners (especially new owners) forget to do or just neglect is to do something that’s known as spot cleaning. You need to look for feces spots and you need to be changing the water out for fresh water. Some people say you don’t have to change the water until it starts looking dirty but I would personally recommend changing your house gecko’s water at least once a day.

 

Temperature

The temperature and ideal living conditions will be different depending on a couple of different factors. The first factors will be the time of the day and the season. Obviously, it’s going to be colder in your home and for the gecko during the winter season but you still have to maintain a certain temperature. The second factor will be depending on where your basking light is that you’ll have hanging over your enclosure. The direct area over your basking light will more than likely be up to 88 degrees during the day time and it will probably be about 70 degrees at night.

 

Of course this may vary a few degrees here and there and it really shouldn’t be too harmful to your pet. However, the humidity of the enclosure needs to be kept at a certain amount to ensure a healthy pet, to ensure that it’s digesting food properly and to ensure that it will shed smoothly when the time comes to shed. For the house gecko, you’re going to want to keep a nice and steady 65% as the perfect humidity inside the habitat.

 

So how do you obtain the perfect humidity and temperature inside of an enclosure? You take a water bottle filled with water and a spray nozzle and you lightly spray the inside of the enclosure and the gecko. This is called misting and will help ensure that your humidity stays at a healthy level. Some people will recommend that you mist your house gecko every single day and some people will recommend that you do it several times a day just to be safe.

 

Fluorescent lighting should be used at a minimum of 10 hours a day to 14 hours a day for the basking area and should be used by an incandescent bulb. However, you can completely disregard this if you’re using a ceramic heater as your heating source.

 

Food

Now as it pertains to food and what you can feed your house gecko pet, this is one of the easiest things about the house gecko because their eating habits are very simple. Much like any other pet, they’re going to eat every single day and they eat very simple and cost effective foods. However, once they grow up and reach full adulthood, it’s not uncommon for them to skip a day so eating once every other day really isn’t that uncommon.

 

They commonly eat the most cliché items just like all the other reptiles out there but the most common items on the menu for a house gecko are crickets, mealworms and wax worms. Ideally, what you feed them will be your own personal preference but you shouldn’t get used to feeding them wax worms because not only do they provide absolutely no benefit such as vitamins, but they’re very high in fat, so they should be given sparingly. You don’t have to provide them with a vitamin supplement as some sources will tell you but it definitely won’t hurt if you use crickets. The easiest way to trick them into taking vitamins is to sprinkle some calcium powder on crickets and to make them eat the crickets. Crickets are easy to find and they’re cheap in a bundle, and not only that but they provide all the vitamins that a house gecko needs to survive, so this is the most common choice.

Handling

Handling isn’t necessarily recommended because of just how fast the house gecko is. You really shouldn’t be handling them at all, especially when they’re brand new to you or the environment and they don’t know where they are but if you just can’t contain yourself, then you need to be careful about how you handle them because they’re very fragile. If you yank on their tail or you pull them by their tail then they might lose their tail so you never need to do that and make sure you avoid doing that.

 

Also, make sure you never try to pick them up from the underbelly because that spooks them quite easily and you might find yourself chasing your gecko up a wall. It’s best not to handle them at all until they’re not only full adults but they’re used to you through several feeding sessions as well (which should come with age as they grow into an adult).