Small and delicate, the Pictus Gecko makes an excellent house pet for all types of reptile pet owners. Novice owners may very well choose this Madagascar native lizard species so long as they are up to the task of providing deliberate care and handling of such a fine creature.
Read on to know more about caring for the amazing Pictus Gecko.
Pictus Gecko Care Sheet
Quick Reference Section
- Experience level: (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Scientific name: Paroedura pictus
- Other Names: Panther Gecko, Malagasy Fat-tailed Gecko, Ocelot Gecko, Madagascar Gecko
- Average adult size: Males average between 5 to 6 inches. Females are smaller.
- Lifespan: 10 years
- Clutch Size: 2 eggs, 4 to 6 clutches
- Egg Incubation Period: 60 days
- Food: Insects
- Average Temperature: 85°H/70°L
- Humidity: 50 to 80%
- UVB lighting: optional
- Average price range: $20 – $50
- Conservation Status: As of its last assessment on January 2011, the species is listed under “Least Concern”
Pictus Gecko Facts
The Pictus Gecko is a tropical and nocturnal reptile. It belongs to the Family Gekkonidae and Genus Paroedura.
The island of Madagascar is home to this attractive creature. Unsurprisingly, it’s otherwise known as the Madagascar Gecko.
Beautiful patterns and colors line its body. You can see shades of brown with white or gold tints. Some have white stripes, others have black markings. A Pictus Gecko Morph may take on a yellow or orange color.
The eyes are distinctly large. Pictus Geckos have wide bodies and large heads.
Males grow between 5 to 6 inches, although some 8-inch ones have been spotted. Females are naturally smaller in size.
You can distinguish between a male and a female by looking at the tail. Males have bumps at the base of the tail.
In the wild, they’ve been observed to be active hunters between dusk to dawn. They feed exclusively on insects.
The Pictus Gecko is a ground-dweller by nature. They are not true climbers but they do scale heights from time to time. In an enclosure, it may climb the walls occasionally.
The species is a good choice of pet for any beginner especially for those who are fine with its need for less handling times.
Pictus Gecko Habitat
In the wild, the ground-dwelling Pictus Gecko frequently moves around scrub leaves or fallen leaves. Designing your pet’s enclosure with a familiar look and feel will make the adjustment easier for your new pet lizard.
Juveniles can be housed in small boxes, plastic containers, and other small containers. For housing multiple pets, you can prepare a bigger enclosure to begin with; one that will be sufficient up to adulthood.
A 20-gallon tank Pictus Gecko setup can house up to 3 pet geckos. Since your pet is not a climber, consider an enclosure that is wider, not taller.
Even if it mostly stays on the ground, secure the cage or tank with a screen above to ensure it doesn’t get out.
Hide boxes, logs, and caves like the Exo Terra gecko cave for reptiles are great additions. Also, decorate with rocks and driftwood for crawling and basking. Check out the Zilla Reptile Malaysian driftwood for options.
Keep branches and other perches low and short. Doing this keeps your geckos safe from fall injuries and fatalities.
Clean the enclosure or tank regularly. Don’t let food particles and feces accumulate, harden, or become impacted in the substrate. This will encourage the growth of bacteria.
Have a bowl large enough to keep the rocks, decors, logs, etc. You can use hot water with some soap or vinegar to rinse them out.
Use paper towels or rags to clean the walls. A gentle scourer or old toothbrush may be handy when you need to deal with hardened particles, corners, and small spaces.
Provide variety for your pet Pictus Gecko by using a combination of materials as substrate. For options, try some orchid bark, coco fiber, mulch, reptile carpet, or peat moss.
Check out Hamiledyi reptile carpet. It’s made of natural coconut fiber.
Maintain temperature levels between 70°F to no hotter than 85°F. A temperature gradient gives your pet Pictus Gecko the option to move to a warmer or colder spot as it prefers.
Since your pet is a ground dweller, a heating pad may be a good choice for an enclosure heater. Still, overhead lamps remain an option.
Consider using a thermostat to regulate temperature. This useful gadget will prevent overheating problems.
Humidity levels should be kept between 50 to 80%. Mist the enclosure twice every day to help with moisture and humidity.
