Viper geckos (Teratolepis fasciata) are a small desert species of gecko found in Pakistan and the surrounding areas. They require very little space and food, but handling is not recommended. These geckos have other names like the carrot tail gecko. With the right care, viper geckos can be rewarding pets.
These geckos grow to very small sizes. Adults will reach a total of 3-4 inches in length. Hatchlings are extremely small and delicate. Viper geckos have a grey body with black stripes running down their back. There are not really morphs for this species, they have their own original patterns.
Some keepers refer to this gecko are the carrot tailed gecko. They have a very large tail that bulges in the center, and then comes to a very fine point. Food and water are stored in the tail incase of drought or lack of food.
Because of their size, viper geckos are look-not-touch pets. Babies can fit on your thumbnail, and have extremely delicate and thin skin. You may need to handle a viper gecko if you need to clean the cage, so be gentle.
Like most desert dwelling geckos, the viper gecko can eat crickets and mealworms as a staple. Crickets give them something to do, and watching them pounce onto their meals eagerly is fun to watch. Crickets and mealworms should be appropriately sized so the length of the prey item is no longer than the width of your gecko’s head. This rule will prevent choking and lack of food.
Hatchling and juvenile viper geckos need to be fed once a day as much as they will eat in 15 or 20 minutes. Adults can be fed about every other day. Always remove any leftover insects to they are not a nuisance. Dust any insects fed to babies every feeding with 100% calcium supplement. Adults need to only have theirs dusted every 3rd feeding.
A 10 gallon tank is plenty of room for a couple adults. Younger geckos should be kept in critter keepers that are about 2 gallons. This species requires very little space, but they are active and will use the space provided.
The substrate is what your gecko will spend its life walking and laying on. Many different substrates can be used, but some work better that others. Paper towels are basic, easy, inexpensive and make cleanup easy. Newspaper or butchers paper can also be used.
Some keepers use sand as a substrate. Sand can be used but it can smell, and there is a risk of your gecko accidently swallowing too many grains and becoming impacted. Sand should only be used for adults and fill 1-2 inches of the tank.
At least two hides should be found in the tank, one hide on the colder side, and one hide on the warmer side. These hides should be snug. Easy hides like empty butter containers with a hole can be used. Coconut hides and other rock hides can be purchased as well.
A humid hide can also be found in the tank, especially during shedding time. Fill it with moist sphagnum moss, and it will be used.
Viper geckos like it pretty hot. A hotspot of 95F will do. A warm side and a cool side should be provided so they can thermoregulate. The cooler side can stay room temperature or slightly higher. Monitor temperatures with a reliable thermostat on each end of the tank.
Heating the tank can be achieved two different ways. You can use a under tank heater or an overhead bulb. Both work fine but the under tank heater heats the cage and the bulb heats the air. No special UV lighting is needed with this species because they are nocturnal. Keep a 12 hour photoperiod, and avoid using hot rocks.
Water requirements for this species are pretty simple. A water bowl with clean water should be provided at all times. This bowl can be a milk carton cap, they won’t care as long as they have water access. Misting is not required for the viper gecko.
There should always be clean water in the water bowl. Replace paper towels when soiled and sand every 2-4 months. A full tank cleaning can happen when needed or every couple of months. Spot clean daily.
Avoid breeding until you can properly take care of your viper gecko without a problem. Once the male and female are sexed and at least a year of age, they can be bred. For the viper geckos, breeding is a pretty simple process.
The male and female can be combined in the spring. Viper geckos are always eager to breed, and they will keep mating until separated. To avoid unnecessary strain on your female, separate her after 5 clutches of eggs have been laid. A clutch can contain either one or two eggs.
These eggs should be laid in moist sphagnum moss or dirt. A tub filled of this stuff will make the perfect lay box. Enough should be given to dig and fully cover the eggs. Eggs are tiny and should be put into an incubator. Once they hatch, the real fun begins.
Hatchlings can be kept together until sexed. Males should never be kept together, but females rarely have problems interacting with each other. The hatchlings will eat after their first shed so humid hides are a necessity at the beginning of their life. Feed them pinhead crickets or fruit flies. These geckos will be very small and delicate.
Viper geckos make great pets, and require very little room and food. They are a good first or second gecko to own as long as you do not need to hold it. They come from the desert, and like it hot. No matter which animal you choose to own as a pet, always do your homework before purchasing.
When I received my baby green iguana, I was very impressed to see how healthy he was. It's been three days, and he's already eating out of my hand, and feeling right at home. I also ordered a female green anole, so my male anole would have a friend, and she was also in very good condition when she arrived. When green anoles are discontent, or stressed, they tend to turn brown, when I opened the box, she was green as can be! Very impressed, will recommend.
sara - June 29, 2012
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