Species group: Geckos
Other common names: Gold Dust Gecko
Scientific name: Phelsuma laticauda
Gold Dust Day Geckos are found in northern Madagascar, and in the islands of Comoros, Reunion, and Nosy Be. It has also been introduced to the Seychelles and the Hawaiian Islands. Their natural habitat is around houses and among various kinds of trees like palms, as well as banana plants.
Appearance / health:
Among the smaller Day Geckos, the Gold Dust is only about 4 inches in length. Known as “living jewels,” their body color is typically bright yellow-green with gold spots, speckles, or markings on the neck, shoulders, and back. They have three reddish-brown bars on the snout and head, and teardrop shaped ones on the lower back. The immovable eyelids have bluish rings. The belly is whitish, and the tail is somewhat flat. Like other Geckos, the toepads are flat.
Behavior / temperament:
These Geckos are arboreal and highly territorial, showing aggression among males. In cases when males are aggressive against females, they should be separated and introduced only for breeding purposes.
The ideal cage for the tree-dwelling Gold Dust Day Gecko is a vertically oriented woodland terrarium, at least a 20-gallon. The cage needs to have dense sturdy vegetation, preferably smooth leaves and branches, for climbing, hiding, and scavenging. It should also have good ventilation. The substrate is preferably soil topped with wood chips. Day temp: 79-90F; night temp: 70-75F; day humidity: 50-60%; night humidity: 80-90%; lighting: 10-12 hours, UV radiation required.
Gold Dust Day Geckos are best housed singly, in pairs, or in groups with only one male (to prevent aggression towards other males). Because they are like other lizards that do not drink from stagnant or still water, the cage must be misted regularly to allow the lizards to drink the water trickling from the leaves.
Gold Dust Day Geckos feed on crickets, flies, and other insects, as well as maggots, mealworms, and wax worms. They also eat pollen and nectar from flowers, and sweet sap and juices from ripe and soft fruits.
Sexually mature in only a year, Gold Dust Day Geckos are egg-layers, ready to breed again as soon as the eggs are laid. Pairs of eggs are laid among plants and in crevices. They hatch in about 40 days.
Great vocal friends, beautiful geckos
humid terrarium environment, roomy habitat, high intensity light, suction cup fingers
My husband builds and maintains living vivariums. He learned this trade after keeping poison dart frogs for a time, and found that the building of these habitats was probably more fun than the animals that went in them.
For over a year, we had a 30 gallon tall tank over grown with various tropical plants, complete with a water fall and trillions of micro-organisms keeping the whole thing alive. We finally decided to go with a gecko species instead of frogs for this one, and man did we make the right decision!
We obtained one male and one female Gold Dust Day Geckos. Already adults and proven breeders, I named them Fred and Wilma. They were no longer than the palm of my hand (Fred was a little longer, being a manly man and all.) The tank itself pretty much took care of them as far as hydration (it produced it's own dew in the morning,) and a natural, roomy habitat. They could even eat the tiny organisms that kept the tank clean and fresh. They do, though, require a specially made diet called Day Gecko Diet. It is essentially a powder that you mix with water, and feed them in a tiny dish every couple of days. This diet mimics their wild diet of nectar, sap, and other goodies they would find without ever having to give live insects that could fowl up the living ecosystem.
About a year and a half later, they were more than settled into their home. One day we found eggs! Eighty days later, we have tiny Freds and Wilmas to care for.
Because this species is not handleable AT ALL, they are basically living decor. Yes, they may need vet care like any other living animal, but for the most part they are not available for interaction. This is definitely not a pet for just anyone, but only for those who can seriously appreciate their beauty and natural behaviors.
A living tank is not required to keep them, but it has become increasingly obvious to me that this type of habitat not only makes the animals feel more comfortable, but it keeps them in tip top health..
From Kimberly Webb Dec 21 2012 5:33PM
Striking and colorful, active during the day
I owned a day gecko named “Calvin” for about four years. While colorful and visually striking lizards, they are hard to recommend for beginners, small children, or casual reptile owners, due to the fact that these geckos are more for looking at than for anything else.
Day geckos, as you can tell from their name, are diurnal: that is, they are active during the day, unlike most other gecko species which are nocturnal. Because of this, they will often be “out and about” in the day time rather than hidden away or sleeping, and are fun and fascinating to watch. A terrarium with day geckos will be popular with your guests due to their bright coloration and cute appearance -- a lizard that even women will think is cute! They are tropical lizards and require a warm, humid terrarium environment in order to thrive and stay healthy.
Day geckos can be timid and skittish, and like most geckos, can climb on flat surfaces such as glass terrarium walls due to the pads on their feet. They move very fast, and because they are small (with the exception of the “giant” species), require a very secure terrarium to prevent escape. While they can be handled and may eventually get used to human touch and become docile as mine did, they are generally not suitable to handle for too long as this can cause them stress. For this reason they are recommended for enthusiasts looking to set up a static terrarium environment for viewing rather than for someone looking for a reptile they can play and bond with.
These are visually beautiful, interesting lizards and are popular among exotic reptile owners and terrarium enthusiasts. They make a good addition to a tropical terrarium environment. While not excessively difficult to care for, I would not recommended day geckos for small children or as a pet for someone who wants a lizard they can regularly handle..
From C_Lucas Jun 12 2014 9:02PM