The Common Flying Gecko is a somewhat rare species of gecko that has captivated reptile lovers and scientists for decades with its impressive “flying” abilities.
However, although rare quite rare, Flying Geckos are surprisingly quite affordable, with prices ranging from $25-70. This makes them accessible to beginner gecko keepers and experienced keepers alike!
However, be warned… these pets, as you’ll soon discover, come with what some might consider at least one major “drawback”…
You see, these adorable little lizards make great pets for owners who do not wish to handle their reptiles much, but who enjoy watching them perform mesmerizing displays of athleticism. They saying “look, don’t touch” certainly applies here!
Still interested in learning more about this fascinating creature and figuring out if it’s the right pet for you?
If so, just keep reading to become a bonafide expert in Flying Gecko care in 10 minutes or less!
Table of Contents
Flying Gecko Species Summary
This small, adorable gecko is native to the rainforests of Southern Thailand, Myanmar, northeastern India, Indonesia, Singapore and the Malaysian Peninsula.
Unlike many other lizards, it lives in the trees and NOT on the ground.
Previously part of the Ptychozoon genus, it was only recently moved into the Gekko genus, following new genetic data discoveries.
More adequately described by its alternative name, the Gliding Gecko, the common Flying Gecko does NOT actually fly in the way a bird does. Instead, it jumps from tree branch to tree branch and uses its specialized skin flaps and tail to glide, or parachute, to its intended location.
In fact, scientists have found that the Flying Gecko’s body is perfectly adapted for aerodynamic activity.
Additionally, the common Flying Gecko is nocturnal, preferring to spend the daytime hiding in the trees.
Flying Geckos are one of few nocturnal species that have evolved special UV protection on their skin.
Unlike other nocturnal animals who seek shade from the sun, the Flying Gecko will often hide in plain sight, camouflaging with their background even in the daylight.
Another extraordinary adaptation of the Flying Gecko, are their specialized eyes. Researchers have found that their pupils can dilate very wide, so that they can see clearly even at very low light levels.
Additionally, their eyes have multifocal lenses which allow for them to see colors clearly at night. Pretty cool, right?
Appearance & Colors
To allow it to glide efficiently the Flying Gecko has evolved skin flaps along the sides of its body, webbed feet and a flattened tail that it uses as a rudder to guide its flight trajectory.
And when it comes to avoiding becoming dinner? Let’s just say the Flying Gecko has extraordinary camouflage skills, blending seamlessly into the tree bark it clings to.
However, eagle eyed observers will notice that the Flying Gecko typically has a thick, dark stripe behind its eye. This is the feature that most often betrays otherwise undetectable camouflaging.
Between individuals, the body color can vary considerably, depending on where they live and on the color of the substrate on which they live…
In general their colors range between shades of tan, brown or black, with the occasional dark green. Texturally, their skin appears course and rough, similar to tree bark.
Yet, as strong as this sticking power is, Flying Geckos can unstick themselves with just as much ease.
⭐️ Fun Fact: Did you know that through studying the microscopic structure of the geckos skin that researchers have been able to produce powerful adhesives? As such, don’t be surprised to find your gecko hanging out in some unusual places!
The common Flying Gecko will grow to be between 4-8 inches in length. Males and females are generally the same size.
If you purchase your Flying Gecko from a reputable breeder and provide proper care, you can expect your captive bred gecko to live 5-8 years.
On the flip side, if your gecko is wild caught, expect them to live 3-5 years.
When purchasing a reptile, it is almost always best to purchase captive bred as these animals tend to fare much better in captivity. Additionally, wild caught reptiles have the potential to carry a myriad of parasites.
Flying Gecko Care Sheet
Facts at a Glance:
Common Flying Gecko, Gliding Gecko, Khul’s Parachute Gecko
Crickets, worms and other insects
Minimum tank size
20-gallon or 12’’ x 12’’ x 24’’ high enclosure
Ambient 75-85°F, Basking Spot 90-95°F, Night 70-75°F
Minimal; Do NOT like being handled
Enclosure Size & Dimensions
As Flying Geckos are arboreal animals, (meaning that they live up in the trees) taller rather than longer enclosures are ideal.
