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"Gekko gecko" The Tokay gecko

Tokay geckos, the second largest gecko known are a beautiful addition to any herpetologists collection. Tokay geckos are named after the bark they make. The Tokay gecko is pretty easy to keep as a pet. I would not recommend them for a child though. 

Here are Some basic guidelines for keeping your Tokay geckos healthy and happy.

What is a Tokay gecko?

Tokay geckos origin and description

The Tokay gecko or "Gekko gecko" is a lizard thats natural range is found from northeast India to southern China, the Malay Peninsula, the Andamans, the Philippines, and much of Indonesia. They have also been introduced to some tropical and sub-tropical regions such as southern Florida.

Most Tokay geckos are a steely, bluish grey with orange, rusty colored spots. There are some nice morphs available. They generally grow to about 12-14 inches long. Females tend to be a little shorter. Tokay's are an arboreal species that will climb everything, including glass, and are edificial tending to hide in crevices.

Tokay geckos are cold-blooded and nocturnal or night creatures.This is when you will see most of thier activity and you may hear them sing as they do!

The typical lifespan of a tokay gecko in the wild is 7 years. In captivity they can live much longer. I'll tell you about proper terrarium set up and daily care requirements to ease your Tokay geckos stress level. Reports of 20 to 23 years have been noted.

Selecting Your Tokay gecko

What to Look for in a Tokay gecko

Healthy Tokay geckos are plump bulky little creatures. You should not visibly see any bones. You should also safely try to pick one up to see how much he fights you as this is a good sign of overall health. Tokay geckos do not like to be held and should bark or try to bite you.

When the gecko has its mouth open check it out. It should be black and bright pink, if its red and irritated it may have stomatitis (mouth rot). If the tokay in question is limp or don't seem to care you will want to pass on it, or take as a project to save.

If you can feel the gecko for any physical abnormalities like bumps or weird hard spots, do so. This will tell you of broken bones or possible impactions.

Male Tokay geckos are easily identified by a prominent row of preanal scales. Males also generally tend to have thicker bases to their tails.

Handling Tokay geckos

Your Tokay gecko doesn't like you? Tokay geckos have nothing but attitude! They don't like to be held and it should be avoided if possible. Tokay geckos have one powerful bite and will latch onto you like a pitbull, not wanting to let go. Their bites could cause great injury to children.

Maybe look into Mourning Gecko for your kids!

Never grab your tokay from behind! As with all geckos, the Tokays tail can be autotomized or dropped. Its tail will eventually grow back but never be the same again.

Every so often you may find an adult Tokay that will tolerate being held but thats a great exception. Your best bet if you want to hold your gecko is to get a baby. Then you have a chance at taming it. Its gonna be a pretty much hands off pet though but they are beautiful to look at!!

Your Tokay geckos new home

Cage, Temperature, and Humidity for your Tokay gecko

So now you found the perfect Tokay and got it home. Its quarantine time! Even if you know for sure that your Tokay is captive bred this should still be done to insure your other geckos health. Most all tokay geckos are wild caught and have a parasite of one kind or another.This can be checked by fecal analysis with a qualified veterinarian.

A basic 10 gallon tank will work for your tokay gecko this point. The temperature gradient of your Tokay enclosure should have a warm area of 85-90°F and a cooler area around 70°F during the day with night time temp of no lower than 65°F.

A black (nocturnal) heating lamp should be utilized. Since Tokay geckos are nocturnal, no special UV lighting is required.Tokay geckos should have a relative humidity between 55% and 75% with no less than 50%.

Their permanent home should be at least a 20 gallon vertical tank to each gecko with only one male Tokay in each set up.

Tokay geckos are very territorial, and this is a bare minimum area requirement. If at all possible you should put your tokay geckos in their new vivarium at the same time to prevent territorial disputes.

Exo Terra Allglass Terrarium

Provide in your enclosure some sturdy branches and Tokay gekko gecko Terrarium vines for climbing and hiding. Be sure that your cage has a decent temperature range. Your geckos will use the warmest part for basking and that helps them digest. Some companies offer heating pads that stick to the side of your cage and they are the best choice for these geckos.

Your tokay enclosure should be ventilated either by screens or artificially by a fan. There are cross-ventilated terrariums out there but they are harder to keep the humidity in. Adding moss or another natural substrate will help with retaining moisture. Also consider using tape or plastic to close off some ventilation to assist getting the humidity to appropriate levels.

Care and Feeding your Tokay geckos

Time for your Tokay Geckos to Shine

Reptile Necessities

Tokay geckos are mostly carnivorous with the occasional sweet tooth. You can choose crickets to mealworms to pinkies. Generally the faster it moves the faster it goes down!

Always preload and vitamin dust your offerings, this guarantees proper nutrition. Tokay geckos tend to eat a lot and with some authority. You can easily expect to feed them a dozen large crickets every other day. Try to put some fruit baby food in the cage once in awhile. 

Read here what Geckos eat!

Your Tokay geckos will most likely not drink from a still water source. I would try one elevated in the cage but not on the substrate. There are waterfall and other flowing water appliances you could try, so plan on misting the Tokay tank at least twice a day.

If your tokay gecko shows signs of trouble shedding, check the humidity of its tank. Also add what I call a sweatbox. Basically its just sauna. Take some cork, the rounded half log type works best, and place it over some moistened moss. If nothing seems to work try spraying some Shed-Ease on it. This should help but remember not to try to pull it off yourself.

Tokay gecko Health Issues

Typical Ailments and Causes

* Just a little slow

1. Cage temperature may be to low
2. internal parasites
3. insufficient diet

* Stomatitis or mouth rot

1. Possible bacterial or fungal infection
2. Internal or external parasites
3. Foreign body lodged in mouth, broken jaw
4. Cancer

* Not shedding properly

1. Not enough humidity. Provide a very humid hide box
2. Temperature too low
3. Diet not correct

Breeding your Tokay geckos

Tokay geckos breed quite regularly in captivity. If they are fed well and kept healthy, you get babies. Its that easy. You don't need to play with the conditions of the vivarium. No temperature or light manipulations required. The only thing you should do is make available a small dish of your favorite calcium supplement.

Tokay females will lay between 3-4 two egg clutches a year.Tokay eggs should be left on whatever they are laid on due to a glue like substance, you will just break them if you try. You can incubate the eggs in a separate container if you so desire.

Your Tokay gecko hatchlings should arrive in between 120-180 days and will be about 4 inches long. Adult Tokay geckos tend not to be cannibalistic but you may not want to test fate. Baby Tokay's should be fed smaller critters as much as they'd like. It takes about one year for Tokay geckos to become sexually mature.