Tokay Gecko vs Blue-Tailed Gecko As Pets: A Detailed Analysis


Reptile ownership can be an exciting endeavor. But with a wide variety of species to choose from, it can be a daunting task to decide on the perfect pet. Two species that often make the list of prospective reptile owners are the Tokay Gecko and the Blue-Tailed Gecko. Each species boasts its own set of unique traits, behaviors, and care requirements that make them a distinctive choice as a pet.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of Tokay Geckos and Blue-Tailed Geckos as pets, to help you determine which of these fascinating creatures could be the right fit for your home. From their physical characteristics, behavior, dietary needs, to their health and longevity, we’ll delve deep into the world of these intriguing reptiles.

Understanding Geckos: An Overview

About Tokay Geckos

Originating from the rainforests of Southeast Asia, the Tokay Gecko is one of the most iconic species of the gecko family. They are known for their vibrant colors, vocal nature, and notable size. The Tokay Gecko’s name comes from its unique vocalization, which sounds like “To-kay! To-kay!” These geckos are nocturnal creatures and are predominantly active during the night.

About Blue-Tailed Geckos

The Blue-Tailed Gecko, also known as the Western Banded Gecko, is a native of the arid regions of the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. This species is well recognized for its light-brown or sandy-colored body with transverse dark bands and a contrasting blue tail, particularly in juveniles. Unlike the Tokay Geckos, Blue-Tailed Geckos are more docile and have a less aggressive temperament. These small reptiles are also nocturnal and tend to be most active at dusk and dawn.

Physical Characteristics

Tokay Gecko

Tokay Geckos are one of the larger species in the gecko family, with adults often reaching lengths of 10-15 inches, including the tail. Their robust bodies are covered in vibrant hues of blues and grays, with bright red or orange spots, making them visually striking. They have large heads, powerful jaws, and muscular legs equipped with specialized toes for expert climbing. Their eyes are large, lidless, and possess a vertical pupil – a characteristic feature of nocturnal geckos.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Blue-Tailed Geckos, in contrast, are significantly smaller, typically reaching a length of 4-6 inches when fully grown. Their dorsal surface is light brown or sandy with dark transverse bands, providing excellent camouflage in their desert environment. The most distinctive feature, as their name suggests, is their bright blue tail. This feature is most vibrant in juveniles and gradually fades as they mature. They have small heads, slender bodies, and tails, with thin legs. Their eyes also have vertical pupils, and they lack eyelids, like most geckos.

Behavior and Temperament

Tokay Gecko

Known for their bold and aggressive demeanor, Tokay Geckos are a lively addition to any reptile collection. As they are territorial and solitary by nature, they do not take well to cohabitation with other geckos. When threatened or stressed, Tokay Geckos are known to bite and have a strong grip, making them a challenging species to handle, especially for novice reptile owners. Despite their nocturnal nature, Tokay Geckos are quite vocal, often calling out at night with their distinct “To-kay” sound.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Blue-Tailed Geckos are, in stark contrast to the Tokay, relatively calm and docile. They are typically less aggressive and more prone to hide or flee rather than confront when threatened. These geckos also do not appreciate being handled, but their reaction will more likely be to scamper away rather than bite. Despite their shy demeanor, Blue-Tailed Geckos are known for their intriguing behaviors, such as tail waving and shaking when they feel threatened or during their hunting sessions. They are also predominantly nocturnal, being most active around dusk and dawn.

Dietary Needs

Tokay Gecko

Tokay Geckos are insectivorous, thriving on a diet primarily composed of invertebrates. They enjoy a variety of insects, including crickets, roaches, and mealworms. Larger Tokay Geckos may also eat small mice. As with all reptiles, a balance is necessary, and their diet should be supplemented with vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, for healthy bone growth.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Blue-Tailed Geckos are also insectivores, but due to their smaller size, their diet consists of smaller invertebrates. They typically feed on small crickets, fruit flies, and mealworms. Just like the Tokay Geckos, they require dietary supplements to ensure they receive a balanced diet. It’s important to dust their food with a calcium and vitamin D3 supplement to promote proper growth and prevent health issues such as metabolic bone disease.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Habitat and Environment Requirements

Tokay Gecko

Tokay Geckos, being native to rainforests, require a warm and humid environment. Ideal temperatures for these geckos range between 80-90°F during the day, with a slight drop to around 70-80°F at night. The humidity levels should be kept between 60-80%. A variety of climbing structures, such as branches, vines, and cork bark, should be provided in their enclosure for climbing and hiding. Their tank size should be a minimum of 20 gallons for one adult, but bigger is always better to cater to their active nature.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

On the other hand, Blue-Tailed Geckos are desert dwellers and thus require a more arid environment. Their enclosure’s temperature should range from 75-85°F during the day and can drop to around 65-75°F at night. Unlike Tokay Geckos, Blue-Tailed Geckos thrive in lower humidity levels, usually between 20-40%. Their enclosure should contain places to hide, such as under rocks or wood, as they are ground dwellers and not climbers. A 10-gallon tank is usually sufficient for one adult Blue-Tailed Gecko, but a larger enclosure provides more room for exploration.

Health and Longevity

Tokay Gecko

Tokay Geckos are relatively hardy reptiles with few health problems if properly cared for. Common issues to look out for include metabolic bone disease due to calcium deficiency, respiratory infections from incorrect humidity levels, and parasitic infections. A well-kept Tokay Gecko has an impressive lifespan, living up to 10-15 years, sometimes even longer in captivity.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Blue-Tailed Geckos are also sturdy reptiles with relatively few health concerns when given proper care. They are prone to similar health issues as Tokay Geckos, including metabolic bone disease, respiratory infections, and parasitic infestations. The life expectancy of a well-cared-for Blue-Tailed Gecko ranges between 6-10 years in captivity.

