Barking gecko, Underwoodisaurus milii, care sheet
The Barking Gecko, or Milii Gecko is a ground-dwelling gecko found in arid, rocky grassland and desert habitats in Australia. They are often referred to as Australian Barking geckos due to their vocal habits, especially when disturbed. The underside of the body is white with dark maroon through reddish-brown to tan and even orange colours across the top of the body and head. This species can be aggressive, but has the potential to tame down and can become a docile pet.
The Milii Gecko is nocturnally active but a good-sized, stimulating environment is still important. A minimum vivarium size of 3 x 2 x 2ft should be used to house a single adult, to enable proper movement as well as thermo-regulation and exercise. For the base of the environment, we recommend a sand mix such as Pro Reps Leo Life or Lucky Reptiles Desert Bedding. Your gecko will not be inclined to eat this substrate as long as the temperature, UVB and supplements are correct.
These geckos are typically found in arid grassland and desert habitats, so a sandy substrate is also more natural. The enclosure should be built up with a range of enrichment pieces such as branches, rocks, tunnels, logs and foliage as well as a minimum of two hiding places like caves - though more is recommended. Ensure that there are hiding spots and decor on both the hot and cool sides of your enclosure so your gecko can make use of the whole tank and feel secure. For an even more stimulating habitat that encourages good mental and physical activity try moving decor around every now and then.
Heating and lighting
Being a reptile, your gecko will not be able to regulate their internal temperatures without an external source so good quality heating, as well as lighting, is vital. Firstly a hot end of 30-32C is needed, a cooler opposite end of around 22C and a drop to around 15C overnight to replicate a natural nighttime drop. This can be achieved best with the use of a basking bulb or ceramic bulb which needs to be controlled with a thermostat. All temperatures can be monitored with an accurate digital thermometer.
Your gecko, despite their nocturnal habits, would also always naturally be exposed to UVB and this is an essential part of equipment in keeping them healthy. As well as boosting their immune systems and overall wellness, UVB is responsible for metabolising key nutrients such as calcium, so being deprived of this can have serious health risks and even prove fatal.
You will need a strip UV lighting system such as Arcadia's shade dweller, though the strength of the bulb will depend on the height of the enclosure. This bulb will be used in a 12-hour cycle, going off at night as the temperatures drop to create good day and night periods. It’s important to note that any UVB has a lifespan of 6 - 12 months depending on the bulb, after which, the bulb may still glow but there will be no UV being emitted. So it will need changing.
Milii Geckos prefer a low humidity of between 30 - 40%, which should easily be reached without extra equipment. It will be necessary to provide a humid hide in the cooler area though, which will not raise overall humidity but provide good opportunity for ease of shedding. Moss can be used in this hide and sprayed with water to keep it moist. The humidity can be read with an accurate digital hygrometer. A small water dish will also need to be placed in the enclosure and cleaned on a regular basis to prevent bacterial build-up.
Your Milii Gecko is an insectivore and so will feed on a variety of crickets, locust, cockroaches, Calci-worms and mealworms. Variety is key in providing your gecko with good nutrition as all prey items differ in nutritional value. You will also need to dust the live food with additional calcium, multi-vitamins and D3 in the relevant feeding rota to ensure your gecko gets from its diet everything needed of the body. It is recommended also that live food be 'gut-loaded' before being fed to the animal to make them an even better quality meal.
Swell SuperStore Milii Gecko profile
- Scientific name - Underwoodisaurus milii
- Adult Expected Size - 7 - 8 inches
- Habitat - Arid, rocky grasslands and desert habitats of Australia. Terrestrial living.
- Required Enclosure Size - 3 x 2 x 2ft
- UV Lighting - 1 - 2 UVI (use of ShadeDweller - height dependent)
- Expected Lifespan - 15 - 20 Years
- Temperature Gradient - 22C - 32C
- Humidity Levels - 30 - 40%
- Feeding - Live food - Crickets, locust, cockroaches, calci-worms and mealworms
- Handling - Can be skittish and aggressive especially when young but can be tamed and easily handled.