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Originating from the deserts of Asia, the frog-eyed gecko is different from many of the other species of geckos that are kept as pets. They have unusual scales and unique coloring. They also have, as the name suggests, eyes that look like those of a frog. Unfortunately, for all of the breed’s unique looks, this is one type of gecko that does not tend to do well when handled. It is best admired from afar, or at least from the other side of the terrarium wall.
Read on to see whether the frog-eyed gecko is a good choice of pet for you and, if it is, what you need to ensure it has a long and healthy life.
Quick Facts about Frog-Eyed Geckos
|Species Name||Teratoscincus scincus|
|Color Form||Yellow or tan with a white belly|
|Minimum Tank Size||3’ x 2’ x 2’|
|Tank Set-Up||Tank, heat lamp, thermostat, basking lamp, heat mat, bowl|
|Compatibility||Breeding pair or trio can be kept together|
Frog-Eyed Gecko Overview
The frog-eyed gecko comes from the deserts of Central Asia. It has larger eyes than most other types of geckos, hence its common name. It also has scales on its body, which is another unique feature of this genus. These scales are one of the features that mean the frog-eyed gecko should not be regularly handled unless necessary. The scales help the gecko absorb moisture and also aid in digging and burrowing in the sand, but they break easily and can tear away.
The frog-eyed gecko can make a hissing noise by swishing its tail from side to side. This is usually done during courtship, but the gecko may also make this noise in defense, when startled, or when claiming or defending territory.
The breed does burrow, which you need to take into account when providing a home for the gecko, and because it should not be handled, this means that you will have to find ways in which to clean out the terrarium without picking up and handling your little lizard pet.
The frog-eyed gecko is a unique breed of gecko. It is beautiful to look at, but it shouldn’t be handled and it does have quite extensive heating and terrarium requirements, which means it may not be considered suitable for true novices and first-time owners.
How Much Do Frog-Eyed Geckos Cost?
Although geckos are generally quite popular pets, the frog-eyed is a rare example of the species of lizard, which means that it is rare to even see them in pet shops. You can get them from specialist shops and breeders, however, and should expect to pay at least $50 for them, although they will usually cost $100. Some shops struggle to sell them because the frog-eyed is not supposed to be handled, so you may be able to get one cheaper.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
The breed is interesting and it has some highly unique features. It is a fast lizard, and it enjoys charging around its home, so you should ensure that you provide it with ample space in which to do this.
Appearance & Varieties
There are several distinct features to this type of gecko.
This desert species is the only gecko that has scales. Similar to those of a fish, the gecko’s scales are very fragile. They are easy to damage and tear off, which is why the frog-eyed gecko should not be handled unless absolutely necessary. The lizard uses the scales to absorb moisture from the environment around it, which is especially important in the semi-arid and arid desert environment that they live in. The scales also produce a hissing sound when the gecko moves its tail from side to side. It does this when threatened, in defense, and during courtship. As well as coming off following physical contact, a frog-eyed gecko’s scales can also fall off if the gecko gets stressed.
The wonder gecko gets its common name, the frog-eyed gecko, because its eyes are big like those of a frog. The color of the eyes varies according to the exact type of frog-eyed gecko you have.
Because this species should not be handled, it is not considered a popular pet gecko. As such, while there are a few morphs, the range of colors is nowhere near as diverse as with other breeds or species of gecko. Generally speaking, the frog-eyed gecko has yellow or brown limbs with darker spots or stripes. Eye color can vary but is usually green or dark blue. The gecko has a white belly, and the sides will usually fall somewhere between the brilliant belly of the white and the darker color of the top.
How to Take Care of Frog-Eyed Geckos
The frog-eyed gecko is one of a number of gecko species. While other geckos have proven popular pets, the frog-eyed is less popular because it cannot be handled regularly or for too long. However, its scales and large eyes mean that it is a unique lizard that still has plenty to offer potential owners. If you intend to keep one as a pet, you will need the following setup.
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
The frog-eyed gecko does need quite a lot of room, despite being a smaller gecko. This is because it is quite quick and enjoys darting around its home. The minimum size advised for a frog-eyed gecko tank is 3’ x 2’ x 2’. The tank should have sliding doors that are easily accessible and the tank needs large vents. A wooden terrarium is often preferred because it maintains heat better than a glass tank, which will cost more to heat and be more difficult to keep at the desired temperature.
