What Is a Velvet Gecko?

L. Baran

The Velvet Gecko is a type of small lizard native to Australia. It's official name is Oedura, and it is one of the larger of the gecko population at up to 6 inches (15.24 cm) long. Identified by the patterns on their backs and their flattened shape, Velvet Geckos are quite hard to find due to their secretive nature. These geckos make popular small pets, but may be resistant to excessive handling.

Velvet geckos in captivity are often fed crickets.
Velvet geckos in captivity are often fed crickets.

While there are many different species of Velvet Gecko, most are green or brown with distinctive spots. Some species are redder, with spots and thin white stripes. The average length of an adult Velvet Gecko is approximately 2.5 inches (6.35 cm), but some grow larger. In their natural habitats, these lizards are found in rocky or woodland areas with plenty of places for them to hide. They are all nocturnal and hunt small insects at night.

Velvet geckos should not be given citrus fruit.
Velvet geckos should not be given citrus fruit.

Oedura enjoy humid environments and warmer temperatures. If kept as pets, housing must be sprayed with water daily to maintain a moist environment, and heat lamps are required to keep the gecko warm. Nightly temperatures of around 70°F (21°C) are acceptable, while around 85°F (29°C) during the day is necessary.

Due to the fact that Velvet Geckos like to hide, enclosures in captivity should provide plenty of spaces for them to remain unseen. Rocks, plants, small caves and even toilet rolls are ideal spots for the geckos to conceal themselves. While they may tolerate some handling, these creatures generally would prefer to be left alone in their habitat. Regardless, the Velvet Gecko is a popular pet due to its size, relative ease of care, and uniqueness.

The diet of the Velvet Gecko consists mainly of invertebrates, although some show a liking for fruits, such as bananas. Citrus fruits should be avoided due to their high acidity. The most common elements of the diet are crickets, spiders, worms and locusts. When being fed as pets, care should be taken not to place too many insects into the habitat at once. Geckos can become overwhelmed and hide rather than eat, and rarely high numbers of small prey can injure the them.

Geckos lay eggs in order to reproduce. Breeding in captivity is common but limited to just a few species of the Velvet Gecko. The life span of this creature varies between captive and wild lizards, but typically ranges between five and 15 years. Pet geckos that are well cared for may live even longer.

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