Tokay Geckos

Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko. Getty Images/JH Pete Carmichael

Tokay geckos aren't as commonly seen as pets as leopard geckos but they are just as interesting as their cousins. They are the second largest kind of gecko and are known for their vibrant colors and spots. Tokay geckos are also vocal, making a unique croaking or barking noise, to attract mates, are arboreal, and according to some myths, are said to bring good luck. Tokays are kept as pets in homes around the world.

Names for Tokay Geckos

Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) are known as many different things in various languages. "Hokkeng", "takshak", "hankkok", and "awke" are all names given to the tokay gecko in different languages.

Size of Tokay Geckos

Male tokay geckos can be up to 20 inches in length while females are slightly smaller. Weights can vary between 150 and 400 grams but tokay geckos still hold the title as the second largest geckos. Leach's giant gecko (New Caledonian giant gecko) is the largest living gecko. Other species were once larger but they are now unfortunately extinct.

Life Span of Tokay Geckos

Tokay geckos can be expected to live 10 years or more (up to 20 has been reported) but it is not really known how long they can really live.

Appearance of Tokay Geckos

Tokay geckos are very distinctive, colorful geckos. They are usually a blue-grey color with bright orange and blue spots. Since these geckos are also large and have quite the loud mating call they are easy to spot.

Tokay Gecko Behavior

Tokay geckos are nocturnal and have a bit of a reputation for biting (they are pretty feisty and can deliver a painful bite, so care is warranted). With regular interaction they usually become less aggressive but generally will not be good for handling. They can be quite vocal and that is where their name arises: their call sounds like "To-kay!

To-kay!". Never house males together and don't house your gecko in your bedroom otherwise their barking may wake you up in the middle of the night. Tokay geckos are also able to detach their tail to escape a predator.

Tanks for Tokay Geckos

Being a larger lizard a 20-gallon tank is the minimum size recommended for tokay geckos. Provide sturdy branches for climbing and strong potted plants can be added (artificial plants could also be used). Also provide some hiding spots using cork bark, half logs, or caves but your gecko should spend almost all his time climbing.

Substrate for Tokay Geckos

Orchid bark or coconut husk based substrate are good choices for their moisture-retaining qualities.

Temperature and Humidity:

Aim for 80-90 degree F (27-32 degrees Celsius) during the day (as a gradient) and down to 70-80 degree F (21-27 degrees Celsius) at night. No UVB-emitting bulbs are necessary since they are a nocturnal species. An incandescent bulb can be used for heat during the day but a nocturnal reptile bulb or ceramic element must be used for heat at night. Heat provided from above the tank is preferable over a heating pad since tokay geckos tend to climb. Humidity should be kept at about 70% (do not let it drop under 50%) by misting.

The proper substrate will help retain humidity.

Feeding Tokay Geckos

Tokay geckos are usually voracious eaters and can be fed a variety of insect prey (crickets, superworms, mealworms, waxworms, grasshoppers, cockroaches, etc). Larger tokays may take pinky mice. Prey should be gut loaded prior to feeding and dusted with a vitamin supplement containing calcium. Juveniles can be fed daily; adults every other day or so.

Edited by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT

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