Saturday, February 4, 2012

Creature Feature: Chinese Cave Geckos.

Reptile keeping is an addiction. Once you have kept one snake/lizard/turtle, the next move is usually to find another one. Things with scales are deceptively easy to keep, requiring food only once every few days and looking stunning on top of that.

So, a while back, I found an awesome gecko seller at my usual reptile place. This was the same guy who had microgeckos, which I did an entry on a while back. While flipping through the snaps I had taken on my phone, I decided it was time for another gecko. Geckos are just that awesome.

Meet the leopard gecko's evil cousin, the Chinese cave gecko (Goniurosaurus luii). The first specimens came from Hainan, China, in 1996. The locality given is northern Vietnam - close enough. They eat insects, just like leo geckos. As adults, they get up to 9 inches in length - buy your tanks accordingly.

First of all, these things look wicked. Aesthetics are, honestly, the main reason a beginning herper would want to get into them.  The stripes. Those evil red eyes. The dark skin. There is no way to think of anyone who owns this lizard as anything but a badass. Anyone can handle a leopard gecko, but see someone with a cave gecko and you know that person is more hardcore than someone with a leo from Petco.

Chinese cave geckos are the next step up from the leos everybody knows and loves. They require humidity of 60-80% (which leos do not, being desert lizards). Also, they love to climb, meaning that one will have to buy and clean lots of decor. Oh, and no, they do not like being handled. They are the polar opposite of the leopard gecko despite looking a lot alike and being related.

Chinese cave geckos are by no means common in the reptile trade, but you will not have to go all the way to China to get one. Look online for a reliable breeder and care sheets. These are fairly fragile lizards. Despite looking like punky leo geckos, they are really timid animals!

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