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Gold Dust Day Gecko Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name:Gold-Dust Day Gecko
Scientific Name:Phelsuma laticauda
Life Span:4 to 8 years
Size:4 to 9 inches 
Habitat:Humid or semi-arid forests
Country of Origin:Northern and western Madagascar, introduced to Hawaii, Comoros, and other Pacific Islands

Physical Description

Gold dust day gecko is perfect for novice keepers who are looking for a beautiful yet easy to nurture geckos. Considered as one of the most attractive geckos in the world, Gold dust day geckos are hardy, resilient, and low maintenance. Found in humid forests and sparse semi-arid areas, this gecko is indigenous to northern and western Madagascar. You can find them residing in palms and banana trees. Their lifespan can reach up to 10 years in captivity. Although leopard geckos are easier to handle, this particular pet is still recommended for beginners because of its vibrant appearance and non-aggressive nature. 

It’s a medium-sized gecko species that has a broad tail. The average size is about 4 to 9 inches (10-22 cm.). And just like most lizards that we can observe today, male Gold dust day geckos are larger compared to females. They have a very vibrant body that comes in beautiful color combinations such as greenish-blue, yellowish-green, or bright green. You’ll also notice some small yellow dots on their upper back, including their neck. Hence, their “gold dust” name. These lizards also have 3 distinct orange stripes on their heads with 3 red ones on the lower portion of their body. You’ll also find the blue hue surrounding their eyes very attractive. Meanwhile, their undersides are cream in color, and their toes are color blue. 

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Life Span 

So long as the keeper can maintain optimal environmental conditions for these geckos, it can live up to 8 years in captivity. Before you start rearing these geckos, you must do some little research first. Gather as much information as you can about them and find what kind of enclosure you need to prepare for them. Bear in mind that even though they are low maintenance lizards, these pets are not meant for handling. They are ideal for viewing online just like a fish inside the aquarium. Apart from being shy and nervous, these lizards are also very fragile. If you provide them the right environment and you keep them happy and healthy, it’s possible that these geckos can reach up to 10 years. Providing them the right lighting system and adjusting the temperature correctly is very important as well. 

Eating Habits

Gold dust day gecko loves consuming pollen and nectar from flowers. They are also known to consume fruits and invertebrates, which make them omnivorous. When keeping them in captivity, you must provide them captive diets. Seasoned keepers keeper that you feed them with 20 to 30% complete gecko diet, and the remaining 70% should be live meals or insects. These geckos also love eating healthy roaches, black soldier fly, crockets, and even worms. You can feed them with waxworms, butterworms, and mealworms. 

Regardless of whether you’re feeding it fruits, vegetables, or insects, you must dust these meals with calcium powder. You can also find keepers who feed their Gold dust day gecko with honey and pollen. While this can be good for their health, it’s very important that you only add it to no more than 10% of their diet. Adding water dripper is also critical to avoid dehydration. 

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Sleeping Habits   

As its name implies, gold dust ‘day’ geckos are diurnal, which means that they are most active during the day rather than night time. They are an arboreal species that look for food during day time. They spend most of their lives on top of the trees. This is where they eat fruits, rest, sleep, and protect themselves from predators. If you’re planning to raise these beautiful geckos in captivity, then you have to make sure that you install a ‘tree’-like item or object inside the terrarium. Therefore, the height of the enclosure should be taller. You can also add tree hollows or cork bark inside. 

It’s also essential that you provide these geckos a hiding place inside the enclosure. As much as possible, you don’t want to handle these geckos since they are shy and nervous. The building or installing a hiding spot in the terrarium is healthy for them because aside from it helps them enjoy rest and sleep, they also feel more secure inside it, which significantly minimizes any stress. 

Development and Reproduction 

Gold dust day geckos have become a crowning jewel to many gecko collectors. These geckos are not only clothed with stunning colors and dazzling patterns, but they also have a charming and curious personality. For those who are planning to raise these cute and lovely lizards, understanding its development and reproduction is critical. It can be quite tricky to reproduce these pets. However, with proper research, reproducing them should be very easy. The key to successful growth and development of these geckos is providing them the best environment. This is why you have to know more about their natural habitat if you want to make these lizards grow, develop, and reproduce. 

