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Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

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Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

Post by ginnerone on Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:25 am

The Tokay Gecko (Gekko Gecko)Introduction The Tokay Gecko (Gekko Gecko) is a lizard from the Gekkonidae family. The Tokay gets its name for its loud, recognizable "To-kay" calling sound. In its native habitat this sound can be heard for distances of up to 3km and is mainly produced by males trying to attract females or as a warning to other male Tokay’s that they are within another's established territory. Female Tokays are also capable of making the same calling sound but are less likely to call as often as males. Tokays can also produce a range of clicks barks and squeaking sounds and are widely recognized as the most vocal of all the geckos. They also have a distinctive "gaping" characteristic in which they open their mouths wide and puff themselves up in a defensive display if they feel threatened. The Tokay was the first gecko to be scientifically named by Linnaeus in 1758. Their closest relative is the Palm gecko (Gekko Vittatus).The Tokay is a well known species among Herpetologists, They are well known not only for their Beautiful appearance, but also unduly for their aggressive behaviour. People who own them often comment on how difficult they are to tame, Or even care for which is untrue and can be tamed easily with time and patience and are relativly easy to care for.
Although the popularity of these geckos is increasing and captive breeding programs are becoming more popular, unfortunately the majority of the Tokay population in the UK are Wild caught specimens and must take in to consideration when purchasing your Tokay that they have been taken from there home, Packed up, shipped off, and possibly left for days with out food, to then end up in a pet store, and being handled by humans.

So if you’re new friend is upset and isn’t eating. Give him time, he's settling in! The poor thing is stressed and it’s up to you to make the gecko think “hey this isn't too bad”, I get fed daily, and its clean, and no more pesky mites or worms to annoy me!
You should always be prepared for the possibility of trips to the vets for some treatments to clear mites and worms, more in to this later so keep reading. Tokays also have the ability to drop sections of their tail if threatened or restrained by the tail. This is a natural defensive mechanism to deter predators as the tail will continue to wriggle distracting the predator whilst the Tokay escapes. They also have the ability to regenerate the lost section of the tail over time although they do look slightly different from the original tail. Here is an example of a regenerated tail as well as a normal one.
You can see the difference in colour, scales and markings.

Origins The Tokay gecko originates from a wide range of areas, and can be found in Northeast India, china, Indonesia, Malaysia, south Korea, Japan, New guinea and the Philippines. The Tokay Gecko has also been introduced as an invasive species to Belize, Florida, Texas, Hawaii and some Caribbean islands.
The natural habitat of this arboreal species is in the trees and cliffs of the tropical rain forest. The can be found dwelling in holes in trees, loose tree bark and cracks and holes in rocks. They are also found in and around human settlements where they can find easy shelter and are often valued for there insect pest control

DescriptionThe Tokay Gecko is the second largest gecko in the world, First being The new Caledonian giant gecko. Adult male Tokay’s can reach 12-14” in total length, which is a foot in length (Nose to tail tip) and possibly slightly larger, for this reason a decision to own one is not to be taken lightly.


Often the Tokay gecko is offered as a good first Gecko, along with the Leopard geckos and the Crested geckos, As this is often done in the practice there are many who end up re-homed due to either not the right research done or simply because they are too aggressive and the owner is scared to even go near them.
Female Tokay's tend to be slightly smaller averaging 10-12” long. Tokay's tend not to be weighed due to there temperaments, How ever if you can its good to be able to keep a good record simply as a Tokay should be bulky and It can take up to two years for a tokay gecko to reach its full adult size.
Male Tokay geckos are a Blue-Grey body colour with spot like markings that varies from a reddish-orange to whitish-yellow. Females are similar how ever tend to not be as brightly coloured as the males, but is dependant on each gecko.
Each gecko has the ability to change its skin colour darker to blend with its surroundings and mood. It is also a good indication on how the gecko is feeling, So one way to tell weather to bother it or not is to see how bright its colour is.
Also both have the ability to bite and are quite powerful for there size. Great things come in small packages.
The Tokay’s have an average life span of 7-10 years but In captivity it has been known for them to live up to 20 years with the adequate care they require.



Enclosure/HousingThe most common and best kinds of enclosures for your Tokay’s are, wooden vivariums, tall (2ft min) glass aquariums, Or terrariums from your local pet store, Also it has been known for them to be kept in plastic tubs (RUBs) but I personally do not like them. Remember that using aquariums will require you to enter the viv from above to clean the substrate and leave a large opening for them to escape.
A single Tokay can be kept in a standard 20 gallon tall/high aquarium, (24”H x 18”W x 18” L) Being arboreal the taller the better. Larger tanks are recommended though, Exo-terra offer excellent terrariums, as do Komodo for single occupant housing. So think about what you are buying, a taller tank will always be a winner. If you’re using a glass terrarium you will need to have a minimum of 2 sides covered with fake rock or background, 3 sides if its WC as they don’t understand the concept of glass as they don’t come across it often in the wild.
Do not use Terrariums with mesh screened sides or flexariums as these can damage the Tokay's delicate toes! See below for how their feet work and to better understand how these kinds of enclosures are bad for their feet.
One male and several females can be housed together in larger tanks.

