This detailed, comprehensive guide on gold dust day gecko care will teach you about their enclosure, health, diet, behavior, and more!
The Gold Dust Day Gecko is a diurnal reptile, meaning it is most active during daylight hours.
Found on the African islands of Madagascar and Comoros, Gold Dust’s spend their day among the trees feeding off insects, nectar, pollen and fruits.
Their bright coloration makes them a popular choice for reptile keepers, but they can be slow to tame and some never get used to human handling.
Gold Dust Day Gecko Availability
Although they are a popular gecko within the hobby, they do not come cheap. The average price for Gold Dust’s is $50, with brighter variants carrying a higher price tag.
With the appropriate care and a healthy diet, these little lizards can easily live a decade in captivity.
Size: Gold Dust’s are one of the smaller members of the gecko family, with adults reaching 4.5-6inches/11-15cm. Hatchlings usually reach their adult size in approximately one year.
Color: Their bright coloration is the biggest appeal for reptile keepers. Gold Dust’s have a bright yellow or green body, with red-brown strips across their snout and blue-ringed eyelids.
Some color variants also have yellow flecks along their back and powder blue feet. They may also sport more vivid red strips across their snout and the base of their tail.
Gold Dust Day Gecko Morphs
As mentioned above, variants of the Gold Dust will show different coloration. Some morphs are a paler green, while others have more vivid red banding across the snout.
The most popular morphs are those that have brighter flecks along the body and also pastel blue feet. There are no recognized morphs, but gecko breeders tend to give their own names to their lines of morphs if they manage to breed a successful line showing a particular coloration or set of markings.
Gold Dust Day Gecko Terrarium Requirements
Terrariums and enclosures for Gold Dust Day Gecko care have some specific requirements in order to mimic their natural habitat.
Just because Gold Dust geckos are small, does not mean they do well in smaller terrariums. They are a particularly active species and require a fair amount of space. Ideally, a terrarium for a single Gold Dust gecko would be at least 12 x 12 x 18inches. For a breeding pair, aim for a minimum of 18 x 18 x 24inches.
Heating and Lighting
Geckos are ectotherms, meaning they use their environment to control their body temperature. Your terrarium setup needs to mimic this. One end of the terrarium should be slightly cooler, around 72°F/32°C. The basking area should be a toasty 86-90°F/30-32°C.
To achieve this heat gradient, you will need to provide a heat source at one end, such as a basking lamp, while using a traditional strip light as your lighting source. This is best in smaller terrariums and will prevent overheating. For larger terrariums, you may want to use a mercury vapor bulb or an alternative that emits heat and UVB.
Geckos kept in terrariums with a UVB bulb tend to develop brighter coloration. This is because UVB is found in natural light and Gold Dust geckos are diurnal.
Geckos are a tropical reptile, native to humid rainforests and jungles. They require a fairly high humidity in captivity, which means misting is necessary. This can be achieved using a simple spray bottle and tepid water to mimic rainfall. After spraying the terrarium, water droplets will form on the leaves, which the gecko will use a water source.
You should never use this as an alternative to water. Always have a shallow water dish that is easily accessible and changed daily.
Your substrate choice depends on whether you plan on having live plants in your enclosure. If so, you will need a base layer of hydroton balls. These are small clay balls that function as drainage for excess water. They also help to help nutrients for plant roots.
Your next layer should be Polyfoam or similar. This is a mesh sheet that sits between your drainage layer and your top layer to separate the water levels and prevent your substrate from becoming waterlogged.
The top layer should be a nutrient rich soil mix to support healthy plant growth. Good options are Moss Growth substrates or brands like Ecoearth. If you are using artificial plants, then your choices of substrate would be those that hold humidity. Coconut husk and Cypress mulch are the most popular choices, but there are various types of bark you could also use.
Plants and Decorations
Since these guys are tree dwellers, you will want to use plants that would likely be found in such an environment. Tropical vines and various broad leaf plants would be suitable. Gold Dust geckos do not each leaves so you have plenty of choice for planting.
For decorations, the best options are those that mimic tree branches. Anything cylindrical and made of wood or bark is the most natural. When startled, these geckos will move to the opposite side of the perch they are on.
Do not limit yourself to branches or vines, though. Also includes ledges or flat perches as well as hides such as coconut husks or bamboo pots.
If you have a natural setup with live plants, cleaning should not take too much time at all. The substrate and drainage layer create a natural microclimate, which should not be interfered with.
Water dishes and any leftover food should be removed and replaced daily to prevent bacteria spreading within the enclosure. You will also want to clean the glass regularly with a reptile-safe cleaning agent.
Gold Dust Day Gecko Setup
Gold Dust Day geckos are not the best choice if you are looking for a gecko that can be handled. They are very sensitive and can be easily stressed. Unless you have your gecko from a hatchling and allow them to become comfortable being handled, they are best left alone. They may slowly become accustomed to your presence and will take food from the hand, but handling can cause unnecessary stress and can also damage their thin skin.
Gold Dust Day Gecko Health
Most injuries or ailments to geckos are caused by poor environment, so many common conditions can be prevented by ensuring your terrarium is within the right ranges for humidity and temperature.
Common Health Issues: difficulty shedding is a common issue with geckos kept in low humidity. If your gecko is struggling to shed, mist them with a spray bottle and add a small dish of warm water for them to bathe in.
Wounds are common, especially if you have a breeding pair/group or if you accidentally house males together. They may be small but they can also be aggressive.
Parasites and bacterial infections can quickly overcome a gecko. Bacteria can be introduced from live plants or from neglecting your cleaning routine. Parasites can be external or internal and make a gecko very sick if not treated quickly.
Healthy Signs: a healthy gecko will have good coloration, bright eyes and a good appetite for food. They will also be active within the enclosure, investigating all the hides and plants.
Gold Dust Day Gecko Food & Diet
Gold Dust’s feed off insects, nectar, pollen and fruits. For your gecko, consider feeding a variety of food. You can purchase complete or pre-prepared gecko food from any pet store. This should make up around 30% of your gecko’s diet. The remaining 70% should be soft fruits and vegetables and live insects such as crickets, waxworms and mealworms. Food should be dusted with calcium powder to maintain healthy bones.
Behavior & Temperament
Gold Dusts are territorial and housing males together is never advised. If you are wanting to breed, it is recommended to keep at least 2 females and one male.
These geckos are diurnal, meaning they are active during daylight hours. They are active around the vivarium and tend to stay still only when basking.
If you are looking for a reptile to handle and interact with, the gold dust gecko is probably not a good choice. They are highly sensitive and tend a long time to acclimate to human presence.
Having said that, they are a wonderful pet to have with their bright coloration and active nature. A group of 3 or more will also provide some interesting natural behaviors and you may be lucky enough to breed them if your terrarium conditions are right. Following our guide ensures that you will provide a high degree of gold dust day gecko care.