Not surprisingly, Central American banded geckos (Coleonyx mitratus) hail from Central America, and many have banding across their body. These geckos live in both semi-arid regions and more humid forests ranging from Guatemala to Costa Rica, and their flexibility lends to their hardiness in captivity.
Central American banded geckos have a brown background with black outlined yellow bands or dark spots across their body.
A 10 gallon tank can house two or three adult Central American banded geckos. Larger enclosures can house more individuals, although males can be aggressive to one another and should not be housed together. A variety of substrate mixtures can be used with coco fiber as a base, although the majority of the substrate should remain dry. A 1:1 mixture of peat moss and vermiculite also works well.
Central American banded geckos spend the day hiding underground. Cork bark, upside down plant saucers, slate, and other similar items can be used as hides; commercially available reptile hides also work. Rocks, low driftwood, and other similar items can be provided as decor and climbing material, but any heavy cage items should directly supported by the bottom of the enclosure instead of being placed on top of the substrate.
This species should be kept at an ambient temperature between 75-80F. A daytime hot spot of around 90-92F should also be provided; this can be maintained with a heat pad or heat lamp. Central American banded geckos species requires no special lighting.
Central American banded geckos spend a lot of time in a more humid microclimate. In addition to keeping a portion of the substrate moist, a humid hide should also be provided, using something like sphagnum moss as a substrate to retain moisture. Ambient humidity can range from 50-60%. This species should be misted around four to five times a week with the intention of moistening a portion of the substrate as well as providing water droplets on the enclosure walls, from which the geckos can drink. The enclosure should have enough ventilation such that it dries out within a few hours of misting. A shallow water dish is also recommended. Both temperature and humidity can be monitored with a thermometer/hygrometer.
Central American banded geckos reach 4-5 inches as adults. They have a lean build, giving them a thinner look than other stouter gecko species.
Central American banded geckos eat solely insects. They should be provided a staple diet of dubia roaches or crickets. Other food items, like small mealworms or waxworms, make good occasional treats. A good rule of thumb for size is to only offer insects whose length does not exceed the space in between the gecko’s eyes. Generally, hatchling Central American banded geckos should be fed insects measuring around ⅛-inch, with subadults and adults being moved up to ¼-inch insects. Feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. An escape-proof feeding bowl will help keep bugs from hiding within the enclosure.
Central American geckos are easy to sex. Males will exhibit bulges at the base of their tail as well as clear femoral pores between their hind legs. Juveniles sold by Josh’s Frogs are not sexed.
A brumation period in the winter is recommended to incite breeding. Females will lay pairs of eggs in the substrate. They will often deposit their eggs in a humid hide if one is provided. The eggs can be carefully removed and incubated.
Links of Interest:
Reptiles Magazine Care Article - Reptiles Magazine article on Central American banded geckos