Male Tokay's are very territorial and will fight another male in the enclosure so do not keep them together, and if you are not sure, get somebody who knows how to sex these geckos to make sure for you. If you are keeping several together the best guide is to have at least 2ft of space per tokay so they can get away from each other IE a 2ft (L) x 3ft (H) x 18” (D) would house 3 tokays.
Tokay's love to hide, so the more foliage you can offer the better for the gecko, and the less stressed out he will be. This could be cork bark, Toilet roles, Plants, Specially made hides you can buy from pet stores, How ever these can be expensive, it’s always worth being imaginative and you will need at least 2 hides per Tokay.
Logs and branches are good for them to climb about on although thick logs are better rather than skinny ones as they are large geckos and won’t really use the skinny ones, also fake/silk ivy vines can be purchased from pet stores, these can also help give the natural effect.
Always remember to Quarantine animals for a couple of weeks prior to mixing them or adding a new animal to ensure your not spreading parasites and diseases throughout your collection.
Heating and lightingDay time temperatures should be maintained between 72f-80f, and a basking area reaching around 90-95f with a night time drop to 65f-70f Tokay geckos are hardy animals so if temps are up and down by a couple of farenhight, There's no need to panic as in the wild its never perfect now is it.



Tokay geckos are nocturnal so UVB bulbs are not needed how ever you can always give them the option so long as they have the opportunity to hide away from it and be in the dark, an issue to be aware of though is due to having very sensitive eyes I would only suggest a low wattage 2-5% UV bulb.
You can use a heat mat to keep the temps up, or if you prefer a Bulb to heat it. Using these methods you should ALWAYS use a stat to control the temps as if not this could cause the units to over heat the enclosures and your geckos could perish so it’s always worth spending that extra money to keep them safe!
Your tokay will always move away from the hot end in order to cool back down so make sure you give them this option by giving a thermal gradient IE 72f at substrate and 80f at the top.
SubstrateThe best substrate to use is ground coconut fibre material, sphagnum moss or orchid bark as they hold moisture well and help with humidity, You can get this and similar from reptile stores, and on the net. You can also use repti-carpet or paper towel which is easy to keep clean but is harder to raise the humidity with, Its all personal preference, you could also use eco-earth for your enclosure, especially good if you are wanting a natural set up with real plants.


Coconut fibre is provided to you in dried, compressed blocks from your pet store. All you do is add some Luke warm water to it and wait. The fibre will expand as it absorbs the water you have added. This material is non toxic, small particles will not choke your gecko or cause impaction if swallowed and it holds moisture to maintain the high humidity levels your gecko requires. Moss is also a good way to keep humidity up and looks natural to both you and the Tokay.
Below are examples or Orchid bark, coconut husk and Sphagnum moss.
Humidity LevelsTokay gecko’s natural habitat is tropical rain forests as said above, with high humidity levels. In captivity, you should try to maintain relative humidity levels of 60%-80%. This can easily be achieved and maintained by keeping the substrate moistened (But not wet) with daily misting, and the use of a large shallow water dish placed directly onto a heat mat, natural evaporation will give good results. Potted plants also help maintain desired humidity but are often eaten and destroyed by the live food.
Do not let humidity drop below 45%. Failure to maintain proper humidity levels can lead to health problems, primarily incomplete sheds. This can be dangerous to the gecko’s delicate foot pads and can result in the inability to cling to surfaces of which they spend 95% of their lives; it could also lead to infections or other damage to their toes.




PlantsPothos - (Epipremnum aurem) this is a commonly available beginner houseplant that comes in 3 main colour varieties: golden, variegated and Jade. Pothos plants prefer bright indirect light, but can tolerate lower light conditions. Water when top inch of soil gets dry, usually about once a week. Pothos is a low growing vining plant. Periodically prune the vines back to maintain desired size or shape. Pothos can be easily propagated by rooting cuttings in water, bear in mind though that Pothos are ok for Tokays as they are non herbivorous and this plant may be toxic for other plant eating reptiles, here is a list of some other plants that are safe for tokays.





