Caring for Chinese Cave Geckos
Chinese Cave Geckos
The Chinese cave gecko (Goniurosaurus luii) was introduced to the pet market in 1996 when the first specimens were imported from Hainan Island, China, which is off of mainland China. Their native habitat is thought to be a rocky, forested, scrubland-type area.
The species is pretty popular among eublepharid-gecko-enthusiasts, which are reptile keepers who like eye-lid species, like the leopard gecko and African fat-tail. This species is not the most handleable. They will tolerate being handled for short periods of time, like when removing to clean the enclosure, but they generally won't just sit and hang out. Some may, but on average, this species and other cave gecko species aren't the best "play with pets."
- Appearance: These geckos are a dark purple-gray color with small spots and yellow or orange bands. There isn't much variation in their coloring. They have a similar build to leopard species, but they are slimmer. The tail is a fat reserve, meaning a healthy specimen will have a decently plump tail, but it will break off if scared (the tail will regenerate, but not as pretty as the original).
- Size: An adult is about 8 to 9 inches in length.
This species can't really compare to leopard gecko care; they need more work. First off, you'll want an enclosure that's at least 20 gallons. You may be able to get away with a 10-gallon, but in reality, it'll be too small.
- The temperature should be about 75 to 83 °F on the hot side. It's important that you use an appropriately sized under-tank heater to obtain this heat. The gecko species needs belly heat which can only be provided by using an under tank heater. In order to measure the temperature, you'll want to use a digital thermometer with a probe, as it will give you the best results. At night, the temperatures can go as low as 72 °F, but for the most part, you don't want the temperature to be lower than 75 too often, so try to keep the low right around 75 °F. In some cases, you won't need the under tank heater, if the enclosure will stay between 75 °F and 83 °F with the room/house temperatures.
- Lighting is not necessary for cave geckos. They are nocturnal and do not require UV lighting, nor do they really require a regular daylight. You can offer it in order to provide a day/night scenario, but it's not necessary.
- Humidity should be at least 60%. These guys require higher humidity that should range between 60% to 80%. You can use loose bedding such as sphagnum moss or a coconut coir to help retain the humidity, but it's very cautionary because they can easily ingest the bedding when eating, which can potentially cause impaction. If you opt to use loose bedding, you'll need to change it often because it can easily start to harbor bacteria and fungus from the high humidity. I'd recommend, using tile, roll-out shelf liner, reptile carpet, or plain old paper towels, and just misting the enclosure twice a day or as needed to obtain proper humidity levels. You can cover part of the top using a plastic cover to help hold in some of the humidity, but make sure that you don't cover the entire top; the gecko still needs to breath, so keep that in mind.
As for your décor, you will want to use a humid hide, which is great to help hold in humidity. All you need to do is the following:
- Get a glad Tupperware container.
- Cut a hold in the lid.
- Put moist paper towels or moss in the container. Keep the hide moist, and you've got a humid hide.
Now, you can purchase a commercial hide that does the same thing, and it'll probably look nicer, but this way is so much cheaper. It's also good to add climbing decorations. Cave geckos like to climb and would appreciate some sort of fake rock or cork bark to climb on.
Diet and Feeding
You can offer anything from crickets to mealworms. They will eat superworms, silkworms, and roaches. Just make sure that the feeders are appropriately sized. You want to make sure that the feeders are all healthy and gut-loaded before offering them. Remember: You are what you eat, and you don't want to feed sickly malnourished crickets to your gecko.
Make sure that you supplement the food. You want to offer a small bowl of calcium and D3 in the enclosure at all times. But, you also want to dust the crickets and worms, using a multi-vitamin and the calcium plus D3. It's most important to offer the calcium, but you want to offer the multi-vitamin about every 3rd or 4th feeding. Make sure that the gecko has a small dish of freshwater. You will want to change it daily or every other day to prevent bacteria growth. It's ideal to keep the water bowl on the cool side of the enclosure.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.