The yellow-headed gecko (Gonatodes albogularis fuscus) isn’t the only Gonatodes species in which males have a characteristically yellow head, but, aptly named, the males of this species might very well exhibit the most brilliantly colored head!
Juveniles and females are brown to gray in color with light brown and dark brown spots. Males have a yellow to orange head and a very bright throat. The corners of their mouth is a light gray to almost blue color, and a band of the same color separates their brightly colored head from a body that ranges from dark gray to a light gray-blue color.
A pair of yellow-headed gecko adults can be housed in an 8x8x12 enclosure or a 12x12x12 enclosure. Both males and females of this species will fight with members of the same sex, so this species should be housed alone or as a pair. While this species does not have toe pads and cannot climb smooth surfaces, hatchlings and juveniles are very small, so any accessible escape routes should be identified and secured!
Substrates like DigIt, Coco Select, and other coco-fiber based substrates work well. Sand-soil mixtures can also be used. A bioactive substrate can be made using BioBedding with springtails and isopods, offering your geckos additional food sources and reducing the need to spot clean. The substrate should be kept slightly moist.
Yellow-headed geckos are diurnal. During the day, they are found climbing, but they should be provided with plenty of terrestrial hiding places. A layer of leaf litter over the substrate is recommended, but additional hides should also be provided; cork bark and similar items work well as hides. Live plants are always a welcome addition to the striped gecko’s enclosure.
As these geckos enjoy climbing, they should be provided with plenty of climbing material, such as rocks, driftwood, cork bark, and manzanita branches. While this species has not been observed digging, they’re small and at risk of being crushed, so we strongly recommend ensuring that any heavy enclosure items be securely placed and supported by the bottom of the enclosure instead of the substrate.
During the day, yellow-headed geckos should be kept at temperatures ranging from 75 to 85 F. A basking spot is optional but not required as long as stable warmer temperatures are maintained. The basking spot can be provided with a low wattage heat pad or bulb and should not exceed 90 F. Despite being a diurnal species, UV lighting for this species is a matter of debate. If UV light is used, a 2.0 or 5.0 bulb should be used, and plenty of shaded areas should be provided in the enclosure. Temperatures should not fall below 65 F at night.
Yellow-headed geckos enjoy a drier environment than that of tropical geckos, and they should be kept at a humidity between 50-60%. This species should be lightly misted daily or every other day to maintain a slightly elevated humidity and to provide water droplets on the enclosure walls, leaf litter, and other cage items from which the geckos can drink. The enclosure should have enough ventilation that it dries out after several hours. A shallow water dish can be provided but is not necessary with consistent misting. Live plants will help create humid microclimates within the enclosure.
Yellow-headed geckos hatch out very small at only a little over an inch! Adults don’t get much larger, reaching lengths of only a little over 3 inches. It is estimated this gecko lives about 10-20 years in captivity.
Like all micro geckos, yellow-headed geckos are insectivores. While their small size limits what bugs they can be offered in captivity, we supply all of the insects your yellow-headed gecko will need. A staple diet of pinhead to ⅛-inch crickets works best for juveniles. Melanogaster fruit flies, springtails, and small dwarf white isopods can also be offered to juveniles. Adults should be fed a staple of ¼-inch crickets, but can also be offered extra small black soldier fly larvae, dwarf white isopods, hydei and melanogaster fruit flies, and bean beetles.
After a few months of being born, yellow-headed geckos will begin to visually differentiate with sexually dimorphic characteristics. Over time, males will develop a yellow head and stripes on their throat, and their spotted pattern will give way to a patternless dark gray or blue-gray body. Females, on the other hand, will maintain their spotted pattern as well as their brown colors.
A light brumation period in the winter or Increasing the length of day in the summer is recommended to incite breeding. Females will lay a single egg every three weeks in a secure area, including small egg-laying tubes. Eggs should be carefully removed and incubated. Eggs will hatch after 60-120 days.