Giant Day Gecko – A Beginner’s Guide

Giant Day Gecko

Size (inches/cm): Sizes can vary between species; the smallest can grow up to 2.6in, and the largest can grow up to 11.8in

Giant Day Gecko
Source: Charles J. Sharp

Life Expectancy (years): Small species live up to 10 years while larger species live up to 20 years.

What does a Giant Day Gecko look like?

Giant Day Geckos have a bright green or blueish-green color. The ones that have the blueish shade are much rarer. But any Giant Day Gecko has a red stripe that extends from the nostril to the eye.

Most of the time you will find red dots or bars on their back. These markings can be very variable, and some species might not even have them. Rarest specimens might have small blue spots instead. Adult Giant Day Geckos may also have large sacks on their necks. They are used to store calcium.

Young Giant Day Geckos usually have more markings and they are redder. However, as they get older most of the markings start to fade. Those that remain will stay on the gecko for the rest of its life.

When it comes to their underside you will find a color that ranges anywhere from a creamy white to an eggy yellow. When the Gecko is under stress the color darkens, and the whole animal will become darker green, while the red spots on the face and back will turn orange in hue.

How big does a giant day gecko get?

Giant Day Geckos are easily some of the largest Geckos on the planet. They can reach up to 12 inches in length. This makes them a little bit dangerous to other small Geckos as they will not think twice about eating them.

Their size also makes them a bad choice for first-time lizard owners as they can need a lot of maintenance, especially since they are known to be escape artists. They have sticky pads and are capable of climbing almost any vertical surface.

These Geckos are also known to have very long tails that are as long as their bodies and sometimes even longer. They are also capable of dropping their tail and then regenerate later. However, especially since they are so big you should avoid putting the animal through such a situation if you can.

Giant Day Gecko – Temperament and Habits

Giant Day Geckos are excellent climbers and can be dangerous for children if they make it out of the tank. They don’t typically bite, but when they do is very painful. This makes them ideal for people that have some prior reptile-keeping experience.

They can be very lovely to observe as they make very interesting movements but they are not meant to be handled. These creatures are very fragile especially their feet. This is why it’s best to keep contact to a minimum.

Giant Day Gecko2
Source: Charles J. Sharp

If they get scared they might drop the tail and run. Then the tail will continue to move for a while and it can be a very traumatic experience for both you and the Gecko. When you do handle them you should be very careful as their skin is very delicate.

You should also keep in mind that Giant Day Geckos can get very violent with each other. This is why you will have to only keep one individual per cage.

Are Leopard Geckos diurnal or nocturnal?

As their name suggests, Giant Day Geckos are more active during the day. This sets them apart from many lizards as most of them are nocturnal or crepuscular. Their green color gives them a big advantage while roaming during the day.

They use the day to look for various fruits and hunt for insects and they are active around 12 hours a day. During the night, they remain hidden and use this time to rest and sleep. They are very big and food is rarely a problem, especially since they also can eat other lizards if they are hungry.

This means you will have to be very careful when setting up their tank and make sure they get a stable day and night cycle. These creatures also need a lot of UVB light to maintain a healthy and happy life. You might even have to invest in some supplements if the UVB light isn’t enough.

Are Giant Day Geckos aggressive?

Giant Day Geckos can be very quarrelsome especially males. They are very territorial and will not tolerate other males in their tank. More unusually, males and females can also get into serious fights and even kill each other. This means you will have to keep each Giant Day Gecko separately.

Although Giant Day Geckos are some of the easiest to care for Day Geckos, they are still a lot of work and should only be kept by experienced lizard enthusiasts. They are not very easy to tame and when they get aggressive their bite might penetrate the skin.

You will need to spend a lot of time with your young Giant Day Gecko and it will slowly warm up to you. If you manage to gain their trust they can make some of the best Gecko pets you ever had. But if they have any traumatic experiences you will have a much harder time getting them to like you.

Where do Giant Day Geckos live?

Giant Day Geckos are native to Madagascar, which is an island in the Indian Ocean right on the east side of the African coast. They are arboreal creatures, which means they mainly live in trees. They have also been a few recorded populations of Day Geckos in Florida and Hawaii.

They have been introduced to some places by humans and while they didn’t last in most places, but in a few, they are now considered a threat to native biodiversity. This is why they are also very easy to acquire and are some of the most popular pet Geckos in the world.

This means you will have a little bit of work while making their enclosure. Their vivarium should always be taller than it is wide. And you will have to introduce lots and lots of objects they can climb on. You should also be careful about the plants you use as they are a necessity but they are often hard to maintain.

How many Giant Day Geckos can be housed together?

When it comes to hatchlings, they should always be housed only 5 per 20-gallon tank. It’s highly recommended to house a few per tank as possible, regardless of how big the tank is. These creatures are known to be extremely territorial.

