Pygmy panther geckos (Paroedura androyensis), known also as Gradidier’s ground gecko, are the micro version of the Madagascar’s genus of ground geckos. Their name refers to their tiny size, especially compared to their more commonly known cousin, the panther gecko (P. pictus). What these geckos lack in coloration, they make up for with their highly active hunting behavior in the evening and at night, complete with elaborate tail wagging!
Pygmy panther geckos don’t boast any remarkable colors. Instead, they exhibit a range of brown colors which allows them to camouflage well among tree bark and leaf litter. Their back is decorated with a display of large spots or aberrant banding.
Due to their small size, an 8x8x8 enclosure can easily house one or two pygmy panther geckos, with larger enclosures allowing for a larger group. A 12x12x12 enclosure, for example, can easily house up to 4-5 individuals. Males are territorial and should not be housed together, but multiple females can be housed with a male. Juveniles can only be raised successfully in a group if fed regularly; otherwise, there is risk of aggression and tail loss between individuals.
Substrates like Coco Select or other coco-fiber based substrates work well. A bioactive substrate can be made using BioBedding with springtails and isopods. This offers your geckos additional food sources and reduces the need to spot clean. The substrate should be kept moist, but dry spots should also be maintained in the enclosure, especially when breeding. We also offer an 8x8x12 Pygmy Panther Gecko Complete Kit, suitable for 1-2 animals.
Pygmy panther geckos are nocturnal. They will spend time both on the ground and climbing. In the wild, they live in leaf litter as well as the lower trunks of trees. A layer of leaf litter over the substrate is recommended; they will make use of even small oak leaves as hides. Cork bark, especially pieces with numerous crevices, will provide additional hiding spots and provide climbing material. Live plants are always a welcome addition to the pygmy panther gecko’s enclosure.
During the day, pygmy panther geckos should be kept at temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 F. A heat source is not required as long as they are kept within that temperature range. If a heat source is provided, use a low wattage heat pad or bulb to prevent overheating. As a nocturnal species, UV lighting is not required for this species but isn’t harmful if provided. Temperatures should not fall below 70 F at night.
Pygmy panther geckos require a relatively high humidity of around 55-65% (up to 70%). Providing high ventilation and allowing the enclosure to dry out between mistings, however, are still important. This species should be misted daily or every other day to maintain an elevated humidity. Doing so will also provide water droplets on the enclosure walls, leaf litter, and other cage items from which the geckos can drink. The enclosure should have enough ventilation that it dries out after several hours. A shallow water dish can be provided but is not necessary with consistent misting. Live plants will help create humid microclimates within the enclosure.
Both temperature and humidity should be monitored with a digital thermometer/hygrometer.
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Adults pygmy panther geckos only reach 2.7-2.8 inches from head to tail!
Pygmy panther geckos are insectivores. While their small size limits what bugs they can be offered in captivity, we supply all of the feeder insects your pygmy panther gecko will need! Hatchlings require pinhead crickets but can be moved to ⅛-inch crickets within a few weeks. We find that this species responds best to moving prey. A staple diet of ⅛-inch crickets and melanogaster fruit flies works well. Springtails and small dwarf white isopods can also be offered to juveniles. Adults should be fed a staple of ⅛-inch to ¼-inch crickets, but can also be offered melanogaster and hydei fruit flies and bean beetles as well. Feeder insects should be gutloaded and dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement.
Pygmy panther geckos are relatively east to sex, as males will exhibit conspicuous bulges at the base of their tail.
Pygmy panther geckos are very prolific breeders. Adult females will breed year round. As such, they must be provided a consistent food source. They should also be offered a source of readily available calcium within their enclosure. The best way to monitor the health of an actively breeding female is by tail size. A female with a plump tail is healthy; a female with a thin tail should be removed from the enclosure and be given time to recuperate. Females will bury their eggs in the substrate once every three to four weeks or so. Eggs are tiny and very delicate, and great care should be taken if they are removed from the enclosure for incubation. Drier spots in the substrate must be provided, as females will not lay eggs in substrate that is too wet, which can cause a female to become eggbound.
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