November 11, 2005
Mediterranean Gecko. Hemidactylus turcicis.
Scientific Name: Hemidactylus turcicis
Other Common Name: Turkish Gecko
Range: Islands and coastal regions of the Mediterranean islands, southwestern Asia, southward to Kenya in Africa, and eastward to India. They’ve also been introduced to southeast U.S. and Mexico.
Habitat: They may be found under rocks and palm fronds, behind the bark of fallen trees, in cracks in dry walls, crevices in rocky outcrops, and among human habitation.
Total Length: 4-5.5 inches
Sex Determination: Males have a shorter, broader head, preanal pores, and the sheaths with the hemipenises. Mature males have two swellings at the base of the tail which may come outwards in a small bony projection (sometimes visible from above). Females do not have this double swelling. They are identified by the presence of developing eggs which can be seen through the belly skin.
Egg-Laying: One or to months after breeding, you will be able to see the eggs through the female’s belly. When the day of egg-laying nears, the female will dig test holes in many places. She will continue doing this until one of these test holes meets with her approval. Then egg-laying will begin. Females will usually lay two (rarely three) eggs up to three times a year. This isn’t always true with young females, whose first few cluthes may consist of single eggs. The eggs are soft and sticky when first laid but will harden later. They are often attached to tree bark, tree hollows, where bark is missing from a trunk, a rock in a secluded place, rock clefts, and in crevices.
Egg Care: You should remove the eggs (including the substrate they are attached to) and put them in an incubator (which should be standing ready). Be careful not to change the position of the eggs while removing them. The embryo may be smothered by the yolk if the position of the egg is later changed. If the eggs are attached to the side of the terrarium, tape a plastic cup or dish over the eggs. This will protect the eggs or the hatchlings from being harmed or eaten by the adults.
The maturation time in an incubator is about 45-60 days at 79-90 degrees F. The young will hatch in 2-6 months under normal conditions. It is a good idea to use the lower temperature for a longer maturation time. The young are then hardier and grow more quickly than lizards matured at the higher temperature. The sex of the young is determined by the incubation temperature (higher temperatures produce only males).
Young Care: We heard that juveniles are rather sensitive and not very easy to raise. If you want more information on taking care of young lizards in general, click here!
Care In Captivity:
- Tank Size: A maximum of four geckos in a 10 gallon tank would be alright. To prevent fighting, there should be more females than males.
- Substrate: Zoo Med’s Repti-Bark is our favorite substrate because it is easy to clean, creates more humidity, and is natural looking. Other substrates you can use are gravel, stones, or soil.
- Decorations: You can have a log, bark, sticks, rocks, and fake plants in the tank. You can use live plants if you like, but you will have to replace them when they die.
- Water Bowl: A water bowl is not needed. Just spray the tank with water everyday with a spray bottle. The geckos will drink the drips that fall from the sides of the tank and other objects.
- Tank Lid: You can have a flip top lid, a screen, or any other type of lid on the tank. There should good ventilation.
- Heating: If you are using a flip top lid, you can use two incandescent heat bulbs. In the summer, if it gets too hot, you should use only one bulb. If you are using a screen lid, the best thing to get is a heat lamp that rests on top of the screen. At night you may use a nocturnal incandescent heat bulb which is used for nocturnal animals. The light is a blue/violet color so it won’t disturb you or the geckos. If you don’t have this type of bulb you may use a heat rock, a heating pad, or an electric blanket.
- Lighting: No additional lighting is needed but you may use a bulb with ultraviolet radiation if you want. You can reverse the day/night cycle by providing light during the night and partially darkening the tank during the day. Now the geckos will come out in the daytime and you’ll be able to see them more often.
- Temperature/Humidity: The temperature should be 80-88 degrees F in the day and 60-68 degrees F at night. In the winter, two months at 50 degrees F will stimulate hibernation. Doing this makes them healthier and encourages them to breed. You should have an air thermometer in the tank. The humidity should be high to prevent shedding problems. You can create more humidity by spraying the tank with warm water everyday with a spray bottle. You may use a humidity gauge which will show you how much humidity is in the tank.
- Feeding: The diet should have variety. Feed them crickets, flies, moths, spiders, and other small invertebrates. They should all be sprinkled with vitamin and calcium supplements.In the wild, these geckos are occasionally seen licking nectar from flowers or the juices of fallen, over-ripe fruit. It is doubtful whether this benefits their health, but they definately enjoy the addition of something sweet to their diet. A solution of honey and water (or artificial nectar as fed to humming birds) or soft fruit may be placed in the terrarium. The fruit will have to be replaced frequently to prevent it from going bad. A popular method is to use a sugar cube moistened with a few drops of multi-vitamin solution such as Abidec. The geckos will gradually lick this away, and in doing this will benefit from the vitamins. At the time of writing this, we have never tried to do any of these methods, but will try soon.Feeding your geckos regularly at night will give you many opportunities to see them.
- Maintenance: Keep the tank clean and spray it with warm water everyday with a spray bottle. Also, pay special attention to the toes during shedding. If skin is left around them, the geckos won’t be able to climb.
Other Information: These geckos are pretty active at dusk and by night.
If they are attacked or disturbed, their tail will fall off.
These geckos live in loose groups. They have their own territory but also need the nearness of other geckos, to greet, threaten, or court.