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GREEN TREE FROGS Hyla cinerea

30 Apr

GREEN TREE FROGS Hyla cinerea

Photos by Michael McLarty

When it comes to amphibians that are kept in captivity today, the most popular by far are the frog species.  Within the Hylidae family, there are about thirty-six genera of frogs.  There are possibly more genera, partly because the taxonomy of the Amphibia class is one that is highly dynamic and constantly changing.  Within this article, I will cover the basics as well as some advanced techniques for care of one of the more popular and easier kept species, known as the Green Tree Frog Hyla cinerea.

Schneider originally described Hyla cinerea in 1799.  They are found natively in the Eastern United States from Southeastern Texas, Florida, and up into parts of Eastern Kentucky[i].  Their natural habitat is can be described as marshes, lakes, and ponds.  Within their native areas, some consider them a back yard or everyday species.  Today in these native areas you can readily find them for sale at almost all retail pet locations.

Description

The Green Tree Frog Hyla cinerea are small frogs measuring 1 ¼ to 2 ¼ inches in total length. As the name implies they’re green in color but different populations may also have some variances within color.  The coloration can be olive, to bright lime green.  They also can change their color in response to temperature and possibly the lighting that they receive.  Some have yellow or white spotting about the dorsum, which may be brighter in some specimens.  Typically, they all have a white, cream, or yellow stripe that runs from the jaw to the hindquarters.  I have seen some with this stripe in a silvery tone and others without this stripe at all.

To say there are many variances within the species would be an understatement at the least.  But the fun doesn’t stop here.  There are the occasional albino Green Tree Frogs Hyla cinerea produced through captive breeding as well as the coveted Axanthic or Blue strain.  With that said, I have looked for the Axanthic strain and have seen photos but have never seen one live nor have I been able to find them for sale.  I haven’t read any documentation of what ever occurred with the Axanthic strain but I would presume that it was a trait that was not genetically passed on or one that for whatever reason simply could not be reproduced in captivity.

Which Froggy in the Window?

When going to purchase a H. cinerea Green Tree Frog there a few characteristics to look for that can be very helpful to make sure you select one that is healthy.  Look for one that is filled out where the bones aren’t showing through the skin.  In other words, the frog should not be emaciated in any way.  If possible, look for the stool within the enclosure that you are planning on selecting from.  If you see runny or bloody stool do not purchase a frog from that enclosure.  Ask to handle the frog before purchasing it.  When it is in hand, look carefully at the underside and nose for any redness or sores.  This is generally a sign of either a bacterial infection and or that there are too many frogs in one enclosure.  Snout rubbing is often seen in amphibians when they are either overcrowded or are not given a large enough enclosure.

Captive Conditions

Even the most frugal people (like me) who are interested in keeping H. cinerea can easily meet their captive requirements.  I will first lay out the minimal requirements of their captive environment and then I will detail what is in my opinion the most interesting environment.  Never handle any type of amphibian unless it is absolutely required and even then, I would suggest using rubber latex gloves that have been moistened with reverse osmosis water.  The reason for this is that the oils and other such things on our hands might be toxic to our pet amphibians.  The two ways to keep H. cinerea are the basic “breeder” environment and the more expansive natural vivaria which includes live plants.

Basic “Breeder” Enclosure

For the basic enclosure, you can use a twenty-gallon aquarium with a screen top.  Smaller enclosures do not allow enough space for the normal activity of this species.  If you want to keep more than one per enclosure then I would recommend no more than 3-4 adult frogs per 20 gallon enclosure size.  This will reduce the competition for food and allow all of the frogs to have their own space.

Within this enclosure, you can place a simple potted plant such as a Pothos Epipremnum, Chinese evergreen Aglaonema, or Philodendron sp.  Any of these plants can be easily placed inside while in their pot or instead placed in a jar of water, either of which would be left free standing inside the enclosure itself.  The substrate is most often used in this type of enclosure is newspaper. You can also use brown butcher paper, as well as non-dyed paper towels.  This type of enclosure typically does not retain a high humidity, which might prove to be problematic. Should you live in an area which does not typically have at least a humidity of 70%, counteract this with a cool air humidifier for the room or try adding more jarred plants with water.