Seasoned gecko keepers know how important it is to cool a pair. Cycling into cold conditions is very important for both males and females. After laying eggs, female geckos will experience stress, and her nutritional demands increase. For the female to recover, the keeper must cool them first. This helps in rebuilding their strength and health to give way to the next breeding season. Bear in mind that health male and female geckos produce healthy eggs and hatchlings. Before you start breeding them. You have to induce winter-like conditions. This is where you reduce ambient temperatures. Dropping daytime temperature from 80F to lower levels. It’s recommended that you drop it to a low 70F. And once the spring and summer begin to appear, the increase in temperature and photoperiod signals them that they are already ready to breed again. 

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How to Breed

To ensure successful breeding of these beautiful geckos, you must follow these guidelines. You want everything to be prepared. From the health of your gecko to setting up the environment, everything must be in place. This is where reading and doing research becomes very important. Failing to provide them the right environment is not only unhealthy for the lizards,  but it will also prevent them from reproducing. Also, you must know the best time or season for you to breed them is. Remember that in their natural habitat, they wait for certain seasons before they start breeding. 

Time and Environment

First of all, you need to make sure that the geckos are indeed sexually matured already before you start breeding them. They reach their sexual maturity age at about 9 to 10 months. However, it’s recommended that you wait for about 12 to 15 months before you start breeding them. Breeding them before they reach a year can impact their health. And as mentioned earlier, you want them to be healthy before you start breeding them. 

For geckos that are newly bought or have been to recently shipped, new keepers must provide them extra time to adapt or acclimatize to their new environment. Also, you don’t want to introduce a new gecko to your old one immediately. You have to ensure that you quarantine the new ones first. Check for injuries, parasites, and diseases. Once the new gecko is already healthy and is now completely settled on his or her environment, then it’s time for you to put them together. For newly bought geckos, you must provide them a healthy and steady diet. 

Preparing the enclosure for breeding is also essential. A pair of gold dust day gecko should be placed inside a breeding vivarium that has adequate space – 8 to 10 gallons should suffice. The best substrates to use for these geckos are a clean mix of organic soil, added with some orchid barks. Providing the right humidity levels is also necessary. The right humidity level should be about 60%, while the temperature should be about 75 to 90F. Aside from providing them proper humidity and temperature, you should also provide them the right lighting conditions. It’s advisable that you chose high-quality UVB lights that can provide great color rendering and superior illumination. 

Introducing the Male and Female 

You want to make sure that you introduce the male and female geckos correctly. You should choose a pair that has not occupied the enclosure or vivarium before. This neutral territory should be clean, and the environment should be set for breeding already. The reason why you want a nutria territory is to avoid any territorial disputes, promoting harmony between the male and female gecko. You’ll know whether or not the male and female are into each other. The keeper should watch or observe any signs of acceptance, such as bobbing or wagging of their heads. You should also watch for female allowing the male gecko to bite her mate. Also, a male gecko showing her back to the female is a good indication that they have established great harmony. 

You should also watch out for any signs of aggression, such as attacks, chasing, and refusal. Take note that not all pairs get along together. Always observe the pair behaves, and it’s possible that one of them will be mauled and will obtain mortal wounds. If you think that they’ve been overly aggressive toward one another, then you should separate the two. Don’t pair one hostile gecko to another. But if everything goes perfectly well, then you can expect the female geckos to lay eggs every 3 to 6 weeks during the mating season. 

Feeding the Geckos

Another important thing that you need to keep in mind when breeding these geckos is to ensure that they are well-fed. Nutrition plays a very important role in reproduction. If you want a successful reproductive rate and you want them to have healthy offspring, then they should be fed with healthy meals and even healthy supplementation. Breeding becomes a lot healthier, and the success rate is significantly improved if you provide them a strong nutritional program. 