As adults, Giant Day Geckos should never be kept together even in pairs. Males will immediately attempt to kill each other and they will even kill the hatchlings that are from another male. Even males and females can not be housed together besides when they are mating.

Once the mating process is done they should be separated and moved back to their own cages. This makes them great for people that only want to get a Gecko and don’t want to bother with multiple lizards.

But you should keep in mind that is capable of climbing vertical areas and even ceilings. This will make them a bit harder to keep in the tank. Don’t get one if you have small children or anyone that could be attacked by a free-roaming lizard.


The breeding session of Giant Day Geckos is between December and June. During this time the female is capable of laying multiple pairs of eggs. You can expect hatchlings to come out anywhere between 48 and 80 days after the female lays eggs, depending on the temperature.

Both males and females need to be kept separate until they are ready to mate. You will be capable of telling when they are ready as soon as they start showing breeding behavior. This includes vocalizing, the shaking of the tail, the shaking of the body, etc.

You should keep a close eye on the mating process as the female might not always be ready when the male is. If the female doesn’t accept the male she will start getting very stressed and anxious. This will become very obvious when the female keeps running from the male and then turns a darker green.

What do Giant Day Geckos eat?

Giant Day Geckos eat insects and other invertebrates, and sometimes even small vertebrates. More than that, they also love to lick soft, sweet fruits, nectar, and pollen. Both in captivity or in their natural habitat these lizards are known to eat their own young. This is why it’s very important to separate the hatchlings from the parent.

In captivity, you can feed these Geckos roaches, silkworms, wax worms, and butter worms. You can also feed them various tropical fruits, including mango, papaya, and even fruit baby food. If your vet suggests using a vitamin D3 supplement, you’ll need to gut load the insects 24 hours before feeding.

You can take the insects and put them in a zip bag along with a recommended vitamin D3 supplement powder every other meal. Give them a good shake right before feeding them to your Gecko.

How much do they eat?

Giant Day Geckos are surprisingly not eating as much as other big Geckos. Generally, they eat between 3 to 5 insects, depending on their size. The insects should always be smaller than the space between the Gecko’s eyes. This will ensure that the Gecko will have an easy time eating the invertebrates.

Hatchlings are the hardest to feed as you will need very small insects and worms. You will need to feed them daily and with lots of caution. You can get the needed diet from a local exotic pet store. Don’t ever attempt to catch your own insects as they can carry various diseases.

Breeding females and juveniles will also have to be fed between 3 and 6 insects per meal. And remember to dust the insects and the fruit with a multivitamin powder from time to time. If your Giant Day Gecko refuses to eat you should take it immediately to the vet. A healthy Gecko will always be eager to eat.

How often do you feed a Giant Day Gecko?

Typically, you can expect to feed your Giant Day Geckos between 3 to 5 insects twice a week. And you can make a mix between fruit baby food and a commercial nectar substitute once a week. This is pretty much all they need to maintain a healthy life.

You should keep in mind that this diet should only be used on adult female and male Geckos. If you have a few juveniles you will have to increase the feeding times. You might even end up feeding them between 5 to 7 times a week.

When it comes to breeding females you should also increase the feeding as they will need all the nutrition they can get. They might also need to be fed up to 7 times a week. And it’s very important to feed any of your Giant Day Geckos in the morning as they are more active during this period.

How do Giant Day Geckos drink?

Humidity is very important for those Geckos, which means you will have to mist the tank quite often. This is also why you need to put as many plants as possible inside the vivarium. Geckos aren’t known to just drink a bowl of water. They typically get hydrated with the help of the water drops on the plants.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t provide a continuous water source. This can be a shallow water dish that is big enough for the Gecko to sit in but not tall enough to create a problem when they want to get out. Some Geckos love to soak in water from time to time.

You should always remember to change the water daily and to always provide fresh and filtered water. They might prefer to drink from the droplets they find on leaves but it’s always ideal to have an assured water source.

Caring for a Giant Day Gecko

Giant Day Geckos can live anywhere between 8 and 20 years. This means you need to get ready for a long-time commitment. These beautiful Geckos are diurnal which should make taking care a bit easier. However, Day Geckos are some of the most difficult to care for Geckos. With the Giant Day Gecko being the easiest to look after among them.

While they usually move very slowly, they are incredibly fast creatures. One second they are in your hand the other they are on the wall and they are almost impossible to catch again. This is why they should only be kept by professionals.

These animals look fascinating in a vivarium and they can add a lot of color and activity to your planted terrarium.

Type of enclosure/cage needed

The enclosure of your Day Gecko depends on whether it has a pair or not. As mentioned before, Giant Day Geckos can fight and might attempt to kill each other regardless if they are a pair or not. And since finding a compatible pair can be hard, most keepers keep them separated.

