Chinese Cave geckos arer a strikingly beautiful yet easy-to-keep reptile. These stunning lizards are relatively hardy and will stand out from the usual crowd of Leopard or Viper geckos. Found in cool caves in parts of China, Chinese Cave geckos can be a fantastic and unique species to own.
Although Chinese Cave gecko care is relatively simple, it is still important to get it right. That’s why we’ve put together this complete Chinese Cave gecko care guide. We’ll take you through how to set up the enclosure for your gecko, as well as what to feed it and how to handle it.
Chinese Cave Gecko Facts
- Experience level: Beginner
- Family: Eublepharidae
- Scientific name: Goniurosaurus hainanensis
- Other names: Cave gecko
- Average Size: 8 to 9 inches
- Average Lifespan: 10 to 12 years
- Average Price Range: $100 to $300
- Books: The Eyelash Geckos: Care, Breeding, and Natural History (Kirschner, Seufer, and Kaverkin)
Chinese Cave geckos have been circulating in the pet trade since the 1990s, but are becoming increasingly popular.
Chinese Cave geckos are a nocturnal species of gecko and are most at home in slightly colder, darker conditions.
These beautiful geckos can cohabitate, as long as two males aren’t kept together.
Chinese Cave geckos can regrow their tails if they fall off, much like Leopard geckos.
What does a Chinese Cave Gecko look like?
Chinese Cave geckos boast some truly stunning coloration. Their skins range from black to purple to dark pink, with striking bright yellow to white or orange bands ringing their bodies. Chinese Cave geckos also have vivid red eyes, giving them a unique look.
They also have relatively fat tails, which is a sign of good health. Unlike Leopard geckos, Chinese Cave geckos have five claws on their feet rather than sticky pads.
How big do Chinese Cave Geckos get?
On average, Chinese Cave geckos will measure between 8 and 9 inches. Their tails are fat, and males can be distinguished by noticeable bulges on their tails. Hatchlings usually measure around 3 inches long.
Where are Chinese Cave Geckos from?
Chinese Cave geckos originate from the Chinese island of Hainan, the smallest island under Chinese control in the South China Sea.
What kind of habitat do Chinese Cave Geckos need?
These beautiful geckos inhabit cold, dark caves. They live among rocks, which they climb with their strong claws, and prefer fairly high humidity.
How long do Chinese Cave Geckos live in captivity?
Chinese Cave geckos will live for between 10 and 12 years in captivity if they are given the correct conditions. These lizards are pretty durable and easy to care for.
What do Chinese Cave Geckos eat?
As insectivores, a Chinese Cave gecko diet should mainly consist of crickets, dubia roaches, and other small insects. Black soldier fly larvae can also be a good staple food.
How do Chinese Cave Geckos breed?
Males and females will breed from February to September, with two eggs being laid every 30 to 45 days.
What predators do Chinese Cave Geckos face?
Chinese Cave geckos don’t face many predators in their natural environments, although they may be at risk from larger cave-dwelling reptiles. If a Chinese Cave gecko feels threatened by a predator, it may drop its tail to escape.
How much does a Chinese Cave Gecko cost?
Chinese Cave geckos usually cost between $100 and $300, but if their popularity continues to grow then the prices may come down. If you are buying a Chinese Cave gecko, always purchase captive-bred specimens from a registered breeder. Imported Chinese Cave geckos can carry parasites and will be easily stressed in captivity.
Chinese Cave Gecko Care sheet
These stunning nocturnal lizards have very simple enclosure needs. At a minimum, a 10-gallon enclosure will do nicely for a single adult. However, it’s always better for an animal’s welfare to give it more space if possible. Aim for a 20-gallon tank if you can.
Chinese Cave geckos prefer to have some height in their enclosure for climbing. About 2-feet of vertical space is ideal. An 18-inch x 18-inch x 24-inch Exo Terra enclosure is pretty much perfect.
Because they like humid environments, it’s vital to ensure that the enclosure has good airflow to help prevent any breathing problems.
As far as decorations go, you shouldn’t need too much. Artificial plants can give some cover for your gecko, and a couple of hide boxes are also a good idea. A hide box will also give your gecko somewhere to shed.
Giving your Chinese Cave gecko some climbing platforms such as rocks will help mimic its natural environment. Make sure none of these can fall and crush your gecko.
Recommended basic products
There are a few basic products that you can use to create the perfect setup for your Chinese Cave gecko. We’ve put together a list of them here:
- Tank: Exo Terra 18x18x24
- Hide box: Pangea Reptile Hide Box (Medium)
- Heat Mat: Fluker’s Heat Mat for Reptiles
- Thermometer Gun: Etekcity Thermometer gun
- Supplements: Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3
- Hygrometer: Exo Terra Hygrometer
- Water dish: Fluker’s food/water dish
Chinese Cave geckos are pretty easy to keep clean. Change the provided water bowl daily, spot clean the enclosure, and clean the whole enclosure and replace the substrate every month to keep bacteria levels down.
For Chinese Cave geckos, you need to use a substrate that retains humidity well. The best choice is usually cypress mulch or coconut coir fiber. You could also use a mix of peat moss and sand, but this will be harder to keep clean. Make sure that the substrate isn’t at risk of causing impaction if swallowed.
Being a cave-dwelling species, Chinese Cave geckos need cooler temperatures than most other types of geckos. That said, there should still be a temperature gradient within the enclosure to help your gecko to regulate its body temperature.
For the cooler part of the tank, aim for a temperature of between 65°F and 75°F. The warmer area should not exceed 80°F, as hotter temperatures can be fatal for your Chinese Cave gecko.
