Madagascar Day Geckos,
Phelsuma madagascariensis


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Phelsuma madagascariensis Information and Care

Wild habitat: From Madagascar. They live in trees along the edge of forests, and around houses. They are active during the daytime.

Description: Bright green shading to blue-green, with light-colored skin between the scales. They usually have russet spots or bars, especially on their heads. They have a russet stripe from the nostril to the ear area. They can change to duller green and even brownish green, most often when cold or stressed. The stomach is off-white, and the underside of the throat is often slightly mottled. They have big brown eyes, and no eyelids, so they lick their eyes to moisten and clean them. They average 8 ¾" long, with males sometimes being slightly larger than females.

Similar species: There are three similar species: P. boehmi, which has dark skin between the scales; P. kochi, which usually is a lighter green and has less spotting; and P. grandis, which is longer, stouter, and has red-orange spots.

Enclosure: These geckos are arboreal and so do best in a tall tank with branches and plants (real or artificial). You will need at least a 10 gallon tank for one gecko.

Lighting: Full-spectrum fluorescent lights are necessary, along with incandescent lights or another heat source (unless your climate or home provides the right temperatures).

Temperature and humidity: 80 to 85 degrees F during the day, with a basking spot at about 90F. They can be 10-15 degrees cooler at night. Humidity should be kept at 50-75%.

Food: Small to medium crickets and mealworms (well-fed and gut-loaded). They also eat soft fruit, which in captivity is usually fruit baby food (peaches work well).

Water: These geckos do not drink from standing water. Mist the tank once or twice a day so that they can lick drops from the leaves.

Supplements: They need at least a calcium supplement, and if they are not kept outdoors where they can bask in natural sunlight they need D3 as well. See the recommended books for details.

Captive behavior: Theses geckos have delicate skin and can climb very fast, so should only be handled if necessary. They are fairly mellow and become quite tame, and will lick fruit from your finger. They are active during the day, will bask under a heat source, and hunt for insects. Males are territorial, and females sometimes are too. Only one male should be kept in a tank, but can be kept with one or possibly two females. If you keep a pair or trio together, you need a spacious tank with several hiding places for each gecko. Even then, watch for aggression and be prepared to put the geckos in separate enclosures. Happy pairs are quite chummy and often bask together.