For both species, regular veterinary check-ups and prompt attention to any noticeable changes in behavior, appetite, or appearance will help ensure a long and healthy life.

Handling and Interaction

Tokay Gecko

Due to their aggressive nature and strong bite, Tokay Geckos are not typically recommended for frequent handling. They may tolerate interaction once they become accustomed to their owner’s presence, but they will always require careful handling to avoid stress or potential bites.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Blue-Tailed Geckos are shy and not very keen on handling. While they don’t typically bite like Tokay Geckos, frequent handling can stress them out. Their skin is also quite delicate, and rough handling could lead to injuries. Like with Tokay Geckos, patience and gradual interaction are key to developing a bond with these timid creatures.

Breeding Potential

Tokay Gecko

Tokay Geckos have a strong breeding potential in captivity. However, because they are solitary and territorial animals, breeding them requires care. If considering breeding, it’s crucial to pair a healthy male and female of similar sizes to prevent aggressive behaviors. Females can lay one or two eggs about once a month, which they often hide in the enclosure. The eggs need a warm, humid environment to incubate successfully.

Blue-Tailed Gecko

Blue-Tailed Geckos can also be bred in captivity, but their process is a bit more complex. They are not as aggressive or territorial as the Tokay Geckos, but introducing the male and female should still be done cautiously. After mating, the female will lay a small clutch of eggs, typically two at a time. The eggs must be removed and placed in an incubation medium for successful hatching. Unlike the Tokay Gecko, the Blue-Tailed Gecko’s sex is temperature-dependent during incubation, with higher temperatures producing more females.

Pros and Cons of Owning Each Species

Tokay Gecko


Vibrant Appearance: The striking colors of Tokay Geckos make them aesthetically appealing pets.

Long Lifespan: With proper care, these geckos can live for up to 15 years, making them long-term companions.

Hardy Nature: Tokay Geckos are relatively hardy, with fewer health issues if provided with the right care and environment.


Aggressive Behavior: Their aggressive nature makes them less suitable for beginners or families with young children.

Handling: They aren’t ideal for frequent handling due to their strong bite.

Specific Habitat Requirements: Maintaining a humid environment similar to their natural rainforest habitat can be a bit challenging.

Blue-Tailed Gecko


Calm Temperament: Blue-Tailed Geckos are generally calm and less aggressive, making them more manageable for beginners.

Unique Behaviors: Their interesting behaviors, like tail waving, can be intriguing to observe.

Easy Habitat Requirements: Being desert-dwelling, they don’t require as much humidity control, making their habitat relatively easier to manage.


Shorter Lifespan: They usually live for 6-10 years, which is comparatively shorter than the Tokay Gecko.

Delicate Nature: Their skin is quite delicate, which means they need to be handled very gently.

Smaller Size: Their smaller size might make them less appealing to owners looking for a larger, more noticeable pet.

Choosing the Right Gecko for You: Comparative Analysis

In choosing between a Tokay Gecko and a Blue-Tailed Gecko, there are several factors to consider:

Size and Appearance: If you prefer larger and more colorful reptiles, Tokay Geckos with their striking coloration and larger size might be more appealing. On the other hand, if you appreciate subtler aesthetics and smaller animals, the Blue-Tailed Gecko, with its unique blue tail and smaller size, could be a good choice.

Temperament and Handling: Blue-Tailed Geckos are generally more docile and less likely to bite than Tokay Geckos. However, both species are not ideal for frequent handling.

Habitat Requirements: If you live in a naturally humid environment or are ready to provide the necessary humidity, a Tokay Gecko might be right for you. In contrast, if you reside in a drier climate, a Blue-Tailed Gecko, which requires lower humidity, could be a more suitable choice.

Dietary Needs: Both species are insectivores, but keep in mind that the larger Tokay Gecko will require larger prey items.

Lifespan: Tokay Geckos generally have a longer lifespan than Blue-Tailed Geckos. So, if you’re looking for a long-term pet, a Tokay Gecko might be preferable.

Breeding: Both species can breed in captivity, but remember that the process requires careful management.


Both the Tokay Gecko and the Blue-Tailed Gecko make fascinating pets, each with its own set of unique traits and care requirements. Whether you prefer the bold and vibrant Tokay or the subtle and calm Blue-Tailed Gecko, it’s important to remember that keeping a reptile is a long-term commitment. Adequate care, patience, and understanding of your chosen pet’s needs will make the journey a rewarding experience.


Do Tokay Geckos and Blue-Tailed Geckos get along with each other?

No, it is not recommended to house different gecko species together due to differences in habitat needs and potential for aggression or stress.

Can Tokay Geckos and Blue-Tailed Geckos be handled regularly?

Tokay Geckos are known for their aggressive nature and strong bite, so they aren’t suitable for frequent handling. Blue-Tailed Geckos are less aggressive, but they also prefer not to be handled often. Their skin is delicate, and frequent handling could lead to injuries.

What do Tokay Geckos and Blue-Tailed Geckos eat?

Both gecko species are insectivores. Tokay Geckos, due to their larger size, can eat larger insects and even small mice. Blue-Tailed Geckos, being smaller, typically feed on smaller invertebrates.

How long do Tokay Geckos and Blue-Tailed Geckos live?

With proper care, Tokay Geckos can live up to 10-15 years, while Blue-Tailed Geckos have a slightly shorter lifespan, usually ranging from 6-10 years.

Are Tokay Geckos and Blue-Tailed Geckos suitable for beginner reptile keepers?

While both species are quite hardy, the aggressive nature and specific habitat requirements of the Tokay Gecko make it more suited to experienced keepers. The Blue-Tailed Gecko, with its docile nature and easier habitat requirements, is generally more manageable for beginners.