Common Name / Scientific name

Abellia (Abelia grandiflora),

African violet (Saintpaulia ionantha),

Sweet alyssum (Allyssum sp.),

Asperagus fen (Asperagus setaceus plumosis),

Aster (Aster sp.),

Baby tears (Helxine soleirolii),

Birds nest fern (Asplenium nidus),

Boston fern (Nephrolepsis exalta),

Bottle brush (Callistemom),

Bouganvillea (Bouganvillea),

Bridal veil (Tripogandra multiflora),

Bomileads (Aechmea; Bilbergia; Cryptanthus),

Cactus, spinless (Astrophytum),

Camellia (Camellia japonica),

Coleus (Coleus),

Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans),

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema commutatum)

Creeping Fig* (Ficus pumila)

Creeping charlie (Pilea nummulariifolia)+,

Croton (Codiaeum sp.),

Dracanea (Dracaena),

Dwarf Schefflera (Brassaia actinophylla)

Earth Stars (Cryptanthus)

Emerald ripple (Peperomia caperata),

Euginea (Peperomia caperata),

Fuschia (Fuschia),

Geranium (Pelargonium sp.),

Gesneriads (Aeschynanthus, Nematanthus)

Hen and chicks succulent (Echeveria),

Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis),

Hoya (Hoya exotica),

Ice plant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum),

Impatients (Impatiens),

Jade plant (Crassula argentea),

Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica),

Jasmine (Jasminum officinale: J. grandifloum),

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis),

Marigold (Calendula officinalis),

Monkey plant (Ruellia makoyana),

Mother of pearl (Graptopetalum paraguayen),

Natal plum (Carissa grandiflora),

Orchids (Dendrobium, Epidendurm, Haemaria, Oncidium)

Painted nettle (Coleus),

Palms (Areca sp.),

Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana),

Parlour palm (Chamaedorea elegans),

Pepermonia (Peperomia caperata),

Petunia (Petunia),

Phoenix (Phoenix roebelenii),

Peacock Plant (Calathea stromata; Marantaceae)

Piggyback plant (Tolmiea menziesii),

Pilea (Pilea sp.),

Pink polka dot plant (H. ypoestes sang.),

Ponytail plant (Beaucarnea recurvata),

Prayer plant (Maranta leuconeura),

Purple passion, or purple velvet (Gynura),

Rosary Vine (Ceropegia woodii)

Sanseveria trifasciata, including the following cultivars: Bentel's Sensation, Laurenti, Moonshine, Gray Lady.

Sanseveria parva, including cultivars: Hahnii, Hahnii "Loop's Pride", Hahnii Silver Frost, Golden Hahnii.

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum),

Staghorn fern (Platycerium bifurcatum),

Sweedish ivy (Plectranthus australis),

Tree mallow (Lavatera assurgentiflora),

Umbrella plant (Eriogonum umbrellum)#,

Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus inserta) Virginia Spiderwort*

Velvet plant (Gynura aurantaca),

Wandering jew* (Tradescantia albiflora),

Warneki (Dracaena deremensis),

Weeping Figs* (Ficus benjamina)

Wax plant (Hoya exotica),

Zebra plant (Calathea zebrina),

Zinnias (Zinnia sp.)





+Not to be confused with another "creeping charlie," Glecoma heteracea which is toxic

#Not to be confused with another "umbrella" plant, Schefflera actinophylla which is toxic.

* There has been some concern expressed about the milky sap that oozes from broken leaves and twiglets of the various Ficus species. The sap may be an eye/skin irritant to the animal that brushes up against it and gets it in their eyes (as may happen by accident in passing or when rubbing the eyelid against it as it gets ready to shed).

MaintenanceIn order to maintain an attractive, healthy environment for your gecko, a regular cleaning regime needs to be done.

  • Daily spot cleanings to collect faeces from the walls and substrate.


  • Daily cleaning and refilling of the water dish


  • 2-3 times daily misting of enclosure to maintain the humidity required (40-80%).


  • Replace substrate every three months or sooner, as needed.


Cork bark tubes or other decorations that have become soiled can be removed from the enclosure and sprayed with a mild bleach solution (5% bleach 95% water).

Rinse them under warm water until you can no longer smell any bleach residue and allow to dry before reintroducing to the tank.

Feeding your geckoTokay's generally have voracious appetites and are aggressive eaters. Ideally, Your tokay should be fed small amounts frequently as opposed to all in one go, mass feedings are irregular to and wouldn’t be how they fed in their natural environment. All live food should be “Gut loaded” (this can be achieved by feeding crickets specially made cricket formulas Which are high in calcium or just adding porridge oats, with a piece of potato, carrot or cricket gel to keep them hydrated. It’s not just your reps you have to keep in top conditions their food also needs a good life to give your reptiles a good life!
T-REX offer a good product called Calcium plus Its in pellet form, So is even better, No need to try mix it with anything. Just read the instructions supplied.


