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The dwarf gecko is a fairly popular type of pet lizard. Several species of gecko lizard are referred to by this name, but most come from one of two genera: Lygodactylus or Stenodactylus. Many of these lizards have markings in shades of yellow, beige, brown, or black, although some species, such as the turquoise dwarf gecko, are brightly colored. These exotic pets are generally relatively easy to care for, and can be fed a mixture of fruit and insects. Most dwarf gecko species do best in a somewhat humid, warm habitat.
Species from the genus Stenodactylus, typically known as dwarf sand lizards, are generally brown, beige, black, or yellow. Some specimens may have some hint of green coloring. These lizards typically have stripes running from side to side across their backs.
An African gecko species commonly known as the Mombasa dwarf gecko, or Lygodactylus mombasicus, is typically rather pale in color, with dark stripes and splotches on its neck and head. These markings usually continue down the lizard's spine, but grow paler as they proceed towards the tip of its tail. The turquoise dwarf gecko, or Lygodactylus williamsi, may be one of the most distinctively colored species commonly kept as exotic pets. These lizards are generally bright blue with an orange or yellow abdomen.
Most types of dwarf gecko grow to a maximum adult size of about 4 inches (10 centimeters). In the wild, these lizards often live in small groups consisting of one male and up to two females. When multiple dwarf geckos are kept as pets, it's considered advisable to mimic this natural situation. Males can become aggressive, especially when kept together in the same habitat. Enthusiasts are generally advised to offer the geckos plenty of hiding places to minimize conflict among them.
Crickets, moth larvae, fruit flies, and meal worms are all considered good food for most species of dwarf gecko. These lizards will also often consume pureed fruit. Adult specimens will usually eat between two and eight cricket-sized prey two or three times weekly. Enthusiasts are typically advised to add calcium and vitamin supplements to their lizards' food every other time they are fed, to ensure the lizards receive adequate nutrition.
Dwarf geckos tend to thrive best when kept in a warm habitat with a humidity level of around 60 percent. They generally require an average daytime temperature of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 Celsius) and an average nighttime temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 Celsius). They will also generally need a place to warm themselves. This area of the habitat should typically be heated to between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (35 to 38 Celsius) during the day as well as at night.