Frog Eye Geckos are becoming more common in the pet trade nowadays, particularly with the vast number of keen gecko enthusiasts. Captive breeding of this species has become well understood and easy to achieve. These geckos are native to fairly hot, arid climates within Southern Asia (Afghanistan, Iran, Arabia, Kazakhstan and Western China). These geckos are particularly well known for their incredibly delicate skin and cautious nature. They will shed their tail with ease if handled incorrectly, and the regular human finger-nail can tear right through the thin skin of these geckos. Although this species is a pleasure to keep, I would rate them as an intermediate species to keep.
For a single or pair or trio of frog eye geckos, a vivarium 60cm Length x 30cm Width x 30cm Height will be ample room. It should be noted that males are extremely aggressive with each other and should not be housed together. A vivarium can be made from a number of materials; wooden with melamine coating, glass, plastic and even good quality metal enclosures have been made.
I suggest a wooden vivarium, which is coated with melamine to allow the enclosure to last much longer. If you use regular chipboard or other non-coated woods, the vivarium will not last long with the water spillage and waste products related to keeping any animal. Be sure to have plenty of ventilation holes. Many vivariums are available on the market today already made to suit most reptiles, with ventilation holes and even fittings for the various heat and light appliances.
Substrate & Decor
Frog Eye Geckos come from dry, arid areas which should be re-created in a captive environment. It is not essential to use natural sands and substrates; newspaper would do the job but it is not aesthetically pleasing. The point is though, that the substrate must be dry. That is not to say though that the gecko cannot get to moist areas, as they will often crawl into slightly moist burrows in the wild. A small moist hide box would be a benefit, especially for when the time comes for the gecko to slough its skin.
A choice of substrate very much depends on what is more important for you. If you want something to look natural, then sand and soils can be the most aesthetically pleasing. These however are dirty and dusty and should be sieved through regularly to remove any waste. If sand is used, calcium based sand is recommended. This dissolves quicker than other sands and will even benefit your gecko with calcium additives when swallowed. Newspaper is cheap and easy to clean, but is hardly a catchy part of an enclosure. Wood chips can be used, but can often be swallowed by accident, causing an impaction in the gut of the gecko. The preferential substrate for the geckos would almost certainly be sand. They regularly dig and if the sand is wet down to form various layers of dampness, the geckos will be able to dig and form a number of burrows with hiding chambers at the end of each burrow.
For a naturalistic environment, rocks, wood and plants can all be used. Although some live plants are safe to use, I suggest fake plants and cacti. Live plants will require more care and many give off toxic fumes. Be careful when placing heavier objects into the enclosure. Frog eye geckos like to burrow, and will not hesitate to try and burrow underneath a rock. Make sure these objects are placed directly on the bottom of the enclosure and not on top of the sand, as this will collapse if the gecko decides to burrow under.
If you use any objects which have been outside, wash them thoroughly with hot water and weak disinfectant. It is important to be as clinical as possible and reduce any risk of bringing in infectious diseases or parasites.
Heating & Lighting
The most economical and simple way to add heat and light into your vivarium is to use a single incandescent spot lamp. Usually a 60 Watt bulb will be adequate for smaller vivariums. This should be on for 10-12 hours a day and should be used in conjunction with a Dimming thermostat. During the day time the temperature should be approximately 82?F at the cool end, and 88-94?F under the spot lamp. Once the light goes out, the temperature should be an overall 74-78?F. It is often enough to just let the vivarium go down to room temperature. However, the temperature should be monitored with a thermometer and if it drops below the recommended temperature, some form of background heating will be required.
Background heat can be added with a small heat mat. This should be placed on the back wall of the vivarium and placed in the centre. Depending on how low the temperature drops at night, will depend on the size of heat you require. However, I suggest a 6?x11? HabiStat heat mat. This should be enough just to bump the temperature up a few degrees.
Feeding & Drinking
It is important that water is available at all times. Although frog eye geckos come from dry, arid areas, they still like to drink. A shallow water dish which is hard to tip over and easy to clean is ideal. It is also an idea to have a bowl which does not have small crevices and cracks in it, which mould can build up in, and small insects can hide in.
Frog eye geckos are primarily insectivorous, feeding on insects. Such prey items include; small mealworms, wax worms, earthworms, crickets and locusts. However certain foods should be limited. It is important that the food you give your gecko is as highly nutritious as possible. It would be nearly pointless to feed a starved cricket to your gecko. Therefore, placing food such as potato peel and cabbage into the insect?s enclosure will benefit the gecko as much as the insects. Gut-Load can also be bought from many retailers. This is a balanced food for insects and should be offered to the insects at least 12 hours before feeding.
Hatchling or juvenile frog eye geckos should be fed on a daily basis. They will eat up to around 10 small crickets or similar insects. These insects should be either crickets or locusts, and should be no larger than the width of the gecko?s mouth. Wax worms can be offered in small quantities once a week, and mealworms can also be offered in small quantities twice a week. A Calcium:Phosphorous supplement should be dusted onto the food every other day. This is to aid in growing a healthy, strong bone structure, particularly in the leg and jaw areas. MediVet Repton, 2:1 Calcium:Phosphorous is a good product to use.
Adults can be fed less regularly, 2 or 3 times a week. They should eat around 8 insects at a time, but obviously these should be larger insects, approximately the size of the leopard gecko head. It is important the food is not too small for the gecko not to be interested, and also important for it not to be too big for it to become hard to swallow. For females in breeding season, calcium supplements should be added to food on every feeding, to aid in the development of the eggs. For males and females out of breeding season, a dusting of supplements once a week will suffice.