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Flying geckos are pretty easy to come by. They are virtually all wild-caught imports, but they are easy to breed and the babies are as easy as the adults to care for. Photo credit: Cioli/BowTie Studio.
Flying geckos (Ptychozoon kuhli) are pretty easy to come by. They are virtually all wild-caught imports, but they are easy to breed and the babies are as easy as the adults to care for.
Size: Up to 8 inches.
Life Span: Unknown.
Range: This gecko can be found in peninsular Malaysia, southern Thailand, Nicobar Islands, Sumatra, Java, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak, on all the neighboring islands.
Natural Habitat: Flying geckos inhabit damp, dark and warm primary forests. Strictly arboreal, these tree-dwelling lizards live on trunks and large branches, and are also found in the forest canopy. They are often seen near human habitation and around commercial plantations throughout their range. Mostly nocturnal, but they occasionally forage during the daytime. Flying geckos don't really fly. In the wild, these small lizards, also known as parachute geckos, rely on flaps of skin to help them glide from tree to tree.
Captive Housing: The taller the enclosure the better. Go for at least 16 to 24 inches tall, but if you can give them something taller, please do. These geckos love to climb. The length of the cage can be 18 inches or longer, depending on your preference. A standard 29-gallon tank, with a screen top, would hold up to two geckos. Add at least 5 gallons for every additional animal.
This active species communicates through soft, creaking sounds and is very territorial. Never house more than one male in the same enclosure! Even females can sometimes be aggressive with one another. For this reason, they are best kept in pairs or, at most, trios.
Substrate can be cypress bark, crushed coconut fiber or chemical-free potting soil. Provide a water bowl big enough for the geckos to drink from. For décor, use cork bark flats or rounds, or both. Plastic vines or other plants, hanging from the top of the enclosure, will give them nice places to hide. Flying geckos are nocturnal, so ultraviolet lighting is not really required, but it would not hurt. If you decide to use one, just turn it on in the morning and off at night. A heat emitter can be used to maintain a hot spot of about 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping it on 24 hours a day. Your thermal gradient will go from top to bottom, with the bottom being cooler. The wattage of the heat emitter will depend on the depth of your cage. The bottom, where it is coolest, should be approximately 75 degrees.
Mist by hand or use a humidifier or mechanical mister to maintain a humidity level of about 75 to 80 percent. Flying geckos rarely go to the ground, so most of the time, they will also utilize daily spraying for drinking water.
Diet: These insectivores welcome variety. Crickets, dusted with a calcium and multivitamin supplement every other feeding, are a main staple. Feed around 10 crickets every other day. They will also eat moths, mealworms, waxworms and small roaches, such as lobster roaches.
What's Available: Flying geckos are pretty easy to come by. They are virtually all wild-caught imports, but they are easy to breed and the babies are as easy as the adults to care for. I've accidentally produced babies in my flying gecko enclosures without realizing it until I found the babies running around in the tank. I'm not sure why they are not more commonly captive bred. There are no morphs that I'm aware of. They can be found in reptile pet stores, sold over the Internet and sometimes at reptile expos.
Easy to keep, neat to look at, and fun to watch. They sometimes bite when captured and don't like to be held. If you are looking for something to enjoy and look at, this is the gecko for you. If you're more into holding your pet, I'd look for something else.
Ken Foose produced his first captive-bred snakes at age 11. With a Master's Degree in Zoology, he has been both zookeeper and curator. He opened Exotic Pets, which specializes in reptiles and amphibians, in Las Vegas in 1991, and he is currently vice president of the International Herpetological Symposium.