The lined gecko (Gekko vittatus) is an 8-10” long, nocturnal, arboreal lizard native to Papua New Guinea and nearby parts of Indonesia. They live in tropical rainforests as well as rural human dwellings. This species is also known as the “white-lined gecko” and the “skunk gecko” due to its distinctive markings.
Lined geckos have a pointed snout, round lidless eyes, vertical pupils, smooth skin, slender body, slender tail, and sticky toe pads that allow them to climb smooth surfaces. Their coloring is tan to dark brown, with a distinctive white stripe that extends from the base of the tail along the spine and branches at the neck to reach toward each eye. The tail is segmented with white bands.
White lined geckos are intermediate-level pet reptiles that make striking display animals. With good care, they should have a 10+ year lifespan.
Minimum terrarium size for lined geckos
The absolute minimum terrarium size for a single lined gecko is 18”L x 18”W x 36”H. Of course, however, larger is always better! Because this species has sticky toe pads, it’s best for the enclosure to be made from glass rather than mesh or wood.
Housing multiple lined geckos in the same terrarium is not recommended, and may result in fighting and injuries if attempted.
Do lined geckos need UVB?
Technically they can survive without it, but it’s still highly recommended to enable them to thrive in captivity. UVB lighting helps provide a clear day/night cycle, provides all of the vitamin D that your pet needs, strengthens the immune system, facilitates better digestion, and offers other benefits as well.
The best UVB bulbs for lined geckos housed in an 18” x 18” x 36” terrarium are:
- Zoo Med T8 Reptisun 10.0
- Arcadia ShadeDweller Pro Arboreal Kit
For best results, house the UVB bulbs in a reflective fixture. Position the lamp on the same side of the terrarium as the heat lamp, 6-8” above the basking branch. UVB is blocked by glass and plastic, so placing the terrarium in front of a window doesn’t count as “free UVB” — in fact it can make your terrarium too hot due to the greenhouse effect.
Lights should be on for 12 hours/day. And don’t forget to replace your UVB bulb every 6-12 months according to the manufacturer’s recommendation!
Best temperature for lined geckos
Lined geckos should have a basking temperature of 88-90°F, as measured by a digital probe thermometer with the probe placed on the basking surface. In order to allow for proper thermoregulation, the enclosure should also have a cool area that stays between 75-80°F. Nighttime temps should not go lower than 75°F.
Provide daytime heat for your lined gecko with a low-wattage halogen heat flood bulb. Halogen bulbs are the best way to imitate the warmth of sunlight indoors, and considered to be a superior form of reptile heating by experts. If the bulb is a bit too warm, use a plug-in lamp dimmer to reduce its heat output.
You will likely need a lightless heat source for nighttime — ceramic heat emitters and radiant heat panels work well for this when controlled via thermostat.
Best humidity levels for lined geckos
Lined geckos are tropical lizards, so the humidity inside their enclosure should be fairly high: 65-75% during the day and higher at night. Humidity should be measured via digital probe hygrometer, with the probe placed in the middle of the terrarium.
Increase humidity by misting your gecko’s enclosure 1-2x/day with a spray bottle. Mist every evening and then again in the morning if needed. Aside from raising humidity, this also provides your gecko with an important source of drinking water!
If you have difficulty maintaining high humidity levels, running a reptile humidifier connected to a humidistat at night can help.
Best substrate for lined geckos
Providing a layer of naturalistic substrate (“bedding”) will help maintain correct humidity levels and also helps make your enclosure more attractive! We recommend the following substrates for lined geckos:
Layering clean, chemical-free leaf litter on top of the substrate can also help with humidity.
Substrate should be at least 2” deep and completely replaced every 3-4 months. Remove poop and urates daily, along with contaminated substrate.
How to decorate a lined gecko terrarium
An empty terrarium makes for a bored gecko, reducing its quality of life. Keep your pet entertained and engaged with its environment with the strategic use of décor items that encourage it to exercise natural behaviors!
Since lined geckos are arboreal, at bare minimum you will need a branch for your gecko to bask on and some live or artificial foliage for it to hide in. However, it’s best to include other items, such as:
Make sure that any live plants you use are sturdy enough to withstand your gecko!
What to feed to a lined gecko
Lined geckos are insectivores, which means that they need to get their nutrition from primarily insects! Young lined geckos should be fed daily, while adults should be fed just every other day. Offer as much food as they will eat in about 5 minutes. If they start getting chubby, reduce the amount of food offered.
Pinky/fuzzy mice can be offered 1-2x/month. Feeder anoles and house geckos can also be offered. Crested gecko diet can be used as an occasional treat.
You will also need calcium and vitamin supplements to help keep your gecko healthy. We recommend Repashy Calcium Plus LoD, lightly dusted on all feeder insects. It’s okay to occasionally skip a dusting.
Of course, don’t forget a small water bowl and feeding ledge for your gecko to drink from! Change the water daily and scrub the bowl with a reptile-safe disinfectant weekly, or whenever it becomes soiled.
How to handle your lined gecko
Reptiles generally don’t appreciate petting and handling in the same way that dogs and cats do. Lined geckos are one of the types of reptiles that are best to leave alone rather than attempt to handle regularly. If you want to interact with your pet, try hand-feeding it with a pair of feeding tweezers.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. Although it’s a good introduction, please further your research with high-quality sources. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for your pet!
"Lined Gecko (also called Skunk Gecko) Gekko vittatus" by brian.gratwicke is licensed under CC BY 2.0