GIANT DAY GECKO Caresheet
Common Name: Giant Day Gecko; Madagascar Giant Day Gecko; Crimson Day Gecko
Scientific Name: Phelsuma grandis
Size: Up to 12" head to tail
Lifespan: 8-15 years
You will find many ways on the internet on "how to" take care of this animal. This care sheet is showing the way we found works best for us from our many years of experience of breeding and caring for this species.
As the name suggests, the giant day gecko is diurnal, or active during the day rather than night. In the wild, it is an arboreal species, living most of the time in trees. So you want an enclosure that has some height to it and also hiding places that simulate tree hollows, like cork bark or bamboo. Live and/or artificial plants also make for a nice cover addition, but they should be sturdy enough to support the weight of the gecko.
Due to the aggressive territorial behavior of adults towards each other, giant day geckos should be housed individually unless breeding.
Young should be kept in smaller enclosures so they feel safe. As the juvenials grow, they can be moved to larger settings such as an Exo Terra 12" x 12" x 18"or a 10 gallon aquarium with a screen top.
After about a year, the adult can live in an enclosure like the Exo Terra 18" x 18" x 24" (but larger is better) or a 40 gallon glass aquarium.
Exo Terras screen enclosures can also be used, but you will spend more time keeping the humidity up in this enclosure.
LIGHTING & TEMPERATURES
Giant day geckos are hardy lizards. UVB lighting is not necessary for these guys. You'll want to turn any daylight off at night. They are comfortable with day temperatures of 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. And a basking spot of 95 degrees. Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer.
The easiest way to increase the heat in your enclosure is with a Exo Terra sun glo bulb or an Exo terra or Zoo Med heat pad (placed on the side of the tank instead of underneath). You always want part of the tank to be cooler so your gecko can regulate his own body temperature by choosing what temperature area to hang out in. Usually with a tall tank the hot part is near the top and the cooler part is towards the bottom. It's OK if the temp drops to mid 70s at night.
Misting the enclosure twice a day will usually provide enough moisture for your geckos. They like to lick water off the glass and foliage in the enclosure. Yet, also have a water bowl for them to use if they choose. Exo Terra's reptile fountain provides bubbling water, Flukers rock dish is a nice naturalistic non-porous water bowl, or you can use a Magnetic water/feeding ledge. If you live in the Southwestern United States where it's very dry--or in the Northern part of the United States where winter is very dry--you may have to mist more frequently.
We suggest using Repashy crested gecko diet or Pangea crested gecko diet as the main food for your gecko. They are specially formulated to be a complete diet for geckos. Magnetic feeding ledges are a nice way to keep the food cups up off the ground. They like it since they naturally eat in the trees in the wild.
We also suggest giving your lizards bugs once or twice a week, to provide additional protein. Including crickets, roaches, mealworms, waxworms, and phoenix. For extra calcium and vitamins, dust the bugs with supplements such as Repashy Calcium Plus every feeding. Or use Zoo Med Calcium without d3, every feeding for young and 2-3 x a week for adults. Use Zoo med multivitamin with D3 only 1x a week. The day you use the multivitamin do not use the calcium.
Giant day geckos do not like to be handled. In fact, they have a defense mechanism where they can naturally drop their tails if startled or if they are trying to get away from a predator. Once dropped, the tail will not grow back. They also can slough off chunks of skin if threatened.
Giant day geckos make wonderful pets but are more for the experieced owner rather than the novice.