World Lizard Day is August 14th! One cute lizard that makes a great pet is the Gold Dust Day Gecko. You may be more familiar with these guys than you think: the iconic Geico spokeslizard is one of them. These pretty lizards have very vibrant hues, which range between green and yellow, with gold dots … hence their name. As your Marion, IA area veterinarian, I offer some information on caring for them below.
Once called living jewels, these timid lizards originated in the Pacific Islands. They are now found all over the Hawaiian Islands, thanks to a student who released eight of them back in the 70’s. They are quite small, rarely growing beyond 5 inches. They’re also super cute!
Like most reptiles, Gold Dust Day Geckos have specific temperature requirements. You’ll need to set the habitat up carefully, so that it stays within the set range, with one end warmer than the other. (Tip: Adding vines and foliage will help create tiny temperature zones.) Use a lamp that hangs over the terrarium, so your pet doesn’t accidentally burn himself. You’ll also need to keep the humidity levels between 40 and 70 percent. However, you won’t need UVB lights. As far as substrate, you can use a 60/40 mix of topsoil and coconut fiber, or reptile substrate. Add a little leaf litter on top. For decorations, you can add branches, vines, safe plants, such as dracaena or philodendrons, and cork hollows. You’ll also want to offer your lizard a feeding ledge. Ask your veterinarian for specific advice.
Wild Gold Dust Day geckos eat insects, nectar, pollen, sap, juice, and fruit. Your pet lizard can have commercial food, but he will also need live insects, such as crickets, grasshoppers, and silkworms. These should be dusted with nutritional powder before becoming lunch. Be sure to change the menu regularly!
Your tiny dinosaur will need to be misted daily. Although your gecko will get water from those mistings, you should always keep a bowl of clean water available on his ledge.
These guys are very quick and fragile, so they are best admired from a distance. You can try hand feeding your buddy. Just give him time to adjust to his new home first.
As your Marion, IA area veterinarian, I’m happy to provide great reptile care. Contact me anytime!