Live Food
Crickets/Locust's – These should be fed as the main diet for your Tokay. They are available from all good pet stores, in a range of sizes both large and small. Adult Tokay's can easily eat large crickets/locusts, Some very young sub adults and newly hatched tokay's may require smaller or even pin head crickets/Locusts (extra small). I have found though that black crickets are much better and are readily taken over locust. Tokay’s just seem to prefer them in my experience but both are fine as a main diet.
Pinkie/Fuzzy mice – An adult Tokay gecko can be fed “pinkie” mice occasionally to supplement their diet. Don't try to feed too large a prey item to your tokay, They may not be able to swallow it, and may choke, OR you are left with having to leave them till they decide to let go (which could take up to 90mins), during which harmful bacteria may be added to your enclosure. These can be purchased already culled and frozen in pet stores. It’s up to the owner if they wish to breed mice and cull them selves. Its a frouned upon practice in the UK, how ever it is not illegal, It is only illegal for a store to sell pet mice as live food. So unfortunately you would have to breed them your selves if you would prefer to feed live.





Meal worms and wax worms – These items should not be used as a mainstay to feed your gecko. They are fine with a varied diet but don’t contain all the nutrition they require. Wax worms are high in fat; these are good if you wish to gain weight on your gecko for breeding, or if it’s a skinny one from a store due to recent importation.
Phoenix worms – Hard to come by, and are quite small how ever FULL in calcium, Excellent if your gecko is gravid, or you are breeding.
Dubai Roaches – Can also be fed as a staple diet, Again require gut loading, Brilliant breeders, but expensive to start of a colony, Adults reach the size of 4” males have wings, and females don't. How ever grotesque you think they are, they don't smell, they cannot climb, Males don't fly and are quite a good staple. The young are perfect for other reptiles, and adults are perfect for the larger reptiles. Have soft outer shells unlike meal worms so are great. And they don't jump and can’t escape! PERFECT.






Vitamin and mineral supplementsPowdered supplements are the most commonly used and typically come in separate containers: Vitamins and calcium supplement. Nutrobal is the vitamins, and Calypso is the most popular Calcium, both are widely used by herpetologists across the globe.
They are used to “dust” food items prior to feeding for maximum nutritional value. Dust your live food with calcium 3-4 days a week, and dust with nutrobal once. Regardless what some stores say you NEED them both. They both do what they are meant to keep your reptiles healthy. Your gecko does not need to be fed every day of the week, Its up to the keeper, Just remember in the wild they don't eat every Day/Night so one day with out food wont hurt will only keep them interested.



WaterThere is a number of ways to provide drinking water for your geckos.Water bowl – A large shallow bowl provides a constant supply of clean drinking water for your tokay, How ever you may notice the geckos never really drink from it, This is due to being able to hydrate from daily misting and just licking the glass, or them selves IE licking their eyes. The water bowl is predominantly for humidity.
Misting – This can be done about 2-3x daily to help maintain humidity, and the geckos may lick the water droplets off the glass and other surfaces (so keep your tank clean!). Most Tokay will learn to drink from a dish, or may never learn due to being wild caught. For this reason they need multiple options in order to hydrate.
Drips – Items can be placed on the sides, top and allowed to drip in to the terrarium. A cup with a small hole in the bottom will also work with exo-terra terrarium lid. You can also purchase drips from reptile stores, and the internet.

Shedding

As Tokay’s are nocturnal they will shed at night and eat it. They usually retire to their hide to shed and is not often seen. You may notice that your Tokay’s colour becomes cloudy or darker than usual a up to a week before they shed and may also lose some of their grip due to the skin on their feet becoming loose.



Breeding your Tokay's
Sexing
Identifying the sex of Tokay geckos is fairly easy. Male Tokay’s tend to be larger, thicker and have wider, more angular heads than females. Male Tokay geckos typically have brighter grey and blue base colours while females tend to be darker grey and brown base colours.



The most definitive way of sexing them is to check underneath between their rear legs and just above the vent for a line of pores.

Adult male Tokay’s have a very pronounced series of pores that form a somewhat V-shaped line or ridge that may have tiny, waxy protrusions. It should be very noticeable in mature males. Female Tokay geckos also have these pores, but they are not as pronounced or obvious and look like they have dimples rather than waxy protrusions.
Never try to keep more than one male Tokay in one enclosure. Tokay geckos are very territorial and males will fight with each other resulting in injury or death. Several females may be kept together in larger tanks. Do not overcrowd. In the wild Tokay geckos are very solitary and only seek each other out during mating season. For this reason, some people choose to keep their Tokay’s separated except for a breeding season.


