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What Is a Marbled Gecko?

By Alex Terris
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The marbled gecko is a small reptile found in Australia and parts of Africa. It usually has light brown coloring and may have darker spots over the body. There are two separate types of marbled gecko, Phyllodactylus and Christinus. The Christinus species, although relatively rare, is a popular pet. Both types are strong climbers, mainly as a result of having toes that are highly effective at clinging to a variety of surfaces.

A marbled gecko grows to around 4 inches (approximately 10 centimeters) in length, making it a relatively small reptile compared to some other pet types. Its natural habitat is Australia and Africa, but the species also has spread to other parts of the world, including South America and the Mediterranean. The species has evolved to cope in a variety of habitats, resulting in it becoming a common sight in large cities and built-up areas.

The diet of a marbled gecko mainly consists of small insects. These include crickets and silkworms, along with anything else small enough to fit in the lizard’s mouth. This type of gecko also can eat fruit if no insects are available, which allows it to survive in relatively difficult conditions. In captivity, an owner should ensure that the lizard is provided with a steady stream of crickets and similar insects, and that the food is small enough for the gecko to eat without difficulty.

When kept as a pet, it’s important for a marbled gecko to be provided with the correct environment. The creature is a very strong climber, so its housing should be completely enclosed and have enough climbing material to keep the animal entertained. To ensure that the gecko doesn’t overheat, the enclosure should face the sun but also provide sufficient shade. Rocks inside the enclosure can be effective at reducing the temperature while also providing a more natural environment for the lizard.

Marbled geckos, by nature, are shy animals that don’t like being held. A gecko that is handled without proper care will often become distressed and may shed its tail. Some geckos become tame to the touch, but this isn’t common. If the gecko doesn’t bite, which it is likely to do if held, it will often jump into the air to escape being handled. Once such a small lizard has escaped captivity, even if inside a home, it is very difficult — if not impossible — to find it and recapture it.

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