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Chinese cave geckos are an incredible sight to behold. Yellow to orange lines juxtaposed against black, a black tail with white stripes, and striking red eyes. But their distinct colors aren’t the only reason to choose them as a pet. As a hardy species that thrives in both simple and elaborate setups, Chinese cave geckos are a great pet for those looking for a species that tolerates some handling, enjoys eating bugs, requires moderate humidity, and doesn’t need any special heating or lighting.
Like their desert cousins, the leopard gecko and fat-tail gecko, a single Chinese cave gecko can be comfortably housed in a 10 gallon or similarly sized terrarium. 2 to 3 cave geckos will do well in a 20-gallon terrarium as long as males aren’t housed together. As far as care goes, Chinese cave geckos are a little bit easier than their desert counterparts. Chinese cave geckos thrive at room temperatures and will do well if kept between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Be sure to keep them on the cool side; while they can tolerate heat up to 80, you’ll want to make sure they aren’t exposed to temperatures higher than that. It’s always recommended that a digital thermometer is used to keep an eye on temperatures.
Because Chinese cave geckos are active at night, or nocturnal, they don’t require any special lighting; just be sure that the room they’re in has some lighting during the day and no lighting at night to mimic the day/night cycle.
Whereas diurnal species like chameleons and bearded dragons need ultraviolet (UV) lighting to make vitamin D3 (needed to absorb calcium), Chinese cave geckos can simply be provided bugs dusted with calcium with D3. Be sure to add a reptile multivitamin as well to ensure a complete diet!
Substrates and Humidity
While heating and lighting can take a backseat for these geckos, they do require higher humidity, which should never drop below 50% and is best at around 55-65%. Humidity is easily maintained by keeping a moist (but not sopping wet) substrate and with frequent misting. As such, a substrate that can retain moisture, such as coco fiber or Dig-It substrates. Be sure to provide food in a dish to reduce incidental ingestion of loose substrate.
As an added bonus, moist substrates allow for the addition of springtails and isopods, and having a self-sustaining cleanup crew will prolong your substrate’s life and decrease the amount of time you need to spend cleaning it!
When it comes to what to add to your Chinese cave gecko’s enclosure, an elaborate setup isn’t needed. A water dish is optional and isn’t required if the enclosure is misted daily to provide dew from which the animal can drink. Most important for this species is a hide or several hides under which cave geckos will spend most of their time during the day. Anything from a cork bark to a commercially available reptile hide will work! Chinese cave geckos will make use of their claws and climb, so some branches and other climbing material can be provided so long as they aren’t too tall. Even though cave geckos don’t need a complicated setup, there is no reason they won’t thrive just as well in a full bioactive, planted enclosure.
Given the right temperature and humidity and a place to hide and feel secure, Chinese cave geckos are not picky eaters–although, being nocturnal, you likely won’t observe them eating during the day.
Leopard gecko and fat-tail gecko keepers should take note that cave geckos shouldn’t be offered mealworms. Being kept at cooler temperatures means that Cave Geckos don’t have the same digestive capabilities to deal with the high chitin.
While Chinese cave geckos are nocturnal and are rarely seen during the day, they tolerate handling well. Cave geckos will feel most comfortable when allowed to wander freely on hands and other surfaces, but they should never be restrained or allowed to fall from a height. They can be flighty and shy when young, but short handling sessions will usually calm them down over time, allowing you to observe their beautiful colors and deliberate movements!
Care Requirements: Intermediate
Temperature : 65-75F
Humidity : 55-65%
Adult cage size: 10 gallons+
Lifespan: 15+ years