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How to Care for Your Sarasinorum Gecko

How to Care for Your Sarasinorum Gecko

The sarasinorum gecko (Correlophus sarasinorum) is a large, nocturnal, arboreal lizard native to southern Grande Terre, New Caledonia. They prefer to spend most of their time in the trees of tropical forest areas.

Sarasinorum geckos grow up to 12-16” long, and have a large triangular head, slender prehensile tail, and velvety smooth skin. Like most geckos, they have sticky toe pads and lack eyelids. Coloring is generally mottled to flat brown, although some individuals have white spots/blotches and a v-shaped “collar” behind their head.

Like other New Caledonian geckos, sarasinorum geckos are fairly easy to care for. With good care, they can live 15-20 years.

How much space do sarasinorum geckos need?

Sarasinorum geckos may be overall similar to the more popular crested gecko, but their size means that they need a larger enclosure. A single sarasinorum gecko should be housed in no smaller than a 24” x 24” x 48” terrarium, although larger is always better, and will be happily used!

Cohabitation (keeping multiple sarasinorum geckos in one enclosure) is not recommended, and may result in fighting if attempted.

Do sarasinorum geckos need UVB?

As a nocturnal species, they can survive without it as long as they get the right supplements, 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.

Sarasinorum geckos do best with low-strength UVB as part of their enclosure. The best UVB bulbs for sarasinorum geckos housed in a 24” x 24” x 48” terrarium are:

  • Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 10.0, 24”
  • Zoo Med T5 HO Reptisun 5.0, 22”
  • Arcadia T5 HO Forest 6%, 22”

The UVB bulb should be housed in a reflective fixture (Arcadia or Vivarium Electronics) and placed close to the heat lamp, about 6-12” 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. UVB bulbs decay over time, so you will need to replace it every 12 months to maintain performance.

Sarasinorum geckos should receive 11 hours of light during winter and 13.5 hours of light during summer. This simulates natural seasonal changes in day length and encourages healthier hormonal rhythms.

What basking temperatures do sarasinorum geckos need?

Despite popular myth, sarasinorum geckos do benefit from having a basking area. After all, they’re still ectotherms, which means that they need a temperature gradient in their enclosure to help them regulate their metabolism and stay healthy.

Sarasinorum geckos should have a moderate basking temperature around 88°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 70-80°F. Heat lamps should be turned off at night. Nighttime temperatures can drop as low as 65°F.

Provide heat for your gecko by imitating the sun with a couple of low-wattage heat bulbs placed on one side of the enclosure in a dual dome fixture. Do not use ceramic heat emitters (CHEs), red bulbs, or blue bulbs, as these are not as effective.

What humidity levels do sarasinorum geckos need?

Sarasinorum geckos need a high humidity environment with an average humidity of 60-80%, although it can drop as low as 50% and spike as high as 100%. 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!

What substrate is good for sarasinorum geckos?

Although sarasinorum geckos are an arboreal species and don’t spend much 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.

Ideally, this substrate should resemble what sarasinorum geckos naturally live on in the wild — in this case, tropical soil. It should have small particles and hold moisture well. We recommend the following substrates for sarasinorum 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 sarasinorum geckos 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. Sarasinorum geckos appreciate a fairly densely planted enclosure with either live or artificial plants, which can make their terrarium a great piece of home decor!

At bare minimum, you will need a branch 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 sarasinorum geckos eat?

Sarasinorum geckos are omnivorous, which means that they need to eat a balanced diet of plant and animal matter in order to get the nutrition that their bodies need. In the wild, they primarily eat insects and fruit. In captivity, it’s best to feed them high-quality, specially-formulated crested gecko diet (CGD) supplemented by live insect feeders.

How often sarasinorum geckos need to eat depends on age:

  • Hatchlings and Juveniles (0-12 months) — CGD daily, insects 1-2x/week
  • Adults (>12 months) — CGD every 2-3 days, insects 1x/week

Because sarasinorum geckos are arboreal, CGD should be offered via wall-mounted feeding ledge, not placed on the ground.

Best crested gecko diets: Pangea, Repashy, Leapin’ Leachie, Zoo Med, Lugarti, Black Panther Zoological, Gecko Pro

Feeder insects for sarasinorum geckos: dubia roaches, discoid roaches, crickets, hornworms, mealworms, darkling beetles

Remember, the key to great nutrition is variety!

Supplements

Although crested gecko diet doubles as a vitamin supplement, you will need calcium powder to dust on feeder insects. We recommend Repashy Supercal NoD.

Water

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 sarasinorum geckos like to be handled?

Few reptiles actually “like” to be held, and although other New Caledonian geckos generally tolerate handling well, sarasinorum geckos prefer that you keep your hands off, and they’re generally best as a display animal.

However, with patience, they can be tamed. Be gentle, and whenever possible, scoop up the gecko from below instead of grabbing it from above — this approach is less scary and stressful for them. They will be a bit jumpy at first, so let them hop from one hand to the other until they have calmed down. Stay close to the ground in case of a fall, and keep in mind that these geckos can be very fast.


*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.

 

Photo 40424064” by Lennart Hudel is marked with CC BY-NC 4.0.

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