Types of Geckos: Species, Facts, Diet, Health, Habitat and More

Types of Geckos

Once upon a time, in the nooks and crannies of a lush tropical forest, there thrived a creature as enigmatic as the moonlit sky under which it hunted. This creature, known as the gecko, has captivated humans’ imaginations for centuries, not just for its adept climbing skills or its eyes that gleam like jewels in the dark but for its unparalleled adaptability and the sheer variety within its ranks.

These small to medium-sized lizards, belong to a family that has mastered every habitat from dense rainforests to arid deserts, making them one of the most versatile reptiles on our planet. Whether you’re a seasoned reptile enthusiast or simply curious about the natural world, the story of the gecko is one of resilience, beauty, and intrigue. So, let’s embark on a journey to uncover the secrets of these fascinating creatures, from the velvety softness of the Blue Crested Gecko skin to the symphony of sounds they produce, inviting us into their hidden world.

Is Gecko a Type of Lizard?

Yes, geckos are a type of lizard, belonging to the infraorder Gekkota. They are unique members of this diverse family, known for their distinctive vocalizations, ability to climb smooth surfaces, and, in many cases, vibrant colors and patterns.

What Is the Difference Between Gecko and Lizard?

While all geckos are lizards, not all lizards are geckos. The primary differences lie in their physical traits and behaviors. Geckos are renowned for their specialized toe pads that allow them to adhere to and climb vertical surfaces and even ceilings. Furthermore, geckos often have nocturnal habits, with eyes that are well-adapted to low-light conditions, distinguishing them from many other lizard species.

Is Gecko a Safe Pet?

Geckos are considered one of the safer reptile pets. They are generally non-aggressive, small in size, and require relatively simple care compared to other exotic pets. However, potential owners should research and prepare for the specific needs of the gecko species they wish to keep.

What Do House Geckos Do?

House geckos play a beneficial role in our homes by feeding on insects, including pests like mosquitoes and spiders. They are nocturnal and are often seen on walls and ceilings in pursuit of their next meal, acting as natural pest control agents.

Why Is It Called Gecko?

The name “gecko” derives from the Malay word ‘gekq‘, imitative of the sound that some species of gecko make. Their vocalizations are indeed unique among lizards, contributing to their name and distinguishing them in the animal kingdom.

What Are 3 Interesting Facts About Geckos?

  • Geckos can “talk”: Many geckos are capable of producing sounds, from chirps to barks, which they use for communication.
  • Incredible wall-climbers: Thanks to microscopic hairs on their toes, geckos can climb smooth surfaces, defying gravity.
  • Tail autonomy: Geckos can shed their tails to escape predators, with the ability to regrow them later.

Are Geckos Useful?

Absolutely, geckos are ecologically beneficial, controlling insect populations. They are also vital in medical research, particularly studies on regenerative medicine and adhesive technologies inspired by their sticky feet.

What Do Geckos Eat?

Geckos are primarily insectivores, feeding on insects and arthropods. Some larger species may also consume small mammals and birds. Pet geckos thrive on a diet of crickets, mealworms, and occasionally, fruit purees for species that consume nectar or fruit in the wild.

What Is Unique About Geckos?

Geckos’ unique traits extend beyond their climbing abilities. Their eyes, for instance, are among the most adaptable in the animal kingdom, with some species having vision 350 times more sensitive than human night vision. Additionally, geckos can regenerate not just their tails but also skin, muscle, and skeletal material.

Best Gecko Species for Beginners

The Leopard Gecko and the Crested Gecko are among the best choices for beginners. They have docile temperaments, straightforward care requirements, and do not require large enclosures or complex lighting setups.

Setting Up a Gecko Terrarium

Creating the perfect home for a gecko starts with understanding their natural habitat and replicating it as closely as possible. A terrarium for a gecko should include:

  • Substrate: Choose a substrate that mimics the gecko’s natural environment. For tropical species, coconut fiber or moss works well, offering humidity and comfort.
  • Temperature Gradient: Install heating elements on one side of the terrarium to create a temperature gradient, allowing the gecko to regulate its body temperature by moving between warmer and cooler areas.
  • Hiding Spots: Provide plenty of hiding spots with rocks, plants, and hideaways to mimic natural shelters and reduce stress.
  • Lighting: UVB lighting is crucial for many gecko species to synthesize vitamin D3, essential for calcium absorption and overall health.
  • Humidity: Maintain appropriate humidity levels by misting the terrarium regularly, especially for tropical species.

