The Tokay Gecko is a pet store lizard which has become popular because of its beauty, modest price and ready availability. Wild tokays are found in Thailand, Northeastern India, Malaysia, Indochina, Burma, Indonesia, Burma and Bangladesh. Only very few of the geckos are captive bred; pet traders mostly offer wild-collected animals.
Tokay geckos have a life span of 7 to 10 years, and reach 12 to 14 inches in length. The females are slightly smaller than the males, with no two tokays being exactly alike. They are mainly grayish, blue, off-white with brown, orange-red or maroon patches scattered on their dorsal side. They have a soft, velvet skin and can be easily maintained at a low cost. They are called so since they produce the ‘to-kay, to-kay’ sound.
A 10 gallon tank is fine for a six month old tokay, for an adult, 20 gallon tank is needed. Screened cages can be used but a glass tank is preferable which provides room for its climbing; high tanks are preferable rather than long tanks. Coconut fiber, sand and peat moss mixture can be used as the substrate in the tank. One can build a naturalistic terrarium having decorative wood and living plants. Many hides should be set up in the tank where the geckos can rest during the day time. During the day time, the cage temperature should be maintained at 85ºF to 90º F. There should be a drop of 15ºF during the night time.
Tokay geckos don’t need ultra-violet lighting since they are nocturnal. A 25 to 75 watt bulb should be fitted in the tank which provides the heat for them. The tank should be misted daily thereby maintaining a high humidity level.
Being insectivorous, tokay geckos are fed with crickets, wax moths, locusts and silkworms. Adult tokays can also be fed with pink mice. Baby tokays should be fed daily. Feeding once in every two days is enough for the adult tokay geckos. At every third feeding, the insects should be dusted with calcium supplement. Fresh water should be sprayed inside the tank twice a day, and tokays can lap up the water.
The tank should be cleaned whenever needed. It should be set up newly and the substrate need to be replaced every three months.
Tokay geckos are readily available. They can be cared easily at an affordable cost. Males are territorial and they should be kept separately. If you want to keep the geckos in groups, all tokays should be introduced into the tank at the same time and all tokays should be of more or less similar size. You should keep a constant watch on them. They will fight if one tokay interferes with other’s territory.
Before buying the tokay geckos, it is important that one should be thorough with the care sheet about them. They are known to bite the hand of humans while feeding or cleaning, and their bites are extremely painful. Hence, it is not an advisable pet for small children. Geckos should be tamed when they are young. It is very interesting to watch its fascinating behavior, But it is not a suitable pet for the beginners. Since most of the tokays are wild caught, initial veterinary care should be provided. In some parts of Asia, tokays are considered as a symbol of good fortune.