This day gecko care sheet is directed mainly towards the care of Phelsuma Grandis or the Giant Day Gecko. The general care of most day gecko species is similar but you should seek out a specific care guide for the species you own (or plan on owning)
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If you’d rather listen than read watch the video below! Although the article does go into slightly more detail so you may want to eventually come back to it.
Day Gecko Care Video:
Day Geckos are arboreal so an enclosure with good height is necessary. I would say the minimum cage size for a Giant Day Gecko is 18x18x24 (LxWxH). I keep my gecko is a Exo Terra Glass Terrarium, 18 by 18 by 24-Inch and she does just fine!
If you read my DIY Chameleon Cage post, you know I did keep her in china cabinet converted into a vivarium for awhile. She did well in that too, but I almost think it was too large for her. I would say on average she used 20% of the enclosure, now that she is in something slightly smaller she tends to explore more, most likely she is a little more conformable.
Give your gecko lots of plants and branches to climb on! They love bamboo, you can get large bamboo (2″ diameter) at a your local home gardening store for fairly cheap. Most Day Geckos enjoy using bamboo to hide in.
My day gecko enclosure is planted with Golden Pothos… this is a seriously easy plant to take care of and they are harmless to the gecko.
I use a layered substrate to support plant grow. The layers are as follows (starting from the bottom most layer):
- Clay Pebbles
- Scrap piece of window screen
- Zoo Med Eco Earth Compressed Coconut Fiber Substrate
- Exo Terra Jungle Earth
I have found this combination to work great! Supports plant growth with no trouble and absorbs any waste produced by the gecko in a few days. It also holds moisture well so it can help with the humidity.
As their namesake suggests, Day geckos are diurnal animals. This means they require a UVB producing light bulb as they need artifical sunlight to produce vitamin D. Without this a day gecko can develop metabolic bone disease, eventually leading to death.
I use a Zoo Med ReptiSun 5.0 UVB which I replace annually. I read somewhere that Zoo Med bulbs release a more consistent band of UVB, where the Exo-Terra bulbs release strong blasts early on and then fail to produce any UVB thereafter. I’m not sure if that is true… I stick with Zoo Med just in case.
You should upgrade to the high output, Zoo Med ReptiSun 10.0 if the bulb is placed more than 18 inches away from the basking spot.
I also run t he lights on a 12 hr on/ 12 hr off light cycle (in the winter I reduce it to 10 hrs on/ 14 hrs off). I recommend buying a outlet timer off Amazon rather than buying one specifically intended for pets… usually it’s less expensive.
Temperature and Heating
I keep the enclosure temperature around 75°F – 80° F during the daytime with a basking spot of 90°F. I use an Exo Terra Sun-Glo Basking Spot Lamp, 50-Watt as a heat bulb. Here is how I maintain the basking spot temperature:
- I connect the bulb to a outlet dimmer
- I use my Temperature Gun to monitor the hot spot, this way I can dim or brighten the bulb as need. Although once it is set, I don’t need to touch it.
At night time, the bulb turns off of course and I let the enclosure drop to room temperature which is roughly 72°F.
In the wild, Day Geckos tend to eat: Insects, flower nectar, and fruit.
Day Geckos will eat most feeder insects. This includes: crickets, silkworms, hornworms and phoenix worms. Make sure you are dusting your feeder insects before offering them to your gecko. (Silkworms, and phoenix worms already have a high calcium content and therefore don’t need to be dusted.) Also be sure to feed insects smaller than the space between your animal’s eyes.
Crested Gecko Diet
Day Geckos also thrive on crested gecko diet! Crested gecko diets have come along way in the last 5-10 years, and can be a very healthy option for your Day Gecko. I have actually started seeing breeders marketing Day Geckos as “insect-free geckos”. My Day Gecko almost exclusively eats Pangea Fruit Mix With Insects Crested Gecko Complete Diet. That particular type of crested gecko diet is balanced with fruit and insects making it close to what they would consume in t he wild. She turns her nose up to almost all insects! Thankfully she does eat phoenix worms, but after two weeks or so of those she will start refusing them as well.
This is generally how I have been feeding:
- Every 2-3 days I offer Pangea Fruit Mix With Insects Crested Gecko Complete Diet
- Every 6 weeks or so I will offer phoenix worms alternate crested gecko diet and phoenix worms every few days until she has gone through a container of 100 (usually takes 2-3 weeks or so)
- I sometimes mix in mashed up banana (they will eat many different types of fruit) and/or honey into the crested gecko diet as a treat
Your gecko may be more likely to accept insects, I would say it would be ideal to feed your day gecko insects at least once per week provided you are also feeding crested gecko diet. Day Geckos love to hunt, it is great enrichment for them!
Humidity should fluctuate between 50-85%. I usually heavily mist about once per day, this causes the humidity to spike up to +85%. I then let the enclosure dry out for the rest of the day. If I notice she is about to shed, I might mist twice during that day to help her out. Day Geckos will lick up the water droplets for their daily water consumption, meaning a daily mist is very important. The Exo Terra Mister (or other misters like it) are a real life saver when compared to conventional misters.
Size and Life Span
Female Giant Day Geckos will tend to max out at 9-10″ and males can grow to upwards of 12″. Of course there are also smaller species of Day Gecko, such as the Gold Dust Day Gecko.
Day Geckos can live anywhere between 8 – 20 years long.
Simply put, you shouldn’t handle your Day Gecko! Day Geckos are very flighty creatures! They are very easily spooked. Day Geckos, like many other geckos drop their tails as a defense mechanism but they also have very delicate skin that “peels” off as an attempt to flee from a predator. It is not pretty, it essentially creates an open wound.
If you want to physically interact with your gecko, I recommend washing your hands and dipping your finger in either the crested gecko diet or honey. They will usually be comfortable licking it off your finger.
If you are a newbie to Day Gecko Care, you might find it helpful to print thi out (at least the bottom half) and hang it near the terrarium as a guide!
Click the picture to expand to full size OR download the FREE PDF Verison HERE: Day GECKO CARE