Common House Gecko Facts
When I first started owning common house geckos, I had many questions and wanted to know some general facts about these lizards. Through research I’ve found that these little reptiles are very interesting and make great pets.
Some points we will be going over in this article include:
- Where do house geckos live?How long do they live?
- What Do House Geckos Eat?
- How big do they grow?
- House gecko temperament
- Are they nocturnal and do they need UVB?
- Do they carry diseases and are they poisonous?
- Do they lay eggs or are they live bearing?
Where Do House Geckos Live?
In the wild, house geckos come from Southeast Asia. They are an invasive species however and thus are also found in places like Australia and Florida. These lizards love hot and humid environments.You can find them in sewers, behind water heaters, under rocks and branches. Also, anywhere you find insects, these reptiles will be close by. Bugs are the main food source for most geckos.
In Thailand and Indonesia, they are a common household pest and can be seen crawling on building walls. House geckos really like to live around bathrooms due to the humid and wet environment they create. Even in captivity, they are very skittish and shy. They do not do very well with handling and are more of a view-only type of reptile.
Do House Geckos Carry Diseases?
If you’re wondering, can you get sick from house geckos then you’ve come to the right place! House geckos can carry diseases that can be harmful to humans especially ones from the wild. Most captive bred geckos should be parasite free and safe but remember to always wash your hands when handling them. Salmonella can be spread through direct or indirect contact from most reptiles. This is why I advise washing before, during, and after touching or handling anything from your geckos enclosure.
Wild caught lizards have a higher chance of contracting Salmonella. For this reason, I advise only purchasing reptiles born in captivity. Some reptiles in captivity can also become infected with Salmonella however.
Signs of Salmonella infection include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Stomach Pain
- Weakened Immune Function
Children and elderly people have a higher risk of becoming infected by the bacteria. There are rare cases of death in relation to this bacteria which is why it’s important to always be cautious. I usually don’t let children younger than 7 years old handle reptiles for this reason. Other diseases include bacteria infections and parasites. These are spread mainly through fecal matter. I always use gloves to wash my gecko enclosures on cleaning days. This avoids the possibility for any cross contamination.
Parasites live in the intestinal tract of your house geckos and can be dormant for many months. They are released through feces and are highly contagious. Symptoms are similar to food poisoning and stomach flu.
How Long Do House Geckos Live?
The average lifespan of house geckos in captivity is 5 years. There are even some reports of specimens living up to 10 years. There are many factors that affect longevity such as quality of feed, stress levels, and overall health. My own common house gecko lived to be 7 years old. He was originally given to me by a friend who could no longer keep his reptiles.
The type of food offered will directly affect the health of your gecko. Feeding insects that are low quality or too high in fat will shorten the lifespan of your lizard. I will be going over what to feed your house geckos later on in this article. Stress such as inadequate temperatures, unsanitary living conditions, too low or high humidity will have an adverse effect on your pets. Housing multiple lizards together as well as other species can lead to bullying. Larger geckos will pick on smaller geckos and this can all affect longevity.
Do House Geckos Need UVB?
Since house geckos are more active at night (nocturnal) and are usually hidden away from the sun during the day, they do not need external UVB lighting. There is scientific research however that these geckos do benefit from small amounts of UVB/UVA rays. The rays allow for better calcium and vitamin D absorption. Calcium aids in the development of strong bones.
Due to their small size, it is recommended to use the correct UVB bulbs. I recommend Reptisun UVB 5.0 bulbs. You also want to make sure to turn these off during the night time as reptiles can overdose on too much Vitamin D.
I would also avoid direct exposure to sunlight as this can potentially cook your gecko. The sun can warm a small space such as an enclosure very quickly. Remember, they will do just fine in captivity if you choose not to provide any special lighting. I choose to give my geckos UVB and have noticed more robust hatchlings as a result.
What Do House Geckos Eat?
If you’re considering getting a house gecko, you probably want to know exactly what they can and cannot eat. Though there are many different feeder insects available on the market, we want to provide the best options.