Hanging Out

Naturalistic Vivaria

The naturalistic vivaria for the Green Tree Frog H. cinerea is the one that I prefer.  The reason for this is two fold. First I think that all captive animals should be kept in an enclosure that is as close to their natural habitat as possible.  Secondly, I am of the opinion that they display more natural behaviors when kept in a naturalistic vivarium as opposed to a basic set-up.  I will only mention that there are many more options open to the keeper when setting up such an environment.  Naturalistic vivaria consist of several elements, “true” substrates, live plants, climbing/basking branches, and lighting.  A twenty-gallon enclosure can be used for the naturalistic vivarium as well, but I generally recommend one which is slightly larger, such as a twenty-nine gallon with a secured screen top.

Substrates

When keeping Green Tree Frogs H. cinerea in a naturalistic vivarium it is always important to consider all the options that are available for substrates.  I will go through each and offer the reasons that I do or do not use certain types.  However, the final choice is yours and this article should only be considered as a guideline.  The first substrate that can be used is medium grade pea gravel.  I personally do not use this substrate, as it is not aesthetically pleasing to me.  However, if this is a substrate that would be an option to you be sure that the size that is used is not one that could be ingested by the frog during feeding.  Within this substrate, many plants can be grown hydroponically.  You can also increase the humidity easily by filling the gravel bed with water. Typically filling water halfway up a 2” gravel bed will increase the humidity enough, to achieve the desired level.

Orchid bark or Ground cover bark can also be used as a high humidity substrate, which the frogs can not ingest.  Should you choose this option you should make sure to mist the enclosure one to three times a week to make sure that the humidity level is sufficient.  If plants are added they should be left in the pots they came in and given some type of plant lighting to help them maintain proper growth.  Once again, I do not use this set-up because the look of pots is not particularly appealing to me.

Potting soil is another option that is available and is a good choice because we can place the plants directly into the soil.  This type of substrate can be toxic though because it doesn’t drain particularly well unless it placed on top of a gravel bed.  The toxins, specifically ammonia from the Frogs urine, can build up underneath and because the frogs skin is highly permeable can lead to problems.

Commercially available substrates are available from several different manufacturers and depending on your personal taste might be just what you are looking for.  Zoo Med® has several options available at most retail pet shops, as does T-Rex®.  Both share the same claims that they were specifically designed for use with frogs and amphibians.   It has been my personal experience that if you are going to construct a live plant vivarium then the product produced by T-Rex® known as Jungle Bed is the best one to use.  I have used this particular product when constructing numerous planted vivariums and have never been disappointed in the growth of the plants or the humidity levels.

Plants

With all the plants available from home improvement stores and pet stores alike, it may be a disconcerting task to try to select those, which you and your pet might enjoy.  Therefore  I will list the ones that I have used successfully.  Most if not all the plants that you should select will be what are known as indoor houseplants.  The reason for selecting these types of plants is that they are typically smaller, and require less light than those that would be grown regularly outdoors.

Pothos Epipremnum, Chinese evergreen Aglaonema, Philodendron, and Arrowhead Sygonium are in my opinion the best choices when it comes to a live-planted vivarium.  Pothos Epipremnum come in either solid green or a variegated variety and are a long vine type of plant which should be allowed to dry out between watering times.  It is not particular about the humidity and does well under low light conditions, which make it a perfect candidate for the vivarium.

There are four different species of Aglaonema sp. The one known as Chinese evergreen is Aglaonema modestum, which does well in all types of lighting but prefers the soil to be wet.  The Chinese evergreen Aglaonema modestum can grow to heights of 2’ and has 8” long leaves, which the frogs will rest upon making an extremely nice display.  Philodendron scandens is the most commonly used Philodendron in the planting of vivariums.  It is often sold as Heartleaf Philodendron.  This particular species does well in low light and does well in temperatures of 70-85˚F.  The leaves are 2 to 4” in length, are dark green, and as the name implies heart shaped.

Heating and Lighting

I have included heating and lighting into the same sub-heading because essentially they do end up going together most of the time when discussing reptiles.  With H. cinerea Green Tree Frogs however, this is a different case altogether, as we will see.  Because they come from the Eastern United States, they do not require the heating ranges that most of our exotics require.  The Green Tree Frogs H. cinerea do best at temperatures between 78˚ and 85˚ F at the basking area.  The rest of the enclosure should be maintained at 70˚ F mark.

