How to Care* for Your Golden Gecko
(photo credit NMGeckos)
Golden Geckos (Gekko ulikovskii) are moderately sized (6”-10”), nocturnal, arboreal geckos native to Vietnam. They generally inhabit a tropical rainforest. Golden Geckos get their common name from their greenish-gold body color. They have delicate skin and are not easily handled. Due to this, they are considered an appropriate reptile for someone with intermediate experience. Golden Geckos are members of the same genus as their larger, more popular cousins, the Tokay Gecko, and have very similar care requirements.
Golden Geckos are active, arboreal geckos that climb readily and enjoy multiple hiding places. Their enclosures need to be vertically oriented (more tall than long). The absolute minimum enclosure size for a single Golden Gecko is a 20 gallon high (24 1/4” x 12 1/2” x 16 3/4”) aquarium, though a front opening 18”x18”x24” enclosure is a better choice. They appreciate a fairly densely planted enclosure with either live or artificial plants. These planted enclosures are set up with an expanded clay ball and mesh drainage layer topped by coco fiber or other vivarium soil mix. The plants in the enclosure should be sturdy and able to tolerate the gecko’s weight. Golden Geckos can also be kept on non-particulate substrates such as paper towel with real plants in pots or artificial plants; however, it is important that there are multiple hiding spots at all cage levels, some of which should be on the snug side, for the Golden Gecko to feel comfortable. A water dish can be provided if desired, though Golden Geckos get most of their hydration by licking water drops from their environment.
Heating and Lighting
Golden Geckos are most comfortable at temperatures in the 80’s (F) during the day, with a 10-15 degree temperature drop at night. This can be accomplished by using a light during the day that also gives off heat, such as a basking flood lamp, which serves as well to facilitate plant growth. Heat can also be provided if necessary, using a ceramic heat emitter though this can easily dry out the air in the enclosure and reduce humidity below acceptable levels. Golden Geckos are nocturnal and do not require lighting beyond the ambient light in the room, though if live plants are to be used, a light will be essential. Lights should be run on a timer to allow a maximum of 12-14 hours of “daylight.”
Humidity of at least 80% in the evenings should be provided by heavily misting each night. In particularly dry environments, enclosures can be misted in the mornings as well.
Food and Supplementation
Golden Geckos are primarily insectivorous (insect-eating) but also enjoy ripe, tropical fruit. They will usually eat prepared, reconstituted fruit nectar, sold as Crested Gecko Diet (CGD). Golden Geckos are generally attracted only to live insects and bugs. They enjoy a variety of bugs and worms, including mealworms, superworms, hornworms, silkworms, locusts, crickets, and Dubia Roaches. Being arboreal, they may have more success hunting bugs than worms, which tend to bury themselves in the substrate. Care should be taken to feed appropriate sized prey and not to leave prey in the enclosure for long periods of time. Adult Golden Geckos will do well with the large-sized crickets and Dubia Roaches.
Golden Geckos require calcium to build strong bones, vitamin D3 to metabolize the calcium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. It’s generally recommended to dust their prey with calcium, vitamin D3 and other vitamins using a commercially available product every feeding for juveniles and every other feeding for adults.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to Golden Geckos, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.