Flying Gecko lives in a large area: the Malay Peninsula, Java, Kalimantan, and Sumatra. The main feature of this species is adaptability to planning, which is unusual for other species of geckos, thanks to which these beauties can “fly” from tree to tree at a distance of up to 70 meters. Today, these exotic geckos are increasingly becoming inhabitants of terrariums.
Appearance and Features
The full name of the species is Ptychozoon kuhli. However, these extraordinary lizards are also called Flying Geckos for their ability to soar in the air, thanks to their anatomical features. The length of the body of the Flying Gecko, together with the tail, reaches 15-20 cm. Skin folds are located along the lateral part of the body, head, and also along the edges of the paws, which on the tail turn into outgrowths resembling lobes in shape. This anatomical feature of Ptychozoon kuhli geckos became the basis for their characteristic.
When the Flying Gecko jumps from a tree, its lateral folds along the body and legs are straightened with a stream of air, increasing the surface of the gecko’s body, which helps the lizard float in the air. During the flight, wide toes and tail lobes help him to maintain balance. This anatomical feature allows geckos to jump from branch to branch when they flee from predators.
The Flying Gecko is gray with dark streaks, which allows the lizard to camouflage itself well on the trunks of tropical rainforest branches. The Flying Gecko can lurk on the bark of a tree, pressing the side outgrowths and flattened body tightly against the tree. The gecko is so camouflaged and merged with the environment that it almost casts no shadows. Like most lizards of the gecko family, the Ptychozoon kuhli has small villi on the fingertips that allow the reptile to stick to almost any surface, including glass.
Flying Geckos caught in the wild have a lifespan of 3-5 years on average. Reptiles of this species, which are bred in captivity, can live up to 10 years. You can distinguish a male from a female by pronounced anal pores, as well as paired swellings behind the cloaca. During courtship, males attract females with characteristic sounds, similar to the quiet chirping of birds. Sometimes females also respond to males. Flying Geckos also use sounds to warn of danger.
The species Ptychozoon kuhli belongs to the genus Ptychozoon of the family Gekkonidae (Geckos). The habitat of the species is quite extensive and stretches from Indonesia, the south of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore to the Nicobar Islands of India.
Flying Geckos live in the multi-tiered tropical forests that Southeast Asia is rich in. An interesting fact is that it is in these forests that, along with Flying Geckos, you can find other flying reptiles and amphibians – these are frogs of the genus Rhacophorus, flying dragons of the genus Draco and even flying snakes of the genus Chrysopelea.
The species Ptychozoon kuhli is nocturnal, and during the day it often hides in hollows of trees and other shelters. Flying Geckos are an arboreal type of lizard that spends most of their life on tree branches.
It should be noted that this is a type of territorial lizard, which means that each male has a certain habitat, in which two males will never get along at the same time.
Maintenance and Care
- Terrarium: a vertical type terrarium must be chosen to contain the species. The size of the enclosure for one or two Flying Geckos must be at least 35 x 35 x 60 cm (length x width x height).
- Substrate: A mixture of clean, pesticide-free soil, as well as sand, coconut substrate, or shredded tree bark and moss is excellent. It is necessary to change the substrate every three to four weeks, and clean it as it gets dirty, but at least once a week.
- Temperature: the level of daytime temperature should be 25-29 ° С, while at night the temperature should not fall below 20 ° С and rise above 25 ° С.
- Lighting: the length of daylight hours should depend on the season. In winter, daylight hours in the habitat of a flying gecko last 10 hours, in spring and autumn – 12 hours, and in summer – 14 hours. Too bright lighting is not required for this type of lizard, since they are mainly in shelters during the day, but the presence of UVB / UVA radiation lamps is necessary, they contribute to the production of vitamin D3, which is important for the absorption of calcium. It is recommended to choose UV lamps of the Repti Glo 2.0 or 5.0 type.
- Maintaining humidity: The humidity level should be maintained at 70-85%. Therefore, it is recommended to spray the terrarium three times a day with clean water at room temperature. The substrate should also be kept moist at all times.