Enclosures of 12’’ x 12’’ x 24’’ high are sufficient, although the optimum enclosure would be 4 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft, especially if more than one Flying Gecko is housed inside [5, 6]
If you are keeping your Flying Gecko in a glass terrarium, a minimum 20-gallon tank is needed. 20-gallons should be sufficient for one or two Flying Geckos. If more Flying Geckos are housed together, larger enclosures will be needed.
We recommend you add an extra 10-gallons for each additional gecko.
Note: Only female Flying Geckos should be housed together. Male Flying Geckos should NEVER be kept together as they will fight.
Similarly, male and female Flying Geckos should only be co-habited if they are breeding. Pairing of males and females should otherwise be avoided, as fighting may occur.
If you are co-habitating female Flying Geckos, make sure they are of similar body sizes so that aggressive behaviors are minimized.
✅ Buyer’s Tip: The higher and larger their enclosure, the more likely it is for your Flying Gecko to display it’s flying skills! Flying Geckos are unlikely to glide in small enclosures.
The most important components of a Flying Gecko’s set-up include ample vegetation and places to climb and hide.
As they are native to the rainforest, Flying Geckos thrive in moist, vegetation-rich environments. They enjoy having many options of places to rest, so make sure their enclosure is full of accessories.
Basics you will need include…
- LOTS of real or fake plants
- Branches, logs, sticks at all elevations throughout the enclosure
- Platforms at various heights and of various sizes
- Shelters at various heights
- Rocks and other accessories
Both live and fake plants can be used, although consider that live plants will require significantly more maintenance than fake plants.
✅ Buyer’s Tip: The addition of a cork or bark background is a great way to make your Flying Gecko feel like it is back in the rainforest!
Although your Flying Gecko will rarely sit on the bottom of its enclosure, a substrate is still necessary.
The following make great options…
Paper Towels or Newspaper
Paper towels and newspapers are cheap and easy to clean, making them easily accessible for many pet owners.
However, they are not aesthetically pleasing and do not hold moisture well, so if you are struggling with maintaining your moisture levels, avoid paper products.
Soil substrates are more natural and attractive. Soil retains moisture and temperature well, making it a great option. However, it is not easy to clean.
Peat moss is great for retaining moisture so it is ideal for pet owners who struggle with maintaining high humidity levels. The only downside is that it is harder to clean.
Coconut coir is an affordable and natural looking substrate option. It has antimicrobial properties which are beneficial for high humidity environments.
However, it is a controversial option as it can pose a choking hazard, although this is not confirmed.
Do NOT use sand or fine mulch as they are a choking hazard.
Temperature & Lighting
As a cold-blooded animal, your Flying Gecko will require external heat in order to have enough energy to feed and glide.
Basking heat lamps are recommended as heat sources as they imitate the sun and provide high temperatures.
If a basking light is used, make sure to turn it off at night to provide your Flying Gecko with darkness. Alternative heat sources such as heating pads and ceramic heaters can also be used.
Ambient Cage Temperature: 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit
Basking Spot: 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit
Nighttime Temperature: 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit
Make sure to have at least two thermometers in the tank, one measuring the temperature at the basking site, and one measuring the ambient temperature of the rest of the enclosure.
Setting up a gradient of temperatures, from hot to cool, within the enclosure means your Flying Gecko can choose the perfect temperature for itself.
During the nighttime the temperature can be reduced, although it should not fall below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the nighttime temperature dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to use a Ceramic Heat Emitter.
NEVER use under the tank heaters as these are notorious for short circuiting and burning reptiles!
Flying Geckos require humidity levels between 60-80%, and will NOT tolerate anything outside of that range. Ideally, you would be able to keep their humidity on the higher side of that range at 70-80%.
To maintain a high humidity, mist the enclosure 3 times a day.
Additionally, you may want to consider adding a humidifier in the room if the air in your home is especially dry or during dryer months. Carefully monitor humidity levels using a hygrometer.
Also, ensure that there is enough air flow in the enclosure, so that the air does not get stagnant and lead to nasty bacteria growth.
Flying Geckos will rarely use a water dish to drink water, although many pet owners insist on keeping one in their enclosure as an option. In general, Flying Geckos will drink water off the water droplets from the mist that you spray.
If the cage is misted at least 2-3 times a day, additional water provisions are not necessary and is up to the discretion of the owner.
Food & Diet
Unlike some reptiles that require a precise ratio of protein to veggies, the Flying Gecko is a breeze to feed! As insectivores, they are totally content being fed a simple diet of crickets.