Laying Eggs

Although small in stature, these geckos are indeed prolific breeders. As long as you provide them healthy nutrition and a good environment, the females will continue to lay eggs. After breeding the pair, you can expect to see eggs through the female’s white belly. Once she reaches full-term, which is about 3 to 4 weeks depending on her diet and environmental conditions, she will then look for the best site to lay eggs inside the enclosure. They usually love laying their eggs on plants or leaves. Provide them privacy and note that these females are quite secretive and don’t want to be disturbed or interrupted when they are laying their eggs. Their eggs are usually glued together in two, although you’ll also observe single eggs. Unlike other geckos, their eggs do not stick to surfaces. You can then start incubating the eggs after the female has laid them. You also would want to remove all the adults inside the enclosure since there’s a high chance of them eating their eggs. It’s also advisable that you do not move the eggs but maintain original orientation. 

Incubation Process

When incubating their eggs, you can use their variable temperatures or single temperatures. There are a lot of incubators that you can find online today, and buying them is very easy. You can also choose to create your homemade incubators. Be sure that you double-check the temperature first before you start placing the eggs inside the enclosure. You should also buy temperature gauges and hygrometers to ensure that you’ve provided the right values and have accurate readings. 

What’s interesting about these geckos is that their sex is dependent on the temperature. If you want to produce females, then set the temperature to 80F, but if you want males, then choose 83F. And if you would like to have a mix of male and female hatchlings, then set the values between 81 to 82 degrees. Do not forget to provide them the right humidity levels as well. Make sure that you maintain 60% humidity when incubating eggs. When everything is in the right place, you can expect these eggs to hatch between 40 to 45 days. 

Taking Care of Hatchlings

Just like taking care of adult geckos, you should also provide the hatchlings with the right environment and nourishment. Nurturing them is pretty easy since a pair of hatchlings can be placed in the same enclosure together. However, after the first month, make sure that you separate them already. Keep in mind that these geckos are territorial if you see any signs of aggression, then separate the two geckos. 

Feeding them is also very easy. You can provide them fruit flies, crickets, fruits, and even vegetables. Giving them gut-loading feeder insects and providing them supplementing meals is also very healthy. By giving them the right amount of vitamins and minerals, these hatchlings will be able to grow and develop fast. Poor feeding programs can make them sick and usually lead to failed development and maturation. Take note that the first few weeks of their growth and development are dependent on the nutrition that you provide them. Also, make sure that their environment is ideal and that the temperature, humidity, and lighting are provided properly. Hatchlings don’t have a great tolerance in some variances or changes in the environment. 

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Common Health Problems

1) Poor Shedding

Shedding is common to lizards, especially geckos. However, poor shedding can happen, and this can lead to other health problems. The role of the keeper is not only to ensure that the pet is well-nourished and is housed in a clean environment, but he or she should also lookout for early signs and warnings of health problems, including poor shedding. When your gecko sheds, be sure that you double-check if there are any other sheds left clinging on their limbs, heads, and tails. These residual sheds can cause skin irritation and can damage their extremities. It’s vital that you assist them and that you help them get rid of the remaining sheds. You can soak your geckos on clean water. Misting them with warm water also works. Be sure that you also remove any sheds that are stuck on their eyes and toes. Also, it’s useful to note that proper humidity can soften your gecko’s shed. 

2) Wounds and Injuries

Another common health problem that gold dust day geckos encounter is wounds and injuries. Bear in mind that these geckos can be very aggressive; therefore, you have to ensure that you separate them. They are also territorial, which means that they’ll protect and die for their territory. Don’t be fooled by their size since these geckos can inflict pain and injury to other geckos. Also, once you see any wounds, bites, scratch, or injuries, you must clean it and treat it with clean water and hydrogen peroxide. These wounds can cause a bacterial infection, which can lead to more serious health problems. Therefore, be sure that you always check the skin or body of your geckos. Removing sharp objects inside the terrarium or enclosure is also necessary if you want to avoid any injuries. 

