How to Care for Your Tokay Gecko
Tokay geckos (Gekko gecko) are large (12-15”), nocturnal, arboreal geckos native to Indonesia, parts of India, and the Philippines. They generally inhabit a tropical rainforest. The original Tokay gecko was grayish-blue with orange or red spots. Recently, a variety of colors and morphs have been produced, including, but not limited to, greens, reds, albinos, and calicos. Tokays are known for their vocalizations, which some cultures have transcribed to sound like “to-kay,” resulting in their common name. Due to the Tokay’s aggressive nature, it is considered an appropriate reptile for someone with intermediate to advanced experience.
Tokay 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 minimum truly adequate enclosure size for 1-2 Tokays is 18”x18”x24”, though larger is better. They appreciate a fairly densely planted enclosure with either live or artificial plants. Since they tend to orient themselves upwards, a front-opening enclosure is best to reduce the chances of them escaping when you open it. Many Tokay Geckos are kept in planted enclosures 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. Tokay 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 Tokay Gecko to feel comfortable. A water dish can be provided if desired, though Tokay Geckos get most of their hydration by licking water drops from their environment.
Heating and Lighting
Tokay 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 that also gives off heat, such as a basking flood lamp, which serves as well to facilitate plant growth. Heat can also be provided using a ceramic heat emitter. Tokay 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
Tokay Geckos are primarily insectivorous (insect-eating), though some are fed newborn “pinkie” mice on occasion as adults. They are generally attracted only to live food. Tokay geckos thrive on 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 Tokay Geckos will do well with the large-sized crickets and Dubia Roaches.
Tokay 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 Tokay Geckos, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.