Feeding Guide for Leopard Geckos

Leopard geckos are insectivores, thriving on a diet of live insects such as crickets, mealworms, and waxworms. Key feeding tips include:

  • Variety: Offer a varied diet to ensure a range of nutrients.
  • Supplements: Dust food with calcium and vitamin D3 supplements to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
  • Feeding Schedule: Young geckos should be fed daily, while adults can be fed every other day.

Gecko Health and Common Illnesses

Geckos, like all pets, can experience health issues. Common concerns include metabolic bone disease (due to calcium or vitamin D3 deficiency), respiratory infections, and parasitic infestations. Preventative care involves regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, and a clean, well-maintained habitat.

Breeding Crested Geckos at Home

Breeding crested geckos requires a pair (male and female) of sexually mature and healthy individuals. Tips for successful breeding include:

  • Conditioning: Ensure both geckos are healthy and well-fed before breeding.
  • Egg Incubation: Provide a moist substrate for the female to lay eggs, and incubate the eggs at a consistent temperature and humidity level.
  • Hatchling Care: Be prepared with a suitable habitat and diet for the hatchlings.

Temperature Requirements for Day Gecko

Day geckos, being diurnal, require a basking spot with temperatures around 85-90°F and a cooler area in the 70s°F. Nighttime temperatures can drop slightly, but should not fall below 65°F.

DIY Gecko Habitat Decorations

Personalizing your gecko’s terrarium can be both fun and beneficial for the gecko. Use non-toxic plants, branches for climbing, and caves for hiding to enrich the environment. Always ensure decorations are safe and free from sharp edges.

Handling and Bonding with Your Gecko

Handling should be done gently and infrequently at first to build trust. Tips for bonding include:

  • Slow Movements: Avoid quick movements that could startle your gecko.
  • Regular, Short Sessions: Short, regular handling sessions are less stressful and help your gecko get used to you.
  • Recognize Signs of Stress: If your gecko shows signs of stress, give it more time to adjust to your presence.

The Best Substrates for Gecko Enclosures

Substrate choices vary by species. For arid species like leopard geckos, paper towels or reptile carpet work well. For tropical species, a moisture-retaining substrate like coconut fiber is ideal.

Gecko Species Native to Madagascar

Madagascar is home to several unique gecko species, including the day gecko (Phelsuma spp.) known for its vivid colors and diurnal habits. These geckos thrive in humid, warm environments and require specialized care.

Saving Energy with Gecko Terrarium Heating

Energy-efficient heating options include ceramic heat emitters and under-tank heaters. Using a thermostat can help regulate temperature without wasting energy.

Natural Predators of Geckos in the Wild

Geckos face threats from birds, snakes, and larger mammals. In captivity, ensuring a secure habitat is crucial to prevent stress and potential escape.

Gecko Morphs and Genetics Explained

Gecko breeding has produced a wide variety of colors and patterns, known as morphs. Understanding genetics is key to breeding for specific traits.

UVB Lighting for Geckos

UVB lighting is essential for many gecko species to metabolize calcium. A 5-10% UVB bulb should be provided for 10-12 hours a day, mimicking natural sunlight.

How to Identify Signs of Stress in Geckos

Signs of stress include excessive hiding, reduced appetite, and abnormal behavior. Identifying and addressing stressors early is vital for a gecko’s well-being.


The world of geckos is a testament to nature’s ingenuity and adaptability. From their ecological roles as pest controllers to their fascinating evolutionary adaptations, geckos offer a window into the resilience and diversity of life. For those considering a gecko as a pet, the journey is rewarding, providing insights into the care, behavior, and preservation of these remarkable creatures. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of the Blue Crested Gecko or fascinated by the unique biology of geckos at large, there’s no denying the intrigue these reptiles hold. As we close this chapter on our exploration of geckos, one question remains: What will you discover in the hidden world of these enchanting lizards?