Thick-toed banded geckos (Pachydactylus fasciatus) are so-called for their bands as well as their thick toes, which aids their climbing abilities. This species is endemic to northern Namibia, inhabiting arid savannahs. While they are flighty and don’t enjoy being handled, their penchant for climbing and their active lifestyle makes them fascinating pets to observe.
Thick-toed banded geckos have a beige or light brown–sometimes almost purple–background with brown, orange, or yellow stripes. Their entire body is punctuated with tubercles, giving them a characteristically bumpy look.
A 10-gallon tank can house up to two thick-toed banded gecko adults. Larger enclosures can house more individuals. Whereas multiple females can be housed with a male, males are territorial and should not be kept within the same enclosure.
Sand, such as Repti-Sand, works well as a substrate. So long as the animals are kept healthy and temperatures are correct, impaction is not a risk. Sand should be spot cleaned once a week.
As a nocturnal species, thick-toed banded geckos spend their days hiding and sleeping under loose stones and within rock crevices. In captivity, many items can be repurposed to provide similar hiding places, such as cork bark, slate, or upside down plant saucers; commercially available reptile hides also work well.
These geckos enjoy climbing and will take advantage of rocks, bark, driftwood, Manzanita wood, and other items. Because these geckos will occasionally dig, it is important that any cage items placed on the sand are light. Any heavy items, like slate or rocks, should be supported by the bottom of the enclosure instead of being placed on top of the sand.
A temperature range of 75-85 F should be maintained for this species. A daytime hot spot of around 95F should also be provided and can be maintained with a heat pad or heat lamp. This species requires no special lighting. Thick-toed banded geckos should be kept at ambient humidity ranging from 40-50%. Both temperature and humidity can be monitored with a thermometer/hygrometer.
A shallow water dish can be provided but is not necessary with consistent misting. This species should be heavily misted once or twice a week, with water droplets accumulating on the enclosure walls from which the geckos can drink. The enclosure should have enough ventilation such that it dries out within a few hours of misting. Thick-toed banded geckos will also take advantage of a humid hide–that is, a hide with a moist substrate (e.g. sphagnum moss or vermiculite) which creates a humid microclimate within the dry enclosure.
Thick-toed banded gecko will reach around 3.5-4 inches as adults. These geckos, provided proper care, can live around 10-15 years in captivity.
Thick-toed banded geckos are insectivores. A staple of crickets works best, with other small feeder insects (dubia roaches, waxworms, small mealworms) being offered as occasional treats. A good rule of thumb for size is to only offer insects whose length does not exceed the space in between the gecko’s eyes. Generally, hatchling thick-toed banded geckos should be fed insects measuring around ⅛-inch, with subadults and adults being moved up to ¼-inch insects.
Feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. An escape-proof feeding bowl will minimize the number of bugs that escape and hide among the enclosure.
Thick-toed banded geckos are not very easy to sex; the bulges and femoral pores used to sex many male gecko species are usually subtle or not apparent on this species.
A brumation period in the winter is recommended to incite breeding. Females will lay pairs of eggs in the substrate once every 2-3 weeks, which can be carefully removed and incubated. Four to six clutches are laid during the spring season. Eggs will hatch within 50-70 days.