To achieve this I personally use a low wattage ceramic heating element that maintains the needed temperature at a specific site without disturbing the normal circadian rhythm.  This is because recent studies have shown that our reptile and some amphibians can actually see the red wavelengths in light that are put out by the incandescent red lights that are typically used by most herpetoculturists.  Although the ceramic heating elements are slightly more costly they do seem to last longer than the incandescent bulbs which wear out quickly through continuous turning on and off.  You could also use a pulse proportional thermostat with either the red incandescent bulbs or the ceramic heating element however these are costly and do not seem to be a necessity if you monitor temperatures carefully.

When it comes to daytime needs of the vivarium, it may surprise some readers that I actually recommend some type of UV bulb be used.  Even though H. cinerea Green Tree Frogs are Crepuscular or Nocturnal, depending on whose report you read, I am of the opinion that this allows for better psychological health when it comes to the maintenance of this and all other species of  amphibian.  Not to mention of course, that the UV lighting is still required by the plants that I have suggested earlier.  Simply because they are “shade” plants does not mean that they will grow without light.  It has been my experience as well that when the UV light is on an inexpensive timer this allows for a normal day and night cycle that the frogs themselves seem to figure this out and begin their nightly or daily routines in synchronicity with the light.

Diet

When it comes to the feeding of H. cinerea Green Tree Frogs there is little debate as to what is and what isn’t a proper diet.  As with most Hyla sp., they should be fed a regimented diet of Gray Crickets Acheta domesticus.  Typically, I feed about five Gray Crickets A. domesticus per frog every other day.  Some keepers claim that they have had success feeding Mealworms Tenebrio molitor as an occasional treat to their H. cinerea Green Tree Frogs.  I have personally never had success trying to feed these.  It appears to me that the frogs are highly dependant on the movement of the Gray Crickets A. domesticus in order to find the food.

If this were something that you would like to try with your frogs then I would do so in a small dish that could be placed within the niche of a branch or another such place where it was not on the substrate itself.  This would, in my opinion be a more natural setting where H. cinerea Green Tree Frogs would most likely see the prey item and be more likely to consume such fare.

Any insects that are fed to your frogs should also either be gut loaded or at minimum dusted with a calcium/multivitamin supplement of some kind.  There are many arguments which go back and forth for which of these is better in my experience, unless you have multiple insect eating reptiles and amphibians it is easier to simply dust them with a multivitamin twice a week and then alternate to a calcium dusting twice a week.  When dusting apply the dust with just a light coating meaning shake the powder onto the Gray Crickets A. domesticus and shake the bag if there is powder left over in the bag then the next time you feed try using less.

Maintenance

When it comes to the maintenance of H. cinerea there are really only a few major points of concern.  Daily the water must be changed.  This is not something that can not be overlooked, as all amphibians absorb water through their skins.  Fouled water is one of the biggest causes of health related complications when it comes to amphibians of all species.  Once a week I will wipe down the glass with Reverse Osmosis water and remove any fecal material that is visible.

During the summer and spring months when the air is somewhat dryer, I will spray the entire vivarium about twice a day.  This should be done with Reverse Osmosis water as tap water generally leaves water spots and a film, which seemingly can not be removed if used continuously.  During the fall and winter months, I spray less often as I do not want to lower the temperature too much, beyond what they might be used to in the wild.

Final Thoughts

Green Tree Frogs H. cinerea are great introductory species to the world of frog keeping and are in my opinion a great display amphibian which deserves more than a passing glance.  Whether you are a seasoned herpetoculturist or someone who is thinking of possibly getting into the world of keeping reptiles and amphibians I would highly recommend this species.  This is a frog, which is easily cared for and may lead you to discover that you may want to go further into the world vivariums and possibly even opening the door for you to begin keeping more difficult species of amphibians later.


[i] http://wwknapp.home.mindspring.com/docs/green.tfrog.html

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Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

8 Apr

Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Rafinesque originally described the Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens and the Peninsula Newt Notophthalmus viridescens piaropicola in 1820.  Since that time, two other subspecies of the genus Notophthalmus have been described.  For the sake of completeness, they are the Central Newt Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis, which was originally described by Wolterstorff in 1914 and the Broken Stripe Newt Notophthalmus viridescens dorsalis as described by Harlan in 1828[i].my purposes within this blog, however I am focusing on the Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens.

