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  1. #1
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    Default Lygodactylus Caresheet.


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    Hey All, I've been lurking for a while and reading all the posts regarding Lygodactylus species.

    I currently have what I believe to be L. Luteopicturatus, and L. Kimhowelli.
    I have successfully kept these for 6 months or more now, but that entire time I haven't been able to find a comprehensive caresheet regarding either general genus care, or more specifically their individual care.

    I would love to hear from everyone with experience with this genus, about how they keep, breed, raise, escape proof, feed, supplement, photograph, incubate, etc. these inexpensive but time-worthy species.

    These are so cheap and commonly imported that they deserve a chance to survive in inexperienced hands as that is who will most likely be buying them.

    You have the information that will make all the difference! Thank you in advance to everyone who contributes!
    T.
    PS If anybody knows where I could find some females for these 2 species in San Antonio/Austin Texas area I would really appreciate it!

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    Try looking for this book title:

    Day Geckos - Professional Breeder's Series by Bruse, Meyer and Schmidt

    Though the main portion covers Phelsuma, the other part covers Lygodactylus and Gonatodes separately with quite a bit of detail on habitat, husbandry, breeding, etc. Well worth buying even if you only end up using it as your lygodactylus reference.
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    Last edited by Adrn; 04-29-2008 at 07:37 PM.

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    Default Lygodactylus

    Thanks a lot for the book suggestion!

  4. #4
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    Maybe this is useful for you as well. Here's the care sheet I wrote last year (I wrote it for the Gekkowerkgroep, the Dutch gecko association), and translated. It's mainly about L. luteopicturatus, but the care is pretty much the same for L. kimhowelli. Right know I donīt have these species any more, only L. williamsi.

    Gecko in the spotlight – Lygodactylus luteopicturatus

    Lygodactylus is a large genus with 60 or 61 species of relatively small, day-active geckos. The genus is closely related to the genus Phelsuma. They are quite similar in shape, both genera have the same body structure and shape, and lamellae on the underside of the fingers. An important difference between the genera is that Lygodactylus species also have lamellae on the tip of the tail, which Phelsuma species fail. Most of the species within the genus Lygodactylus is brown coloured, although there are some colourful species among them.

    Almost all the species form the genus (apart from two species from Brazil, of which it’s still unknown whether they belong to the same genus) are found on Madagascar and in Africa, mostly in the eastern part (especially in Tanzania), but also the western and central part of Africa inhabits species from this genus. The habitats in which the species occur vary from tropical rainforest to dry thorny savannas, from sea level till high in the mountains. The geckos are mainly found on tree trunks, rocks or brick walls and they are true sun lovers. Often you can find only a pair or a male with some females per trunk, the animals are quite territorial, sometimes also the females have their own territories. However this characteristic differs per specimen, in a terrarium it’s sometimes possible to keep a trio, sometimes it isn’t. The tree trunks and rocks are, next to their function as place of living, also used as a hiding place for the eggs, these are deposited in holes.

    In captivity, only a few species of this genus are kept. The most important species are: L. capensis, L. kimhowelli and L. luteopicturatus. There is a lot of vagueness around the names of the different species in captivity. The names of L. kimhowelli, L. luteopicturatus and L. picturatus are very often mixed and wrongly used. The largest part of the animals which are offered are named L. picturatus, but I’ve seen only once animals of this species in real life, which truly own this name. At the moment, I keep two species of the genus, namely L. kimhowelli and L. luteopicturatus. I’ll go in detail about the latter species, but the care in captivity is the same for L. kimhowelli.

    Lygodactylus luteopicturatus
    L. luteopicturatus (Pasteur 1964) is one of the more colourful species of the genus. This counts mainly for the male, he is more expressive coloured, with stronger contrasts than the female. The geckos have a light greyish blue body, with some light brown/black markings. The head is yellow, with dark stripes, not black as L. kimhowelli and L. picturatus have, in the length direction of the head. The female has the same colours, but a little more vague, the blue body is more brown with a blue glow. The colours are most beautiful when the animals get a lot of light, and the animals have the possibilities for a sun bath, when they get less light, the geckos become browner, although the yellow head of the male always will be visible. The identification of the sexes is relatively easy, because the male has a black throat, this in contradiction with the female, which has a light throat. These sex marks are the same for L. kimhowelli, and a number of other species from the genus. Next to this is it also possible the identify the sexes with help of the pre-anal pores of the male, which lay in a flat V between the (hind)legs. The male gets, mostly when he gets older, a heavier build head than the female. L. luteopicturatus is a species with a moderate body length within the genus. This is according to Bruse (2005) 9 cm, but my animals are a little smaller, and reach only 7-8 cm.

    The species occurs in the South of Kenia, Eastern Tanzania and the island of Zanzibar. In this range, the species occurs in two subspecies, L. l. luteopicturatus on the mainland, and L. l. zanzibaritis on Zanzibar. I couln’t find what the differences between the two subspecies are, except for the location. The geckos live in habitats which consist of dry till humid forest savannas. In these areas the animals live mostly on tree trunks, but occur also on houses and brick walls. At these spots it’s often drier and warmer than in the environment. In the natural areas the temperature varies between 28 degrees Celsius in July-August and 31 degrees Celsius in December-January and 19-24 degrees at night. The relative humidity is constant between 60-70 % at daytime, and until 90% at night.

