Flying Geckos – The Ultimate Guide


Flying Geckos

Origin 

Flying geckos, also known as gliding or parachute geckos, are found in the rainforest of Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. These arboreal geckos live on trees or canopies, which makes them adapt to aerial or aerodynamic motions. 

In their natural habitat, they hide in trees or camouflage to avoid their predators. As its name suggests, flying geckos don’t fly. Instead, they use their specialized skin flaps and tails to move from one place to another. Its ability to glide or parachute is what makes it different from other geckos.

In the rainforest, snakes, bigger reptiles or birds normally prey on flying geckos. They develop natural adaptations to escape these predators by gliding, jumping or parachuting from one place to another. 

Identifying Traits 

One of the distinguishing features of a flying gecko is its skin flaps, flat tails and webbed feet. This body feature makes it glide on the air. The flaps are also found on the arms, tail and face.

They are also excellent in camouflage. They easily adapt or blend with trees and bark to avoid larger animals. Their skin resembles the texture of barks. The color of the flying gecko ranges from black to brown with a shade of tan and partial green color. 

Flying geckos are timid animals and don’t like to be handled most of the time. They tend to jump when held, and this may cause them injuries. So, if you have one, it’s better to let them inside the enclosure.

Habitation

Flying geckos are rare species dwelling in the rainforest. They are usually located in richly-foliated forest areas with abundant food to sustain them. But now, they can also be located on farms or human habitations because of the destruction of the forest. 

This species can also be held in captivity and is usually housed in terrariums or enclosures. Therefore, it is important to imitate their natural habitat. The recommended size for a terrarium is 15 to 20 gallons or 12’’ by 12’’ by 24’’ inches tall enclosures. This can house an adult gecko. 

In choosing an enclosure, it is important to consider the height. This is because flying geckos are arboreal and must climb most of the time. Providing tall terrariums or enclosures will keep them active and healthy. 

Substrate

Flying geckos requires humid conditions to thrive. Hence, it is essential to use a substrate which can retain moisture, such as chemical and fertilizer-free potting soil. Putting at least two inches deep substrate is enough for the enclosure of your flying geckos.

As recommended, the substrate must be replaced every 3 to 4 months as the geckos excrete their waste on the ground. This will make the enclosure smell and will attract harmful insects. Keep your geckos happy by replacing dirty substrate with a new one.

Humidity and Temperature

The humidity requirement for flying geckos ranges from 70-85%. This is normal because they come from rainforests where moisture content in the air is higher. However, this is not necessarily maintained as sunlight can directly affect this. 

Humidity during the day can be lower up to  60%, while humidity during the night can reach up to 100%. This can be made possible by misting the enclosure during nighttime. 

Temperature, on the other hand, can be regulated by using heating pads. The daytime temperature should be higher or at least 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, while the nighttime temperature should be between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light Requirement 

Flying geckos are primarily active during the night. During the day, they spend most of their time hiding or sleeping on the foliage of trees. Nocturnal animals don’t need UVB lighting, but some hobbyists used to provide UVB for their enclosures. 

Light bulbs can also be used to imitate their natural habitat. Copy the light cycle by providing the twelve hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. Copying the natural light cycle is necessary to keep them healthy and stress-free. 

Decoration 

The enclosure must be set up in a manner that will encourage them to stay active. Since the flying geckos are arboreal, you have to add decoration that will enable them to climb `like they do in their natural habitat. 

Branches, vines or bamboo, which are non-toxic or chemical-free, can be added to the enclosures. This will not only make their habitat attractive, but it can also contribute to their overall well-being. Just ensure to attach the decoration properly to prevent harm to your geckos. Unstable branches or bamboo may fall and cause them injury.

Live plants may also be added. It will make their environment extra attractive and conducive. It can also give your geckos fresh air and humidity. 

Diet and nutrition 

Flying geckos usually feed on live insects; the quantity and quantity may vary depending on age or maturity. Those in the hatchling or juvenile stages should be given an insect feeder at least once a day, while the adults are fed at least three to four times a week.

Remember the rule that insects must not be more than the size of the space between the gecko’s eyes. If the insects are bigger, you can cut them into smaller sizes.

Various insect feeders are given to flying geckos, but the most common ones are Dubai roaches, crickets and darkling beetles. They can also be given mealworms or waxworms on an occasional basis. These insects are the main source of nutrition that their body needs. At best, they can reach the size of 6-8 inches.

Breeding 

Flying geckos can coexist with others, but you must choose who must be housed together. Breeders usually house a group of male and 2 female geckos in one enclosure. In this sense, breeding becomes easier since a single male can mate with two female adults. There will be more eggs for hatching.

This species also lays eggs every 21- 30 days, provided that the required climate for breeding is present. They lay a couple of eggs just like the other geckos, and they hide this or attach them to the surface of the enclosures. 

Today, local breeders and gecko enthusiasts sold flying geckos for a cheap price of 25 to 70 dollars.

Safekeeping for Hatchlings 

Eggs must be carefully incubated in a separate room. With the right care, they are expected to hatch after 21 days, although there are eggs which develop late.

One week after hatching provides them with ample insects to sustain their growth. Also, remember to keep their place clean to keep them away from sickness. These babies are fragile. Hence, you must be extra careful handling them. 

Monitor the hatchlings as they show early signs of territoriality. If you observe injuries on some, it would be better to keep them separated.                            

Supplement

Flying geckos need supplements to keep them healthy and strong. Therefore, the insects must be added or dusted with vitamins and minerals to ensure they get the right nutrition. Insect-feeder may also be dusted with calcium and D3, especially the female adult in the breeding stage.

Gut loading may also be used to feed your geckos. In this way, insects are normally fed with vegetables, fruits, and other foods rich in essential minerals. The main purpose of gut loading is to pass these nutrients to your pet and to make them healthy.

Common Health issues 

A flying gecko can live 8 to 10 years with proper care and handling. But there are also poor animals who perish at a young age. The following are the primary causes of the health disturbance of your flying geckos. 

Stress

Improper setup of the enclosure or improper handling can cause stress to your flying geckos. This may be shown by their lack of interest in eating, weight loss, excessive hiding and tail waving. To keep them away from stress, avoid handling them and provide extra hides or larger enclosures. 

Parasites 

Parasites suck the nutrition in their body. It may also lead to gastrointestinal problems, diarrhoea, weight loss, and appetite. To get rid of these harmful parasites, you can use a dewormer duly prescribed by your vet. 

Metabolic Bone Disease

MBD is a common problem for most reptiles, especially flying geckos. This happens when there is an imbalance in the supply of minerals, vitamins and nutrients in their bones. To prevent this, your gecko must be given a balanced diet. Studies have also shown that sun or ultraviolet exposure can help develop stronger bones. 

Final Thoughts 

Flying geckos are excellent animals because they are unique and require minimal care. You should know what all flying geckos eat for better care and adoption.

The best way to handle them is by not bothering them at all. Too much handling can also cause stress, resulting in different health problems. 

This animal is also an expert in escaping, and just like other lizards, they also drop their tails when threatened. This is normal for geckos, and that is their defence mechanism to distract their predators. Flying geckos are excellent pets; you shouldn’t worry because the tail will grow back.

Flying geckos can also be subject to health issues such as MBD, parasites and stress. Hence, it’s important to monitor their condition to avoid problems. 

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