If you notice any aggressive behaviour between house mates, then separate them, always make sure you have a back up Enclosure.



MatingTokay geckos should breed with little or no encouragement if they are in good health and have good temperatures and humidity. In the wild, Tokay geckos breeding season begins in spring and last several months. This breeding season is marked by increased daylight hours and rains.

In captivity, this can be reproduced by increasing the humidity and lighting period by one or two hours and a slight temperature increase of a couple of Farenheight. Feeding should be increased and a dish of calcium supplement kept available in the enclosure. This will ensure the female Tokay gets sufficient calcium and food to lay healthy eggs.
Male Tokay’s will often vocalise to attract a female with a loud booming bark. Other courtship behaviour involves a lot of posturing and head bobbing. The male Tokay gecko will rub the females flanks with his nose then climb on top of the female, often grasping her by the neck, and attempt to mate with her. This may leave marks on her neck, Or deep wounds, so always make sure there is tamodine on hand or a local vet if required.



Egg LayingFemale Tokay geckos lay clutch of 2 eggs at a time. The eggs are initially soft and the mother forms them into their final shape with her rear feet as they harden. The eggs are adhered to a surface and are difficult to removed without damaging them. Female Tokay’s will often continue to lay their eggs in the same spot over and over. A single female may lay up to 3 or 4 clutches of eggs per year.
The eggs are glued to a surface and form a pure white, round dome shape measuring approximately 3/4" in diameter. Sometimes the mother will later eat the eggs. This may be because of a calcium shortage or if she thinks the eggs are infertile.
Incubating EggsIt is not advised to try to move the eggs, the best method is to simply cover the eggs with a yogurt pot with holes made in to it for air or very fine netting like in a fishing net, this stops live food eating them and accidental damage from the tokays, and also contains the babies once they have hatched so they can be removed safely. If the eggs must be removed then they should be incubated on vermiculite or other slightly moistened substrate.

Maintain temperatures between 80 an 86 degrees farenheight. Eggs should hatch in 90-120 days typically. Lower temperature can result in longer incubation time, up to 200 days. Incubation temperatures are also known to affect the sex of the hatchlings. Higher incubation temperatures cause higher percentages of male hatchlings.



Raising YoungTokay geckos are 3-4" long when they emerge from their egg. The first things they do are shed and eat the old skin. They should be maintained in same, but separate, conditions as adults. Feed them the small size crickets until they are large enough for adult sized crickets. A general rule of thumb is not feeding anything equal to, or larger, than the space in-between the geckos eyes.


HandlingTokay geckos initially DO NOT want to be handled, simply as they would prefer you to leave them be, but being humans, we like the challenge. If you are unsure, Always wear a glove that is thick enough to protect your fingers from a nip, but thin enough to be able to hold the gecko as they are strong and wiggle about as much as they can to get out, until they calm down.
Normal handling – Restrain the gecko with two fingers placed behind the gecko’s ears, any further back and they can swing round to nip you. Keep your wits about you, if you let these go you lose! And will have to start again with an even more stressed out angry gecko.




Use the palm of your hand as a restraint on the geckos back, Don't hold on too tight as you don't want to damage the gecko, but don't hold on too lose either as the gecko will bite you. They wouldn't think twice about it and will not let go! And can hold on as long as they like!
An alternative method is handling with an aid: Geckos love to bite, so give them something to bite to get it out their system.


A small teddy can be used, It can take there attention to that rather than your finger. I have not experienced or read much on this method though. REMEMBER as stated in the introduction, Tokays that feel threatened or are restrained by the tail may drop it as a defensive mechanism so remember to be careful when catching your Tokay.




Tokay Taming Guide

Please read to the very end before starting,

This is NOT and instant tame, it takes weeks and in some cases many months.

Please be patient with it, and don’t get disheartened if you can’t spend the full amount of time required I.E getting the tokay out 3 times a day for 30mins at time, this method will still work with less commitment but will take a lot longer, it is still possible though so don’t give up.



Ok, before you start you will need to set it up so,

You have a pair of gloves ready,

Your room is around 5-10 degrees F lower than the vivarium so it matches night time temperatures.

Step 1,

For 1-2 weeks you need to get your tokay used to you being in his viv, this is done by (gloves on) putting your hand in the viv, and just touching stuff or moving stuff about, do this a couple of times a day for a week or two and they should be used to you going in the viv and won’t be as scatty.

Step 2,

Getting the tokay used to YOU, For approximately 2 weeks you should get your tokay out WITH GLOVES, 2 – 3 times a day for around 20 – 30 mins at a time, this regular handling gets the tokay used to being caught., TIP warm the gloves up first if they are leather as the sudden temperature drop will shock them and they will be harder to calm down at this stage as your trying to get them used to being caught and held.

