Flying geckos are the not a very common reptile pet, and there are quite a few reasons for that! Let’s learn more about this skittish and exciting reptile (and in particular, let’s learn why they can fly!)
Flying geckos (scientific name Ptychozoon kuhli) are native to Southeast Asia, but they have become a relatively popular pet among reptile lovers around the world. These geckos are also known as the parachute gecko.
Why do they have two different names related to flying? Because they are known to “fly” by gliding from tree to tree in the wild. Because of an evolutionary adaptation to escape their predators in the wild, these geckos can use their tail and webbed feet to make calculated jumps and falls over large distances.
These nocturnal creatures are beautiful to look at, but they are the kind of pet you will watch more than you will handle. These geckos are not recommended as a pet for kids for that reason.
Flying Gecko Lifespan & Size
Flying geckos usually grow to be between four and seven inches in length once they are mature. When living in captivity, flying geckos typically live for between five and eight years.
The exact size and lifespan of each gecko will depend on many factors such as their living conditions, diet, origin, and health pattern. If your flying gecko was wild caught, find a local exotic animals vet to check out your gecko and ensure that they are not infected with any parasites when you first bring them home.
Flying Gecko Facts & Characteristic
The flying gecko has a sticky coating on their body, and you will notice that they will stick to the logs, the walls, and pretty much anything else that they decide to cling to. It can be hard to make them let go of something if they do not want to!
There are a few things that you will notice in addition to the stickiness about the flying gecko’s body.
First, it can be somewhat camouflaged into the gecko’s natural surroundings! The browns, greens, and greys will help the gecko virtually disappear when they are among tree bark. Sometimes, you might not even be able to find the flying gecko within their enclosure.
Second, they have a somewhat flat tail and webbed feet. Both of these features developed over time to help the flying gecko to “fly.” In reality, they’re falling with style! The tail and feet help them to direct how they fall from tree to tree, earning them their name. Their tail can even fold itself in more than one direction.
Because flying geckos are a nocturnal creature that is also very skittish, you should not plan to be holding or playing with your flying gecko on a regular basis (if at all!) They will try to run away from you, and this experience will stress both you and your flying gecko out.
Only handle them when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you should let them be. Their skin is also known to tear very easily, so you could cause some real damage if they become too frightened to stay still while being handled.
Flying Gecko Feeding
Flying geckos will need to be provided with a healthy diet of insects.
You will want to feed an adult flying gecko a 10 to 15 small insects two or three times a week. Young geckos, on the other hand, should get 5 or 10 insects daily. Do not overfeed them. If you do, you could end up with a bug problem in their tank!
Most commonly, flying geckos in captivity are known to eat:
- Worms (meal, wax, horn, repti)
- Nightcrawlers (sometimes)
While your gecko might show a preference for certain insects, mixing it up can help to improve the variety of nutrients that they take in.
To ensure that your gecko gets all of the appropriate nutrients, investing in gut-loaded insects might be of interest to you, but it’s not something that is 100% necessary. Many of the foods listed about, such as crickets, are an incredibly nutritious diet for flying geckos.
Alternatively, dusting the food with a reptile multivitamin or calcium mixture every week can ensure their long-term health and bone strength.
Flying Gecko Care
Taking care of a flying gecko is not suggested for the first-time reptile owner, but if you are a careful pet owner who is ready for the challenge, then you can give it a try.
Generally speaking, flying geckos are a pet that you do not need to provide too much stimulation or exercise for, but you do need to make sure that you create the right habitat for them. If the habitat isn’t right, they might be unhappy or even get sick.
Creating a Flying Gecko Habitat
Unlike other geckos, the flying gecko prefers to live inside the trees of the rainforest.
For that reason, you’ll need to provide them with a lot of wooden structures while also simulating the temperature and humidity of a rainforest environment. Placing some tall, bark-covered branches in vertical positions will give them somewhere to climb and hide. Dense foliage is another must!
A 15-gallon tank is a minimum size for an adult flying gecko, and it is recommended that you use a 20-gallon tank instead. While it can be tempting to go even larger than this, flying geckos could injure themselves in an indoor enclosure if they try to glide.
Because these geckos can be territorial, you should not keep more than one male in an enclosure. A pair can be put into a 15-gallon tank together, but they still might fight.
Temperature and humidity are, as previously mentioned, very important to the flying gecko.
Try to keep the temperature in one area of the enclosure around 95-degrees Fahrenheit by installing a basking bulb in the corner of the tank. Allow the rest of the tank to remain at a balmy 75 or 80-degrees. Humidity levels should be around 60% during the day and climb to over 80% at night.
You can help increase the humidity in the tank by spritzing it with water at night and when you wake up in the morning. Spraying just a little bit will raise the humidity at night, and it will drop back down into the 60% rank during the daytime.
This high level of humidity can cause the air to become stagnant if not managed properly, so some flying gecko owners opt for a tank with at least one mesh side so that the air can filter through the environment properly.
Finally, you should make a small soaking dish for your flying gecko. While the gecko will lick water droplets off of leaves if they are thirsty, they will use the water dish for soaking their skin when it becomes too dry.
Flying Gecko Breeding
While breeding flying geckos would be an interesting practice, it is not commonly done because most pet flying geckos are actually wild-caught geckos.
That being said, it is possible for reptile breeding experts to make this happen by adjusting the climate in very specific ways throughout the year to simulate the natural changes of the rainforest.
If the conditions are right, they could lay eggs every three weeks. The eggs get laid in pairs in concealed locations when in the wild. In captivity, the eggs might be laid on the glass of the cage. It only takes three weeks for the baby flying geckos to hatch.