Cyrtodactylus zebraicus (Thai Ocelot Gecko) Care Sheet -- 26 February 2018

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Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Click: Cyrtodactylus zebraicus (Thai Ocelot Gecko) Care Sheet -- 26 February 2018

For details on my entire crew click:

Click: Cyrtodactylus peguensis | The Reptile Database

European breeder Georg Simon's Sepia Bone Alert: When I started back up with these gorgeous geckos in September 2015, European breeder Georg Simon shared this important advice with me!!!
"Most important: Offer them sepia skulls (cuttlebone) in small crumbs, NOT just powder! They will eat it pure!" (NOT the actual cuttle shell -- the "softer" powder part)
Georg Simon
15 September 2015
Both my original females died (April 2015 & August 2015) from calcium crashes. :cry:

ALL Cyrtodactylus zebraicus females, whether or not they're producing eggs, are extremely susceptible to blood calcium crashes! Always add a 24/7 dish containing cuttlebone/sepia skull in small crumbs or pure calcium carbonate to ALL hatchling enclosures. Remove those dishes from only males' enclosures as males' genders become evident.

During the breeding season
for all these geckos including egg-laying females I lightly dust ALL prey at every feeding with Zoo Med's supplements on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. For mature males I lightly dust 1/2 the prey. I feed ALL crickets 24/7 finely ground Zoo Med's Natural ADULT Bearded Dragon Food.
  • Monday - Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
  • Wednesday - pure precipitated calcium carbonate (NOW brand or Zoo Med's Repti Calcium withOUT D3)
  • Friday - Zoo Med's Reptivite withOUT D3
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26 May 2024 Update:
First Aid for Stuck Shed

  1. First soak gecko 20 minutes in belly-deep warm water that JUST covers ALL 4 legs & this gecko's vent.
  2. Immediately following that warm water soak firmly hold this gecko against the countertop OR place it in your hand. DON'T press on the tail! IF you press on the tail, this gecko will likely drop its tail! These geckos are super-sensitive to pressure like that. :(
  3. Gently sweep outwards on tops & bottoms of toes with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  4. Between toes & otherwise where appropriate use a thin wooden toothpick to gently lift loosened skin. Use your fingers when possible.
  5. Use cotton-tipped q-tips as necessary.

    ***** Alternatively apply Mineral Oil with cotton q-tips on stuck shed areas once daily over the course of a week or so. Do NOT rinse off this Mineral Oil! Gradually you'll be able to brush off that shed with NO damage to your gecko's toes or wherever!
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Cyrtodactylus zebraicus (Thai Ocelot Gecko) Care Sheet
26 February 2018
Updated: 26 May 2024
(work in progress)​

NOTE: If you took any of these photos, please let me know via Geckos Unlimited or FB Private Message so I can give you proper credit. Many thanks!

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SCIENTIFIC NAME -- 2018 update
Cyrtodactylus zebraicus


Thai Ocelot Gecko, Pegu Forest Gecko, Thai Bow-fingered Gecko, & Thai Bent-toed Gecko

Distribution of species Cyrtodactylus zebraicus: Thailand
Type locality: Ronpibon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand

As of 2018 Cyrtodactylus zebraicus has been given full species status. Scroll to the end of this paper to see comments by L. Lee Grismer & team.

Many seem to begin life with yellowish, honeycombed-like, bodies & heads. Their tails are alternating bands of black & white. As they mature, many hatchlings "lose" their yellowish bodies & heads. Sometimes their hatchling body color changes to brown.

Hatchlings begin life at less than 1 gram. In the beginning they seem to usually gain 1 gram per month.

My younger adult male weighs 7.8 grams. He seems to have maxed out. My 6.5 yo male is larger. Both females weigh 10+ grams.

*** These geckos are mostly active at dusk, during the night, & at dawn. ***

Males occasionally "chirp" loudly. They'll even chirp when someone IS watching! :D Females infrequently "peep" softly.

They are crepuscular & very secretive. They love their narrow cork bark tubes!

My adults drink from their water dishes.

They don't have "sticky feet". Give them something to grip like Exo Terra's Jungle Vines & narrow cork bark tubes, so they can fully explore their homes.

I keep 4 of my 5 adult Cyrtodactylus zebraicus on layered substrates, so that I can periodically water the substrate. That keeps the relative humidity somewhat higher than in my bedroom. It keeps the topmost substrate layer relatively dry. I occasionally spray the enclosures.
  • Bottom layer ~ a couple inches of Hydroton clay culture balls
  • Mid layer ~ Easy Gardener Landscape Fabric: a porous black cloth that lets water pass through
  • Top layer ~ well-washed fine grade orchid bark in my 20 gallon regular enclosure & Eco Earth's coco fiber in Lee's XL Kritter Keepers.
In the 6.5 yo male's (hatched: 26 Aug 2011) 20 gallon regular enclosure I have
  • 1 cork bark flat on 2/3rds of the back wall
  • *** 3 long narrow cork bark tunnels
  • 3 inch diameter water dish
  • 8 ounce clear glass food dish with vertical sides (Anchor Hocking brand food storage dishes with lids from Walmart)
  • 2 small coconut shell hides
  • *** 2 large Exo Terra's Jungle Vines -- very important for climbing! (Try twisting 1 large diameter + 1 small diameter jungle vine together.)
  • 1 philodendron plastic hanging plant with small leaves
  • Silk hanging plants with variegated leaves. Some silk plants are suspended from the screen top.
All the enclosures sit in my upstairs gecko room/bedroom. Round-the-clock temperatures during the summer range from 71 - 80ish*F (21.7*C - 26.7*C). At night the actual temperature may drop to 69ish*F (20.6*C). The room's thermostat is set for 71*F year-round.

