We aren’t quickly consider tokay geckos as pets, at least not the way leopard geckos are. Surprisingly, both arboreal are closely related. They are not only brilliantly beautiful, – coming in vibrant colors and noticeable spots-, they are also the second-largest geckos.
Tokay geckos usually come in blue-gray color, with a touch of blue and bright orange spots to catch your attention.
Tokay geckos are highly vocal and would make barking or croaking noise just to attract potential mates. Some Asian myths even believe that keeping the tokay geckos as pets bring good luck.
Unfortunately, tokay geckos are constantly hunted by poachers, mostly because it is believed that the crawlers are used for medicinal remedies.
- Name: Gekko gecko, Tokay gecko, hankkok, awke, hokkeng, and takshak.
- Size: Can grow up to 20 inches, and can weigh from 150 to 400 grams.
- Lifespan: Tokay geckos can live up to 20 years.
Behavior and temperament
Tokay geckos like most geckos are naturally nocturnal and are known to bite. This angry crawlers can deliver a painful bite, so it’s better to be careful when handling them.
Although they get less aggressive when they start to get used to you, but it’s still best to handle them with extra care.
Tokays got their name from the call they usually make; which come as “To-Kay!” It is imperative that you don’t keep two tokay gecko males together.
If you have problems sleeping, then you might want to let your pet be someplace else asides your bedroom. This is because the barking sound they make would keep you up at night.
As stated earlier, putting two male tokay geckos together is a no no. This is due to the fact that they are highly territorial, and male tokays would readily attack other tokays or animals when threatened.
You may need to do some research before considering keeping them as a pet because they don’t hesitate to strike when they feel like their space is being invaded or when they feel threatened. This also means, it could be risky having kids around a tokay gecko.
Tokay geckos like other geckos are able to detach their tails when trying to escape from a predator. These crawlers could win tons of awards just for their climbing skills. They also have strong jaws attached to the a big head, unlike other geckos.
Tokay geckos naturally sleep head-down but become very active at night.
You’d be way out of line if you expect to be cuddly with a tokay gecko. Far from it! Their bright colors makes them beautiful to look at, but don’t be surprised when tokays kept in captivity get aggressive at the slightest provocation.
It’s best to maintain the temperature to 27 to 32 C (80 to 90 F) during the day, then take it down to 21 to 27 C (70 to 80 F) at night. Ultraviolet bulbs aren’t necessary since tokay geckos are naturally nocturnal.
You could use an incandescent source of light to provide heat during the day, however, it’s best that a ceramic element or nocturnal reptile bulb is used to provide heat at night.
Since tokay geckos love to climb, it’s best to have any source of heat come from above the tank, instead of a heating pad. It’s also best to keep humidity around 70% by misting, and shouldn’t go below 50%.
Coconut husk-based substrate or the bark of orchid are preferable options for retaining moisture.
Using a paper towel to clean up when they shed may also be helpful. It’s also best to use plain towels without ink designs or bleach to clean up.
Housing Tokay geckos
Putting their size into consideration, -being that they are the largest geckos yet-, the minimum recommended size of space needed to keep them is a 20-gallon tank.
Ensure the tank kid is secure, because tokay geckos are escape artists and may be able to find their way out if they aren’t properly secured. You don’t want the memory of a scared and feisty tokay gecko strolling around your house, for both your sakes, or your kids, if any.
Also, firm branches need to be provided for them to climb. Strong potted plants aren’t a bad idea either, since your tokay gecko would spend most of its time clinging and climbing.
You’d be making it more homely for them if hiding spots are provided. Half logs, caves or cork barks are good options for hiding spots for your pet.
Feeding a tokay gecko
Tokay geckos have a great appetite and can practically eat most insects like crickets, mealworms, superworms, waxworms, cockroaches, grasshopper, moth, butterflies, houseflies, etc.
Don’t be shocked when you find large tokays feeding on pinky mice. Adult tokays geckos eat every now and then, while juveniles need to be fed daily.
Common health problems
Tokay geckos, like many species of lizard, are susceptible to stomatitis, or mouth rot. Symptoms may be presented as excess saliva indicating respiratory infection, a cheesy-looking ooze or a red-like appearance around the geckos’ mouth.
Tokays can also be infected internally and externally (skin) by parasites. The skin infection may appear as rash. Your gecko may be having trouble shedding completely, this may also be another indication of a skin complication.
Parasites attacking your pet from the inside can cause abnormal fecal deposits, change in appetite, and sluggishness.
If caught early, these conditions can be treated easily. Don’t ignore any obvious changes and signs, and do not attempt to treat your pet with home remedies. Consult a veterinarian immediately to ensure a proper treatment is administered.
Picking a Tokay gecko
As stated above, tokay geckos are far from being gentle, and aren’t the best choice to be around children, especially new born a who don’t know when/if to play with unfriendly creatures.
You might want to consider choosing a gecko who’s pelvic bones and ribs aren’t showing. This is a quick and easy way in picking a sturdy, infection-free and with no broken bone.
Another easy way to tell if a tokay gecko is healthy enough for adoption is by picking it up. Yes! You read that right. You would have to pick it up. A healthy “tokay hulk” would not like being picked and would bark and even attempt to bite your hands.
Note: When the crawlers have their mouths open, it means it’s ready to bite. So it is best to have your hands placed behind the head of the gecko so you don’t get bitten.
It may help not to get bitten because, not only is the tokay gecko’s bite painful, they can have their teeth locked in, and may refuse to release their grip when they sink in their teeth into your flesh.
Species similar to tokay gecko
Here is a list of some gecko breeds that may be of interest if you want to adopt any one similar to the tokay gecko;
- Day geckos
- Leopard geckos
- Created geckos