Description

The Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens as you might imagine has reddish orange spots which number anywhere from three to eight and are located on the dorsum, and are encircled in black.  Most of the ones I have seen and cared for have an olive ground color.  This is also in itself covered in smaller black dots like someone literally peppered them with Black Pepper, which cover the dorsum and ventral areas as well as the limbs.  The babies or Efts as they are properly known are an amazing red color with the same reddish spots outlined in black.  Adults measure almost 4 ½” in total length.  They are found on the Eastern coast of the United States and Southeastern Canada.

Housing

The Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens is can be housed with others of its own kind.  There are other species which are combative and not suitable to live with one another.  We recommend no more than three adults in a 15-gallon fish tank measuring 20 ¼” by 10 ½ by 18 ¾”.  As with any enclosure that has an open top, we would highly recommend that you also purchase a screen top for the enclosure, which fits snugly and can be clipped in place.  The reason for using a fish tank rather than a reptile terrarium is that reptile products generally speaking are not designed to hold water.

Substrate

Red-spotted Newts Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens should be kept in anywhere from 6” to 12” inches of water.  As mentioned, earlier in the overview I highly recommend that you use reverse osmosis water instead of just de-chlorinated.  Natural colored aquarium gravel is an excellent substrate, which I have used when wanting a more natural tank.  Natural meaning I used live plants to enhance the enclosure, which will be, covered more in depth in the décor section for this species.  Red Efts or baby Red-spotted Newts should be kept on a forest floor type of bedding until they reach sexual maturity.  Red Efts are harder to take care of and therefore are not covered within this Blog.

Décor

When it comes to decorating the enclosure of the Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens it really is more about the plants than anything else.  I have always placed at least one or two tethered pieces of cork bark with our enclosures.  You can do this or use floating turtle islands as well.  To tether pieces of cork bark we use a piece of monofilament fishing line tied or use aquarium silicone to attach it to the bark.  At the other end, we use a regular led weight typically meant for fishing and this keeps the bark from floating all over the tank.

Any kind of freshwater aquarium plants (see plant index for specifics) can be added to the gravel.  These will also help filter out toxins, which can build up.  Larger rocks and other pieces of aquarium safe driftwood can be used as well.  These would lead from the gravel up to and breaking the surface of the water.  These pieces would represent a more natural environment to the Newts.

Lighting

When attempting to light this species we use a tropical fish fluorescent bulb suited for plants.  This does not seem to disturb the Newts at all.  However, I must caution against using a high output incandescent light (see overview on Lighting) as this will heat the aquarium as well and may end up stressing out the Newts.  It is not known whether or not the Newts require exposure to UVB.  All that I have kept have shown no preference or ill health when not kept with UVB exposure so we would presume this is not a necessity to this species.

Heating

The water temperature for this particular species should be maintained anywhere between 60 to 74˚ F during the spring and summer months.  During the fall and winter months, however we generally reduce this to 40 or 50˚F.

Filtration

The type of filter that I recommend is a submersible type.  These are sold generally as a Turtle filter but have worked when keeping all types of aquatic amphibians.  With the Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens I recommend that you turn the flow down or at least partially block the flow if it is not adjustable.  This will keep the Newts from being blown around the aquarium.  They seem to enjoy a smaller flow of water and exhibit a more natural behavior with this rather than a fast flow which would be more apt to other types of Newts and Salamanders.  Make sure to clean the filter itself about every week or two weeks.


[i] http://www.livingunderworld.org/caudata/database/salamandridae/notophthalmus/viridescens/index.shtml

Day Geckos Phelsuma species Natures Island Jewels

4 Apr

When it comes to the captive reptile species of geckos, few can rival the inherent elegance of the Phelsuma sp. They are generally considered to be a more delicate species but they can be a fun and rewarding species to keep once you have the correct information on how to care for them. According to the most recent information that I have been able to gather there are no less than 47 separate species of the Phelsuma genera.  Within the 47 species 3 are generally readily available in the captive reptile market.  It is those species that I will cover in the following article as well as their captive care and maintenance.  I will not go into detail for each species but more of a generalization so that you can get an idea of the work involved with keeping Day Gecko Phelsuma sp.

