In this article, we will share tips and practical advice on finding and raising a viper gecko colony, including their terrarium requirements, humidity levels, temperature, and ideal substrates. We will also explore how to handle them and keep communal viper geckos happy in all male or all female groups.
What is a Viper Gecko?
If you’re not familiar, a viper gecko is a small and social breed of lizard that primarily feeds on a combination of various insects. Happy living in all male or all female groups, this species was originally classified as Teratolepis fasciata and more recently recategorized as Hemidactylus imbricatus as a result of their unusual, large, and flat tail which, when threatened, they can drop.
Where Do Viper Geckos Come From?
Viper geckos are native to the Middle East, with Pakistan being their most prominent habitat. You can also find them in Iran and India.
Viper Gecko Appearance
Characterized by their large, flat tails and keeled (ridged and uneven) scales, viper geckos boast beautiful, intricate coloration and patterning arranged in horizontal stripes of cream, light brown, and dark brown, punctuated by cream dots. These attributes, along with their distinctive look and behavior, make them excellent pets to keep.
How Big Do Viper Geckos Get?
Considered a dwarf gecko species, viper gecko hatchlings are born weighing less than a gram. As they grow, these geckos can reach no more than four inches in length, with their tails often making up one-third of their total body length. Adult viper geckos weigh less than six grams.
Are Viper Geckos Good Pets?
As enjoyable as it is to have a pet, it’s important to understand that viper geckos, despite being agile and interesting to watch, can also be fragile to handle. Experts recommend against handling them unless necessary for medical or safety reasons. When it comes to keeping them as indoor pets, viper geckos are ideal for people who have allergies to cats and dogs.
Viper Gecko Temperament
Despite their name, viper geckos are friendly and outgoing.
Do Viper Geckos Bite?
As with any animal, viper geckos are capable of biting if startled or feeling afraid, although they are generally docile and social. They have teeth but are non-venomous. One reason it’s best not to startle them is that, like other lizard species, viper geckos can drop their tail if they feel threatened, although this can be detrimental to their health.
Viper Gecko Breed Setup
As arid reptiles, viper geckos prefer living in dry desert regions with sporadic rainfall and humidity that generally remains below 30%. While you should provide an area of higher humidity where your gecko can retreat, such as a humidity hut with sphagnum moss bedding, the rest of their enclosure should remain arid, with a cool side temperature of around 75°F (24°C) and a warm or basking side temperature of around 90°F (32°C). Lighting should reflect that of their natural, nocturnal habitat. For one adult viper gecko, the minimum enclosure size should be 8 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet.
Can Viper Geckos Live Alone?
In the wild, viper geckos live in communities and enjoy the company of their peers. It’s important to note, however, that it is usually not possible to determine the gender of a viper gecko until it reaches full adult size, which can take up to a year or more, and breeding these geckos should be actively discouraged if it wasn’t your explicit intention, as they are prolific breeders!
Where to Get a Viper Gecko?
When adopting or purchasing a viper gecko, it is vital to only do so with a reputable reptile breeder, which supports the vital need to maintain healthy reptile populations and to guard against illegal trapping and trafficking. With proper care, viper geckos can live for up to a decade or more.
Is a Viper Gecko Right For Me?
If you’re looking for a social reptile to observe and enjoy, a viper gecko is a great choice, with their elegance, intricate coloration, and fascinating habits. They can provide years of education and enjoyment for people of all ages.