Madagascan giant day gecko, Phelsuma grandis

A truly stunning and active display animal, the Giant day gecko

At a glance...
  • Giant day geckos are diurnally active and always on show
  • Largest of the Day gecko species as the name suggests
  • Not a handling pet, but a beautiful display animal
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Do Madagascan giant day geckos make good pets?

Madagascan giant day geckos are a sizeable gecko species displaying truly remarkable patterns and vivid colours. This species is characterised by a bright green body with red markings along the back and head. They are a diurnal species with arboreal habits, meaning they are almost always out and about in the upper areas of their enclosure, making them an excellent choice for a large display terrarium.

At Swell Reptiles, all of our Giant day geckos are captive bred in the UK, reducing the risk of parasitism and creating minimal impact on the environment. Although this species is often kept in mixed-sex pairs, we recommend against cohabitation for Giant day geckos as this is likely to put a lot of breeding stress on the female and can lead to related health issues down the line. Pairs of the same sex are likely to become territorial, so it is not recommended to put two individuals of the same sex together in any instance.

Giant day geckos are generally quite skittish and lightning fast, which can make handling attempts quite difficult. On top of this, Day geckos have the ability to slough their skin when they feel threatened, in the same way many lizards can drop their tails, these animals can drop their skin too. Due to this, we do not recommend handling of this species in any instance, and in the event of an escape, butterfly nets are a great option for safely catching and relocating them.

What size enclosure does a Madagascan giant day gecko need?

Giant day geckos are active geckos that will practically use as much space as you can give them, we, therefore, recommend a minimum adult enclosure size of 60 x 45 x 90cm (24 x 18 x 36”), for example, the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 60x45x90cm. Although, if you have the opportunity to provide them with a larger set-up, they will be sure to utilise the space.

As Giant day geckos require a rather humid environment, wooden vivariums don’t tend to be the best option, but glass and PVC enclosures work perfectly.

We do not stock a Giant day gecko starter kit, however, why not take a look at our Platinum Crested Gecko Starter Kit which can easily be adapted to suit this species too.

What temperature does a Madagascan giant day gecko need?

The ideal basking temperature for a Giant day gecko is between 30-32°C (86-89°F), this should be an arboreal basking area with a cooler forest floor sitting around 22°C (71°F) to provide a proper thermogradient.

This should be achieved using an overhead heating system such as a basking lamp or ceramic heat emitter, both of which must be hooked up to a compatible thermostat to ensure their safety. This would be a dimming thermostat for a basking lamp, or a pulse thermostat for a ceramic heater.

In most instances, Giant day geckos do not require any overnight heating, and it is more natural not to provide this as it allows for a natural nighttime drop in temperature that would occur in nature. If your home drops below around 15°C (59°F), then it will be beneficial to provide a non-light emitting heat source such as a ceramic heater set to a lower temperature than during the day.

Do Madagascan giant day geckos need UVB?

The required UVI for a Giant day gecko is between 3-4, which is best achieved using an Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Forest 6% placed 30-40cm (12-15”) above the highest basking point. If this distance will be greater, but no greater than 40-60cm (15-24”) then the Arcadia ProT5 Kit - Desert 12% is a much better option to keep your gecko healthy and prevent conditions such as metabolic bone disease which can be disastrous.

How do I decorate a Madagascan giant day gecko’s vivarium?

Giant day geckos are an ideal candidate for a bioactive terrarium. They are small, non-destructive and their temperature and humidity requirements match that of many stunning tropical live plants. If you decide to go bioactive with your set-up, you should choose an appropriate substrate for plant growth such as ProRep Bio Life Forest or Arcadia EarthMix, whereas if you decide not to go down this route, any moisture-retaining soil-based substrate will do, for example, Coco Soil.

Due to their arboreal habits, plenty of branches and vines should be provided to utilise all of the vertical space within the enclosure. Giant day geckos tend to prefer smooth surfaces to bask and rest on, with a favourite being hollowed out bamboo or even PVC pipes. Rougher branches can certainly still be used, but you may find your gecko will spend more time on the glass of the enclosure in these cases.

Being quite a skittish species, Giant day geckos should be provided with plenty of coverage across the entire terrarium, this can be hollowed-out logs, hiding caves on the forest floor and foliage both up high and down low, either in the form of real or artificial plants.

What do Madagascan giant day geckos eat?

Giant day geckos are omnivorous and should be fed a mixed diet of powdered reptile food, fruits and live insects. Formulated gecko diets tend to be made from fruits and many have insects included also, and make a better alternative to fresh fruit as they are already supplemented to include all of the relevant nutrients required. Good options for your gecko diet are Pangea and Rephashy, both of which are highly reputable in the hobby.

Livefood should also be offered regularly and the key here is variety. All livefood should be supplemented according to a schedule to ensure all of the required nutrients are provided. For this, we recommend using a calcium-rich multivitamin on every feed, such as Arcadia EarthPro-A, a calcium plus magnesium supplement on every fourth feed, such as Arcadia CalciumPro Mg and finally, a vitamin D3 supplement on every eighth feed such as Arcadia EarthPro RevitaliseD3.

How do I buy a Madagascan giant day gecko?

If you would like to purchase one of our UK captive bred Giant day geckos, this will need to be collected from our store. Please feel free to pop in and see us, we will ask a few quick questions and also ask to see some images of your set-up completely ready for the gecko to go into. We reserve the right to refuse adoption to anyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.

Common names Madagascan giant day gecko, Giant day gecko, Madagascar giant day gecko
Scientific name Phelsuma grandis
Country Northern Madagascar, Florida, Hawaii, Mauritius and Reunion Island
Captive-bred Yes
Adult size 23-28cm (9-11”)
Natural habitat Rainforest habitats
Housing 60 x 45 x 90cm (24 x 18 x 36”)
Ideal temperature 30-32°C (86-89°F) (warm end); 22°C (71°F) (cool end)
UVI 3-4
Ideal humidity 60-70%
Diet Omnivorous
Average lifespan 15 years
Personality Skittish
Ease of handling Handling should be avoided
Cohabitable Not recommended
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