Madagascar Day Gecko Fact File
The Madagascar day gecko is easily noticeable due to their bright lime green body which features red spots across the back and a red stripe between the eye and nose. Their underside is white.
Males can change their colour slightly based on their mood or if they are ill.
At the end of each of their toes is an adhesive scale known as the lamellae which is used to cling on to smooth surfaces. The surface of this scale is covered in relatively long hair like structures which further assist grip and making this grip incredibly strong. Each foot is capable of supporting up to 40kg (88lbs) of weight.
The eye is wide and dark in colour. Around this is a ring of blue scales.
Their tails grow to be as long or longer than the body. As a gecko they lack eyelids instead have a clear eye scale. This means they cannot blink.
Females have a smaller head than the male and their body is a duller colour allowing them to be easily distinguished.
They measure 30cm (11.8in) long and weigh up to 70g (2.5oz).
Madagascar day geckoes feed on a range of food items such as insects, sweet fruit, nectar and pollen.
Their water is sourced by licking condensation off of leaves.
These geckoes are found solely in Madagascar. Here their range extends down the East Coast.
Introduced populations also exist in Hawaii and the United States as well as some of the smaller islands around Madagascar. It is likely that these established from pets.
Madagascar day geckoes make their home in forests, palm groves and grasslands. They are adaptable and have been seen inhabiting human dwellings where they can cling to the walls and also in agriculture areas such as coconut palm plantations.
Breeding takes place from November to March which is fall through to early summer in their range.
Male Madagascar day geckoes will aggressively fight with other males to claim a territory. Once the achieve this they will mate with all the females in this area.
Females lay their eggs under bark or in crevices and they lay one or two eggs in a clutch. A clutch may be laid every four to six weeks through the breeding season. Multiple females may lay their clutches in the same spot.
They produce hard shelled eggs which require large amounts of calcium to produce. As a result prior to egg laying females store calcium on the side of their head before laying.
Their eggs are incubated for 47 to 82 days before they hatch. Following hatching the young are independent and must fend for themselves. The gender of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature at which they incubate. When incubated at higher temperatures they hatch males and lower temperatures will yield females.
Juveniles are lighter in colour, typically a yellowish-green.
As the juveniles grow they will shed their skin. Once the old skin is shed they will eat this.
Sexual maturity is reached between 1 and 2 years old.
Madagascar day geckoes are active by day. They spend their day clinging to a tree trunk to sunbake.
Geckoes are one of the few lizards which can make a noise that is more than a hiss. They are able to croak, bark, click and more.
Predators and Threats
Their main defense against predators is their camouflage with the green colour making them blend in easily with leaves.
If threatened they are also able to drop their tail. This distracts the predator while they escape and the tail will then grow back later. Typically the new tail is smaller than their last.
Humans affect their population through hunting and habitat destruction.
The Madagscar day gecko is popular for display both as pet and in zoos.
Used under license
Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK
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Fry, C. and C. Roycroft 2009. "Phelsuma madagascariensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed
June 16, 2020 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phelsuma_madagascariensis/
Raxworthy, C.J., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. 2011. Phelsuma madagascariensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T172977A6951710. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T172977A6951710.en. Downloaded on 16 June 2020.
Australian Reptile Park - Wildlife Park Sydney & Animal Encounters Australia. 2020. Madagascan Giant
Day Gecko Habitat, Diet & Reproduction. [online] Available at:<https://reptilepark.com.au/animals/reptiles/geckos/madagascan-giant-day-gecko/> [Accessed 16 June 2020].
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