These are smaller sized geckos from the genus Phelsuma, and hail from the islands surrounding Madagascar. They are primarily a rich, emerald green color, with red markings along their back and heads. Their common name derives from the black spots found behind their front legs and in front of their rear legs. These spots are often outlined in blue but less commonly red or white. Peacock Day Geckos are rainforest dwelling geckos, and are found in areas with large amounts of annual rainfall. There are distinct seasons within their range, and while summer temperatures can reach 90 degrees during the day, winter temperatures drop as low as 50 degrees at night.
Size and Longevity
Peacock Day Geckos reach lengths of 3.5” – 5”, depending on subspecies. With good diet and proper lighting, these geckos can easily live 10 years or more in captivity. Substrate for these geckos depends on how you are setting up their cage. A planted, naturalistic vivarium is not only looks the best, but will also meet your geckos needs admirably as well. In a naturalistic vivarium, expect to use a combination of hydroton balls for drainage, polyfoam as a divider between your drainage and planting layers, and Ecoearth and Moss Growing Substrate to provide a nutritious soil mix for your live plants. In a cage with artificial plants, a substrate that holds humidity and is easy to clean is ideal. This includes cypress mulch, orchid bark, Ecoearth, or other forms of compressed coconut husk. It doesn’t hurt to experiment with several types of bedding before deciding on a type you prefer.
Heating and Lighting
In order to achieve and/or maintain the beautiful coloration these geckos naturally develop in the wild, the use of high quality lights is an absolute must. Without proper heat AND light, Peacock Day Geckos will become drab and dark, even if you purchased the most brilliantly colored specimen in the store. With this in mind, there are a few different ways to light and heat the cage, depending on your budget and preference.
Water and Humidity
As a tropical species, Peacock Day Geckos should be provided with a lush, tropical environment in captivity. This means they typically need to be misted with water at least twice a day to increase the humidity within their cage, as well as provide water droplets on leaves for them to drink. While they may not often take advantage of it, a water bowl with clean, fresh water should be provided for them at all times. In addition to misting with a hand spray bottle, use of a Terrarium Fogger is also highly recommended. While being aesthetically pleasing, these foggers will also increase humidity in a natural way, by providing a fine fog that will make condensation on leaves for your geckos to drink. Used on a naturalistic vivarium, it can be so effective at maintaining humidity that you find you no longer need to hand spray your cage again!
In captivity, these small geckos readily feed on most commonly available feeder insects. This includes (but isn’t limited to) small crickets, small roaches, small mealworms, waxworms, small silkworms, reptiworms, and hornworms. Every opportunity to provide variety to their diet should be taken, as this list of feeder insects is extremely short compared to the variety of insects they would consume in the wild. Because of this, supplementation with a high quality reptile multivitamin in combination with a high quality reptile calcium (containing D3) is highly recommended. Generally speaking, calcium should be offered about every feeding for egg-laying females, and every other feeding for non reproductive animals. Multivitamins can be offered weekly, or as often as is recommended on the label.
Handling and Interaction
While very cute and pretty, these geckos are extremely sensitive and tend to stress easily, so handling is not recommended. In addition, their skin will also tear if handled too roughly, and their tails can drop. While their tails do regenerate, they will not look the same as the original, so care should be taken when handling is necessary to ensure they stay in one piece!
Some geckos eventually become habituated to their keeper’s presence, and will take food from their keeper’s hands. With patience, most become at least habituated enough to remain out and about while their keepers are in the room, making them enjoyable to watch and entertaining display animals.