Giant day geckos (Phelsuma grandis) are the largest members of the genus Phelsuma, or “day geckos”. Giant day geckos can grow as large as 12”, and are diurnal, arboreal lizards native to the tropical rainforests of Madagascar. They are typically bright green with a few bright red spots on their heads and a double row of bright red markings along their backs, although captive breeding has made other colors and patterns available. Like most other geckos, giant day geckos have special toe pads that allow them to climb smooth surfaces like glass.
Due to their delicate skin and sensitivity to poor husbandry, giant day geckos are intermediate-level pet reptiles.
Giant day geckos are active, arboreal geckos which enjoy climbing and moving around the enclosure. An adult giant day gecko should be kept in as large a cage as possible, absolutely no smaller than 18”L x 18”W x 36”H.
The enclosure should be fairly densely planted to provide cover and maintain humidity. It is also recommended to provide vines and branches for climbing. To support the plants, provide a substrate with a layer of expanded clay balls on bottom, followed by mesh drainage material and several inches of plant-friendly vivarium soil mix.
Humidity of 50-70% should be maintained by misting each morning and evening, preferably when the lights are off.
You will also need a feeding ledge with cup holders for food and water. These can be adhered with suction cups or magnets, but magnets tend to be more reliable.
Heating and Lighting
Giant day geckos should have a basking temperature of 90-95°F, provided by a halogen flood bulb. Air temperatures in the rest of the enclosure should range between 80-88°F. Care should be taken to avoid higher temperatures, or to be sure that perches aren’t placed too close to the basking light, as giant day geckos heat stroke easily and get easily burned.
Since they are diurnal reptiles, giant day geckos also require UVB lighting. This should be Arcadia or Zoo Med brand, roughly the same length as the enclosure, and mounted in a reflective fixture. Because UVB bulbs decay over time, you will need to replace the bulb every 12 months to maintain performance.
Your live plants will also need a plant grow light, which may also help your giant day gecko’s coloration become more vibrant.
Heating and other lamps should be turned off at night.
Food and Supplementation
Giant day geckos are primarily frugivorous (fruit eating), but they also eat insects. Their primary diet should be a commercial diet powder called “Crested Gecko Diet” or “CGD”. It’s best to use a variety of brands and flavors to create variety in your pet’s diet for sensory enrichment. Offer a small bowl of CGD three times a week and feeder insects twice a week.
All feeder insects should be dusted with Repashy SuperCal LoD to balance their nutrition.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you're new to giant day geckos, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.