How to Care for Texas or Western Banded Gecko Lizards


More than one species of gecko kept as pets are referred to as banded gecko lizards. These include the Texas banded gecko (Coleonyx brevis) and Western banded gecko (Coleonyx variegates). Both are native to the deserts of the Southwestern U.S., and both require similar care. Their desert habitat, small size, and exclusively carnivorous diet help keep their housing and diet needs simple as compared to some other pet geckos.

Things You'll Need

  • 10-gallon reptile aquarium
  • Substrate
  • Reptile furniture
  • Potted plants
  • Moss
  • Insects
  • Calcium supplement powder
  • Baggie
  • Spray bottle
  • Thermometer
  • Heat lamp
  • Reptile heating pad
  • Spoon

House the gecko in a 10-gallon aquarium. Place newspaper, paper towels, playground sand or leaf litter on the floor of the cage for substrate. If you are using a natural substrate, make it about 1-inch thick. The choice of substrate for a gecko is determined by your personal preference.

Place two caves and at least one other piece of furniture in the tank, such as a log or rock. You can also put live potted or silk plants in the tank.

Keep damp moss purchased from the reptile supply store in one of the gecko’s caves. This will give the gecko a humid place to hide, which will allow him to molt properly. Keep the moss damp by rinsing it with water and ringing some of the water out. Replace the moss weekly or it will grow mold.

Feed banded gecko small-sized crickets, mealworms and other insects. Dust the insects with a calcium supplement before every other feeding by placing the insects in a bag of reptile powder prior to feeding. Feed your banded gecko about every other day and only as many insects as it will eat in about an hour. Remove any uneaten insects after one hour, as the insects may start to bite the gecko.

Spray the tank with water twice a day. This gives the gecko water to drink. These geckos drink mist and water droplets from leaves in the wild. You can also place a small shallow bowl of water in the tank, however some banded geckos may not use it.

Maintain the daytime temperatures at 80 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures at 74 degrees Fahrenheit. You can do this by placing a reptile-heating pad under the tank and hanging a heat lamp above one side of the tank. There should be a range of temperatures in the tank of about 80 degrees Fahrenheit on one side and about 95 degrees Fahrenheit on the other side. Turn off the heat lamp at night.

Keep the banded gecko lizard’s cage clean. Scoop out the lizard droppings daily with a small spoon. If you are using newspaper or paper towels, remove and replace the paper weekly. If you are using a natural substrate, remove and replace the substrate monthly. As with any pet, a clean environment helps keep the pet healthy.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use a heat rock or any other heating element inside any reptile's cage, including a Texas or Western banded gecko's habitat. These devices easily burn a reptile's skin, which can lead to scaring, infection and even death.

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