You can use regular home lighting. However, if you have the budget for it, consider using UVB lamps. It is helpful especially when your pet gecko becomes lethargic.
Another option is to have a dual lamp like the REPTI ZOO Dual Lamp Combo. It has separate controls and slots which you can use to install and operate regular lighting and UVB lighting.
Use screen cover clips for a more secure fitting. Zilla sells 2-pack screen clip sets. Get clamps for basking lamps and overhead UVB lights. A digital timer can help you monitor lighting cycles.
Pictus Gecko Feeding
Pictus Geckos prefer insects. You may feed your pet with crickets, mealworms, and other small to average-sized insects. Keep the size no bigger than the width of your pet’s head.
Juveniles can handle 4 to 6 crickets daily. Adults may need at least 6 daily. Feeding time can be scheduled 3 or 4 times each week.
Pictus Geckos make sounds when they are hungry. When they are vocal, that’s your cue to give them a feeding.
For better nourishment, you can use vitamin and calcium dusts over the insects before feeding once weekly. Try Repashy Superfoods Calcium Plus. It has Calcium and other vitamins including D3.
The Picuts Gecko is a bit easygoing. You can have 2 or 3 females living together. Males, however, are territorial and may fight if you keep them in the same enclosure.
The Pictus Gecko doesn’t really like being handled. Too much handling can stress and even injure it. Consequently, they may lose their tail but it will eventually grow back.
It is not an aggressive gecko. However, it will bite if stressed, injured, or scared. Juveniles can be jumpy at the start. Once they adjust to their new home and owner, they grow up calm and docile.
Nocturnal creatures like the Pictus Gecko are not active during the day. So consider scheduling handling times with this in mind.
Pictus Geckos in captivity can live up to 10 years and 5 years at a minimum.
Common Health Concerns (Issues/Solutions)
Health issues arise if your pet Pictus Gecko is often stressed or handled. Injuries like the tail falling off may be a problem. High perches may cause accidental falls or deaths. Shedding problems or dry skin may become an issue. Parasite infection is sometimes a problem.
Keep the enclosure humid and lessen the frequency of handling to avoid these health issues.
Pricing and Availability
Most breeders will have a Pictus Gecko for sale. Some wild-caught species are available in the pet trade. Typical choices include Pictus Gecko morphs (striped or banded). Expect to spend between $20 to $50 on your purchase.
The population is not in decline. IUCN lists the species under “Least Concern”.
The Pictus Gecko is a good pet whether you are a beginner or an advanced reptile pet owner. It is normally compliant and rarely aggressive with its owner.
If you are content with less handling of a pet, this species is perfect for you. With that being said, the Pictus Gecko may not be the best choice for young children to care for, especially those who love picking up and touching animals.
This type of reptile is generally available from captive breeders and expos at $50 or below.
Have you experienced caring for a Pictus Gecko? We’d love to hear from you.
Why not tell us all about it by leaving a comment below.
Saturday 8th of October 2022
the care guide had some good info. however, reptile carpet should never be used for any animal. its very hard to clean properly, so no matter how often or what methods you use, itll harbor a lot more bacteria than you can get out. paper towels would be a much better substituiton, or a loose substrate when the animal is old enough (never reptile-branded sands as theyre clumping and can easily lead to impaction). similarly, coil/compact uvbs (the ones that go in the domes) should also be avoided. they have a huge history with unreliability (especially repti-zoo). experts were testing them, some were testing too high, others too low. instead, always opt for a tube/linear uvb. only arcadia or zoomeds reptisun, t5 (preferred) or t8 fixture.
Tuesday 31st of March 2020
So is the UVB light completely necessary for these guys? I just got my little guy. I think he's mature. He's about 5 inches long. I'm also not sure how often I should be cleaning out his enclosure. A few times a month? Once a week? I know spot cleaning can be a daily, or every other day thing. I just want to make him as happy and as comfortable I can. I'm continuing to learn more every day, and I want to be doing everything right that I can. I also worry about how much I should be feeding him. I feed him 3-4 large mealworms once evey other day (they are dusted with calcium powder) I will start feeding him crickets soon. He's been a bit less active than the first night he was here and I'm worried.