The Madagascar Ground Gecko, also more commonly known as the Pictus Gecko, is one of the best species for novice reptile keepers. They are a small gecko that does great in captivity and is very tolerant to mistakes made by the owner. There are a few different morphs including Normals, Stripe, Caramel Albino, Anerythristic, Xanthic, and Snow. We work mostly with Normals, Bold Stripes, and Anerythristic. They are a terrestrial gecko found in the leaf litter on the forest floor of Madagascar. This gecko is full of personality & is sure to make a great pet for any reptile enthusiast.
SIZE & LIFESPAN
Madagascar Ground Geckos, also referred to as Pictus Geckos are a relatively small gecko. When they hatch out, they are no bigger than 1 inch in total length and weigh around 1 gram. By the time they are full grown, they are 5-6 inches in total length and weigh about 20-25 grams. Pictus Geckos have a thick tail that holds their fat reserves. As long as you provide the Pictus gecko with the proper habitat, they will live a long life of between 10 and 15 years.
Pictus geckos are great eaters! They will eat a variety of bugs including: crickets, dubia roaches, phoenix worms, meal worms, and wax worms. We dust all prey items in Calcium D3 supplement every other feeding. We recommend Minerall because it is a human grade calcium based supplement with over 50 trace minerals that help with growth and bone density. Worms and roaches should be placed in an escape proof worm dish so that they do not burrow into the substrate, never to be found again. Give the gecko as many insects as it can eat in 15 minutes. We usually give the geckos about 8-10 insects each feeding, but it will vary from gecko to gecko.
Because Pictus Geckos live in a semi-tropical area, proper humidity is important. Their relative humidity should be around 50-60%. This is easily maintained by lightly misting the enclosure every 1-2 days. You can also place a shallow bowl of de-chlorinated water in the tank which will help increase the humidity. Either way, you always want to make sure you maintain a humidity between 50-60%.
All geckos should be provided with a small, shallow water dish. Although these geckos do not usually drink from bowls it is always good to offer water in case the gecko gets thirsty. Be sure the water dish is shallow enough so that the gecko can stand in it. 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 dechlorinator added to it.
Because of their small size, their living quarters are relatively small. We keep babies below 5 grams in shoebox size container. This helps insure that the small gecko can find its food properly. A 10 gallon tank or a tub that's 20x11” will make a suitable home for 1 gecko. We recommend keeping these geckos separate. They are prolific breeders and a male will harass the female constantly if they are kept together. You can house two females together, but watch for signs of aggression. If you notice that a gecko has bite marks or is losing weight, separate the two immediately.
We recommend using a mix of peat moss and play sand as a substrate in the bottom of the cage. If you have a baby Pictus gecko, we recommend keeping them on paper towels for the first few months. It is easier to track animals poo and food intake when on paper towels which makes it better suited for babies. All geckos should have a moist hide, we typically keep golden sphagnum moss in the moist hides to aid in shedding.
Pictus Geckos should be provided with two hides, one moist and one dry. We like to use half cut coconuts for hides with this species since they're the perfect size for both babies and adults. We recommend putting sphagnum moss inside the moist hide to aid in shedding. You can also buy leaves to provide cover in the habitat. In the wild, these geckos are found under leaf litter and will hide under any leaves provided for them. If you do get leaf litter, be sure it has never come into contact with chemical sprays or parasites. We also use fabric leaves from craft stores for cover as well. Place them between hides to provide the gecko with cover so that it feels safe and secure in its habitat. Be sure to rinse off any new décor in case it has any chemical residue on it before adding it to the enclosure.
HEAT & LIGHTING
During the day, the tank temperature should range from 75-85 degrees. You'll want to use either a 50 watt ceramic heat emitter or a heat mat on a thermostat to provide this species with a good temperature gradient. Overnight, the cage can drop to between 70-75 degrees. Because Pictus Geckos are nocturnal, they do not need any additional lighting. If you want to provide Be sure to always have a Digital Thermometer/Hygrometer in the cage to monitor the temperature. The Thermometer should be placed near the ground where you can get an accurate reading.
Madagascar Ground Geckos are very skittish when little, but as they grow, they become quite tame. Once your gecko reaches about 7 grams in size, you can regularly start to handle them. We recommend handling them near the ground so that if your gecko does fall from your hand, it won't seriously injure them. With regular handling, these geckos become tame and will even eat insects our of your hands given time.
We recommend spot cleaning the cage at least once a week and doing a full bedding change and tank cleaning once a month. 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 décor 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 have 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.
☐ 5 gallon tank or shoebox size container (for babies and juveniles)
☐ 10 gallon tank (for adults)
☐ Crickets or Dubia Roaches
☐ Ceramic Bowl for bugs
☐ Mister Bottle or Spray Bottle
☐ Fake silk or plastic plants
☐ Moist Hide
☐ Dry Hide
☐ Peat Moss and Play Sand
☐ Sphagnum moss
☐ Digital Thermometer & Hygrometer
☐ Heat mat or Ceramic Heat Emitter
☐ Thermostat for heat source