If you only have a single Gecko a 15 to 20-gallon tank should be enough. But if you are lucky enough to find a pair, you should keep in mind that they pair for life and will never fight. This means you will need a bigger cage to comfortably house them together.

An enclosure that measures 24in tall x 24in long x 12in wide should be more than enough for a happy pair. But whatever you do is important to keep in mind that males should never be kept together.

It’s also important to know that Giant Day Geckos thrive in terrariums that are well planted and naturalistic. And since they are arboreal the cage should be oriented vertically.

Substrate required in a Gecko’s tank

You have lots of options when it comes to finding an appropriate substrate for your Giant Day Gecko’s vivarium. If you want the easiest substrate to clean on the market, you can opt for a reptile carpet. They are pretty affordable, long-lasting, and are extremely easy to spot-clean daily.

But since it’s always recommended to op for a more naturalistic enclosure, you might want to opt for a substrate that helps maintain a humid environment. This includes peat moss, organic potting soil that doesn’t contain any vermiculite, or you can go with the most popular choice, which is the orchid bark.


Should always keep in mind that the exact temperature requirements vary from species to species. But daytime temperature should be anywhere between 80 to 85F on the high end. And on the low end opt for somewhere between 72 and 77F.

As you know cold-blooded creatures need help to regulate their body temperature. The best tool that can help them is a thermal gradient, which allows them to move around different areas to control body temperature.

When it comes to the basking spot, you can use a light bulb as your primary heat source and make sure it provides 90F. You can invest in your reptile cage thermometer to always know the temperature in the cage.

And if the cage needs more heat during the night you can use a ceramic heat emitter or under tank heating pad. It’s not uncommon to use various heat sources to reach the ideal day and night temperatures. And to avoid any barns, ensure that the heat source is not too close or indirect contact with the animal.

Humidity levels

Giant Day Geckos need relatively high humidity to remain healthy. Low humidity levels can create various health issues, including skin problems. If your Gecko doesn’t have the needed humidity it will have a very hard time shedding its skin.

You need to ensure that the humidity levels remain between 60% and 80%. Humidity levels that extremely high can also cause problems, so make sure your Gecko gets the proper humidity. To ensure this you can use a hydrometer.

Regular misting of the tank and a substrate that maintains humidity is a great way to make sure the humidity level doesn’t decrease too much. If you don’t have the time to mist the tank regularly you can easily invest in an automatic mister or fogger that can add humidity at specific times.

How much light does it need?

Giant Day Geckos are active during the day which means they absolutely need exposure to ultraviolet light. You should always fluorescent, full-spectrum UVB-emitting bulbs. You should be able to find them in any exotic pet store if you want to check them out personally.

It’s also important to always change the bulbs every 6 months. You might be compelled to let them on if the light doesn’t burn out, but the invisible UVB rays stop emitting after 6 months. This means they become useless in your Gecko’s tank.

Keeping Giant Day Geckos as Pets

Giant Day Geckos are a big commitment and hard to take care of. This is why instead of living anywhere near 20 years in captivity they barely make it to 6 or 8 years. They are high-maintenance creatures and are not a good choice for beginner reptile keepers.

You should also think about getting an other pet if you are looking for a Gecko that likes to be held. These creatures are fighting, very quick, and hate being handled. They can be tamed but they will never act as other Geckos that love interacting with you.

You should only get one if you want to bring color and activity to your terrarium.

Health of Giant Day Geckos

Another reason why these Geckos are not the best for beginners is that they are prone to a few health issues. However, those are treatable by an exotics veterinarian, especially if caught early.

These reptiles also need to shed and if they deal with unsanitary conditions, parasites, or improper humidity they can end up with partial sheds. Parasitic infections can also cause vomiting, bloody stools, skin disorders, weight loss, etc. This can be treated with antiparasitic medication.

These lizards might also suffer from metabolic bone disease. This is a potentially fatal illness that is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D. The good news is that can be treatable if caught early.

Are Giant Day Geckos good pets?

Giant Day Geckos are definitely not the best pets around, especially compared to other docile and handle-friendly Geckos. They are very fragile, difficult to take care of, and hate being handled.

However, they make some of the most amazing creatures you can have in a terrarium for observation. They move very fast and generally quite interesting.

How much do Giant Day Geckos cost?

You should always get your Gecko from a reputable reptile breeder as captive-bred lizards are less likely to have any diseases. They are also much easier to tame. You can end up paying up anywhere between $50 and $250.

Babies are the most affordable as they have a high mortality rate. However, as they get older, especially when they reach adulthood they start getting more and more expensive. And if you are looking for a rarer creature you can opt for a morph but you should keep in mind they are a lot more expensive.