    L. luteopicturatus in captivity
    A good size of a terrarium for this species is 30*30*40 cm (l*w*h). The geckos are strongly territorial, because placing two Lygodactylus species next to each other, so that they can see each other causes stress. I noticed this when I placed the pair of L. luteopicturatus next to a single male L. kimhowelli. The males were displaying and stressing continuously. For the rest of the males, I separated the geckos. In the terrariums I used natural cork bark walls, for both the back and sides of the terrariums. I did this to enlarge their living area, and to prevent fights with geckos in the enclosures next to them. The enclosures are furnished with bamboo pipes, branches and some Sansevieria plants. Bromeliad plants are also doing well in these kind of enclosures. The bottom of the enclosures is covered with a layer of crushed shells. This has two functions, the most important is that the shells are light coloured, and therefore reflect a lot of light, which makes the enclosure as a whole brighter, and the animals more beautiful. Next to that, the shells contain a lot of calcium, which the geckos can use by licking/eating them, and store the calcium for production of bones and egg shells.

    The temperature in the enclosures varies between 25-33 degrees at day and 18-22 degrees at night. This temperature is reached by using halogen spots. This spot is turned on for about 4 hours a day. To create as much light as possible, there are 2 T5 TL bulbs on top of the enclosures, which light for 14 hours in summer and 8 hours in winter. I spray the enclosures every night to increase the humidity at night. The spraying also helps to decrease the temperature in the night.

    The geckos are easy feeders. They eat almost anything which is small enough to fit in their mouths: small crickets, drosophila, small waxworms, small ****roaches. In summer, my animals also get insects from outside, which I catch in nature areas. Next to these insects, the geckos get also 1-2 times a week a lid f a soda bottle, filled with special “Phelsuma porridge”. All insects I feed are dusted with vitamin powder. In the enclosures there’s always a small lid with calciumpowder, mainly the females make use of this.

    Breeding L. luteopicturatus
    The species is not difficult to breed. The females lay every two weeks a pair (sometimes a single egg, but usually two glued together) of eggs. These eggs are deposited in bamboo pipes, or in the armpits of the Sansevieria plants. The eggs have a strong shell, with a diameter of 5-6 mm. At a constant temperature of 27 degrees, the eggs hatch in 80 days, when the temperature fluctuates (day 28 degrees, night 20 degrees) the eggs take about 100 days to hatch. The babies are very small, total length is 26-27 mm, and are pretty vulnerable. Raising them works best in relatively large terrariums. I keep them in enclosures of 15*30*30 cm, with 2-3 babies per enclosure. In the beginning I tried to raise them in cricket boxes, but that’s not possible, the climate in those small boxes is too difficult to create. As food, small crickets (hatchlings), drosophila and springtails (Collembola) are suitable. The babies need food daily, and are very vulnerable for drying out. Spraying once a day, better even twice a day is necessary. The babies of this species are, in contradiction to babies of L. kimhowelli which are fully coloured, completely brown coloured. They reach the adult colours in about 4 months. Raising the babies is the bottleneck in breeding this species, and that’s probably also the reason this species is not bred very often.

    Literature used:

    Bruse, F., Meyer, M., Schmidt. W., Praktijkraadgever Daggekko’s, Edition Chimaira, 2005.
    Best Regards,
    Jeroen van Leeuwen

    G. vittatus, G. ocellatus, G. caudiscutatus, S. roosevelti, S. elegans, L. williamsi, P. klemmeri, L. lugubris, H. typus, G. mutilata, H. fasciata

  5. #5
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    I bred many individuals of these both species, especially last year. But I encountered a lot of difficulties to sell my offspring, the interest was very low, and the amount of important animals of these species was huge last year. Therefore I managed finally to sell my animals, to prevent these problems this year... But there will always be a strong interest for Lygodactylus sp. in my case.
    Best Regards,
    Jeroen van Leeuwen

    G. vittatus, G. ocellatus, G. caudiscutatus, S. roosevelti, S. elegans, L. williamsi, P. klemmeri, L. lugubris, H. typus, G. mutilata, H. fasciata

  6. #6
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    Hi Jeroen, thanks so much for the caresheet!
    The funny thing is I found it 2 days ago on the Gekkowerkgroep site, and was thinking of posting it here but couldn't ask your permission without joining the site so I forgot about it until now

    I will go though the caresheet and see if I have any questions.
    Thanks so much again!
    T.

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    Jeroen, I was reading though the caresheet and was confused by the the substrate you used for them.

    "The bottom of the enclosures is covered with a layer of crushed shells. This has two functions, the most important is that the shells are light coloured, and therefore reflect a lot of light, which makes the enclosure as a whole brighter, and the animals more beautiful. Next to that, the shells contain a lot of calcium, which the geckos can use by licking/eating them, and store the calcium for production of bones and egg shells."

    What crushed shells are you referring to? How often did you clean/replace it?
    I see a lot of people refer to calcium provided for their females in a dish to lick...is that just normal calcium without D3?

    Thanks a lot,
    T.

  8. #8
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    I used the crushed shells that are sold as source of calcium for birds (mostly chicken). Right know I changed this, Iīm using grey calcium sand-substrate (very small parts of calciumstone). For the same reasons, the only difference for me was that i could buy it cheaper last time. I replace it normally twice a year, and if the cage changes habitants.

    The calcium offered in dishes is pure calcium, without D3. I do that the same, offer calciumcarbonate in dishes. And I use a vitamine preparate in the misting water.
    Best Regards,
    Jeroen van Leeuwen

    G. vittatus, G. ocellatus, G. caudiscutatus, S. roosevelti, S. elegans, L. williamsi, P. klemmeri, L. lugubris, H. typus, G. mutilata, H. fasciata

  9. #9
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    Thank you for the information Jeroen. So... just plain calcium sand as a substrate?

    How often do/would you normally use the vitamine preparate in their drinking water?

    Thanks for the help,
    T.

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