The Madagascar Day Gecko: Exotic Lizard With Sticky Toes

The Madagascar day gecko is an extremely popular reptile species among terrarium keepers, which is not only a pleasure for beginners and newcomers to terrarium hobbies. You can find out interesting facts about the biology and keeping of this exotic lizard here.


The Madagascar day gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis) owes its name to its Malagasy homeland.

Natural Spread

The Madagascar day gecko is native to the east coast of Madagascar and lives there not only in forests but also as a cultural follower close to humans. So it is not uncommon to find this day gecko on hut walls, on roofs, or on banana plantations.

Lifestyle and Diet

As the name day gecko suggests, these reptiles are diurnal. As cold-blooded creatures, they go to catch prey as soon as their species-specific “operating temperature” is reached. Madagascar day geckos feed primarily on insects. In addition to this carnal diet, fruit porridge and other sweet dishes are also eaten with pleasure. Thanks to their sticky toes, Madagascar day geckos can climb even the steepest of walls. Male animals tend to rivalry within the species and are sometimes very aggressive towards their conspecifics.

Madagascar day geckos have extremely good eyesight, which is very beneficial when hunting for prey. Fragrances are perceived through Jacobson’s organ, which enables the detection of a wide variety of food sources.


Madagascar day geckos are usually sexually mature at around 18 months. Mating takes place from May to September. Two to three weeks after mating, the female lays two eggs in a protected manner on the ground or sticks them to surfaces. In total, a female lays between ten and 20 eggs per year. Depending on the temperature, the young hatch after around 65 to 70 days. Most breeders recommend temperatures between 27 and 30 ° C. The young geckos are about six centimeters in size at birth. A short time later they shed their skin for the first time.

Attitude and Care

They are ideally kept in a so-called rainforest terrarium, which has an upright orientation. The size should not be too small. For a couple, I recommend a minimum size of 90 x 90 x 120 cm (WxDxH). In order to meet the extremely high climbing needs of these geckos, sufficient climbing opportunities must be available. Thick bamboo tubes, which also structure the terrarium, have proven themselves. Lively plants are not only eye-catching but also ensure a pleasant microclimate. The soil substrate should simulate forest soil and must be capable of absorbing moisture. Adequate air circulation must not be forgotten. You should definitely avoid waterlogging and stuffy air. UV light is essential for vitamin D synthesis.

The temperature should be between 25 and 30 ° C during the day and reduced to 18 to 23 ° C at night. In sunny places, the temperature can rise to 35 ° C. As usual in tropical regions, the daily lighting time should be twelve hours. With regular spraying, you can achieve a humidity between 60 and 70 percent during the day. At night, this can then increase to up to 90 percent. Measuring devices such as thermometers or hygrometers make it easier for you to check. Appropriate regulatory instruments can simplify your daily work.

Use live insects for feeding so your geckos can hunt too. You should regularly enrich feed animals with vitamin and calcium supplements. You can also feed them with fruit pulp and occasionally honey. However, you should be careful and feed sparingly, as these day geckos tend to become obese. Three feedings a week are sufficient.

Madagascar day geckos may be kept without a permit and are not subject to reporting requirements. However, you should use local offspring when purchasing and not buy imported animals, as these are already threatened in their homeland, as the habitat there is often destroyed.


The Madagascar day gecko is an exciting keeper who can give fascinating insights into the way of life of a gecko.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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