One of seven subspecies found on Hispaniola and surrounding islands, the Hispaniolan eyespot dwarf gecko (Sphaerodactylus difficilis diolenius) is named after the pair of white spots found right behind its head. The subspecies diolenius is found in the Dominican Republic.
Aside from a red or yellow tail, juveniles are beige with irregular brown stripes running down their body. Most notable in juveniles are the two conspicuous white spots (“eyespots”) right behind their head. Females are similarly colored and patterned to juveniles, though they may or may not retain eyespots. Males are also beige but covered in brown spots. They also have a yellow snout and chin.
A pair of eyespot dwarf gecko adults can be housed in an 8x8x12 enclosure or a 12x12x12 enclosure. As with other micro geckos, they are best kept solo or as a pair. Sphaerodactylus micro geckos are equipped with toe pads and can climb smooth surfaces like glass; because hatchlings and juveniles are very small, any accessible escape routes must be secured!
Substrates like DigIt, Coco Select, and other coco-fiber based substrates work well. Sand-soil mixtures can also be used. A bioactive substrate can be made using BioBedding with springtails and isopods, offering your geckos additional food sources and reducing the need to spot clean. The substrate should be kept moist.
Eyespot dwarf geckos are diurnal and primarily terrestrial. They should be provided with plenty of hiding places. A layer of leaf litter over the substrate is recommended, but additional hides should also be provided; cork bark and similar items work well. Live plants are always a welcome addition to the eyespot dwarf gecko’s enclosure.
Though they are fairly terrestrial, they will make use of climbing material. Rocks, driftwood, cork bark, and manzanita branches can be provided. While this species has not been observed digging, they’re small and at risk of being crushed, so we strongly recommend ensuring that any heavy enclosure items be securely placed and supported by the bottom of the enclosure instead of the substrate.
During the day, eyespot dwarf geckos should be kept at temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 F. A heat source is not necessary if this species is kept within that temperature range. If a heat source is provided, use a low wattage heat pad or bulb to prevent overheating. Despite being a diurnal species, UV lighting for this species is a matter of debate. If UV light is used, a 2.0 or 5.0 bulb should be used, and plenty of shaded areas should be provided in the enclosure. Temperatures should not fall below 68 F at night.
Eyespot dwarf geckos enjoy a relatively humid environment, around 55-65%. This species should be lightly misted daily or every other day to maintain an elevated humidity and to provide water droplets on the enclosure walls, leaf litter, and other cage items from which the geckos can drink. The enclosure should have enough ventilation that it dries out after several hours. A shallow water dish can be provided but is not necessary with consistent misting. Live plants will help create humid microclimates within the enclosure.
Both temperature and humidity should be monitored with a digital thermometer/hygrometer. The hot spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer or temperature gun.
Eyespot dwarf geckos are about an inch when they hatch out. As adults, they will reach around 2.3-2.4 inches! It is estimated this gecko lives about 10-20 years in captivity.
Like all micro geckos, eyespot dwarf geckos are insectivores. While their small size limits what bugs they can be offered in captivity, we supply all of the insects your eyespot dwarf gecko will need. A staple diet of pinhead to ⅛-inch crickets works best for juveniles. Melanogaster fruit flies, springtails, and small white isopods can also be offered to juveniles. Adults should be fed a staple of ¼-inch crickets, but can also be offered extra small black soldier fly larvae, dwarf white isopods, hydei and melanogaster fruit flies, and bean beetles. Feeder insects should be gutloaded and dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement. A food dish is not necessary but will help contain insects.
These micro geckos are sexually dimorphic. While females remain similar in color and pattern to juveniles, male eyespot dwarf geckos will develop a yellow snout and chin. In addition, they will change in pattern to become spotted all over their body.
A light brumation period in the winter or increasing the length of day in the summer is recommended to incite breeding. Females will lay a single egg every three weeks in a secure area, including small egg-laying tubes. Eggs should be carefully removed and incubated; they will hatch after 50-60 days.
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