- Decoration: for Flying Geckos, it is important to have a large number of shelters and the presence of tree bark, which can be used to decorate the walls of the terrarium. Place enough driftwood at varying heights so that the lizards can move freely between them. Living tropical plants and foliage in the terrarium will recreate tropical rainforest conditions. The drinking bowl for Flying Geckos should be shallow, also, it is recommended to put a few small stones on the bottom so that the lizards can freely get out of it if necessary since this species is not a waterfowl.
These geckos do not show aggression towards other inhabitants of the terrarium, but they often have clashed with each other. Typically, Flying Geckos are kept in pairs and groups of 1 male and 3-5 females.
The Ptychozoon kuhli species is insectivorous but also eats soft tropical fruits. 85-90% of the diet of these lizards should consist of animal food and only 10-15% can be fruits such as chopped bananas or mangoes. Flying Geckos are pretty easy to get used to taking food from feeders or tweezers. Crickets and appropriately sized cockroaches are excellent food insects for Flying Geckos. It is recommended to feed adults every other day, providing each lizard with 4-6 feeding units. Before serving, it is recommended to sprinkle the prey with calcium and vitamin D3 each time, and once a week it is necessary to add vitamin complexes to the food of Flying Geckos. Calcium is especially important for consumption by females and during the breeding season.
Young animals should be fed every day, and the prey should be appropriate for the size of the lizard. Mineral and vitamin supplements are even more important for young animals than for adults, as, without them, small geckos will not develop properly.
Flying Geckos become ready for mating at the age of 1-1.5 years. In this case, females are recommended to be allowed to breed upon reaching the age of 1.5 years.
Ptychozoon kuhli can breed all year round, but most often the breeding season lasts from spring to autumn. The breeding period of Flying Geckos can be recognized by the courtship of the male, during which he makes characteristic sounds. It should be noted that the courtship of males begins mainly after hydration. This is because, in the habitats of this lizard, the breeding season lasts during the rainy season. After 2-3 weeks after mating, the female begins to lay eggs. Clutch usually consists of two eggs. The female makes each new clutch approximately every two months next to the already laid eggs. Thus, after some time, several clutches appear there (up to 5 clutches of 2 eggs each) at different stages of development.
The female “sticks” eggs in various, in her opinion, safe places. To prevent the female from laying in a place where you can accidentally bump her while cleaning the terrarium, it is recommended to place enough cork or bamboo tubes so that the female gecko can lay eggs on them. If the female has nevertheless attached the eggs to the wall of the terrarium or in another undesirable place, in no case try to transfer the clutch, as the eggs are very fragile and should not be touched during the entire incubation period. It is possible to remove the masonry from the terrarium only together with the object on which it is placed. If this is not possible, then it is recommended to fence the masonry from the parents and provide additional heating with a lamp.
The incubation period for eggs varies and can be 60-90 days. The offspring of Flying Geckos hatch very small, the length of the cubs together with the tail is about 4 cm. Newborn geckos must be placed in a separate terrarium since the adults can eat their cubs.
- This gecko inhabits a fairly large area. Gecko leads to an exclusively arboreal lifestyle. Needs high air humidity (especially recently hatched individuals). Therefore, the terrarium with these geckos must be very densely planted and decorated with bark and thick branches.
- The appearance of this lizard is very different from the usual appearance of geckos.
- The main feature of this species is the unusual ability to “fly” from tree to tree.
- The color of this gecko is camouflage, the color of tree bark. So the gecko sitting on it is very difficult to see.
- The species is exceptionally peaceful about other inhabitants of terrariums, although there are sometimes clashes with each other.
- Females lay 2 eggs each, gluing them to the walls or terrarium decorations.
- It is necessary to keep babies in very high humidity conditions. at low they quickly dry up and die. Some babies do not feed on their own at first and have to help them.
- They feed on insects. Twice a week they should be given a full vitamin and mineral supplement. Adults are quite voracious. Some are prone to obesity, so you should not overfeed especially.
- They do not drink from drinking bowls, water is licked from the walls of the terrarium and decorations.
- The species is quite easy to keep, adults are problem-free.