By Zach Spyker
By Zach Spyker
Native Range: The range of the Goniurosaurus genus extends from Vietnam, the southern border of China adjacent to Vietnam, the islands of Cat Ba, Hainan, Ishigaki and Ryukyu which include Okinawa and Tokuno. The Goniurosaurus genus to date (2010) includes 12 species. In the wild their habitats range from tropical to subtropical forest areas which provide suitable cover. They spend daytime in caves and rocky outcroppings of limestone and granite as well as rock piles well covered by over growth and fallen debris. Usually these places are found near sources of water such as small rivers or streams, where conditions are cooler and moist, they will emerge at night fall to feed on small invertebrates.
The following is a list of the Goniurosaurus group:
Species recently described:
Size: Most Cave geckos hatch out at 1.5-2.5 inches long, and weigh anywhere from 1-3 grams. They average 6-9” in length as adults with varying lengths and build between species. The range in captive weights depending on species is 30-55 grams.
Handling: Cave Geckos can be quite skittish, especially if wild caught which until recently was the norm. handling should be kept to a minimum only when necessary. When cleaning their cage or checking their health. If your cave geckos are captive bred more handling may be tolerated. The less stressed they are the more comfortable they will become, thus exhibiting more of their natural behaviors. You should always handle them with care, without pinching or squeezing. Remember that the tail may break off if handled roughly causing unnecessary stress. Although it will regenerate, it will not look like the original. Until acclimated to handling; your gecko should be handled near the floor or close over its enclosure, in case it squirms away it won’t fail far.
Caging: Almost any type of storage container or tank can be used to house Cave Geckos, with a twenty gallon long aquarium (aprx 30”x12”x12”) or any container of similar size being an adequate size for a pair or trio. If using storage containers make sure to drill holes for ventilation. Cave Geckos, like other Eublepharids, cannot climb smooth surfaces such as glass although Cave geckos are more adapted to climbing then Leopard geckos. I consider Cave Geckos to be at least semi terrestrial. Spending most of their time on the ground under cover. But when given the vertical space and objects to climb they will use them, especially at night during hunting activities. Rough rocks like lava rock work well in the enclosure. They can be used for hiding and climbing. Cork Bark flats and tubes are good ideas as well. What ever heavy objects are used make sure they are secure and will not shift and cause harm to your gecko. Any container should have a secure fitting lid to prevent escape. If you are using a glass tank covering it at least half way with plexi-glass may be necessary to keep humidity up.
Substrate: Cave Geckos may ingest particles of substrate while hunting; therefore, use caution in choosing a substrate to avoid intestinal impaction. For Cave Geckos you want a substrate that holds humidity well. Hatchlings and juveniles can be maintained on moistened paper towels. When they have reached a suitable size and have learned to hunt they can be moved onto a coco fiber bedding or sand peat mix if you prefer a more natural look. You may also use Orchid bark of appropriate size making sure the pieces are too large for the animal to ingest.
Food: A variety of small invertebrates are accepted by Cave Geckos. Hatchlings will feed on 2 to 3 week old crickets or roach nymphs. As they grow, provide larger crickets, and roaches. You may also occasionally feed your Cave Gecko a variety of other available feeder insects such as meal-worms, wax-worms, silk worms, and small Goliath worms. Although a diet of well gut loaded crickets and or roaches will be more then enough to keep your gecko healthy and content. A good feeding schedule for Cave Geckos is every other day or at least 3 times a week. More often for growing neonates. Dust food with a calcium powder twice a week to provide additional calcium for growing bones. Adults may be supplemented once weekly, unless females are producing eggs which causes them to use up more calcium, therefore supplements should be made available multiple times a week for gravid females. Dust food items once a week with a multivitamin supplement. Offering food at night when they are active is best.
Humidity & Water: Misting /Spraying the enclosure is good to keep humidity up, and the enclosure slightly moist(which these geckos prefer). Each species of Goniurosaurus have different preferences of environment, from a dryer to more moist habitat. It is good to regulate spraying depending on species being kept and type of enclosure being used. Aside from keeping humidity up the geckos will take advantage of the spray down and drink the droplets of water off the side walls and other surfaces in their enclosure. If not misted daily provide a shallow dish of water.
Heating & Lighting: Cave Geckos do best at temperatures kept between 68° and 79°. Temperatures above 82°for any extended period of time will stress the geckos and is highly likely to cause death. If household temperatures are not at the preferred levels supplemental heating may be provided by either a small wattage night heat bulb or under talk heater attached to a thermostat. Because these geckos are nocturnal and spend much if not all of the day in caves and dark crevices supplemental UVB lighting is not necessary. Although it wouldn’t heart if wanted , provided lights are set on a timer to go of at night and come on in the morning.
Captive Behavior: Because Cave Geckos have not been worked with as extensively or as long as the Leopard Gecko they are not as well known. The average leopard Geckos seem domesticated quite tame and docile, wile Cave Geckos seem to have their wild side. They still remain quit nocturnal unlike their cousins who can be up at all hours of the day. They can be quite wary of being handled. Even handling captive bred specimens is kept to a minimum. If kept dark enough you may notice some activities during the day. We most enjoy watching them hunt at night, scurrying across the vertical coco fibered wall of their enclosures snatching up prey. Cave Geckos share many of the same qualities, habits and behaviors as their leopard gecko counterparts. If you are interested in expanding your gecko collection these would make an excellent choice. If you are looking for a low maintenance pet similar to a leopard gecko yet different a captive bred cave gecko may be the direction to go.
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