When breeding, always check if the female accepts the male or vice versa. Don’t leave the two without checking whether or not they are happy and contented with each other. If there is any aggressive behavior or if one gecko mauls another, then you should separate them. Also, while raising your gecko, try to understand their behavior. Look for any signs of aggressiveness. Try to separate the peaceful from the aggressive ones. 

3) Internal and External Parasites

Parasites can be life-threatening if left untreated. You want to make sure that you geckos are healthy and that they do not have any internal and external parasitic organism found on or inside their bodies. Although these parasites don’t harm their health, once their immune system is compromised, they become sicklier, and parasitic organisms will start to invade their bodies. If you want to ensure that their immune system is healthily functioning, then make sure that you help them avoid any stress, illnesses, and injuries. Keep in mind that the more stress they are, the more chances these parasitic organisms will invade their body and system. 

Also, it’s important to note that there are 2 types of parasitic health problems, one is internal, and the other is external. It can be very challenging to find internal organisms, and the best way for you to protect your geckos is to have the vet examined them once in a while. External parasites are easier to detect. If you see any mites or ticks, then be sure that you get rid of them the soonest time possible. Signs of parasitic invasion include bloated belies, smelly and water feces, weight loss, anorexia, and loss of appetite. If these signs appear, then you must give them anti-parasitic medicines as soon as possible. You also would want to make sure that you clean and disinfect their environment once in a while. And if you think that your gecko is looking weak and lethargic, then the best intervention you can do is to send them to the nearest reputable veterinarian. 

You also want to make sure that you quarantine newly acquired gecko first before you introduce it to other geckos. It’s also recommended that you check the reputation and the background history of the pet shop or online store before you buy any pets from them. Make sure that their geckos are healthy and are free of any diseases. Observe for a few days the behavior and appearance of your new gecko. If you see any external parasites or notice signs of internal parasites, then treat them with anti-parasitic medicines or send them to the nearest vet. 

4) Metabolic Bone Disease

Metabolic bone disease or MBD happens to many geckos in captivity. This is due to a lack of calcium and vitamin D3. Signs of MBD include bowed limbs, rubbery jaws, awkward postures, and loss of appetite. This is why you have to dust their meals with calcium and vitamin once in a while. You want to make sure that they receive enough vitamins and minerals to avoid this health problem. Bear in mind that metabolic bone diseases can lead to crippling deformities and can significantly affect the health of your beloved pet. When giving them calcium and vitamin D3, you want to make sure that you don’t overdose. Make a schedule and check the amount that you’re giving them. You should consult your doctor or read the instructions of the nutrition supplement product before giving it to your gecko. 

5) Stress 

Yes, gold dust day gecko can feel stressed out as well. To help them avoid stress, you need to provide them optimal enclosure conditions. Before you introduced them to a new environment, make sure that you acclimatized them first. Create a hiding spot inside the cage or terrarium. Again, these geckos can be pretty shy and don’t want to be disturbed. You also need to make sure that you avoid overcrowding, or you avoid placing two aggressive geckos in one enclosure. Signs of stress include loss of appetite, weight loss, weakness, poor shedding, and lethargy. Remember to help them acclimatized to their environment first. Also, when breeding, make sure that you observe any signs of harmony or aggression. Don’t force breed your geckos as this can lead to stress. Overcrowding is also one of the leading causes of stress. The key to helping them avoid stress is to provide proper nourishment and house them in a peaceful enclosure. Moreover, you should also avoid handling your gecko since this can cause stress, as well. 

Behavior 

Understanding the behavior of gold dust day geckos is crucial if you want to keep them fit, happy, and healthy. By knowing how they behave in the wild, you’ll gain more ideas on how you can raise them. These geckos are the solitary types of lizards. While it’s true that you can house multiple females in one adequate enclosure, you should avoid overcrowding them. Aside from being solitary animals, these geckos are also extremely territorial, especially the male ones. As much as possible, you want to make sure that you avoid housing multiple males in one enclosure. It’s pretty normal in the wild though to see a group of gold dust day gecko congregating together as they feed on one plant, fruit, or vegetable. 

