Gold-Dust Day Geckos

a close up of a Gold-Dust Day Gecko climbing red leaves

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are native to Northern Madagascar, and are one of the smallest reptiles available. They are very tiny, only growing 4 to 6 inches long (including their tail!). They are very fast moving, and can move through tight spaces. They are very agile, and can climb glass walls without much trouble.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are very territorial, especially with other males. They are very curious creatures, and will investigate everything in sight. They will spend most of their day climbing and hunting above the bottom of their enclosure. They even like to have elevated hiding places where they can sleep at night.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are very small, and don’t take up much space in a home. They don’t like being held by people, and have been known to bite people holding them. Because of their aversion to being held, and tendency to bite they don’t make the best pets for children. They are very active during the day, and can be a lot of fun for children to watch.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are very easy to take care of, and need little maintenance. They are very quiet and calm while in their enclosure, and are usually very quiet. They are omnivorous, eating both insects and plants. They are not picky eaters, and will eat just about any fruit, vegetable or insect you give them.

If you choose to purchase a gold-dust day gecko, you should expect to pay $60 to $85 per lizard.

Gold-Dust Day Gecko Information

  • Average Length: 4 to 6 inches
  • Average Weight: 2.3 ounces
  • Skin Appearance: Multi-color with striped or diffused pattern
  • Skin Colors: Red and orange; orange and yellow; and black
  • Grooming Needs: Low Need
  • Shedding: Once every few months
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Biting Tendency: No
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No tolerance to cold
  • Good Pet: They allow people to hand them, so yes! 
  • Safe with Children: Yes
  • Good with Other Pets: No
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Pet Owners: No
  • Weight Gain: Normal
  • Health Concerns: Parasitic Infections, Metabolic Bone Disease and Skin problems.
  • Allergies: None
  • Average Life Span: 10 years

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are found in the forest areas of Mauritius and Madagascar. More recently they were illegally introduced to Hawaii by a University of Hawaii student in 1974.

Physical Appearance of Gold-Dust Day Geckos

a close up of a Gold-Dust Day Gecko climbing down a plant

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are small lizards that can grow up to 6 inches long. They have a plump body with a large head. Their legs are muscular with small sticky toe pads that help them climb.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos don’t have eyelids but have something called a spectacle covering their eyes. They lick the spectacle covering their eyes to keep them clean.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos have a bright green body with golden spots on their neck, back and legs. They get their name because of these golden spots. They have bright red markings between their eyes, snout and back. Young hatchlings don’t have the bright red markings.

The skin area above their eyes is blue. Some Gold-Dust Day Geckos may have patches of blue on their head and face. Their underside is an off-white.

Temperament of Gold-Dust Day Geckos

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are active during the day and sleep at night. They like to climb on branches and their sticky toe pads help them climb well.

They are very territorial and should not be kept in groups. Males are particularly aggressive and keeping several males together can lead to fights.

A male and female pair or a group of females can be kept together, but they’ll need to be housed in a large enclosure. A large enclosure will make sure that all Geckos in the enclosure have enough room for themselves.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are sensitive and it’s easy to stress them. They don’t like being handled and should only be kept mainly for looking at.

While not common they can bite you if they feel stressed. Their bites can be a little painful.

Their Compatibility with Children

a close up of a Gold-Dust Day Gecko licking a plant that they're holding on to

These Geckos don’t like being handled, and children should not be allowed to handle them. If your children want a pet they can handle, then Gold-Dust Day Gecko isn’t for you.

Living Space for Gold-Dust Day Geckos

A glass or plastic enclosure is recommended for them. Their enclosure should be well-ventilated and secured with a lid.

Enclosure/Cage Size

The minimum recommended enclosure size for a single Gold-Dust Day Gecko is 12”Lx12”Wx18”T. Because Gold-Dust Day Geckos like to climb, the height of their cage is more important than the width.

If you plan to keep a pair then you’ll want an enclosure that’s at least 18”Lx18”Wx24”T.

Decorations

Decorations will make their enclosure look natural by adding branches, bamboo stalks and hide boxes. Hollow bamboo pieces can be used as hiding spots if they’re large enough.

