Oedura are a genus of gecko that come from Australia. There are quite a few species of Oedura, the most common ones found in the pet trade are O.monilis, O.castelnaui, O.coggeri, and O.robusta. Because they are an Australian species, they are harder to find for sale in the pet trade. They are a very under-rated gecko because they are harder to find, but are fairly docile and are an extremely hardy species. They're a great species to add to any collection.
SIZE & LIFESPAN
Velvet Geckos have been know to live in captivity for 15-20 years. If you properly care for them, and give them the correct diet, this is a gecko that you'll have as a pet for more than a decade. Velvet Geckos are a slender mid-size gecko weighing approximately 20-30 grams when full grown and measuring approximately 4-5 inches in total. This genus holds extra fat stores in their tail and usually has a tail that is almost the same width of their body.
HEAT & LIGHTING
Because Velvet Geckos are nocturnal, UVB lighting is not needed. That being said, Velvet Geckos can benefit from UVB lighting. It can stimulate their appetite and also help mimic their natural environment in the wild. We provide all our Velvet Geckos with UVB and recommend doing so if you can. If you decide to provide your gecko with UVB lighting, be sure to use a T5 bulb with 5% UVB. We recommend either the Arcadia Shadedweller or the Arcadia 6% bulb. Both bulbs work great and need replaced yearly to provide proper UVB. When using UVB, you also want to make sure to provide adequate coverage in the enclosure so that your gecko can get away from the UVB when it needs to. In the winter, we give our geckos 8-10hrs of UVB light. In the summertime, we leave the UVB light on for 12-14hrs. Velvet Geckos need a hot spot of 85 degrees with the rest of the enclosure ranging from 75-80 degrees. This can easily be achieve by adding a 25-50 watt heat lamp to your setup. If your house is on the colder side, you may need to use a Ceramic Heat emitter to warm the enclosure at night. Your enclosure can fall into the low-mid 70s at night with no issue. Be sure that your heat lamp or mat is connected to a thermostat so that your enclosure never gets too hot. Be sure to always have a digital thermometer in your enclosure so that you can closely monitor the temperature in the tank.
Velvet Geckos are mainly insectivores and can be fed a variety of insects, including crickets, roaches, and black soldier fly larvae. We typically feed babies every day and adults every 2-3 days. Be sure to dust all your insects with a high-quality Calcium D3 supplement such as Minerall. Because they are nocturnal, you will most likely not see them eat. We recommend throwing in 8-10 insects overnight and removing any uneaten insects in the morning. The appropriate sized insects should be no larger than the space between the geckos eyes. Typically babies can take 1/4" insects, while adults prefer 1/2" insects. When feeding worms or roaches, you'll want to place them in an escape proof worm wish so that they cannot burrow down into the substrate. Alongside insects, you can offer your Velvet Gecko "Crested Gecko Diet". Some Velvet geckos will eat CGD while others do not care for it. We offer all our Velvet Geckos a small amount 1-2 times a week. They won't eat much of it, so offer a pea sized amount to them when giving them diet.
A hatchling (between 2-10 grams) should be kept in a smaller container. We use 8x8x12" enclosures to house our hatchlings. At around 10 grams, you should move them to their adult enclosure which should be 10-15 gallons in size. The minumum size enclosure for 1 adult is 12x12x18", with an 18x18x18" being a good size for a pair. We house all our adults in 18x18x18" PVC enclosures because it helps keep in humidity and heat better than a glass enclosure. Different enclosures work for different climates. If you live in a dry climate, a tub or PVC enclosure will lock in humidity. If you live in a humid climate, a glass exo terra will provided needed ventilation to insure mold does not start to grow. Being an arboreal species, they will thrive in tall tanks with vertical climbing spaces. Females and pairs can be kept together. Never put two males together in an enclosure because they will fight and injure each other. If you are putting a male and female together, be sure they are at least 18 months old and full grown to prevent the male breeding with the female before she is ready. There should be multiple hides in the enclosure to ensure each gecko can properly hide and eat without aggression issues. When cohabbing, be sure to check on your geckos often. If a gecko is losing weight or has bite injuries, be sure to separate them immediately to prevent any more harm to the animal.