For many keepers, observing the behavior and character of these stunning geckos is a delight. When placing multiple geckos in one enclosure, some breeders find it cute and charming when these lizards compete for the best basking spots. Also, it’s a joy to watch how they eat their meals – they eat fast and quick! A healthy gecko can finish its food within seconds only. It’s also quite normal of these geckos to swish or wag their tails from side to side once they saw another gecko approaching. And yes, these geckos are also pretty sneaky. That’s why you have to make sure that the caged,  properly – escaping and passing through small holes is pretty easy for them. 

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Habitat 

Before you start rearing these beautiful creatures, you must understand how important it is to provide them the right habitat. Poor habitat means poor health for these little lizards. To ensure that your gold dust day gecko will live for long years, you have to always provide them the best habitat conditions. This is where understanding their natural habitat and how they live in the wild becomes critical. If you want your gecko to live long and be able to reproduce, then make sure that you replicate their natural environment. Mimicking their natural habitat is the key to successful gecko rearing. 

Housing 

It’s advisable that you either use screen or glass enclosures. You’ll also see keepers who combined both screen and glass. However, if you want an easier to maintain enclosure, then we suggest that you use glass. Also, glass enclosures can easily maintain optimal humidity. Even though these lizards are small, they are pretty active, and thus, they need adequate space. Choosing a relatively large vivarium is highly recommended. The trick is to multiply the size of the gecko (length and width) into 2. Meanwhile, the height should be 3 times the gecko’s total length. We recommend that you choose enclosures that have a size of 18x18x36 inches. You can also choose 12x12x18 inches vivarium. Remember that these geckos are territorial, and therefore, you have to house the males and females separately. 

Providing adequate space for your gecko is very important. You should check out for images online regarding the proper enclosure size and measurement for gold dust day geckos. Larger size enclosures are most recommended, especially if you’re planning to breed them. Also, make sure that you decorate the cage properly. When designing your gecko’s enclosure, you must consider their natural behavior. These geckos are naturally shy and prefer to spend most of their time hiding behind foliage. And so, try to add plants inside the terrarium for them to have privacy. Artificial plants will do just fine. You can also add Ecoearth, orchid barks, cypress mulch, and even coconut husk inside the enclosure. 

These geckos also love to climb and so you have to provide them barks or bamboo hollows where they can freely climb. You can also install round tree branches inside the terrarium. Just make sure though that they are clean and do not have any fungus. You also have to install an area inside the enclosure where they can safely retreat whenever they feel threatened. Also, don’t forget how important it is for you to add cylindrical basking perches. 

Substrates

Substrates play a crucial role in providing a healthy enclosure for your geckos. The best substrates to use are those that can efficiently hold moisture. As mentioned earlier, you can use orchid barks, cypress mulch, and coco husk or fiber. You can also add organic soil or sphagnum or peat moss inside the enclosure. Adding a layer of leaf litter is also healthy for your geckos. What’s more, is that you have to add a drainage layer inside. To avoid substrate stagnation and prevent mold growth, you must add a drainage layer, which can be gravel, egg creates, a sheet of mesh, or even clay balls. 

Lighting, Temperature, and Humidity

Other important things that you need to consider when creating a healthy habitat for your gold dust day geckos are lighting, temperature, and humidity. You need to provide excellent quality UV lighting. They need to receive light during the day. Although natural lighting will do just fine, it’s recommended that you use LED lighting, especially if you placed live plants inside the terrarium. During night time, you should turn off the lights. Remember that these geckos also require sleep and rest. It’s also important to note that lighting affects the coloration of your geckos. If you want their colors to remain bright and vibrant, then provide them a good lighting system. You also have to make sure that you ensure high-quality basking light. 

The temperature inside the vivarium should be at 32 to 34C or 90 to 93F. This is where heat light or lamp becomes very useful. But aside from providing them heat, you also have to ensure that you provide a cool spot for your geckos. Cool spots should have a temperature between 21 to 23C or 70 to 73F. Cool spots allow these geckos to control their internal body temperature. Also, don’t forget to drop down the temperature during the night time – it should be adjusted to 20C or 68F. Buying temperature monitoring devices are very useful. You can also purchase ceramic heat emitter or CHE to keep up the optimal temperature. Now, when it comes to humidity, make sure that you maintain 65 to 75% humidity levels. You want to keep the right humidity levels to avoid any shedding problems and respiratory diseases. 

