The Tokay Gecko, (gekko gekko) is a native to Northeastern India and Thailand, and is one of the largest gecko species. In India tokays are considered good fortune and luck, but there is much more to them than what meets the eye.
With a grayish blue body with bright orange or red spots, the tokay gecko averages 12 inches in length. Tokays thrive living separately unless breeding because even two females will fight over territory. Like most geckos, tokays are nocturnal.
Tokay geckos are velvety to the touch. Their scales are granular, however, they don’t like being held.
Tokay geckos are not picky eaters. They will eat any insect thrown into the cage if they are hungry. Provide a staple of crickets, no longer than the width of your tokay’s head. You can also feed them superworms, silkworms, roaches, and other commercially available insects.
Feed adults every three days or so, and juvies every day. Some geckos will develop certain signals that they are hungry like staring at the lid or the cricket keeper. If you have a gravid female, they will accept pinky mice, but do not be surprised if their normal eating habits sway for a while. Never offer pinkies as a staple or else tokay geckos have a risk of getting fatty liver disease.
Be sure to dust your food with pure calcium. Adult food should be dusted every other or every second feeding. Juveniles should have their food dusted every feeding.
These reptiles are not the friendliest. If they bite, it will bleed. When you are cleaning the tank or need to be around them for any reason, I advise you to wear thick gloves. These geckos are very territorial and once they lock onto your finger, they will not let go. If this does happen however, dip them into luke warm water. They will let go. On rare occasions, you will run into a tokay gecko that will be as friendly as a leopard gecko. Don’t count on it. They are more of "oo" and "ah" geckos. They should not be handled unless needed.
Being geckos, they will enjoy a tank taller than longer. A single adult can be housed in a 20-gallon terrarium. Babies will be comfortable in a 10-gallon. Mesh cages are no good, tokay geckos require a lot of humidity.
Tokay geckos are shy during the day, so provide very many plants. You can purchase vines and hanging flowers that stick to the walls of the tank. These geckos are from rainforests and you can provide live plants as well. Before you buy a plant for your tank, make sure that it is nontoxic. Plant specialists at the store should be able to tell you. Temperature
Tokay geckos seem to thrive best at temperatures at 85F and a basking spot of 90F. Overhead lamps will work a lot better than under tank heaters (UTH) because tokays geckos are rarely on the ground. UVA and UVB lights are not needed as these are nocturnal species and will be hiding during the day.
At night temperatures should drop 15F. Turning the heat source off, or using a lower wattage bulb can accomplish this. If you still need a bulb, use a blue or red light night viewing bulbs. Doing so will help simulate day and night for tokay geckos.
Water and Humidity
Tokay geckos may not drink from a water bowl, therefore it may not be needed. I still recommend it. You may never see your tokay use it, but it most likely will. If you do not use a water bowl, be sure to mist the tank plenty. How much should you mist it?
Tokays geckos are from very tropical parts of the world. This means that you will need to keep the humidity at 60-90%. One way to set it up, is to soak the tank in the morning using a spray bottle, mist it again in the afternoon, and again before going to bed. This system works fairly well.
If you have problems keeping the humidity in, place a towel over a half to two thirds of the top of your tank if it is screened. Doing so will hold in the humidity longer, and won’t cut off the air supply.
If you have live plants, use potting soil or bed-a-beast. Not only will you not need to have pots, this makes it a lot easier to water. These two will also hold the humidity in the tank much better than most substrates would.
If you don’t have live plants, or you have a young tokay gecko, paper towels are your best bet for many reasons. When hunting, your gecko will not swallow anything. Substrates like sand do not hold humidity, and your gecko has a higher chance of impaction. Paper towel will hold, and release humidity well.
There are other substrates like coconut fiber and other commercially available products, but I do not recommend them. Tokay geckos can become impacted, and crickets can burrow into them.
Your tokay gecko will live a much happier life if you spot clean your tank daily or when needed. This means that you need to remove any feces in the tank when they appear. Also, if you are using a loose substrate, replace it every 6 months or so. Doing so will get rid of any parasites that may be in there.
Breeding tokays is pretty straightforward. Before breeding, make sure you have the right equipment. I have seen countless times when tokay gecko owners decide to breed tokays unprepared. Make sure that you have an incubator, vermiculite or perlite, a lay box, and caging for the babies and adults before breeding.
Once you have an incubator, such as a hovabator, you will need bedding for the eggs. I prefer perlite to vermiculite, but it is more preference than quality. When everything’s set and ready to breed, have a single male with either one or two females. To calculate tank size, one should be in a 20 gallon and add 10 gallons per gecko.
If you have a loose substrate, cover it with a couple of layers of paper towels because females will dig and lay their eggs somewhere in the substrate, and you won’t find the eggs until they hatch. Some females will “glue” their eggs to objects, often in corners of the tank.
Once the eggs are laid in a sturdy, and safe location, both parents will guard the eggs until they hatch. The way I get around them is I give them each my gloves to battle as I carefully peel the eggs off of the wall. Place them in the incubator at 80-86F. The eggs will hatch within 90-120 days, but it has been recorded to take up to 200.
Like most geckos, the temperature of the incubator will determine tokay gecko eggs’ sex. Higher temperatures will give you males while lower temperatures will provide females.
Baby tokays can be housed together, 5 per 10 gallons until they are 6 inches long. Then you can put two per ten gallons. Once you are able to determine if they are male or females, they should each receive a 20-gallon tank.
Conclusion Tokay geckos are great to observe, but probably not interact with. They are interesting little creatures, coming out at night. They will eat anything that wiggles, and need high humidity. Once you get a system down, care and cleaning becomes easy.
I got 2 males and 6 female jones armadillo lizards from you apx 3 years ago.....yesterday I was pleased to find two of the cutest, tiniest babies ever. All the females are fat with babies so I am expecting more today and the next few days. My flame belly armadillo female is fat with babies also. Thanks for the healty well sexed stock. You guys are great. Not sure whether to keep babies in with adults, all adults sleep together crammed in a tiny cave but these little ones would fit in their mouth so I put them in their own set up with pin head crickets and wingless fruit flies. To say I AM THRILLED would be an understatement.
Sharon D Webb - November 9, 2013
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