Step 3,

This is the tricky bit; this can take anything from 1 week up to a couple of months depending on the lizard and how stubborn they are. Again should be done 2 – 3 times a day for around 20 – 30 mins at a time.

With gloved hands, using your non dominant hand (if your right handed use your left) make a ledge on your body by putting your arm across it and keeping your palm up.

NOW BE BRAVE HERE, put your other hand with the tokay in it on your arm near the elbow, don’t be scared if he tries to get between your arm and body, this is actually good as he will hide between your arm and body and this will get your tokay to associate your scent with safety from the glove and as your room is cooler than the viv and your body is warm, he’ll think your warming his as well as protecting him, cool eh. TRY THIS ON THE SOFA, that way if hejumps or runs he can be caught safely without hurting him.













Step 4,

Once he’s associated you with warmth and safety which could be a very long time so don’t use the stated times as exact, make sure the explanation of why your doing this step matches what your lizard is doing, it can be done in a couple of weeks but it may take months so be patient. NOW BE EVEN MORE BRAVE HERE, get your tokay out and calm him down by doing a step 3 so he’s calm and chilled, now, place your tokay on the settee and take off one of the gloves, place your un gloved hand palm down on the settee, slowly AND I MEAN SLOWLY, move your hand towards the tokays head, if he starts to show signs of aggression or defence eg, arching its back, blowing itself up, gaping, barking, going dark etc then continue with step 3 for a couple more days, but if your tokay don’t move you should leave your hand about 1cm away from his nose, if it licks you YOU’VE DONE IT, if he walks on your hand of his own accord YOU’VE DONE IT, WELL DONE.

Please be patient, I can’t stress this enough, and if you try to rush it you will get the opposite effect.

You will need to get your Tokay out at least once a day for a min of 20 mins once tamed to keep him that way.

I use 20 – 30 mins periods as a guide line only, as long as your getting them out at least 2 – 3 times a day you can keep them out for as long as you like providing that room ambient temperature is quite high (keep an eye on them, if they looked stressed put them back).



How do Tokays feet work?

The bottoms of gecko's feet are covered with millions of tiny foot hairs on each toe, these foot hairs are called setae, each are about as long as the width of two human hairs (about 100 millionths of a meter). Each seta, is divided at the end into approximately a thousand tiny spatulae (Called this due to their shape) which are about 200 billionths of a meter wide, which is smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Using these setae and spatulae a gecko’s toes can create a large surface contact area. Using such tiny spatulae, they are able to make use of Van-Der Waals force a weak attractive force which is present between molecules, to stick themselves to almost any surface. Geckos' feet are naturally ultra hydrophobic, in this case, hydrophobic referring to a molecule which is repelled by water or is a water repellent and have been tested by sticking them to a GaAs semiconductor, which is also hydrophobic.

The only thing known to make two hydrophobic surfaces adhere in air is Van der Waal's force.




The seta on gecko’s feet is 10 times more adhesive than predicted from prior measurement on whole animals. The adhesive is so strong that a single seta can lift the weight of an ant 200 µN = 20 mg. A million setae could lift the weight of a child (20kg, 45lbs).

A million setae could easily fit onto the area the size of a one pound coin. The combined attraction of a billion spatulae is a thousand times more than a gecko needs to hang from the ceiling.

The maximum potential force of 2 million setae on 4 feet of a gecko would be; 2 million x 200 micro Newton = 400 Newton = 40.78 kilograms of force, or about 90 lbs. This is 600 times greater sticking power than friction alone can account for.
Any gecko can hold up its entire body weight with only a single finger. To get such a sticky foot off the surface is as easy to them as putting it on, they simply increase the angle of the foot and it just pops off
. This is helped, of course, by the fact that gecko’s toes are backwards-jointed, meaning that when they flex their toes they curl upward rather than downward, allowing them to peel their toes from the surface to which they are stuck.
Gecko feet are also self cleaning. Because the same force applies between dirt particles and the surfaces the geckos walk on, the dirt prefers to stick to the relatively large and attractive surface rather than the tiny spatulae on the gecko's feet. So when a gecko's feet get dirty, all they have to do is walk a few steps and they are clean again. A geckos adhesive microstructure requires minimal attachment force, leaves no residue, is directional, detaches without measurable forces, is self cleaning, and works underwater, in a vacuum, and on nearly every surface material and profile.
In other words, perfect for synthesis.





