Mourning Geckos are small, parthenogenic, colony geckos. They are very active, have social hierarchies and very distinct body language and vocalizations.
These geckos are rumored to have received their common name from the natives of their home range hearing the calls and believing that they were mourning their lost male mates. Being parthenogenic, the females essentially clone themselves when they lay eggs. So be aware that if you purchase any you will get babies.
The most important thing with this species is ESCAPE PROOF CAGES. They are very small; as adults they are about 3-4 inches long and very slender, so if there are cord holes or if the mesh has wide holes they can escape. We found out that our plugs had come out of the holes when we saw mourning geckos on our walls. You can plug the cord holes in the back of the Exo Terra tanks by using damp paper towels and letting them dry in the hole or covering the holes up with something like Great Stuff.
Housing and humidity
These are colony lizards so please purchase more than one unless you already have some at home. They interact, are very social with each other, have body language and vocalizations that make them very delightful animals to observe and learn about. Even though they are small you want to give them room to move as they are very energetic creatures. We have 7 adults in an 18x18x24 Exo Terra Tank. You can put 3 or 4 in the 12x12x18 Exo Terra or something of similar dimensions. They are arboreal and need little places to hide. They are nocturnal, though in captivity they can be more active during they day than they would be in the wild. They like lots of places to hide and run about on so please provide plenty of trees with hollows, holes and plants. They will squabble over prime spots so the more spots to hang out on the better.
We mist our enclosures about 3 times a day as we are in AZ; they prefer it humid. We keep ours around 60-70%.
We give ours hydei fruit flies, small crickets, phoenix worms, mealwoms (smaller ones) and baby roaches and we have found out that they like the Crested Gecko Diet. We put a cap full in the tank along with a water dish and they will go drink the CGD on their own accord. We also dust our insects every third feeding with Repcal (phosphorous free) and once a week with Reptivite ( a multivitamin powder for reptiles). We feed them daily as they have very high metabolisms. They get live insects 4 times a week and Crested Gecko Diet is always in the tank. If they are not fed well they will eat their eggs and hatchlings. You can also leave cuttle bone or a cap of pure calcium (phosphorous free), that has no D3, and they will self regulate their calcium intake.
You can handle mourning geckos but you have to be VERY gentle. They are small and their skin will tear if handled too roughly. The best advice to start out with is to handle them in their tank until you get used to how fast and delicate they are. That way if one jumps you won’t be chasing it across the floor. They can become rather tame, but it takes patience to get them to this point.
Temperature and Substrate
Temperature should be above 70 degrees but no more than 85 degrees and the substrate should be something along the lines of Repti Bed, Peat moss and coco fiber, etc. You want something that retains moisture well.
These geckos will eat their eggs from time to time and hatchlings if given the chance, so when your gecko lays eggs do not panic if you see them eating an egg. However watch for hatchlings after about 60 days and remove hatchlings as soon as you see them. They will start laying eggs around 8-10 months old. The geckos stick their hard shelled eggs to the side of the tank. We do not remove them as we have noticed that once the females all got on the same cycle of laying eggs they stopped eating the eggs as often. Plus they usually lay the eggs in the hardest spots to get to, any spot they feel makes a secure nesting site.
The most common noise mourning geckos make sounds exactly like a baby chick peeping. They also make a squeaking sound similar to a mouse. A mourning gecko will use its tail to communicate, waving it around, arcing over its back, shaking it side to side and more. Some more dominant animals will try to loom and make themselves seem larger and often make mock charges at subordinate, less dominant geckos.
I find these tiny geckos to be amazing and wonderful pets. Watching the colony interact is fascinating, these adorable little geckos are a true joy to own.