How to Care for Your Mourning Gecko

February 16, 2021

mourning gecko


Mourning geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris) are 3-4”, nocturnal, arboreal micro-geckos native to the Indo-Pacific coast including but not limited to Hawaii, Indonesia and Australia. They prefer a temperate rainforest habitat, featuring high humidity and moderate temperatures.

Mourning geckos can be identified by their tan base color with brown markings. These geckos are unique because they’re parthenogenetic, which means that they can reproduce without mating with a male. 

Mourning geckos are not handleable, but they are easy to care for, which makes them a beginner-level pet.


Mourning geckos are very active, arboreal geckos that do best in groups. The enclosure should be no smaller than 12” x 12” x 12” for two, but because they’re parthenogenetic, it’s best to start with larger to accommodate population growth. Mourning geckos are escape artists, so make sure that the enclosure is 100% escape-proof. Front-opening enclosures tend to be better than top-opening for this species.

Make sure to provide multiple hiding places so the geckos feel secure in their environment. Live or artificial plants, perches, branches, vines, and cork bark pieces make great additions for climbing and hiding and generally creating an enriching living space.

You will also need a wall-mounted feeding ledge for food and water dishes. Magnetic ledges tend to be more stable than those mounted with suction cups.

Humidity should average between 60-80%, which can be accomplished by using live plants, a humidity-friendly reptile soil substrate, and misting with a spray bottle 1-2x/day.

Heating and Lighting

Mourning geckos do not require additional heat as long as the ambient temperature in the room is between 65-80°F, but if the temperature is between 65-75°F, it’s beneficial to use a low-wattage heat lamp to provide an 80-82°F basking spot. These geckos are sensitive to heat stress, so if you can’t control your home temperatures during summer, this is not the pet for you.

Although mourning geckos are nocturnal and don’t need UVB lighting to survive, low-intensity UVB lighting is still beneficial when used correctly. Use a low-strength Zoo Med or Arcadia UVB bulb, the full length of the enclosure, mounted in a reflective fixture. UVB bulbs decay over time, so make sure to replace yours every 12 months.

Food and Supplementation

Mourning geckos are primarily frugivorous (fruit eating), but they also eat insects. In captivity, their primary diet is a specially-formulated meal replacement  powder marketed as “crested gecko diet,” or “CGD.” There are many brands and flavors of this diet, which is a great way to provide variety for your geckos. CGD should be offered daily for juveniles, and every other day for adults.

Because they lay eggs frequently, make sure to provide feeder insects twice a week for extra protein. All feeder insects should be dusted with Repashy Supercal LoD for extra calcium.


*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to mourning geckos, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.

"Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris)" by patrickkavanagh is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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