Housing Tokay Geckos
A glass aquarium or terrarium from your local pet shop will be adequate to house your Tokay gecko with a screened top for ventilation. A single Tokay can be kept in a standard 20 gallon tall/High aquarium (24" L x 12" W x 16" H), but a larger tank is recommended. When choosing a tank, height is more important than length for these arboreal geckos. Do not use terrariums with screened sides as these may damage the tokays delicate toes.
One male and several females can be housed together in larger tanks. Male Tokay geckos are very territorial and will fight so do not try to keep multiple males together.
Heating and Lighting
Daytime temperatures should be maintained between 78-86 degrees with nighttime drop of 10 degrees. Tokay geckos are nocturnal, therefore an expensive UVB bulb is not necessary. A standard incandescent bulb will provide sufficient heat and lighting for your Tokay gecko. Use a good quality heat lamp with a ceramic socket, put on a timer. Planted terrariums may require better quality lighting to thrive, such as T5 fluorescent strip lights. This would also allow you to use a ceramic heat emitter in place of the incandescent bulb. Ceramic heat emitter give off no light, just heat, so they can be run at night to maintain proper temperatures even in colder climates. Place your heat lamp in such a way as to provide a range of temperatures in your tank, your tokays will self regulate their body temperature and move to where they are comfortable.
Substrate and Landscaping
The best substrate to use is the ground coconut fiber material. It is purchased in dried, compressed bricks from your local pet store. Add some warm water to it and wait...it will expand as it absorbs the water. This material is non toxic, the small particles will not choke your gecko or cause impactions if swallowed and it holds moisture to maintain the high humidity your gecko needs.
Cork bark tubes of appropriate size can be used for decoration as well as climbing and basking areas. The hollow cork tubes also provide safe hiding places for the sometimes seclusive tokay gecko to retreat.
Tokay geckos natural habitat is tropical rainforests with high humidity. In captivity, you should try to maintain a relative humidity of 40-80%. This can be acheived and maintained by keeping the substrate moistened (but not wet), daily misting, and the use of a large shallow water dish. Potted plants may also help maintain desired humidy levels in your terrarium.
Do not let humidity levels drop below 40%. Failure to maintain proper humidity levels can lead to health problems for your tokay gecko, primarily incomplete sheds. Incomplete shedding is especially dangerous to the tokay geckos delicate footpads and can result in an inability to cling to surfaces and even lead to infections or other damage to their toes.
- Pothos - (Epipremnum aurem) This is a commonly available beginner houseplant that comes in 3 main color varieties: golden, variegated and Jade. Pothos plants prefer bright indirect light, but can tolerate lower light conditions. Water when top inch of soil gets dry, usually about once a week. Pothos is a low growing vining plant. Periodically prune the vines back to maintain desired size or shape. Pothos can be easily propagated by rooting cuttings in water.
- Snake Plant - (Sansevieria sp.) Another hardy plant that grows clumps of vertical sword-like leaves. Snake plants prefer moderate to bright light and watering every 7-10 days, but do not over water. Sansevieria likes to be pot bound and can be propagated by separating leaf clumps from the base or from cuttings.
In order to maintain an attractive and healthy environment for your Tokay gecko, a regular cleaning regiment needs to be performed.
- Daily spot cleanings to collect feces from the walls and substrate.
- Daily cleaning and refilling of the water dish.
- Daily misting of terrarium to maintain humidity levels of 40-80%.
- Replace the substrate every 3 months or sooner, as needed.
- Cork bark tubes or other decorations that have become soiled can be removed from the terrarium and sprayed with a mild bleach solution (5% bleach). Rinse them under water until you can no longer smell any bleach residue and allow to dry before reintroducing to the tank.