Mourning Gecko

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Mourning Geckos have a unique way of reproducing!  It is called parthenogenesis, a type of asexual reproduction, that allows Mourning Geckos and other reptile to reproduce without males.  That’s right, all Mourning Geckos are born female!  Mourning Geckos are basically clones of their mothers who were clones of their mothers.  Pairing this method of reproduction along with their tolerance for salt water, Mourning Geckos have an incredibly large native range and have become invasive all over the world, including Hawaii.  These small and unique geckos have a ton of personality and that can be seen even in wild specimens.


Mourning Geckos are native to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands, though they are highly invasive around the world and found in Australia, Central and South America, and Africa.  Found in native forests along with being scattered through urban environments, these arboreal small geckoes are highly resilient to temperature variations and forgiving of most husbandry issues.  Throughout their range they live in highly humid and warm climates and should be kept from 60-70% with regular misting.


Mourning Geckos require sealed and escape proof housing.  As one or two adults can be housed comfortably in a Zilla 12x12x15 Front Opening Terrarium.  It is important to remember that as more Mourning Geckos are added to a group they will require larger accommodations to allow for ample space for individuals.  To maintain humidity in the enclosure use substrates such as Zilla Jungle Mix, Zilla Bark Blend and Zilla Coconut Husk Brick, and add Zilla Terrarium Moss over the substrate.  Arboreal branches and perches should be created for basking spots.  Try Zilla Vertical Décor to add arboreal décor to the habitat and feeding stations.  Mourning Geckos prefer to eat elevated off the ground.  These geckos will not usually drink from standing water and should be misted by hand to receive adequate hydration. Zilla Waterfalls and Spring Cave can be used to provide a continuous water source but misting is still recommended in addition.  Replace the substrate, as well as clean and disinfect the enclosure and its furnishings at least every 2-3 months.

Temperature and Lighting

Mourning Geckos should have a temperature gradient between 70-80°F.  These geckos are hardy and cold tolerant down to 65°F.  A basking site should be provided that maintains a temperature of 85°F.  Mourning Geckos are cathemeral which means they are active during the day and night in an irregular pattern.  It is important to provide them with the correct amount of UVA/UVB florescent lighting to insure their well-being. The Zilla Heat & UVB Fixture with a Zilla 25W Mini Halogen bulb and a Zilla Pro Series Tropical 25 UVB/UVA bulb will provide the correct heat and UVB needed.  Without the use of proper lighting and supplementation, they can develop abnormal bone growth and other fatal diseases. 

Feeding and Diet

In the wild, Mourning Gecko diets have a wide range that includes insects, flowers, sap, and nectar.  In captivity they eat a variety of invertebrates such as flightless fruit flies, crickets, bean beetles, and small Dubia roaches as well as powdered crested gecko diet.  Mourning Geckos do well when fed crested gecko diet as a staple.  Feeder insects should be fed a nutritional gut-load insect food and given Zilla Gut Load Cricket Drink. When feeding, spray the insects with Zilla Calcium Supplement and Zilla Vitamin Supplement 1-2 times weekly for additional calcium and vitamin D3, along with other essential nutrients.  These supplements can be used in crested gecko diet as well if insects aren’t offered.  By feeding these products you will increase the nutritional value of your feeders and help pass important nutrients on to your gecko.  


Handling of Mourning Geckos should be avoided unless necessary due to their small size and agile, fast movements.  When done carefully and, in an area, where they can’t escape if they jump out of your hands, these geckos can be handled.  Mourning geckos can often be flighty.  Remember that to them, you’re a giant predator!  Approach them slowly and pick them up from below when possible.  While Mourning Geckos are beautiful and incredible pets to keep, handling them should be done carefully and minimally.   

Be sure to wash your hands after handling any reptiles.

Created in cooperation with the

Madison Area Herpetological Society, Inc.