|Posted on May 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM|
Gehyra marginata - Moluccan/Halmahera Gecko
Halmaheras are often mislabeled as “Vorax geckos” or “Gehyra vorax,” but the latter are extremely rare and there is only one confirmed pair in the US. Gehyra marginata, on the other hand, are a lot more common but are not anywhere near as common or easy to obtain as leopard geckos or crested geckos. Halmahera geckos are from the hot and humid tropics of Southeast Asia, and have extremely soft skin and are not recommended for handling.
It should be noted these geckos are not for everyone, especially not for children. They are lightning fast, escape artists, have delicate skin, will bite when frightened or cornered, and are best left as a "look-only" pet. Captive bred halmaheras can be worked with from a young age to overcome some of their fear of you, but they will always choose the "flight" response when uncertain - and they are good at it! If none of these qualities bother you, then please read on.
Halmahera geckos need:
20-30 gallons of space per animal as an adult, preferably more vertical space than horizontal. A sliding-lid 20 gallon long tank set on its side works well for a single adult. Make sure the lid is secured, and make sure to keep a lock on the tank so pets, children, and curious visitors cannot get into the tank and harm either the gecko or themselves. Halmahera geckos do not need a companion or "friend" and are happiest in their own territories. A male-female pair may be kept together, and ideally have 40 gallons of vertical space to live in.
Paper towels for substrate. Paper towels are easy to monitor poop, and cheap and easy to replace when soiled. I highly recommend starting with paper towels to begin a proper quarantine. Coconut coir/eco earth, peat moss, and sphagnum moss all carry risk of impaction but are nontoxic and thus “safe” to use for substrate, and can help keep up humidity in a planted vivarium. However, walnut, bark, and sand should be avoided as they are deadly and are a definite no-no.
Places to hide. Lots of fake silk plants attached with suction cups offer great hiding places, which you can find both at your local craft store in the floral department - just avoid fake flowers as they can come apart and the pieces accidentally ingested. Paper towel rolls or PVC pipes also offer places where Halmahera geckos feel safe as they sleep during the daytime. Cork bark is also an excellent and highly recommended décor for these geckos, as they are meant to blend in to bark in the wild, and cork bark is a safe substance that they delight in climbing about on.
Water. A light misting in the morning, and a heavy misting at night are crucial ways to give your gecko access to drinkable water as well as keep the humidity up. A spray bottle full of clean, de-chlorinated or filtered tap water is excellent. I also recommend offering your gecko a small water dish at all times, but remember to change the water every day or every other day to prevent bacterial growth. Halmaheras will occasionally defecate in their water, so make sure to check often!
Pangea Fruit Mix Complete or Crested Gecko Diet(CGD) by T-Rex/Repashy Superfoods or Gecko Meal Replacement Powder(MRP) by Repashy. These are prepared powder meals with everything they need, including all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and calcium they need. Just mix a little bit with water until you have a smoothie-like consistency, and offer in a large bottle cap or small ceramic dish every other day. It’s that simple, and it smells good to us humans, too!
It should be noted that halmaheras should NOT be offered fruit “baby food,” as it consists of mostly sugar and is not nutritionally complete. Geckos fed on fruit baby food become addicted to it, and will develop Metabolic Bone Disease, sometimes to a debilitating degree. Even with supplemented calcium and vitamins, it still does not contain everything a Halmahera gecko needs to be healthy. Pangea Fruit Mix Complete and Crested Gecko Diet are much cheaper in the long run and by far the superior diet, which will help your gecko stay healthy and happy!
Insects. Halmaheras should be offered insects once or twice a week. Good feeder insects for these geckos include: dubia roaches, crickets, meal worms, super worms(as adults), phoenix worms, calci-worms, silk worms, goliath horn worms, rusty red turkistan roaches. Wax worms are too fatty for these geckos, and they also should not be offered pinky mice or rats for the same reason.
Proper temperatures. Gehyra marginata are hardy creatures, but they require proper temperatures to remain at optimal health. They should be kept between 75-80*F in summer, and 70-75* Fahreinheit in winter. Halmaheras should have a hot spot of about 80*F degrees to bask in. They should not be kept much above 85*F or so, since higher temperatures will stress them. Also, beware that in the winter time, the air is much drier so a Halmahera should be misted 2-3 times a day to keep up humidity in order to prevent dehydration.
Once you have the above requirements met, you are ready to start looking for your new halmahera! It is always best to obtain an established captive bred animal, which handles changes in environment and people-related stress much more easily. A wild animal is not accustomed to humans and will live its life wary and afraid.
Halmaheras are wonderful animals, and they seem almost unreal with their huge grapple-hook claws and big beautiful green eyes. They have wrinkles upon wrinkles, which help them blend in to bark and branches by eliminating their gecko-shaped outline. They are pudgy and waddle when relaxed, and are like grease-lightning when scared and bolt. They love climbing and walking while using their “sticky” toe pads to scale most surfaces, and they excel at jumping from point A to point B.
With proper care, Gehyra marginata are all but bullet-proof, and though their lifespans are currently unknown, they have been known to reach 15+ years of age, and can probably reach closer to 20 years of age. Remember, when you purchase a gecko, you are committed to taking care of it for the rest of its life, and this unusual and lovely species deserves a secure and loving home.