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What is a Golden Gecko?

By S. Williams
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The golden gecko, or Gekko ulikovskii, is a small lizard whose native habitat is Vietnamese rain forests. Although this reptile does have golden tinges, it has a predominantly greenish-brown color that helps it blend in with its native environment. A golden gecko will live to be 10 to 15 years old and requires high humidity levels to remain healthy in captivity. Like many types of geckos, this lizard's tail will separate if handled roughly. It will grow back, but it won't look exactly the same.

Like all other geckos, the golden gecko is part of the Gekkonidae family. This reptile group lives in warm areas around the world and has close to 2,000 known species. The Gekkonidae family is divided into five subfamilies including Aeluroscalabotinae, Diplodactylinae, Eublepharinae, Gekkoninae and Teratoscincinae. The golden gecko is part of the subfamily Gekkoninae, the largest group with genera located around the globe.

The male golden gecko will be much brighter than the female, but there is little else to distinguish them. Sometimes, two small bumps on the underside of the male can be seen. Males can be aggressive toward other golden geckos and should be kept separate from other geckos in captivity.

The golden gecko is frequently kept as a household pet. Its small size and mild manner make it an easy reptile to handle, but excessive handling can place the gecko’s health in jeopardy. Some golden geckos will bite, but they don't have teeth, so the potential for injury is minimal. When startled, golden geckos might produce excrement that has a foul odor, and they will leave a silvery trail along the glass surfaces of their cage. Unless they are feeding, golden geckos will spend most of their time using their sticky feet to crawl along the sides or top of their container.

When kept in captivity, golden geckos will do best in a taller cage that allows plenty of room for climbing. A screened top will do, but a solid top will help maintain humidity levels. The water should be changed frequently, and the habitat should be misted daily. Golden geckos will eat crickets, meal worms and soft baby food fruits. A basking light should be added to provide warmth when needed, but golden geckos do not require special ultraviolet B lighting.

Geckos are welcome visitors to most homes in areas of the world that they naturally inhabit. They will eat many small insects and act as natural pest control methods. This is particularly beneficial in areas where mosquitoes can spread disease rapidly.

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