However, if you find your Flying Gecko is being picky, or you would like to offer them a more diverse diet, consider feeding them a mix of mealworms, silkworms, Phoenix worms, earthworms and/or roaches.
Also, dust feeders lightly in a calcium for Flying Geckos under a year old for every meal. For adults, dust feeders just 2-3 times per week. Also, Flying Geckos should be offered a multi-vitamin once weekly, but never on the same day they are given calcium.
Young Geckos: 5-10 insects daily
Adult Geckos: up to 15 insects every 2-3 days
🤓 Expert Tip: Never feed your Flying Gecko a bug that is larger than the size of its head. Doing this can lead to impaction and even cause choking!
Spot clean your Flying Gecko’s enclosure EVERY day, removing any feces, mold and uneaten food.
Once a month, do a deep clean to prevent bad bacterial growth. A deep clean will involve removing all accessories including fake plants, logs, branches and rocks, and cleaning them thoroughly.
The sides of the enclosure should also be cleaned.
Potential Health Issues
To avoid potential health issues, spot clean your Flying Geckos enclosure often. Most common illnesses can be avoided with proper care and enclosure maintenance.
Red Mites or Worm Parasites
Mostly found in wild-caught Flying Geckos, red mites can burrow in their skin flaps.
To remove any mites, use a Q-tip dipped in vegetable oil, and wipe off the mites. Do this every few days for at least 3 weeks. Continue checking your pet on a weekly basis to ensure the mites have not returned.
If your gecko seems to be struggling to breath, it may have a respiratory infection. These infections are usually due to low humidity levels.
Increase the humidity in the enclosure and monitor your Flying Gecko closely. If the symptoms persist, specialized veterinary attention might be necessary.
Commonly associated with unhygienic enclosure conditions, Flying Geckos are prone to developing bacterial infections.
To prevent infections, make sure there is enough air flow in the enclosure so air does not stay stagnant, and clean the enclosure on a monthly basis.
Severe bacterial infections will require specialized veterinary treatment.
Due to their thin and fragile skin, Flying Geckos can get cut easily.
To avoid cuts and potential infections from the cuts, remove all sharp and very rough surfaces from your Flying Gecko’s enclosure. Infected cuts will likely require veterinary attention.
Behavior & Temperament
Flying Geckos are true observational pets. And just as much as you enjoy watching them, they enjoy watching you back!
Hiding in their vegetation, Flying Geckos will spend their day watching you, in hopes that they have fooled you with their camouflage.
Although their primary anti-predator behavior is camouflage, if Flying Geckos are spotted and caught, they will instantly detach their tails in an effort to escape the grasp of their predator. Though this may seem like a painful thing to do, their tails regenerate naturally in a few months’ time.
Flying Geckos are also known for their vocalizations, and can be quite talkative at times. Both males AND females will make alarm calls when grasped or scared. Additionally, during mate season males will make mating “chirps” to attract female mates.
If a female and male Flying Gecko are co-habitating, breeding may occur. However, not all pairings of female and male Flying Geckos will result in mating.
If you are looking for a pet with which you can play and cuddle, unfortunately the Flying Gecko is NOT for you.
Unlike their cousin, the Crested Gecko, the Flying Gecko does NOT like to be handled.
Flying Geckos can get very aggressive if handled, often biting, squeaking and thrashing around. They are extremely skittish, and will jump if grabbed.
Do everything you can to keep from them getting loose because once they get away? You’ll need to prepare for a long chase as these critters are quite fast and evasive!
Flying Geckos also have very thin, sensitive skin which can easily rip if they are handled.
To avoid problems and emergency vet runs, they are simply best left in their enclosures.
Do Flying Geckos Make Good Pets? A Summary.
If you are someone who desires owning a unique and rare species of lizard and is okay observing and loving them from a distance… then the Flying Gecko might just be an excellent choice!
Your pet will provide you with constant entertainment and a wonderful, real life game of hide-and-seek. They will never fail to impress you with the amazing locations they choose to hide in and stick to!
However, if you are someone who wants lots of love and affection from their pet, you’d be wise to pass on the Flying Gecko. Due to the difficulty of handling Flying Geckos, they are also NOT advisable for children.
All in all, Flying Geckos make wonderful pets for those looking to own unique pets without a desire for hands-on interaction.