Mediterranean house geckos are fascinating creatures, adored for their unique characteristics and friendly disposition.
Native to the Mediterranean region, these reptiles have made their way to various parts of the world, earning the name Turkish gecko and moon lizard. If you’re considering adding one to your life as a pet, understanding their care, lifespan, diet, and size is essential to ensure a healthy and happy companion.
What is a Mediterranean House Gecko?
The Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) is a fascinating reptile native to the Mediterranean region, commonly seen in countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, and Spain. Although they’ve made their way into the pet trade, they’re also known to be found around homes in their native habitat.
Gecko Physical Characteristics
Mediterranean house geckos are smaller species of geckos, often called microgeckos. They typically grow to a length of 4 to 5 inches. Their bodies are round and cylindrical in shape, with large lidless eyes, bumpy skin, a tapered tail, and sticky toe pads. Males tend to have wider heads and are heavier than females.
These geckos have a color range from tan to pink, adorned with dark bands and blotches down their body and tail, which are interrupted by pale-colored bumps. Overall, their unique appearance and manageable size make them an interesting choice of pet for reptile enthusiasts.
Mediterranean House Gecko Care
To create a comfortable home for your Mediterranean house gecko, start by choosing a suitable enclosure. A minimum recommended size is 12″L x 12″W x 18″H (30 x 30 x 45 cm). If possible, opt for an enclosure that is front-opening and opaque on all sides except the front, which will benefit the gecko’s mental health and provide easy access.
Inside the enclosure, provide various climbing surfaces, such as branches, cork bark tubes, and plants (live or artificial). A substrate made of coconut coir, peat moss, or a mix of both will retain humidity well.
Mediterranean house geckos thrive in temperatures between 65° to 90°F (18°-32°C). To achieve this gradient, use a heat mat or ceramic heat emitter on one side of the enclosure. Add a thermostat to regulate the temperature accurately. Always use a thermometer to monitor the temperature throughout the habitat, ensuring a suitable gradient.
Your gecko will appreciate humidity levels between 60-75%. To maintain humidity, mist the enclosure regularly, especially in the evening hours when geckos are most active. Alternatively, a hygrometer can help you monitor humidity levels, making adjustments as necessary.
House geckos are nocturnal, so supplemental UVB lighting isn’t essential. However, a low-output UVB bulb or LED lighting may still help regulate their day-night cycle, while on the other hand, some hobbyists suggest there might be health benefits to providing low-level UVB. Ensure 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness to mimic their natural environment.
Diet of a Mediterranean House Gecko
Typical Feeding Habits
Mediterranean House Geckos are insectivorous creatures, meaning they primarilyfeed on insects. In their natural habitat, they consume a variety of small insects such as crickets, roaches, and moths. When keeping a Mediterranean House Gecko as a pet, it’s essential to mimic their natural diet as much as possible, offering them a variety of insects to ensure they get all the needed nutrients.
To keep your Mediterranean House Gecko healthy and thriving, pay special attention to their nutritional needs. Provide a diet consisting of:
- Crickets: The primary food source for your gecko.
- Mealworms: A good source of protein, adding variety to their diet.
- Roaches: Another great protein source, dubia roaches are often preferred.
- Moths: These can occasionally be provided as a tasty treat.
It’s also crucial to dust the insects with calcium powder, as geckos require calcium for proper bone health. You might want to use supplements containing vitamin D3 as well, especially if your gecko doesn’t have access to natural sunlight or a UVB light source.
Mediterranean House Geckos don’t require a strict feeding schedule, but there are some guidelines you can follow:
- Juveniles: Feed daily or every other day, as they’re growing rapidly and need more frequent nourishment.
- Adults: You can reduce the feeding frequency to 3-4 times per week.
Make sure to remove any uneaten insects from the enclosure after each feeding to avoid excess waste, as this can lead to unsanitary conditions and potential health issues for your gecko.
By offering your gecko a varied diet, meeting their nutritional requirements, and maintaining an appropriate feeding schedule, you’ll ensure they remain healthy and happy in your care.
Understanding the Lifespan
Mediterranean House Geckos typically live for about 3 to 9 years in captivity with proper care. Their lifespan largely depends on factors such as diet, temperature, humidity, and overall husbandry practices. As a responsible pet owner, you should strive to provide an optimal environment to ensure your gecko lives a long and healthy life.
Some potential health issues to watch for in your Mediterranean House Gecko include:
- Metabolic Bone Disease: Providing your gecko with a proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in their diet, as well as UVB lighting, can help prevent this common ailment.
- Parasites: Internal and external parasites may affect your gecko’s health. Regular fecal examinations and veterinary check-ups can assist in early detection and treatment.
- Respiratory Infections: Maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels can help prevent these infections. If you notice any wheezing, labored breathing, or mucus discharge from your gecko’s mouth or nose, consult a veterinarian.
By understanding the average lifespan and potential health issues for your Mediterranean House Gecko, you can provide the best possible care for your pet. Keep track of your gecko’s diet, temperature, and humidity levels to ensure they have a long and healthy life.
Gecko Size and Growth
Baby Gecko Size
When you first welcome a baby Mediterranean house gecko into your home, you’ll notice that they are quite small and delicate. These little reptiles usually hatch at a length of just 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm). As they grow, you’ll need to ensure that their habitat provides plenty of hiding spaces for them to feel safe and secure. Keep in mind that handling young geckos should be minimized, as they can be more fragile and prone to stress.
Adult Gecko Size
As your baby Mediterranean house gecko grows into an adult, you will observe noticeable changes in their size. Adult geckos generally reach a length of about 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm). Males tend to be slightly smaller than females. To accommodate their growth, it is essential to provide a suitable enclosure. A 10 to 20-gallon tank with proper furnishings would be ideal. One adult gecko requires an enclosure size of at least 12″L x 12″W x 18″H (30 x 30 x 45 cm), but larger is always better if possible.
Decorate the enclosure with branches and climbing structures to promote exercise and offer hiding spots. Remember to monitor the gecko’s size throughout their life to ensure their habitat meets their needs.