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Name: Paroedura pictus. These have been referred to by many, many common names including the Panther Gecko, Ocelot Gecko, Madagascar Ground Gecko, and Big-Headed Gecko. The confusion that has developed regarding their numerous common names and other members of the Paroedura genus has led to them primarily being referred to as Pictus Geckos, based off of their Latin name.
Recommended Enclosure Size & Setup: A 24x18x12 enclosure is enough space for one to two geckos. Females can be housed together with supervision, but males should always be kept solitary, unless being paired temporarily for breeding.
A substrate that will hold some moisture works best for this subtropical species. Coco fiber-based substrates mixed with sand or Dig-It work well. A subtropical bioactive setup is highly recommended. Regardless, keep the substrate moist (not wet), and allow for dry patches within the enclosure; dry spots are especially imperative for actively breeding females to deposit eggs.
These geckos are primarily terrestrial but enjoy climbing as well. Low climbing material like manzanita or driftwood can be provided. Cork bark or live oak bark works especially well for this species, providing hides as well as climbing material. Be sure that any heavy décor is supported by the bottom of the enclosure and not the substrate, as this species will dig. Leaf litter can also provide numerous hiding places and a natural touch, as they often inhabit the leaf litter layer in the wild.
Temperature (°F) & Lighting: Pictus geckos can be kept at ambient temperatures of 70-80 degrees. A basking spot of around 85-90 degrees during the day must be provided. Training an overhead basking bulb onto slate tile or a partially buried ceramic pot is an excellent way to achieve this; if they can, they will bask in the radiant heat underneath their basking site.
UV lighting is strongly recommended. Not only will they synthesize D3 from ambient UVB radiation and incidental exposure, but they will also use the UVA wavelengths visible to all reptiles to properly inform basking behavior and circadian rhythm. UV lighting should be focused on their basking site and feature Ferguson zone 1 levels of UV radiation. Animals should also be provided opportunities to escape from UV exposure throughout the rest of their enclosure.
Humidity: Being a subtropical species, they appreciate extra moisture, and ambient humidity should be around 60-65%. Substrate should have a moisture gradient, with the top layer being allowed to completely dry, and the bottom layer kept moist but not waterlogged. Ambient humidity can be monitored with a digital hygrometer.
This species should be misted approximately three times a week, with the goal of providing droplets of water on the walls of the enclosure from which the geckos may drink, as well as maintaining proper moisture levels in the substrate. The enclosure should have enough ventilation so that the surface dries within a few hours of misting. A small, shallow water dish can be provided, but is not necessary with regular misting.
Size: At the time of sale, they will measure around 2 to 2.5 inches. Pictus Ground Geckos reach around 4-6 inches from head to tail as adults.
Age: Pictus Ground Geckos are at least 5 weeks when sold by Josh’s Frogs, at which time they are well established. It is estimated that these geckos live for 5-10 years in captivity.
Feeding: Pictus Geckos can handle feeder crickets ranging from 1/4 to 3/4 inch, favoring smaller prey items as juveniles, and preferring larger food as they age. Dubia roaches are a great addition to their staple feeder rotation, while other feeders such as waxworms, mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, etc. can be offered as occasional treats.
Offering insects in an escape-proof feeding bowl will minimize the number of bugs that escape and hide among the enclosure. Once weekly, feeder insects should be lightly dusted with a calcium and multivitamin supplement. If provided proper UV lighting, we recommend Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, otherwise, Repashy Calcium Plus should be offered to account for the lack of natural vitamin D3 creation.
Sexing: Pictus Geckos are sexable as early as 1 month old, but are most reliably sexed at 2 months. Males will feature a very prominent hemipenal bulge at the base of their tail. Additionally, adult males are considerably larger than their female counterparts, and have proportionally larger heads.
Pictus Geckos sold by Josh’s Frogs are not sexed at the time of sale.
Color/Pattern: These geckos blend in quite well with their surroundings. They have shades of brown, rust, and cream, with black outlines around their markings and a cream underbelly.
Pictus geckos offered in this category will always feature a bold stripe running down the length of their spine (and sometimes through their tail) in a lighter color. Individuals may vary in terms of how strongly/crisp the gene is expressed. Aside from this, individuals may also vary in terms of color and lateral banding.
Babies will feature strong contrasting colors, which alongside patterning will usually mottle with age, but their stripe will always be present.
Social Behavior: Pictus Geckos are primarily solitary, and should be housed individually whenever possible. If necessary, females do tend to tolerate each other’s presence and can be kept together with supervision. However, it is imperative to always house Pictus males individually. Not only are they highly territorial, they are also much larger than their female counterparts, and are very eager breeders. As a result, serious injury can result in both males and females that are cohabitated with other males for any appreciable amount of time.
Pictus Geckos are crepuscular by nature. They are somewhat flighty and nervous animals, but with consistent interaction, can be tamed to tolerate moderate handling.
Breeding: Breeding Pictus Ground Geckos is very straightforward. Brumation is desirable for breeding, but not required. Cooler temps with a 10 degree drop should be provided from late fall to late winter/early spring.
Tail thickness is a good indicator of the health of breeding females, and females exhibiting a thin tail should be removed and allowed to recuperate. Providing a dish of calcium is essential for the long term success of breeders. Females will lay two eggs every 3-4 weeks buried in the substrate. Drier spots in the substrate must be provided; if kept on substrates that are completely moist or wet, females may become egg bound while holding onto eggs that they cannot deposit.
Natural Range: These geckos are found in a very small range on the side of Madagascar. They are found on the island's semi-arid forests, inhabiting the leaf litter on the forest floor.
History in the Hobby: Whereas most of the Madagascar ground geckos are rare, Pictus Ground Geckos have enjoyed popularity in the hobby for their laid back temperament, ease of care and breeding, and potential for different pattern variations and morphs.
Still not sure if the Pictus Ground Gecko from Josh's Frogs is the right pet for you? Read the reviews below and see what other customers are saying!
After placing an order containing a live animal, you will receive a scheduling email containing our JotForm scheduling link to schedule your new pet's delivery date.
With this scheduling link, you will be able to schedule your order's delivery up to 30 days in advance. You will be able to choose a date of delivery for Tuesday-Saturday (Saturday arrival depends on the carrier's service availability) with the estimated time of arrival generally being 12pm, or 4:30pm for more rural areas. Overnight lows must be above 40°F to ship directly to you (or above 30°F for FedEx Ship Center pickups) as well as below 90°F by estimated time of arrival.
If you require further assistance, or prefer to talk to one of our Customer Service agents, please feel free to reach out to our [email protected] email or our phone line 1-800-691-8178.
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