The Bibronís Gecko (Pachydactylus bibroni) is a great pet to own, originating from southern Africa. They are more for looking, not touching however. Swift and hasty, they do not make great pets for younger children. They are a fairly easy species to care for without getting too large. Be sure to know how to care for a pet before you buy it.
Bibronís geckos will reach lengths of 6-7 inches, and are sturdily built. They are not good pets for children or anyone who wants to interact with them. They have very sensitive skin that can tear easily. Their skin is marbled and beaded. These bumps are generally colored gray, black, tan or brown. The skin on a Bibronís gecko does not have a pattern and they all are unique.
It is best to avoid handling these geckos as much as possible due to their fragile skin. The skin can tear easily and is best left untouched. This species is generally pretty nice and will not bite you. If you need to hold your gecko be gentle and cautious because they may see you as a predator.
Bibronís geckos are mainly insectivores, meaning they eat insects. Young geckos need to be fed appropriately sized crickets daily. Feed them about 5-7 crickets or as many as they will eat in 15 minutes. Remember to remove the uneaten crickets from the cage because they will become a nuisance. Adults only need to eat every 3-4 days. They can handle about 5 fully grown crickets per feeding.
When looking to purchase a cage for your gecko there are a few things you need to take into consideration. First is the fact that they are arboreal, meaning they can climb walls and branches. A higher cage will be preferred over a long one. Babies and hatchlings can start in a 5-10 gallon tank until they are about 6 months old. After that a minimum of 20 gallons is sufficient to house one or two geckos. If you are planning to house many geckos in the same terrarium then you will need to add ten gallons for each additional gecko.
It is important to know that males and females cannot share a tank together. A male will mate with the female over and over, causing her to become egg bound. Also, separate your males because they will fight over land and females. With their teeth and nails thrashing, it is easy for one of the geckos to become seriously injured.
Be sure that there is a lid on your tank at all times or else they will escape into your house. A screen lid is ideal because they require proper ventilation.
When bibronís geckos are young, a substrate of paper towels works well. Young geckos are clumsy hunters and if you use a loose substrate, it will be ingested and can block the intestines. Once the gecko reaches the age of 8 months you can use ground coconut husks or commercially available bed-a-beast. Do not take dirt from outside because it contains unwanted bacteria. When it comes down to substrate for adults, you need something that will hold a lot of water and release it back into the cage. This will help you keep up their humidity needs.
Provide plenty of foliage including live and fake plants, branches, vines, and rocks. Give them plenty of different hiding spaces throughout the cage.
Bibronís geckos, like all reptiles, are ectotherms. This means that they need an outside heat source to stay alive. A basking spot of 90-97F can be achieved using a heat bulb made for reptiles. It can be turned off at night but donít let the temperatures drop below 65F. Heat mats should be avoided because they will not heat the air inside the tank, just the bottom.
There should be a basking spot on one end of the tank and a cool side on the other. This allows your gecko to choose the temperature they need.
Be sure to keep a small water bowl in the cage filled with clean water at all times. You will need to mist your Bibronís cage at least once a day to maintain a humidity level of 65%. If you have a dry household, mist the cage down once in the morning and once at night. Bibronís geckos will generally drink the misted water off of leaves.
Keep their water bowl full of clean water at all times. Replace paper towels when soiled and loose substrate every 4-6 months. Spot clean daily.
Breeding information on the Bibronís gecko is hard to find, and they are not popularly bred. They are generally wild caught and not many people have taken the time to breed them.
Many species of reptiles need to go through hibernation to get in the mood for breeding, but the Bibronís gecko does not. You should invest in a 40 gallon tank with one male and up to 3 females. This will increase your chances of hatchlings. Be sure there is enough space to move around in. The temperatures can be dropped 10-15F during the day while they are mating.
After a week or two, the male should be removed so the females do not become egg bound from over mating. Mating is not normally seen because it is done at night most of the time. A couple weeks later, females will begin to lay their eggs. Each female will lay a clutch of 2 eggs once a week. These eggs should be removed and placed in an incubator.
Incubators should be 80-82F and about 60% humidity. After 40-55 days the eggs will hatch. Breeders consider themselves lucky if all of their eggs make it. Donít beat up yourself if a couple eggs die while in incubation. To prevent this from happening be sure not to rotate the egg while transferring it from the cage to the incubator.
Once they eggs hatch, you will have a bunch of 2 inch long geckos running around looking for something to eat.
It is best to keep Bibronís gecko hatchlings in small groups so you can make sure they are all eating and growing properly. Do not stick a huge guy in with a small guy because when they are this young they will eat anything they can swallow.
About 8 geckos can fit in a 10 gallon tank when they first hatch. As they grow you will want to separate them so they have more space. Be sure that they do not nip each other or bully the other geckos. If one gecko is smaller than the rest and is not getting enough to eat, you will want to separate it into its own cage.
A Bibronís gecko hatchling will need to eat as much as they can in 15 minutes every day. They should be fed crickets and make sure they are all getting enough to eat. Hatchling geckos will begin eating after their first shed which will take place in about a week. Also be sure to mist the cage once a day to maintain proper humidity.
The Bibronís gecko is a good reptile to own, but not to hold. They have fairly simple care and it is very fun watching them hunt crickets. They will often leap from up high and land on crickets. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
I've probably driven these people totally nuts while I was deciding on which ones & how many (got a breeding pair of Marbled & a breeding pair of Flying Geckos), but they never once let on how "dumb" I was being. I loved working with them and my babies arrived, safe/sound/active/alert and very healthy. I'm looking forward to dealing with them again in the future!
Sherry Mc Greevy - February 14, 2012
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