Want a pet gecko? Below is a list of three commonly available geckos which make good pets.
Leopard Geckos are small terrestrial geckos that do very well in captivity. Leopard Geckos can be kept in a very simple cage setup consisting of: a glass aquarium, plastic terrarium or display cage measuring 50cm x 30cm x30cm, a substrate of fine sand, a hide box, water bowl and a bowl of calcium supplement. Provide a hot spot of 30 degrees Celsius using a heat pad or infrared basking lamp. Leopard Geckos do not need extra heating during the hot South African summer, unless there is an unexpected cold spell. Heating is required in the winter. These geckos do not require UVB lighting. Leopard Geckos feed on insects and a diet of crickets and mealworms is all they need. Provide a small bowl of calcium powder for your Leopard Gecko to lick or dust insects with a calcium supplement. Leopard Geckos do not require misting as they will drink from a water bowl. Leopard Geckos become very tame and are easy to handle. Captive bred Leopard Geckos of all ages are readily available at pet shops, reptile expos and from breeders. There are several selectively bred Leopard Gecko colour morphs on the market.
Verdict: Leopard Geckos make a good first lizard and are the perfect pet gecko.
African Fat Tailed Geckos
African Fat Tailed Geckos are another small terrestrial gecko that thrives in captivity. African Fat Tailed Geckos can be kept under the same conditions as Leopard Geckos, including cage size and type. African Fat Tailed Geckos can be fed on crickets and mealworms which have been dusted with calcium supplements. African Fat Tailed Geckos will drink from a bowl but it is a good idea to mist the inside of the hide box once or twice a week. African Fat Tailed Geckos are not as easy to acquire as Leopard Geckos and are more expensive, however captive bred African Fat tailed Geckos can be found with a bit of searching. There are several colour and pattern morphs of this gecko. Captive bred African Fat Tailed Geckos are usually tame if handled frequently. Wild caught adults may bite when picked up.
Verdict: A Healthy captive bred African Fat Tailed Gecko will make good pet.
Crested Geckos are medium sized arboreal geckos native to the Island of New Caledonia. Once thought to be extinct, they were rediscovered on the island in the 1990s. Exporting these geckos from their natural habitat is illegal and Crested Geckos available for sale are captive bred. There are several attractive colour and pattern morphs of the Crested Gecko due to extensive captive breeding programs. Crested Geckos require a tall cage at least 60cm high for a pair of geckos. Glass terrariums are best as daily spraying is needed as Crested Geckos will not drink from a bowl. Climbing branches, climbing vines and fake plants are need to provide visual barriers and climbing surfaces. Sphagnum moss makes a good substrate as it absorbs moisture without getting moldy. Crested Geckos feed on crickets and mealworms dusted with calcium supplements, a mixture of honey and fruit puree must be provided. Crested Geckos can be handled but be careful not to let them escape as they can climb up walls and even glass making recapture difficult.
Verdict: An attractive species which makes a good pet for slightly more experienced gecko keepers.