How geckos eyes work

Certain gecko’s can see color in dim light. That means these gecko’s eyes are about 350 times more sensitive than human eyes, which see only black and white in the same conditions. Scientists studying gecko’s eyes found distinct concentric zones, each with a different refractive power. Geckos also have a much higher density of oversized cone cells in their retinas that are responsible for detecting specific light wavelengths. In their studies the researchers found that together, these zones and cones form a multifocal optical system. Furthermore, the refractive powers of their lens array is of the same magnitude as needed to focus light of the wavelength range to which gecko photoreceptors are most sensitive.



Thus, the various parts of this gecko’s eyes are finely tuned to work together, allowing the animal to sharply focus on at least two different depth fields at the same time. In addition to seeing color in the dark, the geckos have built-in correctional abilities for blurred images caused by longitudinal chromatic aberration, or the failure to focus all colors to the same point. The authors of the study asserted that at some point in evolution the geckos turned to a nocturnal lifestyle. In response to the demands of nocturnal vision without rods, the cones of nocturnal geckos have become much larger and more light sensitive than those of their diurnal relatives.













Frequently asked questions and problems



Q: Why isn’t my Tokay sticking to the sides/sliding down the sides?

A: Usually a day or so before shedding the skin on the feet becomes loose and they can struggle to stick to surfaces, Also a build up of lime from misting in hard water areas could also cause your Tokay to have lower levels of grip.



Q: My tokay doesn’t seem to be eating?

A: Remember that your Tokay is nocturnal and will predominantly hunt at night so remember to check you substrate for faeces, if there is faeces present then they are eating, if there is no faeces present try offering food via feeding tongs.





Q: How do I know if my Tokays are fighting or breeding?

A: Breeding will compose of the male rubbing her flanks with his nose then mounting and grasping by the back of the neck, also their tails will seem entwined where as fighting postures will be raising the body up and slightly to one side to make them look bigger, gapping and barking at each other and charging at each other whilst growling.



Q: Why is my Tokay always dark coloured?

A: Tokays may display dark colouration for many reasons, the main reasons being due to incorrect temperatures, humidity or a change in the habitat, the tokay may also be spooked by other house hold pets such as cats and dogs.



Q: Why is my Tokay always hiding?

A: Tokays are predominantly nocturnal and will hide during the day for safety although when they feel comfortable in their environment they may venture out in the day. Other contributing factors may be that the lights you are using are too bright so try using pearl bulbs and avoid bright UV tubes.











Q: Why isn’t there any shed skin in the vivarium?

A: Tokays will eat their shed for two reasons, in the wild they will eat it so they don’t leave ant scents or traces that ground dwelling predators may follow to give away their location, also it contains nutrients and calcium which they benefit from by eating.



Q: Why does my Tokay defecate in the same place?

A: Tokays will defecate in the same place as in the wild they will move as far as possible from their favourite hide to prevent illness and to keep the scent away from their hide so you will usually find they will defecate at the furthest point from their favourite hide.



Q: What is the best way to transport, move or contain my Tokay should I need to move or contain whilst cleaning the vivarium?

A: See handling section for catching your Tokay, the best way to temporarily house them is to keep them in a 1ftx1ft floor space tub with some of their foliage and hides to keep them comfortable, if you are going to contain them for extended periods of longer than 30mins or so then a heat source will be required to keep them warm, reptile heat packs can be purchased online, alternatively a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel will suffice. If the Tokay isn’t going to leave the house then an ambient room temperature will suffice for simple viv cleaning that may exceed 30mins.



Jargon buster

WC = Wild caught

CB = Captive bred

LTC = Long term captive

CF = Captive farmed

To-Kay = A written description of the sound a Tokay gecko makes when calling. Re-gen = Short for regenerated, This refers to the Tokays tail


Last edited by ginnerone on Thu Aug 12, 2010 5:16 am; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

Post by ginnerone on Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:26 am

Classification of the Tokay Gecko


Kingdom
:

Animalia



Phylum:

Chordata

Subphylum:


Vertebrata

Superclass:


Gnathastomata

Class:


Reptilia

Subclass:


Diapsida

Superorder:


Lepidosauria

Order:


Squamata

Suborder:


Lacertillia

Family:


Gekkonidae

Genus:


Gecko

Species:


Gecko

Kingdom Animalia
Tokay Gecko’s are multi cellular, heterotrophic eukaryotes that lack cell walls and exist by ingesting food and digesting it within specialized cavities and belonging to the Kingdom Animalia. Characteristics of organisms of this Kingdom also include nervous tissue, muscle tissue and sexual reproduction

Phylum Chordata
Chordates are organisms that posses a structure called a notochord which stiffens the body and acts as support during locomotion. Chordates also possess:
- a pair of Pharyngeal slits that allow water to enter the mouth without continuing through the entire digestive tract,
- a Dorsal, Hollow Nerve cord that connects the brain with the muscles and other organs,
- and a muscular, post anal tail that extends past the anus.