Natural plants should be added to create climbing surfaces. Plants will help keep the enclosure humid. Snake plants or Pothos are good plant options.

Substrate

a close up of a Gold-Dust Day Gecko walking on a green leaf

You’ll want to use a substrate that’s good at holding moisture. We recommend using orchid bark, peat moss or cypress mulch. These substrates are good at holding moisture.

Best Climate for Gold-Dust Day Geckos

Maintaining the right climate conditions inside your Gold-Dust Day Gecko’s enclosure is very important. These lizards tend to get skin problems if their climate isn’t in the recommended range.

Your Gold-Dust Day Geckos will need separate warm and hot areas inside their enclosure. They need a temperature gradient to regulate their body heat. Adding a heat source on one end of their enclosure will help create separate warm and hot areas. Strip lighting and basking bulbs can be used as heat sources. An under-tank reptile heat mat can be added if you don’t have space for lights to heat the enclosure.

Temperature

The temperature in the warm area should be between 72°F and 77°F and the basking area should be around 90°F.  

Humidity

The humidity should be between 60 to 80 percent. Adding lots of natural plants, using a moisture retaining substrate and regular misting should help keep their enclosure humid.

The enclosure should be misted using a spray bottle. Only moisten the substrate and don’t soak it. An automatic mister is a great option for people that want to make sure the enclosure stays humid. 

a Gold-Dust Day Gecko licking dragon fruit

Lighting

While most Geckos are nocturnal and don’t need additional light, Gold-Dust Day Geckos are active during the day. Their enclosure should have standard reptile lighting. 

Geckos need UVA and UVB light bulbs. These should be kept on for 12 hours a day. Lack of exposure to UVA and UVB light can cause your Gold-Dust Day Geckos skin color to dull, or worse it can lead to Metabolic Bone Deficiency. 

Water Source 

Gold-Dust Day Geckos usually stay hydrated by drinking water droplets from tank decorations and plant leaves. Their enclosure should still have a water bowl to let them soak. 

The Attention a Gold-Dust Day Gecko Needs

Two thermometers should be kept in their enclosure, one on the warm and the other on the hot side. Check the temperatures regularly to make sure they are within the recommended range.

Use a hydrometer to check humidity levels regularly. Keeping the humidity within the recommended range is critical because low humidity can cause skin problems in your Gold-Dust Day Geckos.

Gold-Dust Day Geckos have specific climate needs, have delicate skin and don’t like being handled. They need expert care and are not recommended for first-time reptile owners.

If you want a Gecko that can be handled, then consider a Crested Gecko or Leopard Gecko.

Health Issues

Parasitic Infections

Intestinal Parasites like roundworms, hookworms or pinworms can cause serious health issues in reptiles. In mild cases, the disease may not show symptoms but in severe cases it can result in:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Behavioral issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Loose Stool
  • Throwing up food

Captive lizards generally contract parasitic infections from other infected reptiles, contaminated food or objects. Regular cleanings to their enclosure can reduce the chances your reptile will be infected from parasites in their environment. Take your pet to your vet if they have the above symptoms.

Parasitic infections have the potential to destroy the digestive tracts of your turtles and must be treated as soon as signs are noticed.

Mites

Mites are tiny black insects that are parasites. They feed off the blood of your reptile, and they can be quite the pain in the butt to get rid of once you have them. Most times they will be caught and sold already having mites, or they’ll get them from another pet.

Symptoms of mites on your reptile:

  • Long soaks in their water
  • Rubbing on objects in their enclosure
  • Tiny black specs on your reptile or objects in their enclosure
  • Tiny black specs on you from handling your reptile

We recommend contacting your vet to find out what treatment they recommend for killing mites. Keep in mind that mites don’t tend to stay in one place, and any other snakes or reptiles kept in the same room could be infested with mites as well. Distance between pets is key, just as washing up between handling pets is key to not spreading mites from pet to pet.

Ticks

Ticks are blood sucking parasites that are just as bad for your lizard as they are for people. They can pass on quite a number of terrible diseases to your reptile. Depending on what the ticks carry, or if left untreated, they can cause your reptile to die.