As a nocturnal, cold-tolerant species, Chinese Cave geckos will not require a basking spot or basking lamp.
Chinese Cave geckos need relatively humid conditions to survive. The humidity level should be kept at around 50% to 60%. When it’s time to shed, a humid hide should be provided with a humidity level of around 80%.
Along with a moisture-retaining substrate, provide a shallow water dish in the enclosure. While your gecko will get most of its water from droplets in the air or on surfaces, it’s still a good idea to have a water dish as well. Make sure that it’s shallow enough not to drown your gecko.
Mist the enclosure and hide boxes daily, and use a hygrometer to keep track of the humidity levels. Don’t let the substrate get sopping wet though. Let it dry out almost completely before misting again.
Because they are nocturnal, Chinese Cave geckos will not require UV light to be healthy. The ambient light of your home will be adequate for them, as long as they have a clear idea of when it is day or night. Turn off the lights in the room during nighttime.
You can provide UVB if you want, but the best way to meet your Chinese Cave gecko’s calcium and Vitamin D3 requirements is through diet and supplements.
Chinese Cave geckos benefit from having a simple, but well-designed enclosure. One or two hide boxes are essential, especially a humid hide that will be used for shedding. Some climbing space is also a good idea, as long as it’s all properly secured.
Artificial plants can also be provided to give your gecko something to drink water droplets from. Live plants could be an option, but you’d have to figure out some form of lighting to keep them alive.
A Chinese Cave gecko diet is going to be similar to that of a Leopard gecko. Chinese Cave geckos are insectivores and should be fed crickets, dubia roaches, and other insects such as black soldier fly larvae.
Any food should be gut-loaded to increase its nutrient content. Feed an adult gecko every three to four days, with every other meal dusted with a calcium or Vitamin D3 supplement.
Temperament and handling
Are Chinese Cave Geckos good pets?
Chinese Cave geckos are stunning little lizards that are rapidly growing in popularity. They can be fun to observe when hunting their food, but they are a nocturnal species, so you won’t see them much during the day.
If you want to stand out from the reptile-keeping crowd and their Leopard geckos and Crested geckos, then the Chinese Cave gecko is a really unique option. These geckos are also pretty good pets for beginners because of their hardiness and relatively easy care requirements.
You can also keep these geckos in small groups, as long as two males aren’t housed together. This adds a fun social element for your Chinese Cave geckos, but they also do just fine as individuals.
For every individual gecko, provide at least 10-gallons of tank space. Any tank mates should be around the same size, or one gecko will bully the other.
Are Chinese Cave Geckos handleable?
At first, Chinese Cave geckos can tolerate a little bit of handling but don’t particularly enjoy it. But if you’re consistent and patient enough, Chinese Cave geckos can eventually get comfortable with being handled.
Wait until dusk, when your gecko is naturally awake, and then start with small increments of 10 to 15 minutes at a time until your gecko is comfortable. Don’t handle your Chinese Cave gecko when they are shedding.
Chinese Cave geckos can also drop their tails if they feel threatened. This can be disturbing for beginner lizard owners, even though the tail will eventually grow back.
Signs of good health
Like most geckos, Chinese Cave geckos can be susceptible to a variety of health problems. To keep your gecko in good condition, there are some signs of good health that you should look out for.
Your gecko’s eyes should be bright, alert, and vivid. Its tail should be nice and fat, which is a sign of good nutrition. When nighttime comes, your gecko should be relatively active and should have a healthy appetite at feeding time.
The most difficult part of Chinese Cave gecko care is avoiding serious health problems. The correct humidity and temperature levels need to be maintained to give your gecko a healthy environment. Too much heat can be fatal, while excessive humidity outside of the humid hide can lead to respiratory issues. Use a hygrometer and thermometer to keep an eye on the readings.
Make sure that the enclosure has good ventilation to prevent humidity issues. An inflamed mouth or nose is a tell-tale sign of a respiratory infection. Your gecko will also be susceptible to bacterial infections if its enclosure is not kept clean.
Video about the Chinese Cave Gecko
Chinese Cave Gecko Hatchling Care
Chinese Cave gecko hatchlings will start at around 3 inches and can be housed in a 10-gallon enclosure. They will require slightly higher temperature and humidity levels than adults and will need to be fed daily.
How do you incubate Chinese Cave Gecko eggs?
If you successfully breed Chinese Cave geckos and your female produces eggs, put them in an incubator with a temperature of 84°F, nestled within a substrate that retains humidity. The eggs will hatch after around two months of incubation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chinese Cave Geckos
Do Chinese Cave Geckos shed?
Chinese Cave geckos will shed their skin. For this process to go smoothly, your gecko will need access to a humid hide with about 80% humidity. This helps the skin to come off more easily. When shedding, Chinese Cave geckos will take a bit longer than Leopard geckos, and their shed will be slightly thicker as well.
Can Chinese Cave Geckos eat mealworms?
Because of their colder environment, Chinese Cave geckos are not used to eating insects like mealworms, which have quite a tough chitinous skin. Because of this, it’s a good idea to avoid mealworms when feeding your Chinese Cave gecko, as it may have trouble digesting them.
If you’re looking for a reptile that’s easy to care for and good for beginners but is a little more unique than the standard Leopard gecko, then a Chinese Cave gecko is an excellent option. These beautiful geckos have a truly striking appearance that sets them apart from other reptiles.
Their care requirements are also pretty simple, as long as you maintain the right humidity and temperature levels. Although they take time to get used to handling, they can grow comfortable with it if you are a patient keeper.
If you enjoyed this care guide and are thinking about obtaining your own Chinese Cave gecko, don’t hesitate to comment down below!