Name: Gonatodes antillensis. Known simply as the Antilles dwarf gecko because it inhabits a number of semi-arid islands in the Antillean archipelago, located in the Caribbean sea.
Recommended Enclosure Size: Adults should be kept alone or in pairs in a 8x8x12 glass enclosure or 12x12x12 enclosure. Because this species does not grow very large, upgrading adults to a larger enclosure is usually unnecessary. Sand alone or mixed with peat moss or coco fiber works well. DigIt, Coco Select, or other coco fiber-based substrates also work if kept drier (only slightly moist). A layer of leaf litter is strongly recommended. Numerous hides should be provided; cork bark and similar items work well. Climbing materials like rocks, driftwood, cork bark, manzanita branches, and other rough surfaces should be provided. Succulents and arid plants can also be added.
Temperature: Keep antilles dwarf geckos between 75-85 F. If warmer stable temperatures are maintained, a basking spot is not necessary. If provided, the basking spot should be around 90 F (no higher than 95 F) and maintained with an undertank heater or basking bulb. Temperature should be monitored with a digital thermometer, and the basking spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer or temperature gun. Night temperatures should not fall below 70 F. UV light is not required.
Humidity: Keep antilles dwarf geckos at 50-60% humidity. Live plants can be added to help create humid microclimates. Ambient humidity should be monitored with a digital hygrometer. These dwarf geckos should be lightly misted daily or every other day to provide dew on enclosure walls and cage items from which they can drink, but enough ventilation should be provided to allow the enclosure to dry out after a few hours. A shallow water dish can be provided but is not necessary with regular misting.
Size: The antilles dwarf gecko is a little over an inch when hatching and will only grow to be 2.6-2.7 inches as an adult!
Age: Antilles dwarf geckos are at least 4 weeks old when sold by Josh’s Frogs, at which time they are well established. It is estimated that these geckos live for 10-20 years in captivity.
Feeding: Juvenile antilles dwarf geckos sold by Josh’s Frogs are fed pinhead crickets and ⅛-inch crickets. These juveniles can also be occasionally offered extra small black soldier fly larvae, melanogaster fruit flies, and springtails. Adults should be fed a staple of ⅛-inch crickets, but can also be offered black soldier fly larvae, melanogaster and hydei fruit flies, dwarf white isopods, and bean beetles. All feeder insects should be gutloaded and dusted with vitamin/mineral supplements, and can be offered in a food dish.
Sexing: Antilles dwarf geckos are sexually dimorphic and can be visually sexed. Once reaching three to four months of age, males begin to lose their pattern and obtain a bright yellow head and gray body. Females retain their earthy colors and busy patterns.
Color/Pattern: Juveniles and females of this species are brown and beige with bands and mottlling. Males have bright yellow heads and gray, patternless bodies.
Social Behavior: This species is best kept alone or as a pair. Males are territorial, and females may fight with other females.
Breeding: A light brumation period in the winter or longer days in the summer will help incite breeding. Females lay single eggs every 3 weeks in a secure area, and will often make use of strategically placed egg-laying tubes. Eggs hatch within 75-100 days.
Natural Range: Antilles dwarf geckos are found on a number of semi-arid islands in the Antillean archipelago in Caribbean sea, including Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire.
History in the Hobby: Despite being not too difficult to keep and breed, captive bred antilles dwarf geckos are not often readily available. We’re excited to make this micro gecko more popular and available!
Links of Interest:
Dwarf Geckos Care Sheet - An excellent resource on Gonatodes antillensis from the Dwarf Geckos website
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