The very first thing we must all understand about Day Geckos Phelsuma sp is that they are a vertically orientated species.  This means that rather than a long terrarium or enclosure you must provide a taller one.  Being vertically inclined they have lamella this basically means in plain language “sticky” toes which allow them to cling to “smooth” vertical surfaces thus allowing them to climb seemingly impossible surfaces so be sure to have a tight fitting lid for any enclosure.  This is not hard to do by any means as most fish and reptile stores carry both.  Before even shopping for enclosures or Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. I would strongly encourage you to pick up a book called “Day Geckos in Captivity” by Leann & Greg Christenson which is published by Living Art.  This is an awesome resource for all of your Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. needs.  A friend that had much success with his Gold Dust Day Geckos Phelsuma laticauda read the book and passed it onto me.  This brings us to our first species that I am going to cover.

Species

Gold Dust Day Geckos Phelsuma laticauda laticauda

These are smallest of the three species of Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. that I’m covering here in this treatment.  They typically obtain a total body length of 4” to 5”.  They have a bright green ground color as do most Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. The significant markings on this particular species are the light blue over the eyes as if someone has placed eye shadow on their eyelids.  They also tend to have a trio of three red lines towards the posterior area before the rear legs.  As the common name implies they also display a golden speckle pattern over their neck and shoulders area.

Standing’s Day Gecko Phelsuma standingi

This is the best Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. for beginners to start with when they originally begin to care for Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. because they can usually be easily hand tamed.  When adult size is achieved they are about 10” to 11” in total body length.  Standing’s Day Gecko Phelsuma standingi adults are usually a grey color with light turquoise coloration on the head and tail.  Occasionally, there may also small circular grey patterns on the head and neck or the dorsum.  Juveniles usually have bands across the dorsum which eventually blend and fade out into the adult pattern.

Giant Madagascar Day Gecko Phelsuma madgascariensis grandis

As the name implies this is the largest of all the Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. measuring a full 12” in total body length this really is a giant.  Generally speaking this species of Day Gecko Phelsuma sp is a lot brighter green than its compatriots and there is also another distinguishing mark as well.  They have a red stripes which start at just behind the nostril and run to just before the eye on each side of the head.

Enclosures

Being considered one of the smaller species of Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. the Gold Dust Day Gecko Phelsuma laticauda laticauda can be housed singly in ten gallon enclosures which measure 24 1/4 x 12 1/2 x 12 ¾ or in male/female pairings, some say you can house them singly in five gallons but for me personally that is too small.  For our other two species of Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. I recommend a minimum of a 20 gallon enclosure this way if I want to pair them up later I can do so without buying a larger enclosure.  Enclosures should be either glass or acrylic not the screen type of enclosures normally used for Chameleons.  The reason for this is that the screen enclosures will not hold the humidity that is needed by all Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. for survival.

Whether you choose glass or acrylic is really just a matter of personal preference when it comes to the Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. as they are not a heavy species which might knock down branches etc like a snake would and therefore the risk of scratching is removed.  Be aware though that acrylic is typically twice as expensive as glass.  A twenty gallon size enclosure measures 24 1/4 x 12 1/2 x 16 3/4.

Décor

Decorations will be the same for all three species of Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. mentioned here today.  As already mentioned they are all a vertically inclined species and if not provided with vertical services there are believe it or not serious medical complications that can occur.  For further detail you can purchase the book mentioned earlier as I have personally never experienced such ailments when keeping Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. but evidently from research that I have done this is somewhat of a common thing to happen with inexperienced keepers.

When it comes to the décor of Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. I will usually go with the old standard of Mother-in-Laws Tongue or Snake Plant sansevieria plant.  Something else that is a good idea to use in the enclosure is a cork bark background that can be attached with aquarium silicone to the wall itself.  Make absolutely sure that you use only aquarium silicone as any other may prove to be toxic to your pet.  Bamboo stalks are often used but you can also use cork bark tubes which in my experience are easier to obtain.  The Bamboo stalks or cork bark tubes should be placed at 45 degree angles throughout the enclosure and then the Mother-in-Laws Tongue or Snake Plant sansevieria plant can be placed somewhat in the middle of the enclosure within its own pot.  I would personally use two stalks or tubes giving the Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. a choice which one to use.

