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Malaysian Cat Gecko Care Guide

Rarely offered in the hobby, the Malaysian Cat Gecko is one of our favorite species to keep. These are really easy to care for once husbandry has been met. 

 

Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Cat Geckos likely received their common name due to their somewhat feline appearance and behavior. They have a slender body and a long prehensile tail that helps them hold onto branches.  They wrap their tails around their bodies while they sleep just like cats do. Females can reach 8 inches in length, while males are usually smaller around 4 to 5 inches in length. The a. felinus are more of a brown, orange and rust color with a wide range of patterning. Their color helps them camouflage well under bark and leaf litter. The differences in the a. dorsalis are that they are a tad smaller than the a.felinus and have greenish eyes and more of a dark maroon base color. Some will have a white stripe and some patterning going down their vertebral line. Because of their nocturnal nature, they have relatively large eyes to enhance their vision during low light conditions.They have blueish tongues and their heads, along with their bodies, are elongated and angular in shape. Other cat-like features are their retractable claws that help them grab onto branches and bark. They also have a slow cat like walk and will hang out in the same spot for hours while hunting for prey. They are semi arboreal as they will sleep under leaf litter and hide in small crevices during the day and climb high tree branches and various plants at night. They are elusive creatures, requiring a sense of security to flourish. When threatened they will raise up their tail and open their mouth.Their average life span is reported to be around 10 years old.

 

 

Diet

Cat Geckos primarily feed on insects, favoring small crickets, roaches, snails and Porcellionides pruinosus 'Powder Orange 'isopods. However, they have a sensitivity to minerals, so calcium supplementation should be limited. Isopods are a valuable source of calcium, so dusting other feeders with calcium should occur only once every three weeks and gravid females every two weeks. I’ve observed that crickets and isopods are their preferred insects. I feed them 2 to 3 crickets a few times a week. Having too many feeders in at one time can cause stress.

 

When maintaining them in captivity, it's advisable to use only R/O or distilled water for misting, as tap water contains excessive minerals that can lead to kidney stone development. These stones, similar in appearance to their urates can pose health risks if mineral intake is excessive.

 

Habitat

We highly recommended to create a naturalistic habitat for Cat Geckos, complete with substrate, climbing branches, real plants as well as fake plants and plenty of hiding spots and a small water dish. Due to their small and slender build, Cat Geckos utilize plants with large leaves and leaf litter on the substrate for security. Suitable plants such as ficus and pothos can be incorporated into their enclosures, while cork bark provides a great climbing surface and hiding spot. An enclosure around 12x12x18 or larger is ideal for a single Cat Gecko. Like other gecko species, males should never be housed together.

 

Cat Geckos are typically found in humid rainforest environments and prefer cooler temperatures with high humidity. Maintaining humidity levels between 65-85% in their enclosure is crucial. Heavy misting at night entices them to come out and lick water droplets off the plants.

 

Daytime temperatures ranging from 72-78F(22-25C) are suitable, with a nighttime drop between 66-72F(19-22C). Despite being entirely nocturnal, providing them with a proper day-night cycle, including UVB, although not required, is beneficial for their well-being and plant growth.  A light cycle lasting 8 to 10 hours per day mimics their natural environment, ensuring optimal conditions for both geckos and plants.

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