HomeReef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) Care and Breeding
Reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) Care and Breeding
The reef gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) is likely named for the beautiful reefs found in the oceans surrounding its native islands in the Bahamas.
Reef geckos are brown in color with black stripes that extend from the head and fade out at the neck. The body is mottled with small dark brown spots. They have a yellow tail, which is colored white at the tip in juveniles. Females may have two eyespots behind their neck.
A pair of reef gecko adults can be housed in an 8x8x12 enclosure or a 12x12x12 enclosure. As with other micro geckos, they are best kept solo or as a pair. Sphaerodactylus micro geckos are equipped with toe pads and can climb smooth surfaces like glass; because hatchlings and juveniles are very small, any accessible escape routes must be secured!Substrates like DigIt, Coco Select, and other coco-fiber based substrates work well. Sand-soil mixtures can also be used. A bioactive substrate can be made using BioBedding with springtails and isopods, offering your geckos additional food sources and reducing the need to spot clean. The substrate should be kept moist.Reef geckos are diurnal and terrestrial. They should be provided with plenty of hiding places. A layer of leaf litter over the substrate is recommended, but additional hides should also be provided; cork bark and similar items can be used as hides. Live plants are always a welcome addition to the reef gecko’s enclosure.Though they are primarily terrestrial, they will make use of climbing material. Rocks, driftwood, cork bark, and manzanita branches can be provided. While this species has not been observed digging, they’re small and at risk of being crushed, so we strongly recommend ensuring that any heavy enclosure items be securely placed and supported by the bottom of the enclosure instead of the substrate. During the day, reef geckos should be kept at temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 F. A heat source is not necessary if stable temperatures are maintained. If a heat source is provided, use a low wattage heat pad or bulb to prevent overheating. Despite being a diurnal species, UV lighting for this species is a matter of debate. If UV light is used, a 2.0 or 5.0 bulb should be used, and plenty of shaded areas should be provided in the enclosure. Temperatures should not fall below 65 F at night.Reef geckos enjoy a higher humidity than other micro geckos, around 60-70%, but high ventilation and the enclosure being allowed to dry out between mistings are still important. This species should be misted daily or every other day to maintain an elevated humidity and to 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. The hot spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer or temperature gun.SIZEReef geckos hatch out at only about 0.8 inches. One of the smaller of the Sphaerodactylus micro geckos, adults only reach around 2.1-2.2 inches from head to tail! It is estimated this gecko lives about 10-20 years in captivity.
Like all micro geckos, reef geckos are insectivores. While their small size limits what bugs they can be offered in captivity, we supply all of the insects your reef gecko will need. A staple diet of pinhead to ⅛-inch crickets works best for juveniles. Melanogaster fruit flies, springtails, and small dwarf white isopods can also be offered to juveniles. Adults should be fed a staple of ¼-inch crickets, but can also be offered extra small black soldier fly larvae, dwarf white isopods, hydei and melanogaster fruit flies, and bean beetles. Feeder insects should be gutloaded and dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. A food dish is not necessary but will help contain insects.
These micro geckos are not as easy to sex as other micro geckos. Females may have two eyespots behind their neck, but this is not always present. Otherwise, males can be distinguished by the presence of femoral pores between their hind legs.
A light brumation period in the winter or Increasing the length of day in the summer is recommended to incite breeding. Females will lay a single egg every three weeks in a secure area, including small egg-laying tubes. Eggs should be carefully removed and incubated. Eggs will hatch after 65-75 days.