Common House Gecko - Hemidactylus frenatus

House Geckos are small and inexpensive small lizards which are a fairly easy to maintain in captivity. They are not meant to be handled because it could hurt them and they are extremely quick. These relatively easy to maintain as pets but like most geckos they will perish if they are not taken care of properly. If cared for properly however they can live for upwards of 5 years. As far as geckos go, House Geckos have the bonus of being able to demonstrate the amazing wall-climbing abilities that geckos are know for. This separates them from other common pet geckos such as the leopard gecko and the African Fat-tailed gecko. However, unlike most common pet geckos House Geckos are not to be handled and this means they may not be the right choice for a child who wants a pet they can hold.

Its is also important that you remember the cost of keeping a gecko is not just the cost of the gecko but rather the cost of the cage, food and vet care. These costs frequently amount to 10x to 20x the cost of the gecko itself. Also it is important to find a vet that is trained in exotic animals and not just a regular dog and cat vet.

Size - House geckos are very small animals, adults can range in size from about 3 inches to up to 5 inches.

Housing - A 20 gallon will house a single gecko or a pair, a vertical tank is generally better than a horizontal ones because House geckos climb so much. Be sure to provide places for climbing such as branches or plants as well as above ground and on-ground hiding spots where the gecko can go to when they feel threatened. Non-toxic plants are great for creating hiding spots and for collecting water from misting. Never, ever put more than one male in one tank. Also never put a male and female unless you are ready to care for the eggs which you most likely aren't unless you have kept geckos in the past. For a child or a beginning house gecko keeper one gecko is the best.

Substrate - Use pelleted or mulch-type unless the geckos eat the substrate in which case you should either use an edible substrate or something that they cannot eat such as newspaper or a special carpet for reptile cages. It is important to do this because eating the substrate can cause serious injury to the gecko and its digestive system.

Temperature - Day time  temperature should be from75 degrees F to 88 degrees F under the basking light. At night 70 degrees F. Humidity of about 65% should be maintained in the habitat at all times  this can be achieved by regularly misting. We Recommend radiant heat; use an incandescent light or ceramic heater as primary heat source Lighting. Provide fluorescent light for 10 to 12 hours a day; incandescent bulb is needed for basking area if not using a ceramic heater.

Water - Although you may want to provide a small bowl that the gecko can't fall into it is also important to mist the tank to maintain humidity and always the gecko to drink off of leaves and sides of the tank.

Lighting - Provide fluorescent light for 10 to 12 hours a day; incandescent bulb is needed for basking area of about eighty-five degrees F and this can be achieved with a clamp lamp using a sixty watt bulb.

Feeding - Young House Geckos must be fed every day. When they reach adulthood every other day is a sufficient feeding schedule. A proper diet for a house gecko consists of a variety of insects which include small crickets, mealworms and waxworms. These insects should gut-loaded with supplements that can be bought either from a pet store or online. They can be quite expensive but are worth it for the health of your gecko. It is also important to provide a vitamin and calcium supplement. These are generally daily or weekly but be sure to read the instructions on the supplement for full instructions.


Recommended Supplies:

  • Properly sized tank for secure lid to prevent escape

  • Basking rock and logs 

  • Humidity meter

  • Care book on geckos for further learning

  • Shallow water bowl 

  • Vitamin/mineral supplement

  • Non-toxic plants 

  • Branches for climbing

  • Incandescent light or ceramic heater 

  • Thermometer 

  • Substrate - see section for choices

  • Heat source 

  • Misting bottle

  • Hiding "cave"


Normal Behavior and Interaction - House geckos are fast moving, making handling difficult; their tail can detach easily, so use extreme care when feeding. Adult males have preanal and femoral pores. The Female lays two hard shelled eggs. Incubation temperature 88f, Eggs hatch between 50-65 days. Hatchlings measure about 2". They are nocturnal and hide during the day it is best to view at night to see them being active.

Habitat Maintenance-Change water and remove feces daily. Mist 2 to 3 times a day to maintain humidity
Thoroughly clean the tank at least once a week. Set gecko aside in a secure tank/container. Be careful not to be rough with gecko when moving it as this could cause its tail to fail off or rip its soft skin. Scrub the tank and furnishings with a 3% bleach solution; rinse thoroughly with water, removing all smell of bleach. Throw out old substrate and replace it with clean substrate

Signs of good Health:

  • Active-can be hard to observe because they are nocturnal

  • Healthy skin 

  • Clear eyes 

  • Healthy weight

  • Regular eating

  • Clear nose and vent

  • Body and tail are rounded and full

  • Normal stool

 Common Health Problems and things to look out for:

  • Mucus in mouth or nose 

  • Slow reactions, laziness

  • Labored breathing 

  • Doesn't eat or is becoming thinner

  • Paralysis of limbs or tail 

  • Runny stool

  • Strange bumps on skin- Not to be confused with the normal bumps that most geckos have

If you notice any of these signs, please contact your exotic animal veterinarian