Subphylum Vertebrata
Vertebrates all share a vertebral column that replaces the notocord as the chief stiffener of the body in locomotion. During their embryonic development, all vertebrates pass through a stage termed ‘pharyngula’ where they all contain a notocord, a dorsal hollow nerve cord, a post anal tail, and a series of paired brachial grooves.

Super class Gnathostomata
Characterised as "Vertebrates with Jaws". Characteristics include: A vertical biting device called jaws and 2 pairs of paired appendages. Both fish and tetra pods are represented here.



Class Reptillia
First vertebrates to live and spawn on dry land, having incorporated an egg that allowed for an embryo to grow in the water while the egg is laid out of the water. Reptiles are poikilotherms, using external heat sources such as solar radiation instead of metabolism to regulate body temperatures. Body covered with scales that reduce fluid loss. Scales are covered by a keratinized outer layer of the epidermis. The keratinized layer is composed of dead cells and incapable of growing; hence, the reptile sheds its skin as its body grows.
The eggs are covered with a shell that contains a membrane.
Here is the rough number of reptile species on various continents and in selected geographic areas.
North America -- 340 species


South America -- 1560 species
Australia -- 850 species


Europe -- 200 species
Africa -- 1320 species


Asia -- 2050 species
Eurasia -- 360 species
Combined Islands/Oceanside communities -- 2290 species

Subclass Diapsida
Reptiles are classified by the presence or absence of temporal openings on the skull:
Diapsids have 2 temporal openings on the side wall of the skull and gave rise to snakes and saurian’s.
Anapsids are without temporal openings and are the skull type of turtles and tortoises.
Parapsids had a single opening at the top of the skull and are labelled as extinct fishlike reptiles. Euryapsids had a single opening that is larger and lower on the skull. than Parpsids and are labelled as extinct marine-like reptiles. Synapsids had a single opening and branch off toward mammal like. reptiles and mammals.

Superorder Lepidosauria
First appeared in the Permian period 286 million years ago.
Mostly small animals and not frequently found as fossils.
The sphenodon belongs to a group of Lepidosaurians that has. survived nearly unchanged for the last 200 million years.

Order Squamata
Contains two suborders:
The Lacertillia (lizards) and the Ophidia (snakes). It has been suggested that the Iguanas belong to a third suborder separate from the Lacertillia or the Ophidia, however, it has never been established. Suborder Lacertillia or (Sauria) Skull Structure mimics that of Ophidia (snakes) and Live everywhere on Earth except the North and South Poles. Femoral pores that secrete a liquid are present
.

This liquid is thought to make copulation easier and/or attract a mate. They have the ability to loose and re-generate a portion of their tail. The beginnings of an external ear is found.

Family Geckonidae
Form a large family of about 75 genera and 100's of species.
Contain both Nocturnal and Arboreal species. Big, cat-like, speckled eyes. Pupils contract to slits in daylight and open wide in the darkness. Digits have both claws and friction pads for climbing. Males usually have pre-anal and femoral pores, as well as post anal sacs.

Genus Gekko
Only Saurian’s can emit sounds . Predominantly Nocturnal and Can change colours slightly to better blend in with their surrounding environment.
Widest range of tail variation among all lizard families. In some species, the tail acts as a storehouse for the reserve of nutrients on which the gecko can draw upon when suffering unfavourable conditions. They have soft skin that is covered with small scales and Lidless eyes that are covered by a single scale and cleaned with the tongue. They can cling to and climb smooth surfaces with their feet, characterized as broad digits with lamellae. The underside of the lamellae disk is made of a transverse, fan shaped series of narrow plates called setae which bear minute, hair like processes or papillae called spatulae that can be pressed into tiny irregularities of the surface.

Species gecko
From South-East Asia, Oviparous, Nocturnal Insectivores and are the second Largest species of Gecko. They have a Voice or Mating call and the Remains of a third eye with a Hearing range from 300 to 10,000 Hertz
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Re: Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

Post by ginnerone on Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:30 am

This care guide took me many years to produce, fine tune and research and is completley factual or experience based infomation and is proven to work time and time again.
i hope you enjoyed reading it even though it is a little information intensive
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Re: Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

Post by xvickyx on Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:17 pm

This is fantastic Smile I reallyt enjoyed reading it Very Happy

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Re: Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

Post by x_firefly_x on Thu Jun 24, 2010 2:19 pm

Wow, that was a fantastic read!! Very Happy
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Re: Tokay Gecko ultimate care guide

Post by ginnerone on Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:33 am

Thanks guys, it took me long enough to write lol, and thats the short version without extras and pictures for help sexing, handling, feeding etc
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