The Rhacodactylus leachianus, also known as the New Caledonian giant gecko or leachie, is a popular pet reptile.
While not quite as popular as other New Caledonian geckos (such as the Crested and Gargoyle Geckos), leachies are an amazing pet if you’re looking for something a bit different.
So, how can you take care of a New Caledonian giant gecko? Care for these geckos is similar to that of the crested gecko. They can eat the same food (Repashy), and adults need an 18″x18″x24″ or larger terrarium. Smaller tanks are a must for babies – the sizes for those are covered in a table later in the article.
This guide will explore everything you’ll need to know about caring for your new Caledonian Giant Gecko.
The Right Environment
New Caledonian giant geckos in the wild prefer living in coastal, humid forests. They typically live in holes in tree trunks and feed by foraging the forest floors. When designing your pet gecko’s habitat, try to take inspiration from his or her natural forest home.
How big should your gecko’s enclosure be?
While you can’t offer your gecko an enclosure as big as a forest floor, you can make sure his enclosure is big enough for him to thrive and grow.
As their name suggests, New Caledonian Giant Geckos are the biggest species of gecko, and they need lots of space. You should choose the size of your enclosure based on the age of your gecko.
Here are some guidelines:
- Hatchlings. Newly hatched geckos can be kept in 2-5 gallon enclosures. Too much space may make them feel insecure and uneasy.
- Juveniles. When a gecko is a year old, you can move them to a significantly bigger enclosure, which is between 22-25 gallons.
- Adults. Once your gecko turns three, it’s time to move them to a bigger enclosure. Adult geckos need an enclosure that is between 30-40 gallons.
If you keep a gecko in an enclosure that is too small, he may get aggressive, insecure, and put on weight, which leads to a whole host of health problems.
|< 1 Year||2-5 Gallon Tank (Or Larger)|
|1-3 Years||22-25 Gallon Tank (Or Larger)|
|3+ Years||30-40 Gallons (Or Larger)|
What material should your enclosure be made of?
There are several types of reptile enclosures available online and in pet stores. For a new Caledonian giant gecko, a glass or plastic enclosure will work best as it’ll allow you to look in and them to look out!
If you live in a humid environment, opt for a glass enclosure so that there’s enough ventilation. In more dry climates, plastic enclosures will work just as well.
The temperature of your enclosure
Monitoring the temperature and humidity levels in your gecko’s enclosure is very important. Some enclosures come with built-in temperature and humidity readers. However, you can also buy special thermometers to keep track of the levels.
An ideal environment will have a temperature between 65-85F, with a higher temperature in the day and a cooler one at night. Humidity meanwhile should be between 50-70%.
To maintain humidity levels, experts recommend that you’ mist’ your enclosure. Misting involves spraying your gecko’s enclosure with fresh, clean water. This stabilizes the humidity levels in your enclosure and helps your gecko stay healthy, as many geckos hydrate by lapping up the water caused by condensation.
What substrate should you choose?
After setting up your enclosure, you need to set up a substrate, which is the bottom layer of the enclosure – the ‘floor’ of sorts.
For hatchlings and juveniles, use a reptile carpet as your substrate. These are special carpets that can be rolled out in an enclosure and are super soft and gentle on your gecko’s stomach. They are made with non-toxic materials and can be easily cleaned; this is great if it’s your first time caring for and cleaning up after a reptile.
If you’re on a budget, paper towels can do just as nicely, but they are a bit of an eyesore.
If you have an adult gecko, you can also consider soil or coconut fiber substrate. These are more similar to gecko’s natural habitats but are harder to clean and maintain.
If you’re considering a bioactive vivarium for your leachie, ABG mix is a good substrate that doesn’t need a lot of maintenance. The isopods and springtails you add to make it bioactive will take care of most of the cleanup you need to do.
Accessories for your enclosure
Fill your enclosure with foliage like vines and large leaves to mimic the gecko’s natural habitat. Leachies are arboreal, so it’s important to maximize the amount of climbing space they have available.
Many gecko owners prefer using artificial plants as they’re easier to maintain and clean.
Again, if you decide to make a bioactive vivarium, you’ll be using real plants, and much of the cleaning and maintenance will be taken care of by the cleanup crew that you add to the substrate.
You should also be sure to include plenty of hiding spots where your gecko can retreat to. These hiding places may be hollows made out of cork, strategically places leaves, and cork bark tubes.
An enclosure filled with the right accessories and decor will help your decor feel more secure.
Feeding Your Gecko
Once you’ve created an optimum environment, it’s time to turn your attention to the best food for your new Calidoniant giant gecko. In the wild, these geckos primarily eat fruit and live insects. They do not have strong teeth, so their food either needs to be very soft or very small so it can be swallowed whole.
Many gecko owners prefer to feed their geckos commercial food that has been designed especially for reptiles, keeping their unique needs in mind. Many of these come in powder form, which needs to be mixed with water.
Some high-quality foods to consider are:
- Repashy Crested Gecko MRP Diet – Food
- Pangea Fruit Mix With Insects Crested Gecko Complete Diet
- Zoo Med Day Gecko Food
- Nature Zone Bites For Fruit Eating Geckos, Soft Moist Food
All of these products are available on Amazon, but you will also be able to find high-quality food at pet stores. Follow the instructions that accompany the food to see how to prepare it.
If you can stomach it, give your gecko live food every once in a while as a treat. Some live foods that geckos enjoy are:
- Dubia roaches
- Baby mice (which are sometimes called pinkie mice)
Before giving your gecko live foods, you should dust them with special calcium powders that have been fortified with D3. These will increase the nutritional value of live foods.
Simply release the live foods into your gecko’s enclosure to channel their predatory instincts. If you have an older or lazy gecko, lower the insects or mice into the enclosure using tongs, placing them near your gecko.
When giving your gecko insects or mice, make sure that they are not bigger than the width of his head. Insects that are too big can get caught in your gecko’s throat or digestive system, which can be fatal.
It’s also important not to leave crickets or other bugs in with your gecko, as they can seriously harm or kill it.
If commercial and live food are both unavailable, you can also feed your gecko fruit flavored baby food.
Look for apple, peach, pear, and apricot baby food and stay away from citrus-flavored baby food.
Here’s how to give baby food to your gecko:
- Mix nine parts of the baby food with one part of pureed chicken or turkey.
- Mix in one part of calcium powder.
- Place the mixture in your gecko’s feeding dish.
Adult geckos only need to be fed every other day. Feeding your gecko every day will lead to obesity and gut problems.
Your gecko should always have access to clean, drinking water. Place the water in a shallow, small dish. Ensure that the dish is not too big. If it’s too big, your gecko may decide to splash around in the water, contaminating it.
The two most important things to consider when caring for a New Caledonian Giant Gecko is their habitat and their diet.
When designing an enclosure for your gecko, make sure that it’s big enough, has the right accessories, and plenty of places for your gecko to hide! Give your gecko commercial food or baby food regularly and live foods occasionally as a treat.
By paying careful attention to your gecko’s habitat and diet, you can make sure your gecko is healthy and happy!