Mine are kept with natural room lighting only. Their room has a large southern-facing window & an eastern-facing deck door with full glass window panes.

These chirpers receive "subdued" room lighting. Most the chirpers are on the 5 foot long x 18 inch wide rack along the south wall next to the window, but in the corner. Their two shelves are blocked off on the window end by 18 x 12 inch construction paper. My 1.2 breeders 12 feet across the room from the southern window always hide during the day in their coconut hides, in their cork bark tubes, or elsewhere. The eastern door -- mostly windows -- lets morning sun into the room for a few hours daily.

June room humidity fluctuates between 40-55%. "Enclosure humidity" is somewhat higher.

Start hatchlings off with frequent feedings of lightly dusted 1/8 inch crickets. Soon they'll accept larger prey.

As they mature feed these geckos well-fed & lightly dusted crickets about 3x per week. Other people also feed them wee Blaptica dubia & mealworm larvae.
Feed hatchlings just about daily. For all growing chirpers I rotate Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3, plain calcium carbonate, & Zoo Med's Reptivite multivitamins withOUT D3 every 3 feedings.

Feed & supplement the breeding females as follows. I include the young male, but only lightly dust half his prey.

  • Monday ~ lightly dust all crickets with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
  • Wednesday ~ lightly dust all crickets with plain - no D3 calcium carbonate
  • Friday ~ lightly dust all crickets with Zoo Med's Reptivite multivitamins without D3

    In addition, for each female who is producing eggs -- whether or not she has been mated -- provide a shallow dish of shaved cuttle bone. They devour cuttle bone chunks & powder!
Each time I feed these geckos, I moisten 1/2 their blue shop paper towel substrate with water to increase the humidity. They actually lap water directly from those paper towels!

Males develop substantial hemipenal bulges & they chirp early on! Sexing them at about 6 months is easy.

Males are sometimes smaller than females.

Wait until females & males are at least 18 months old prior to breeding.
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  • Hunt for eggs in mom's enclosure. Carefully search Eco Earth's coco fiber substrate.
  • Carefully place eggs individually in bottle caps upon a dry substrate like seramis using a very small spoon.
  • Then place bottle caps together into a plastic deli container that measures roughly 6 inches long x 4 inches wide x 2 inches high that contains dampened seramis or other incubation medium.
  • Cover deli container with perforated lid.
  • Place deli container into a 2.5 gallon glass enclosure that has it's mesh top1/2 covered by glass.
  • Keep eggs at room temperature between 70ish*F ----> to 80*F MAX.
  • Periodically water seramis/incubation medium in the container containing the bottle caps. Keep the seramis in the bottle caps dry.
  • As humidity increases, beads of moisture build up in the deli container.
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These geckos take about 5 months to hatch when their eggs are kept between 69ish*F - 80ish*F (but not year-round). Even a room spike to 88*F for several hours on the 24 June 2017 when my small town experienced a record-breaking high of 101.3*F did not slow things down. (Whew!)

Other keepers have reported 100, 180, & 201 day hatch times.

FYI: Because I've been cautioned about temperatures exceeding 80*F with this species, I mention that during a HOT 24 June 2017 day Derek Dunlop's then nearly 6 yo male survived the afternoon with room temperatures reaching 94*F. His 20 gallon regular enclosure was too heavy to move downstairs.

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
The risk of calcium crash is no joke! Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus breeding females are extremely susceptible to blood calcium crashes!

In 2015 both my adult female Cyrtodactylus peguensis zebraicus females passed away. Their main symptom was seizures. I took the 2nd one to the vet after she laid her first eggs. This vet felt her jaws. He said: "If her jaws are firm, she has sufficient calcium." At roughly 10 grams she was too small for a blood calcium draw. This same vet also worked out a dosage of Repashy's Rescue Cal + which contains Calcium Lactate Gluconate and Magnesium Lactate, but it was too late.

As far as I know Repashy's Rescue Cal + has been discontinued.

In between seizures this 2nd female laid 2 more eggs. Not one of her 4 well-formed eggs was fertile. In addition she literally "came back to life" for 41 more hours after intermittent CPR and M-t-M immediately following her death.

ALL Cyrtodactylus zebraicus females need much more calcium than I had provided to either of my 2015 females. Decent bone density does NOT equal adequate blood calcium levels. Since the youngsters occasionally lay infertile eggs, powdered supplements 3x per week + a dish of chunked cuttlebone (none of the cuttlebone's shell) or plain calcium carbonate are required for ALL juvies until they are sexable. :) Once their gender has reliably been determined, males no longer need this extra plain calcium carbonate.

In September 2015 I got a tip from a EU breeder: "Most important: Offer breeding females sepia skulls (cuttlebone) in small crumbs, not just powder! They will eat it pure!" (Don't just shave the actual bone.)

:idea:: This schedule has worked very well for these geckos. In September 2015 I also changed the cricket diet from Alber's All Purpose Poultry Feed to Zoo Med's Natural ADULT Bearded Dragon Food. I've never looked back.

Monday ~ Crickets lightly dusted with Zoo Med's Repti Calcium with D3
Wednesday ~ Crickets lightly dusted with pure (plain) precipitated calcium carbonate
Friday ~ Crickets lightly dusted with Zoo Med's ReptiVite multivitamins without D3

+ a small dish of shaved cuttlebone in the breeding adult females' cages

My 2 new females (ID2 & ID4) are proud moms of 21 hatchlings since 14 February 2017! I'm stoked too! :D

6 November 2023 update:
Several years ago I added 24/7/365 dishes of plain calcium carbonate to both ID2's & ID4's enclosures. Both geckos are thriving!

On 4-28-2016 I received both these new females. They hatched ~ February 2015. ID2 came from GS via FC; ID4 came from FC.
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