Madagascar Day Gecko Fact File

Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis








Wild - 13 years

Captive - 13 years



Fruit, Insects

conservation status


Lest Concern

Watch me Climb!

The Madagascar day gecko is specially adapted for climbing with pads on their toes. These are able to cling to almost any surface allowing them to climb across smooth surfaces such as glass.

As geckoes they are some of the most vocal of the lizards. While most can only produce a hiss these animals can produce a croak, bark, click and more.

Appearance - What does a Madagascar Day Gecko look like?

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.

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).

Adaptations - How does the Madagascar Day Gecko survive in its habitat?

Madagascar day geckoes have flattened toe pads which allow them to climb smooth surfaces. These pads are covered with dead scales known as lamellae which are in turn formed from hair-like structures called setae. Due to this unique adaptation they are able to climb almost any surface such as glass.

This strong structure means each foot is capable of supporting up to 40kg (88lbs) of weight.

Diet - What does a Madagascar Day Gecko eat?

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.

Range - Where do you the find the Madagascar Day Gecko?

These geckoes are found solely in Madagascar. Here their range extends down the East Coast.

Introduced populations also exist in Hawaii and the Florida Keys in the United States as well as some of the smaller islands around Madagascar. It is likely that these established from released pets.

Habitat - Where can a Madagascar Day Gecko survive?

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.

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Reproduction - How does a Madagascar Day Gecko produce its young?

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.

Behaviour - What does the Madagascar Day Gecko do during its day?

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 - What stops the Madagascar Day Gecko from surviving and thriving?

While no specific study has been conducted on the predators of the Madagascar day geckoes there are a range of birds, mammals and other reptiles in Madagascar which would be capable of eating them.

Their main defence 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.

Quick facts

The Madagscar day gecko is popular for display both as pet and in zoos.


Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Krysko, Kenneth & Hooper, A. & Sheehy III, Coleman. (2003). The Madagascar giant day gecko, Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis Gray 1870 (Sauria: Gekkonidae): A new established species in Florida.. Florida Scientist. 66. 222-225. 2020. Madagascar Day Gecko. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 16 June 2020]. 2020. Madagscar Giant Day Gecko. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Fry, C. and C. Roycroft 2009. "Phelsuma madagascariensis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed

June 16, 2020 at

Raxworthy, C.J., Glaw, F. & Vences, M. 2011. Phelsuma madagascariensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T172977A6951710. 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:<> [Accessed 16 June 2020].

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