Substrate is point which is constantly argued within the captive reptile communities for various reasons and while I try not to fuel such things I have no doubt that this next statement will do so regardless.  When keeping any tropical or sub-tropical species I have always used either orchid bark or groundcover bark which can be purchased at most home improvement stores for less than $6.00 a bag.  In the decade plus that I have been doing this I have never had issues with mites or other bugs, fungus, or any other type of disease being introduced through the use of such materials.  I can only relay my experiences and for those that wish to follow my guidelines so be it if you feel safer buying “reptile” bark then feel free the choice is yours.  Lay down about a 1/2” – 1” layer of bark in the bottom of the entire enclosure and spray with water as needed in order to maintain proper humidity which will covered next.

Environmental Conditions

All of the Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. mentioned above can be kept at temperatures between 82-89 degrees Fahrenheit with a ten degree drop in temperature at night time.  In my observations of this species in captivity there should be a photoperiod of 12 hours per day of UVB exposure which matches the typical day/night cycle of your area.  Provide a basking area near the UVB source of 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit.  This could be provided by many different light sources or ceramic heat emitters the choice is yours.  Keep the humidity levels at or around 60% by spraying with revers osmosis water in the morning when the lights come on and this way the humidity will generally last through the day.

Food

Insects

When it comes to feeding captive Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. there are a few things you can do.  First off, do not feed only crickets or other bug species that are commercially available.  Everyone has their favorite foods but they don’t eat them everyday day in and day out you shouldn’t force your pets to do so either.  Feed a varied diet of insects to your Day Gecko(s) Phelsuma sp. such as crickets, roaches, grasshoppers, and wax worms.  All of these should be bought from commercial breeders and not caught in the home or outside.  Those outside and in the home may have been exposed to pesticide which could cause severe reactions in your pet. When purchasing insect feeders make sure they are no smaller than the width of the head of gecko and no longer than the length of the head.

All of the insects fed to your pet should be “gut loaded” for twenty fours in advance of being fed to your pet.  This is done by placing them in a small enclosure with pieces of fruit, greens, etc which they will feed on and then pass on the ingested nutrients to your Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. They should also be dusted with a calcium supplement prior to entering the enclosure where they are to be consumed.  I will only put in enough insects that the Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. will eat in a one hour time frame otherwise the insects may tend to harass the Day Gecko Phelsuma sp. and some crickets and grasshoppers can actually seriously injure smaller Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. Stay away from feeding mealworms of any kind as they possess a hard shell covering which may cause intestinal blockage and injure the Day Gecko Phelsuma sp.

Nectar

When in the wild Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. eat nectar from various plants that they encounter.  This is somewhat difficult to maintain in a captive environment, all is not lost however.  It has been discovered that we have a ready substitute which seems to work extremely well and we can even add calcium powder to it.  Fruit flavored baby foods are seemingly enjoyed as an alternative to nectar.  They seem to like the tropical flavors best and you can also puree mango, banana and other such tropical fruits and feed that as well.  Personally I go with the store bought baby food and save the trouble.

Vitamins & Minerals

Personally, I have yet to find a product that will beat Miner-All which is produced by Sticky Tongue Farms and sold commercially and via their website.  I have actually had animals raised with it that wouldn’t eat when I ran out and tried substituting another product.  I can only tell you that the products I mention are top notch in my experience & I use nothing else.  When it comes to calcium dosage there is really no way to estimate how much is too much when dusting crickets or other bugs.  However when adding calcium to the baby food I would consider it best to add just a thimble full or maybe a ¼ teaspoon at each feeding which along with the other calcium intake should be more than sufficient to keep them at constant rate of calcium intake.  Typically speaking healthy Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. will have two slight bulges at the base of the head and these are commonly called “Calcium pouches” and are completely normal.

Water

Water is one of the biggest requirements of life and when it comes to Day Geckos Phelsuma sp this is no exception.  With most species there is a water bowl placed somewhere in the enclosure with the animal and changed on a daily basis.  So what I do as a keeper is use what is called a dripper system and this provides water over time and I can change or rinse the bowl as needed without flooding the enclosure.  I also mist the enclosure early in the morning and let it dry out during the day; the Day Geckos Phelsuma sp. seemingly enjoy this as they are able to drink water droplets from the plants inside and this also maintains a level of proper humidity.  During the higher temperature summer months it may b advisable to mist more than once a day.

Conclusion

In closing Day Geckos Phelsuma sp are a delicate and wonderful species of gecko that will provide a “hands off” keeper with many hours of enjoyment through their care.  If your tired of the same “old” species then I would highly recommend picking up a pair after setting up the proper environment and learn what it means to live with a piece of living art.