Northern Velvet Gecko (Oedura castelnaui) Care Sheet

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Elizabeth Freer

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Northern Velvet Gecko (Oedura castelnaui) Care Sheet
Geckos Unlimited
19 October 2021 (updated)​

Oedura castelnaui (Thominot -- 1889), the Northern Velvet Gecko, is a species found on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, Australia.

Enclosure -- 10 gallon horizontal tank (20 inches long x 10.25 inches wide x 12.5 inches tall). That's enough room for a 1.1 pair. Nice space for even just one adult.

Screen top -- Four Paws heavy duty, not hinged

Substrate -- 100% Zoo Med Eco Earth Coconut Fiber or mixed coconut fiber with peat moss 50/50. Do not use ANY sand in the substrate. Use paper towels for juvies and subadults till they are about 1 year old. It is easier for young northern velvets to find their crickets and not ingest any substrate when one uses paper towels.

Cork bark -- Virgin cork bark has the most texture and is nicest! Relatively flat and large piece to lean up against the back of the tank, side-to-side, almost top-to-bottom. The advantage to NOT gluing down the cork bark is that it provides refuge on either side! This facilitates upkeep.
  • Virgin Cork and Cork Tube (Maryland Cork Company) 800-662-2675 Ask for VIRGIN cork. 2016 pricing: "flats" = $2.95 per pound; tubes = $3.95 per pound. (Ask for Marilyn.)
  • The Bean Farm....Carnation, Washington: 877-708-5882
  • For pressed cork rolls: Rolls of Cork | Buy from WidgetCo®. WidgetCo---USA: 1-800-877-9270 Comes with no adhesive from 1/16 inch to 1/4 inch thick.
  • For 24 inch x 36 inch flat cork sheets in multiple thicknesses from Amazon: Cork Sheets - Plain 24" x 36",3/8" thick: Home & Kitchen
Clamp lamp & overhead heating/lighting -- A 10 inch diameter Fluker Farm's clamp lamp comes with holes around the edge which can be utilized to fasten this lamp to the screen top with twistie ties. Cover one half the tank with the dome lamp to give your geckos a thermal gradient. From October through mid-May I use a 40 watt maximum red or incandescent bulb. From mid-May through September I switch to a 25 watt incandescent bulb. Place the heating/lighting on a timer to power off at night. I have the heat cycle on 12 hours and off 12 hours. My room lows at night dip to ~68*F.

On the 28 Feb 2012 all my Ocs were hanging out right beneath their 40 watt basking lights. The temperatures there as measured by a PE-2 temp gun were: 94 F, 88 F, 97 F, and 95.5 F. Since they all have cooler sides in their 10 gallon horizontal tanks, they seem to prefer these warmer temperatures.

Thermometer -- digital or PE-2 temperature gun. HDE temp guns are reliable.

Water dish -- ~3 inch diameter x 1.5 inch deep

Coconut shell hide

Paper towel tube hide -- 12”. They love snuggling in it!

Rock -- 3” or so

Driftwood -- several good pieces for climbing

Spray bottle -- NEVER mist the enclosure and feed at the same time, IF you feed free range!

Large-leafed silk foliage -- sometimes :)

Feeding dish
Powdered Supplements [Read labels about dusting according to gecko's weight.]
  • Zoo Med Repti Calcium with D3 -- Lightly dust feeders at 1 feeding per week.
  • Zoo Med ReptiVite multivitamin without D3 -- Lightly dust feeders at 2 feedings per month. Be extremely cautious about the amount of Zoo Med's Reptivite multivitamins you use for Northern Velvet geckos! Since I gutload all crickets 24/7 with Zoo Med's Natural ADULT Bearded Dragon Food, I don't recommend additional light dusting of feeders @ 2 feedings per month!
Adult weight -- A good weight for adult Oedura castelnaui is 15-26 grams.

  • Crickets (Aceta domestica) -- Feed adult northern velvet geckos 2 one-half inch (~4 wo) crickets every other night. Juveniles and subadults should be fed appropriately-sized smaller crickets just about every night.
  • Blaptica dubia -- A nutritious feeder for northern velvet geckos.
Brumation -- Oedura castelnaui breeding benefits from cooling.
Nestbox -- Cut a hole the size of a USA quarter on one end of the lid of a rectangular pint-sized Rubbermaid container. Fill the container 2/3rds full with a 50/50 mixture of Jurassic Sand and Eco Earth coco fiber. Dampen the sand and coco fiber mixture to the consistency of butter cut into flour. You might need to redampen this during the breeding season. After the eggs have been buried by the female, gently remove them and place them half-buried in some damp incubation medium such as seramis. Place in your incubator from 75-80*F.

2012 Hatchlings ----> Kept eggs from 75-80 F degrees. Those incubation temperatures produced 4.4 Oedura castelnaui! Hatchlings produced were from two separate bloodlines: bloodline F (7 hatchlings) and Mrs. Squeeze (1 hatchling).
  • 2012-1 (21 July 2012 female at 101 days) & 2012-2 (22 July 2012 female at 102 days)
  • 2012-3 (9 Aug 2012 male at 90 days) & 2012-4 (11 Aug 2012 male at 92 days) -- 2012 #4 (11 Aug 2012 male) sold to NH: 23 Oct 2017
  • 2012-5 (20 Sept 2012 male at 94 days)
  • 2012-6 (10 Nov 2012 male at 104 days) & 2012-7 (15 Nov 2012 female at 109 days)
  • 2012-8 (23 Nov 2012 female at 99 days---mom is Mrs. Squeeze)
2014 Hatchlings ----> Parents: J. Sommers female + N. Hall male who hatched 13 March 2003. Separate bloodline from 2012 hatchlings.
  • 2014-1: 25 Sept 2014 (darker female) -- Sold to NH: 23 Oct 2017
  • 2014-2: 28 Oct 2014 (lighter female) -- Sold to NH: 27 Nov 2017
Hatchling photo -- "Embellishments" by Rami Bryson
Except for the first photo, these pictures \/ are all Oedura castelnaui whom I've bred. :)


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Last edited:

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
#1---Brumation Guidelines for Oedura castelnaui: Jerry Peebles

Brumation Guidelines for Oedura castelnaui: USA
by Jerry Peebles (February 2004)​
If the animals are fat and healthy, I normally start tapering the amount I feed them about September 1st – maybe only feed about half as much. However, if they are recovering from a long breeding season, I recommend feeding all they will eat just to get as much weight on them as possible before cooling. And obviously if they are not in good shape, they are not cooled.

On October 1st I begin cooling and reducing the light cycle on my geckos. Between October 1st and November 1st I gradually reduce the lighting from 14 hours per day to 8 hours per day. I stop feeding everything that I’m going to cool clear down about October 20th to give these geckos the chance to clear their systems of any food. Starting November 1st I drop the temperature to 55-60 F for brumation and leave it there until January 1st. The lows I use for cooling Oedura castelnaui are 55-60 F at the lowest at night. During brumation days (~8.5 weeks) I let the temperature rise to the upper 60s at most. Commencing January 1st I warm these geckos a degree or two a day until they are into the 70s and gradually increase their lighting. I start feeding them again around January 10th. By the end of January I have the light back up to 14 hours a day and the heat back up to 75-80 F during the day.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, USA and lightly mist the brumating Oedura castelnaui about every other day for water and humidity. If a person was keeping them in a more arid area, I feel the misting could be really beneficial for them. In the Pacific Northwest, it probably is not much more useful than just supplying them with a drink.

Although I personally don’t do this, fresh water can always be available in a dish during this time. There is no exact right way that I know of to cool geckos, but what I have described here has worked for me.

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