Hemidactylus triedrus, or Termite Hill gecko, is a species of gecko found in South Asia.They are nocturnal and are terrestrial and spend most of their time on the forest ground in crevices and burrows created by decaying leaf litter, rocks or bark. They feed on a variety of insects including grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and, as their name suggests, termites.
Termite hill geckos are chocolate-brown, with black and white dots forming bands, and are small enough to fit into your palm.
A 12x12x12 enclosure can house one or a pair, though extra space will be utilized and appreciated by this species. Males are territorial and should not be housed together.
Substrates like Coco Select or other coco-fiber based substrates work well. A bioactive substrate can be made for this semi-arid species using Desert BioBedding with springtails and isopods (dwarf whites, dairy cows, or giant canyon isopods work best in drier setups), offering your geckos additional food sources and reducing the need to spot clean. The substrate should be kept moist (err on the drier side), but dry spots should also be maintained in the enclosure, especially when breeding this species, as females are reluctant to deposit eggs in substrate that is kept too moist.
Termite hill geckos are nocturnal, and 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 some climbing material. Low climbing material, such as driftwood, manzanita, or other similar decor, will be appreciated by this active, semi-terrestrial species.
During the day, termite hill geckos should be kept at temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 F. A hot spot of around 85-90 F should also be provided, which can be maintained using an appropriate heat bulb. 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.
Termite hill geckos require a moderate humidity of around 55-65%, though high ventilation should be maintained, with the enclosure being allowed to dry between mistings. This species should be misted around every other day to provide humidity and 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.
Adults can reach a size of 6 to 6 ½” from tip of snout to tip of tail. Hatchlings are about 1 and ½”.
Termite hill geckos are insectivores in the wild. In captivity, hatchlings and juveniles should be offered ⅛-inch crickets until they are large enough to eat ¼-inch crickets. As adults, offer ½” crickets. Waxworms, butterworms, small hornworms, and black fly larvae make excellent treats, but should only be offered occasionally. Feeder insects should be dusted with a calcium and multivitamin supplement.
Termite hill geckos can be sexed relatively easily as males will exhibit conspicuous bulges at the base of their tail.
Breeding these geckos is very straightforward. Brumation is desirable for breeding. Adult females should be provided a consistent food source. Additionally, 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, and 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 very delicate. 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 substrates that are too wet. This can cause a female to become egg bound.