Animal Care

Flying Gecko
(Ptychozoon sp.)

Habitat
: Tropical Forest    Diet: Insectivorous    Adult Size: 6-8 inches   
Lifespan
: Typically 3 years, but may live much longer    Native To: Southeast Asia

Did You Know:

  • Despite their name, these geckos can't fly, but they will glide short distances from tree branch to tree branch when threatened or in search of food.

  • A flap of skin extending along each side of the Flying Gecko, as well as its webbed feet, enable it to glide.

  • The Flying Gecko's coloration and elaborate frills and webs around its neck, tail, limbs and feet help camouflage this lizard against tree trunks.

The material below is a general guideline, and is not intended to serve as your sole source of pet care information. Visit a veterinarian trained in caring for reptiles and consult a broad range of literature to ensure that your pet receives adequate care.
 

What You Should Know About The Flying Gecko

The Basics:

Although not the most colorful gecko, these lizards are among the more fascinating to watch because of their body "ornamentation" and ability to glide. However, the Flying Gecko is a nocturnal animal, and so reptile keepers will rarely be able to watch it in action during the day. The Flying Gecko is also called the "thick fingered gecko," because of the thick digits on its webbed feet. Another name for them is "parachute lizard," a tribute to their amazing gliding ability. Males can be territorial, and shouldn't be housed together. Their rather dull camouflage coloration allows them to blend in visually with thick foliage. Flying Geckos are nocturnal, so they're most active at night, and arboreal, so they spend much of their time off the ground in branches.

Enclosure:
Space To "Spread Their Wings"
:

As you would expect with an animal called a "Flying Gecko," this lizard needs a roomy enclosure that will allow it to glide. Up-down vertical space is especially important in the Flying Gecko's enclosure. Generally, the more space the better. Flying Geckos can become stressed when they don't have enough room. A 20-30 gallon aquarium is adequate for one or two Flying Geckos, the larger option being preferable. Providing a Flying Gecko with secure hiding places is essential. In addition to manufactured structures or driftwood, these hiding places should include safe tropical houseplants. Choose plants such as philodendron and pothos that are sturdy enough to stand up to a Flying Gecko. Having a generous amount of foliage in an enclosure will contribute greatly to a Flying Gecko's sense of security and well-being.

Substrate:
Supports Live Plants and Retains Humidity:

Flying Geckos do well with a variety of substrates. The substrate used should be one that retains humidity without
molding, and supports the live plants that are so important to the lizard's well-being. Peat moss, orchid bark and mulch are good substrates.

Lighting:
A Night Light Is Helpful:
Although Flying Geckos are nocturnal, they still require
UVB lighting, since having this lighting available will contribute to the health of the lizard and the enclosure's plants. Lighting should be left on 10-14 hours a day, depending upon the season. A timer will help regulate lighting cycles. Lamps producing UVB rays should be replaced every six months. Glass blocks out UVB light, so overhead light sources should be kept behind a wire mesh cover, not a glass or acrylic tank top. A "moon light" should be installed over the enclosure, so this nocturnal lizard can be observed when it is most active.
Important - see the Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating below.

Temperature:
Avoid Temperatures That Are Too High:

The Flying Gecko should be provided with a thermal gradient that ranges from the low to upper 80s during the day, and the upper 70s at night. This lizard seems to avoid temperatures that are over 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Providing a thermal gradient allows the Flying Gecko to regulate its body temperature by moving around the enclosure. A combination of lamps and heat emitters can be used to maintain the desired thermal gradient, while a lamp can heat the basking spot. Non-light-producing ceramic heat emitters can be used to achieve nighttime temperatures without disturbing the on/off light cycle. Thermometers should be positioned in the warmer and cooler areas of the enclosure as well as in the basking spot. Since these arboreal lizards spend much of their time high off the ground, temperatures should be monitored at branch level as well as ground level. Important - see the Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating below.

Note About Day/Night Light Cycles and Heating:

All reptiles, including this pet, must have distinct day and night periods in their enclosure to maintain their biological rhythms. (See the lighting entry above for the specific length of this animal’s day/night cycle.) The day period must be light; and night must be dark. A timer should be used to set day/night periods. If a heat source is required to maintain correct nighttime temperatures, use heat mats or strips mounted below or on the side of the tank, infrared heat lamps, ceramic heat emitters, or a combination of these products. This will allow the enclosure to be heated while remaining dark. Follow directions carefully with all products. If ceramic heat emitters are used always choose fixtures with porcelain or ceramic sockets and to protect against fires do not place them by dry wood or flammable fabrics. Ceramic heat emitters must be kept out of the reach of children and all pets, including dogs and cats.

Humidity:
Keep It Very High:

Since Flying Geckos are from a tropical forest, the humidity
level in the enclosure should be kept relatively high, over 70 percent. This can be accomplished by misting the enclosure with chlorine-free water 1-2 times daily, using a humidity retaining substrate and having large plants. A shallow bowl of chlorine-free water should be kept for these lizards, but most often they will drink from droplets that collect on surfaces.

A NOTE ABOUT WATER: All water given to this pet for drinking, as well as water used for misting, soaking or bathing must be 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals. (Not all home water filtration systems remove 100% of the chlorine and heavy metals from tap water, so check your system's specifications before using it to filter water for your pet.) We recommend that you use unflavored bottled drinking water or bottled natural spring water and never untreated tap water. If tap water is used, you should treat it with a dechlorinating treatment. Do not use distilled water, which can cause severe medical problems, since it lacks minerals that are essential to important body functions.

Diet:
A Variety Of Insects:

Flying Geckos will eat a wide variety of insects, including
crickets, flies, mealworms and earthworms. Insects should be from a commercial supplier to ensure that they are free of contaminants. Insects should be dusted with a vitamin/calcium powder. Adult Flying Geckos should be fed every other day, juveniles and ovulating females every day. Offer 6-8 appropriately sized insects per feeding. Important -- It is necessary to provide calcium and vitamin supplements as part of the diet. Please read the supplement section below:

Supplements:

Dust insects with calcium supplement and vitamin supplements. As a rule, a growing juvenile's food should be dusted more often than an adult's. Follow product label directions when applying supplements, and avoid over-supplementing food. The following is a possible supplementing schedule for this reptile. Our veterinarian recommends dusting insects with a plain calcium supplement every time they are offered to the pet. (Avoid using a calcium supplement with added phosphorous, unless specifically directed by your veterinarian, since this can promote kidney disease.) Our veterinarian also recommends dusting insects with a D3 supplement once a week and a vitamin supplement two times a month. This is only one recommendation, consult your veterinarian for specific directions on supplementing your pet’s food, since there are many variables that go into determining the best supplementing regimen for a given animal.


How To Handle an Flying Gecko:
Flying Geckos do not like to be handled, and their skin can be easily damaged when they are picked up. As a rule, these are lizards that are meant to be observed and appreciated rather than handled excessively. Never pick it up by the head or tail. Always wash your hands before and after handling a Flying Gecko.


Look Out For This:

Flying geckos are shy, somewhat skittish lizards, so they should be offered plenty of thick foliage that they can use for hiding places in the enclosure.


Recommended Flying Gecko Supplies:

  • A top-opening glass tank or other enclosure that offers height and a secure top

  • UVB emitting light

  • Nightlight for viewing geckos

  • Heating element to maintain enclosure temperatures

  • Three thermometers, so temperature can be monitored at both ends of the enclosure and in the basking area

  • A humidity-retaining substrate

  • Water dish

  • Spray bottle or drip system

  • Hiding areas

  • Hygrometer to measure humidity levels

  • Thermostat and rheostat to regulate heat

  • Bark