Common house geckos can eat the following insects as a staple diet:
- Dubia Roaches
- Turkestan Red Runner Roaches
- Black Soldier Fly Larvae
- Yellow and lesser Mealworms
Things they can consume as treats include:
- Wax worms
You always want to feed a varied diet to your reptiles. This helps balance out any nutritional deficiencies. There is no perfect feeder that will provide all the nutrients your pets need. You must also dust every feeding. Dusting is the process of supplementing calcium and vitamins in powdered form.
My geckos feeding schedule consists of feeding dubia, crickets, and mealworms every other day. This allows them the time to fully digest their food and also prevent over feeding.
Are Common House Geckos Poisonous?
Common house geckos do not contain any poison or toxins that are harmful to humans and other household pets such as cats. It’s a common misconception that all or most lizards are poisonous, this is just not true.
There is another myth going around that involved these geckos being toxic to cats. Again, this is false information as they are non-venomous. Wild reptiles can however contain a parasite that can cause inflammation to cats and dogs. Very rarely however do cats ingest these lizards, they mostly hunt for leisure and fun.
How Big Do They Grow?
Common house geckos are a small species and grow typically between 3-5 inches in length. In the wild, these lizards are usually smaller in size. In captivity, I’ve seen some even get as big as 7 inches due to the constant supply of food and a good diet. As hatchlings they are around 1 inch from snout to vent. They generally grow through the summer months. If you keep them in a rack system or with artificial temperatures, they can grow year round.
Their growth stops when they reach full maturity which is approximately 18-24 months of age. The type of feeders you provide will also dictate how big they can get. Healthier options such as dubia roaches and crickets will provide optimum mass. Fatty foods like wax worms will cause obesity and make them look fatter. Remember a bigger gecko does not always mean a healthier reptile.
Do House Geckos Lay Eggs?
There are many different kinds of geckos in the wild, some lay eggs while others bear live young. House geckos are egg layers, usually having two at a time otherwise known as a clutch. They can sometimes lay one egg depending on the age and health of the female. Younger and first time females tend to do this while older more experienced females consistently lay clutches of two.
Eggs are usually laid underground or in damp substrate. This protects them from the harsh environment and potential predators. They are very fragile and soft, usually sticky when first produced and will harden as time progresses. In captivity, they can be laid on glass enclosure walls, in water bowls, and near a heat source like heat tape. House gecko eggs once laid take around 50-60 days to hatch when incubated at 85-89F. This really depends on the heat and humidity however. The lower the temperature, the longer the days it will take to hatch. Lower temps also produce bigger and healthier hatchlings.
Do House Geckos Hibernate?
Many people who have never owned or raised house geckos wonder if they hibernate. Common house geckos go through a winter sleep cycle known as brumation. So, to answer the question do they hibernate, yes but the process is known as brumation for cold blooded animals. They will enter a deep lethargic sleep going a couple months without eating or moving much.
This happens usually in the winter due to shorter days and longer nights as well as cooler temperatures. Temps will need to be in the low 70’s and high 60’s to activate this process. You can also artificially induce brumation by lowering temperatures and controlling their photo period. Once temperatures gradually rise, they will begin to come out of brumation and return to their normal cycles.
House Gecko Temperament
There are so many different personalities when it comes to house geckos, I’ve always wondered what influences temperament. I’ve seen puppy dog tame geckos all the way to aggressive, biting everything in sight specimens. For the most part, these lizards are fairly shy and skittish. They often prefer running away and hiding over biting or fighting. They are not very tolerant of handling however if done correctly, these lizards can become docile.
I recommend not handling or interacting too much with these small geckos as this can stress out your pet. They also risk injury trying to escape from you. They are more of a “view only” and display type of pet. It’s rare that you’ll find a completely docile or extremely aggressive lizard. They are usually well balanced in temperament.
Are House Geckos Nocturnal?
If you’re looking for a reptile to enjoy during the day, these geckos may leave you disappointed. Common house geckos are indeed nocturnal which means they are mostly active at night. This doesn’t mean you won’t see them during the day, just higher chances to catch them when it’s dark out. They feel more secure in the darkness and will actively hunt during this time. Most of the daylight hours are spent hiding away and sleeping.