Water and Nutrition

Providing them clean water is essential if you want your geckos to remain fit and healthy. Be sure that you give them water from time to time. Keep in mind that these geckos don’t usually recognize standing water, and therefore, water bowls are not necessary. The best way for you to provide them water is through a dipper. Many water drippers can you can find in the market today. Also, you can make your water dripper. Aside from providing them clean drinking water, you should also make sure that you provide them clean water for misting. Mist the cage to maintain a good humidity level. 

Feeding your geckos healthy meals such as mealworms, hornworms, reptiworms, waxworms, and small silkworms are recommended. You also need to feed them small roaches, crickets, or insects from time to time. Also, you can provide them fruits and vegetables. You’ll also find keepers who give them bee pollen and even honey. Aside from providing them delicious meals, you should also include vitamin and mineral supplementation. Add reptile calcium, which contains vitamin D3 on their diet. You can add this supplementation weekly or as often as recommended by the veterinarian or the manufacturer. Make sure that you have a food bowl inside the enclosure. 

How to Care for Gold Dust Day Gecko

Caring for gold dust day geckos is pretty simple. Your goal is to ensure that you provide them the best habitat and great nutrition. After providing them the best nourishment and the right environmental conditions, the next thing that you need to keep in mind is handling, cleaning, and maintenance. When it comes to handling these geckos, you want to make sure that you handle them carefully. As much as possible, you should avoid handling them. You should only handle them during sexing or moving to other enclosures. Remember that these geckos are very quick and can escape very easily. Also, these geckos can drop their tails and even sheds some pieces of their skins once they feel threatened and stress out upon handling. 

Cleaning and maintaining their habitat is very important. You have to get rid of their feces once spotted. Also, don’t forget their food and water bowl – it should be cleaned and refilled every day. Don’t allow droppings to soil or spot the substrates. Also, be sure that you change the substrates from time to time – follow the manufacturer’s instruction. It’s also recommended that you do a deep cleaning of their enclosure for a few months. You can use disinfectants or white vinegar – make sure that the chemicals or ingredients are reptile-friendly. 

Finally, make sure that you send them to a reputable and reliable veterinarian once in a while. Even if your gecko looks healthy, you still have to make sure that you visit the vet. The vets will check or examine the health of your gecko. Take note that not all diseases or illnesses have physical signs and symptoms. Consulting the vet at least once or twice a year is healthy for your gecko. This should also help you know the health status of your beloved pet. 

Where to Get

Buying gold dust day geckos is very easy. You can easily find and purchase these beautiful creatures on your local pet stores, or you can also order online. You can purchase them from Josh’s Frogs, Backwater Reptiles, Snake at Sunset, or Underground Reptiles

FAQ Section

Are golden dust day geckos venomous? 

Although these geckos are not venomous, they do bite. Their bite can startle you, but it doesn’t hurt. 

Can you handle gold dust day gecko?

These geckos are quick and flighty. They can escape quickly, and therefore, it’s not recommended that you handle them. 

Can you hold these geckos?

Yes, and in fact, some geckos tolerate a brief period of handling. However, you shouldn’t grab and hold them. 

How long does a gold dust day gecko live?

They can live for more than 10 years in captivity. 

Are they good for beginners?

No. Gold dust day geckos are not recommended for novice reptile keepers. However, if you have the experience, then we recommend that you try rearing and breeding these very cute creatures. 

Where do they come from?

These geckos come from the Northern part of Madagascar and on the island of Comoros. 

How long do they lay eggs?

They are capable of laying eggs every 3 to 6 weeks during mating or breeding season. 

How long can they live without food?

Gold dust day geckos live and survive up to 10 to 15 days without any food. 

Can you kiss them?

These geckos may carry parasites, bacteria, and salmonella. Thus, it’s not advisable that you kiss them. 

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