We use paper towels with newly acquired Velvet Geckos. Since it's sometimes hard to tell if your gecko is eating at first, the paper towels make it easy to see the poop in the tank. Once the gecko has finished its 90 day quarantine, you can put it on the substrate of your choosing. You can use Reptisoil mixed with cypress bedding or bioactive soil with this species. We typically use a mix of Reptisoil and cypress bark in all our enclosures. In our baby and juvenile enclosures, we use 1-2" layer of damp bedding. In an adult enclosure, we use a 3-5" layer of damp bedding to keep the humidity up. The substrate should be moist, but there should be no standing water. If the top layer of bedding is drying out, be sure to mist it more to lock in the humidity. You can go bioactive with this species. With a bioactive tank, you want to make sure you have a good drainage layer so that you do not get standing water in your enclosure. Also, because Velvet Geckos go after insects, you'll want to make sure to stick with dwarf isopods so that the gecko doesn't decide they are a tasty treat.
Velvet Geckos live in trees and shrubbery in Australia and will appreciate elevated hides and space to climb inside their enclosure. We recommend using either a hanging coconut, mossy hide and/or pipe insulation as hides. The hanging hides are more natural looking and look great in display tanks, whereas the pipe insulation is not as aesthetically pleasing, but it does the same exact job! We like to get fake leafy vines and hang them throughout the cage with the assistance of suction cups. Be sure to rinse off all plastic plants before you put them in the tank. You can also place live plants such as Snake Plants and Pothos plants. Be sure to rinse off the plant's leaves and re-pot any plants so that there is no way for your gecko to come in contact with pesticides or fertilizer. Personally we like to do a mix of both. Our enclosures typically consist of cork flats, a bamboo bridge, a hide (either a coconut hide or cork round), a live snake plant, and some silk plants draped around the enclosure. You want to have plenty of horizontal perches zig zagging across the enclosure so that the gecko has plenty of areas to perch.
We recommend keeping Velvet Geckos humidity between 50-60%. Having a digital hygrometer in the cage will help measure the humidity levels in your tank. Depending on your enclosure type, you may need to mist more frequently. Glass enclosures tend to lose humidity quickly, so need misted every day. Whereas, tubs and PVC enclosures keep humidity better so need misted every 2-3 days. You want to mist enough so that your gecko can drink water from leaves or decor in your tank. If humidity requirements are not met, the gecko will have issues shedding as well as the risk of becoming dehydrated. The cage should have a dry out period during the day, so if you notice the tank is still wet by the next morning, you should hold off on misting until the walls and decor dry out completely.
It is very rare that a Velvet Gecko will bite or act aggressive towards a human. We recommend taking your gecko out 1-2 times a week for 15 minutes in order to get your gecko used to you. The "hand-to-hand" method is the easiest way to handle a Velvet Gecko. This is done by placing your hands next to each other & slowly moving your hands to let your gecko crawl over them. They are not a fast moving gecko and can be compared to a Crested Gecko when it comes to speed. They can be a bit more squirmy at times, but tolerate handling fairly well.
All geckos should be provided with a small, shallow water dish. We always recommend putting a small bio ball in the water dish so that any crickets that find their way into the water bowl are able to get out. Be sure the water dish is shallow enough so that the gecko can stand in it without submerging their head. If the water is too deep, there is a potential of the gecko drowning. When using water, be sure to either use spring water or tap water with de-chlorinator added to it. DO NOT use distilled water. Distilled water removes trace minerals from the water which are an essential to keeping your gecko healthy.
We recommend spot cleaning the cage at least once a week and doing a full bedding change and tank cleaning every 6-8 weeks. Every week look for poo, dead insects, shed, and food smears on the ground or glass and remove it from the enclosure. When cleaning the entire cage out, first remove all bedding and wipe down all surfaces with hot soapy water. Put the decor into a bucket with warm water & a capful of vinegar. Let it soak for 15 minutes & then rinse off the items & place them in bucket of hot water. Once the decor has soaked for 15 minutes, rinse them off again & then they are ready to go back into the tank once cleaning is complete. Then you want to be sure to disinfect the tank with either vinegar or a commercial reptile cleaning product. Once you have disinfected the tank, thoroughly rinse your tank out with hot water until it is free of any cleaning products. Let everything air dry before putting it back into the enclosure. When cleaning to enclosure put the reptile in either a deli cup or another small contained space. Do not put the reptile back into the enclosure until cleaning is complete.
☐ 8x8x12" enclosure (for babies)
☐ 12x12x18" or 18x18x18" (for adults)
☐ Crickets, Roaches or Black Soldier Fly Larvae
☐ Escape proof bowl for worms
☐ Crested Gecko Diet (Optional
☐ Plastic or silicone cups for CGD (Optional)
☐ Mister Bottle or Spray Bottle
☐ Dechlorinator or Spring Water
☐ Vines for climbing
☐ Plastic plants or Live plants
☐ Moist Hanging Hide
☐ Bedding - soil mix or bioactive mix
☐ UVB tube light (optional)
☐ Heat Lamp with Thermostat
☐ Shallow Water Dish