How to Care for Your Flying Gecko
Flying geckos (Gekko kuhli) are small, nocturnal, arboreal lizards native to southeast Asia. They live their entire lives in the canopy of the rainforest, gliding from branch to branch with their unique flaps of skin.
Flying geckos are generally between 6-8” long, with a triangular head, large lidless eyes, a blunt serrated tail, webbed toes, and extra flaps of skin running laterally on each side. They generally have a pattern of brown, jagged bands on a pale background, although some individuals are darker.
Flying geckos are commonly wild-caught and can be sensitive in captivity, making them an intermediate-level pet reptile. When captive bred and cared for well, they can live as long as 10 years.
How much space do flying geckos need?
Although small, flying geckos need an enclosure that is spacious enough to allow them to exercise natural behaviors such as gliding. A single flying gecko should be housed in no smaller than a 36” x 18” x 36” terrarium, although larger is always better, and will be happily used! If housed in a smaller enclosure, you run the risk of the gecko attempting to glide and smacking into the enclosure wall.
Cohabitation (keeping multiple flying geckos in one enclosure) is not required for their mental wellbeing, but can be done successfully as long as the geckos have enough space. It’s best not to house males together, and don’t house a male with a female unless you want to deal with babies. The best case scenario is a group of two or three females.
Do flying geckos need UVB?
They seem to be able to survive without it, but it’s still recommended. UVB gives them all of the vitamin D that their bodies need, stimulates better appetite and activity, and generally allows them to be healthier than they would be without.
Flying geckos do best with low-strength UVB as part of their enclosure. The best UVB bulbs for flying geckos are:
- Zoo Med T8 ReptiSun 5.0
- Arcadia ShadeDweller Kit
The UVB bulb should be housed in a reflective fixture, 2/3 the length of the enclosure, and placed close to the heat lamp, about 6” above the basking branch. UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so you can’t give your gecko UVB by placing its terrarium in front of an open window. Also make sure that the fixture your UVB bulb is in does not have a clear plastic bulb cover.
Flying geckos should receive 12 hours of light per day, with lights being turned off at night.
What basking temperatures do flying geckos need?
As ectotherms, flying geckos need a temperature gradient in their enclosure to help them regulate their metabolism and stay healthy.
Flying geckos should have a low basking temperature around 95°F, as measured by a digital probe thermometer with the probe placed on the basking surface. The cool zone in the lower regions of the enclosure should stay between 75-85°F. The heat lamp should be turned off at night, but nighttime temperatures should never go below 70°F.
Provide daytime heat for your gecko by imitating the sun with a heat lamp placed on one side of the enclosure. If you need nighttime heating, use a low-wattage ceramic heat emitter or radiant heat panel at night. Do not use colored bulbs.
What humidity levels do flying geckos need?
Flying geckos need a high humidity environment with an average humidity of 70-85%, although it can drop as low as 60% during the day and spike as high as 100% at night. Monitor humidity levels with a digital probe hygrometer with the probe in the middle of the terrarium.
Misting your gecko’s enclosure with a sprayer each evening and again in the morning will help create the right humidity levels. It also provides an important source of drinking water! If you need extra help maintaining humidity, try using a cool mist humidifier.
What substrate is good for flying geckos?
Although flying geckos are an arboreal species and don’t spend time on the ground, placing a layer of substrate on the floor of the enclosure helps maintain humidity. As an added perk, it also tends to make the enclosure more attractive. We recommend the following substrates for flying geckos:
Layering clean, chemical-free leaf litter on top of the substrate can also help with humidity.
Substrate should be at least 2” deep and completely replaced every 3-4 months. Remove poop and urates daily, along with contaminated substrate.
What décor can you use in a flying gecko terrarium?
It’s terribly boring for a gecko to be stuck in an enclosure with nothing in it except substrate and food/water bowls. It doesn’t matter how big the enclosure is if you don’t put things in it for your pet to use and interact with. Flying geckos appreciate a fairly densely planted enclosure with either live or artificial plants, which can make their terrarium a great piece of home décor!
At bare minimum, you will need a couple of branches for your gecko to climb on and some live or artificial foliage for it to hide in. However, it’s best to include other items, such as:
What do flying geckos eat?
Flying geckos are insectivorous, which means that they need to eat a diet of live insects in order to get the nutrition that their bodies need. How often flying geckos need to eat depends on age: Juveniles should be fed daily, and adults should be fed every 3 days. Offer 4-6 bugs per gecko, no wider than the space between the gecko’s eyes.
Feeder insects for flying geckos: dubia roaches, discoid roaches, crickets, darkling beetles
Remember, the key to great nutrition is variety! Crested gecko diet can be offered as an occasional treat.
You will need calcium and multivitamin powder to dust on feeder insects to help prevent your pet from developing a deficiency. We recommend Repashy Calcium Plus.
Although your gecko will get most of its drinking water from daily mistings, it’s a good idea to also provide a wall-mounted water dish. Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with a reptile-safe disinfectant weekly, or whenever it becomes soiled.
Do flying geckos like to be handled?
Flying geckos are too small, fast, and skittish to be safely handled. Instead of interacting with your gecko by holding it, try hand-feeding it instead with a pair of feeding tweezers.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please do further research with high-quality sources to obtain additional information on caring for this species.
"Kuhl's Flying Gecko (Ptychozoon kuhli)" by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0