Tokay Gecko Care


Scientific Name: Gekko gecko

Sexing and Characteristics:
Tokay Geckos can be accurately sexed by looking for the pre-anal pores just above their cloaca.
Males should have a prominent V-Shape of pre-anal pores, this will be accompanied by a hemipenal bulge as well.
Please note that females can also show the V-shape of pre-anal pores but it will not be as noticeable.
These indicators really only apply to large sub-adult or mature adult individuals.


Adult male Tokays have been known to reach up to 14 inches in length, with 10-12 inches being the average. Adult females will be noticeably smaller in both length and girth.
Tokay geckos can be quite large bodied animals, and despite their reasonably large size, are incredibly fast when they need to be.

Substrate and Water Needs:
Substrate can be anything from plain newspaper / kitchen towels to orchid bark, playground sand and anything inbetween. Like with all reptiles, pine is toxic so should not be used. Sand can be ingested and cause impaction and eventual death so sand should also be avoided.

A shallow water bowl should be supplied, although these lizards will generally drink the water drops from the walls, decorations in the vivarium.

Lighting and UVB:
There is dispute amongst keepers as to whether tokay geckos or any nocturnal animals require UVB.
However, I use UVB with my tokay geckos and have noticed great changes.
My geckos, seem to be brighter, more active, eating more and the male is barking a lot more since the introduction of UVB on an 8hr timer.
A great article was written in “Practical Reptile Keeping” June 2010 edition regarding this subject.

Temperatures & Humidity:
Your Tokay Gecko should be kept at temperatures between 24-30 degrees Celsius on the warm side with a drop of  3-5 degrees on the cool side. Nighttime temperatures should drop by about 4 degrees also.
To achieve these temperatures several heating devices can be used such as:

    • Heatmats
    • Basking/Infrared Bulbs (Always use a mesh cover so gecko cannot sit on bulb)
    • Ceramic bulbs (Always use a mesh cover so gecko cannot sit on bulb)

The choice of heating system used is a matter of personal choice, however in ALL cases, a thermostat should be used in conjunction with the heater, in order to avoid burns to the animal, and danger of fire

I try to keep my Tokay vivarium between 70-80% humidity with a drop at night. I find this is easily achieved with a homemade waterfall and 1 heavy misting a day.

If help is needed choosing heating/thermostat options, please do not hesitate to contact the Herpetological Society of Ireland & we will guide you in the right direction.

Tokay geckos are arboreal lizards and rarely seen on the ground. This means height is more important than width.
Young tokay gecko’s  can be housed in basic tubs, with newspaper / tissue bedding, a hide and shallow water bowl. This is advisable with new arrivals and hatchlings to help you monitor their health.

1 adult tokay gecko should be housed in a vivarium that is at least 3ft high x 1.5ft deep and 1.5ft wide.
An adult pair should have a minimum of 4ft high x 1.5ft deep and 1.5ft wide.
Remember, that bigger enclosures are always better for these animals.

Hiding spots should be provided for these lizards, these can be anything from the plastic caves, heavy planting or even cereal boxes can be used to help the animals feel secure if it’s needed.
Tokay Geckos are very good feeders and will eat anything.
Tokays should eat appropriately sized crickets, locusts, meal worms, cockroaches and morio worms.
I have also had success in feeding house spiders, small fish, snails and mine will at times take crested gecko diet from a food bowl.

Supplements, Nutrition and Usage:
A Tokay gecko’s diet needs to be supplemented with calcium 2-3 times a week. A light dusting of the feeder insect before feeding is recommended. It’s also important to supply your feeder insects with a good diet. “Gut Loading” the feeders will keep your tokay geckos strong and healthy. I have found that variety is also key to a Tokay gecko’s diet.

These lizards are easy to keep. Spot cleaning daily, along with water changes should take no more than 10 minutes each day. The vivarium should be cleaned thoroughly every 6 weeks. All bedding should be replaced, and all decorations should be washed.

Some Words on this Species:
These lizards are a joy to keep and make great display animals. Please note however that these animals do not like being handled and are normally very inclined to bite and not let go! That being said, most can be directed into a corner should you need to clean etc…


Care sheet Courtesy of The Herpetological Society of Ireland 2009


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