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The gold dust gecko or Phelsuma laticauda laticauda is a small reptile, native to the islands of Northern Madagascar, but also found on some of the Hawaiian islands, probably due to the pet trade. Due to its beauty, it is popular as an exotic pet. They are brightly colored, with gold specks, earning them their name.
Northern Madagascar, situated east of Africa in the Indian Ocean, is the natural habitat of the gold dust gecko. They live in trees both in rural and urban areas and feed on insects, fruit nectar and other small lizards. When kept as pets, they require a large terrarium with plenty of light, humidity and warmth and, preferably, tropical plants, as their natural habitat is tropical. Without sufficient light and warmth, even the brightest colored gold dust gecko will lose its brilliant coloring.
Predominantly green in color, the gold dust gecko may become bluer toward the feet. They have blue eyelids and red marks between their eyes and on their backs, close to the tail. Gold speckles are seen on their backs behind the head and on the tail. The gold dust gecko normally remains between 4 and 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) in size. Despite their small size, a large cage is necessary if keeping them in captivity as they are shy creatures, and require numerous hiding places to prevent them from becoming stressed.
The male gold dust gecko is very territorial and can become aggressive toward other males. During breeding season the female gecko needs only one coupling and will then lay up to five sets of eggs, two at a time, throughout the season. When breeding these small pets in captivity it is advisable to separate the juvenile geckos as even they may become aggressive and fight with each other. While the males tend to be more aggressive, it is not unknown for females to fight. When keeping them in a cage, their behavior should be monitored and they should be separated if necessary.
Exotic pets, such as pet lizards or geckos, require a lot of care and upkeep. While the gold dust gecko is very beautiful, it does not like to be interacted with too much and easily becomes stressed and aggressive. Before buying an exotic pet, it is vital to seek expert advice on housing, feeding and handling of the specific pet to ensure their longevity.
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