Symptoms of ticks on reptiles:

  • Rubbing on objects in their enclosure
  • Long soaks
  • Weight loss
  • Red spots or deformities on their skin

Usually with the above symptoms, especially red spots on their skin people will be suspicious of either ticks or mites. Ticks are a lot easier to see than mites are and with a close inspection of your reptile you should be able to spot them pretty easily.

The treatment is fairly straightforward and can be done at home, or you can have your vet do it. Once you find a tick attached to your lizard, rub it with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, then use tweezers to pull the tick off. Using alcohol first should help the tick release their grip and make them easier to pull off. If you are at all worried about diseases your reptile might have gotten from the ticks you can have your vet take a look and they may prescribe medication based on what they find.

Metabolic Bone Diseases

Metabolic Bone Disease is the most common disease found in pet reptiles. The disease is caused by your reptile not having enough vitamin D to properly absorb calcium. Being exposed to UV lighting helps them create vitamin D that they can use to absorb calcium.

 Symptoms include:

  • Lower jaw swelling 
  • Limb swelling
  • Facial bone softening
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy

An X-ray can help identify the extent of the disease. Sometimes MBD can lead to fractures, thin bone tissue or thickened bone shafts. The disease is more common in reptiles less than 2 years old.

If left untreated the disease can also lead to death. Consult your vet immediately if you find any of the above mentioned symptoms in your reptile.

Treatments can range from injecting your reptile with mineral supplements to medication and dietary modifications. To keep your reptiles from having MBD, they should be fed a diet rich in calcium (or calcium supplements) and have daily exposure to UV lighting.

Dysecdysis

Dysecdysis is the fancy name for when your lizard isn’t shedding their skin correctly. This happens a lot with types of Geckos, but it can happen to any lizard. Usually Dysecdysis happens when a lizard’s enclosure is too dry.

Symptoms of dysecdysis are:

  • Dull patches of skin that never fall off
  • Difficulty walking or climbing if extra skin is around their toes
  • Difficulty catching food, or lack of appetite

If dysecdysis is noticed fairly early it might be easy to correct the problem at home. Some soaks in a tub of warm water should help loosen up skin that doesn’t want to shed. If you suspect that their skin could be constricting body parts like their feet or tail you’ll want to bring them into your vet right away. If left untreated for too long it’s possible that the blood can get cut off, and parts of their body could die.

Normally all that needs to be done to prevent this is make sure that the humidity is within the range it should be for your pet. Make sure you have at least one hygrometer in their enclosure to be able to measure the humidity, and make adjustments as necessary.

Grooming and Care

Their substrate should be spot cleaned daily and completely replaced once a month. The substrate will need a deep cleaning every 3 to 4 months.

Feeding A Gold-Dust Day Gecko

mealworms are great food for Gold-Dust Day Geckos

Gold-Dust Day Geckos are omnivores and can be fed insects, fruits and vegetables.

We recommended feeding them insects like waxworms, silkworms, small crickets and a variety of roaches. Feeding them a variety is important to make sure they get all the vitamins that they need.

The size of the feeder insects should be smaller than your Geckos head.

Gut load the insects before feeding them to your Gold-Dust Day Geckos. Gut-loading involves feeding nutritious food to insects. When they eat the insects the nutrition passes on to your Geckos.

Add calcium and multivitamin supplements to your Gecko’s diet regularly.

These Geckos can be fed fruit baby foods when they’re not eating insects. 70% of their diet should be insects and the rest should be fruit and commercial food.

Young Gold-Dust Day Geckos should be fed small crickets or fruit flies 5 to 7 times a week. Adults should be given 3 to 5 insects, twice a week. These are just a recommended range and the quantity your Gecko eats will slightly vary depending on their size and activity level.

They should ideally be fed in the morning so that they can digest the food while basking during the day.

Related Questions:

How Many Types of Day Geckos are There?

Day Geckos are a group of around 60 lizards. They particularly live in the islands of the Indian Ocean. These Geckos are considered high-maintenance reptiles because of their specific care needs.