The docility and easy maintenance attributes of day geckos, have made them popular pet choices today. These geckos get their name from their diurnal lifestyle―active through the day. They belong to the genus Phelsuma, and comprise over 60 species of all sizes and colors. In terms of color, they appear in lovely bright shades (mostly green, ranging from olive green to turquoise) and striking patterns.
Their appearance is quite attractive, luring one to lift them up, however, their skin is very delicate, which is why they are more of the 'viewable' pets, than the interactive ones. If you are looking for a reptile you want to cuddle, then, a day gecko is not the right choice. However, if you strongly wish to bring home this reptile, then, take a look at some guidelines regarding the same.
Taking Care of a Day Gecko
The exact specifications for care would depend on the type of day gecko species one chooses to get, however, the overall care patterns will be the same.The giant day gecko, golden dust day gecko, and lined day gecko are the popularly chosen ones.
Since geckos are climbers, they require vertically-oriented glass vivariums. The size of the enclosure will depend on the size of the gecko chosen. For example, a giant day gecko will require a 2.5' x 2.5' x 2.5' enclosure or a 20 gallon tank. If you are keeping a pair of geckos, you need a larger enclosure. However, make sure you never keep two male geckos together. For the smaller species a 10 gallon tank is sufficient.
Place branches, stalks of bamboo, etc., inside the tank for the lizard to climb upon. Moreover, since they need something to hide under, ensure certain hiding places are provided for your gecko to feel secure. For the substrate, you can either use a reptile carpet, newspapers, or bark chips. You can also prepare a suitable substrate by spreading a layer of gravel and pebbles, and topping it with a coconut fiber soil substitute. To seal the humidity levels in the substrate, top the substrate with moss. Topping the glass enclosure with a wire mesh, will not only prevent the lizard from climbing out, but will also allow sunlight to light up the enclosure.
Day geckos generally feed on insects, nectar, pollen, etc. In captivity one can feed them houseflies, wax moths, crickets, flightless fruit flies, etc. One can also give them mashed papayas and other soft fruits. Fruit-based baby food can also be given. Add some vitamin and calcium supplements into the food. For water content, you can either spray the enclosure with mist or place a bowl of water. However, make sure you do not feed the insects found scurrying in your house, because they could be carrying various diseases that can infect your pet.
Lighting and Temperature
Since these day geckos are active during the day, they need something that bears semblance to sunlight in their enclosure. The mesh wire ceiling does allow sunlight to flood in, however, getting a UVB bulb is also a good idea, because it gives the gecko 10 hours of daylight. However, make sure you switch it off at night. Around 80°F to 90°F is the ideal temperature for the gecko during the day, while less than 10°F is required at night. A heat gun or thermometer can help gauge the temperature. Around 55% to 75% of humidity is also required to be maintained inside the enclosure.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The gecko's enclosure has to be cleaned on a daily basis. The feces have to be cleared and the water in the bowl should also be changed on a daily basis. On a weekly basis, scrub the entire enclosure with 3% bleach solution. Add clean substrate and place the gecko carefully back into its sanctuary. One crucial point to be remembered is to avoid handling day geckos, unless absolutely necessary. The slightest touch can cause wounds on their fragile skin and scales. Before cleaning the enclosure, nudge the lizard into another container, and then carefully lift it. This way you can avoid contact and protect your pet from injury.
These were just some basic instructions pertaining to day gecko care, however, if you're bringing one home, make sure you carry out thorough research, and are well aware of the responsibility this decision entails.