Substrate and Decorations
Choose a substrate that won’t increase the humidity inside, but also that will not increase the likelihood of impaction. Impaction is caused when a lizard consumes the substrate, as well as its food, and then the substrate hardens inside the stomach. Wood bark and wood chips can negate impaction and prevent humidity levels from rising. It is also easy to clean and mostly dust-free while being readily available at pet stores and online.
The frog-eyed gecko does not strictly require a VB light source because it is not a basking species. However, if you do want to provide one, ensure that it is around 5% and only covers a small section of the enclosure. You should also ensure that there are hiding spots that have no lighting whatsoever. The frog-eyed gecko can be a little timid, especially when young, and it will appreciate these hides.
Graduated heating should range from 70° F on the cool side to 90° F on the hot side. Graduated temperatures enable your gecko to get in and out of the heat as required. Because the gecko requires dark at night, but still wants some heat, you will need to combine heat lamps with a heat map to get the desired temperature throughout the day and night. Use a thermostat to ensure that the heat mat turns off during the day when the tank is being warmed by the heat lamps.
Do Frog-Eyed Geckos Get Along with Other Pets?
Male frog-eyed geckos are territorial and should not be kept together. However, a breeding pair or even a trio can be kept together safely and without any problems. The species should not be kept with any other type of lizard or any other pet and may become stressed if you try to keep them with other animals.
What to Feed Your Frog-Eyed Gecko
These opportunistic feeders will eat and eat if you let them, so don’t. Feed approximately every other day, and feed a choice of brown or black crickets, roaches, and mealworms. Dust the feeder insects with a D3 and calcium supplement to ensure that your little one is getting enough of these essential nutrients. Monitor your gecko and ensure that it is not getting too fat and is not underweight.
You should also provide a water bowl and ensure that the water is fresh. Replace it every few days if it gets dirty.
Keeping Your Frog-Eyed Gecko Healthy
One of the most important things to bear in mind when keeping a frog-eyed gecko as a pet is that it should not be handled unless absolutely necessary. Handling this type of gecko can cause stress. It can cause the gecko’s scales to physically fall off, but stress itself can also cause the scales to come away. This type of gecko is also especially prone to dropping its tail, and this too can be caused by stress as well as physical causes.
Always ensure that the gecko’s tank is maintained at the appropriate temperature and a decent humidity level and that the substrate does not cause a danger of impacting in the gecko’s gut.
Watch for signs that your lizard is putting on too much weight, or that it is losing weight, and change its diet as necessary. It can be difficult to weigh the frog-eyed gecko because you are not supposed to handle it.
If you keep a male and female gecko together, they may breed. If you keep them healthy and ensure that they have the best conditions, this will happen naturally and you don’t need to force anything.
These geckos, which have a life expectancy of approximately 10 years, will become sexually active at the age of 18 months.
A gravid female needs a nesting box that is large enough so that she can turn around in it.
Eggs should be incubated at 84° F and they will hatch after around 2 months. Once one egg hatches, the rest should crack soon after.
Are Frog-Eyed Geckos Suitable For You?
The frog-eyed gecko is unique even in the world of geckos. It has very large eyes, similar to those of a frog, hence its common name. Also called the wonder gecko, this breed also has scales that are very fragile and that prevent regular or any handling because they can easily fall off.
The species is also prone to tail dropping, and this combination makes the strikingly unique-looking frog-eyed gecko less popular as a pet species. However, if you want something attractive to look at and do not want to worry about having to regularly handle and socialize the animal, the frog-eyed gecko makes a good choice of lizard pet.
Featured Image Credit: reptiles4all, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.
- Quick Facts about Frog-Eyed Geckos
- Frog-Eyed Gecko Overview
- How Much Do Frog-Eyed Geckos Cost?
- Typical Behavior & Temperament
- Appearance & Varieties
- How to Take Care of Frog-Eyed Geckos
- Do Frog-Eyed Geckos Get Along with Other Pets?
- What to Feed Your Frog-Eyed Gecko
- Keeping Your Frog-Eyed Gecko Healthy
- Are Frog-Eyed Geckos Suitable For You?