Australian Barking Gecko

Nephrurus milii

Australian Barking Gecko Care

A small, hardy gecko that originally hails from Australia, the barking gecko is a delightful little creature that is as simple to keep as any of the arid habitat geckos.Populations of barking geckos are found in a range of habitats, including wet coastal low-woody vegetation; shrubby, sclerophyll (leather-leaf) forests; rocky arid scrubland; and hills in eucalyptus woodland in the southern coastal regions of eastern New South Wales, and throughout southern Australia to western Australia.


120 to 140mm in length, these geckos are often found crowded together in quite large groups during the day. It’s thought that this is to slow down the heating and cooling process, and conserve energy.


Glass terrariums or wooden vivariums are both fine to use for these little geckos, although a minimum length of 60cm/24” is advisable. As they are active and can live in groups, they will tend to use as much space as they are given – so bigger is always better.


They require a temperature gradient from 30º to 32ºc in the warm end, to 20º to 23ºc at the cool end. They do appreciate a slight temperature drop at night, and in most centrally heated homes they will need no additional heating at night.


It is very important to know what the temperature is, so check regularly with an accurate thermometer. Do not guess or take temperature by hand (if it feels warm or cold).


A simple 12 hour day/night cycle is absolutely fine for this species. UV lighting is essential, although this does not need to be as strong as the UV provided for any of the diurnal (day active) species. Lower levels of UV and lots of cover are ideal for barking geckos. Read our blog on UV lighting for nocturnal geckos, snakes and amphibians 


It is important to provide your gecko with fresh water daily, in a shallow bowl to enable livefoods – and geckos – to climb out should they fall in.


The gecko will require a few hides in the vivarium so that it can feel secure. By having 3 or more (preferably more)  in different areas of the vivarium the gecko will be able to choose the one that is at the best temperature. A humid hide is also recommended. These are hollow hides with damp moss inside; geckos will often use these when they are shedding their skin. Plastic plants are also good to use, as these look very attractive in the vivarium as well as offering privacy.


Barking geckos are insectivorous, and eat a variety of insects including crickets, mealworms, wax worms and locusts which should always be dusted with a good calcium or multivitamin/multimineral powder


As easy to keep as the more popular leopard gecko, these little guys are an absolute delight. Their appearance is endearing – their big eyes and calm temperaments make them an excellent pet species, and they appear to be just as happy in a group as they are living alone. If you would like a terrestrial gecko like the leopard but fancy something a little bit different, give this species a try – you won’t regret it!

Animal Information

Common Name: Australian barking gecko

Scientific Name: Nephrurus milii

Location: Central Australia

Habitat (wild): Arid woodland edge, scrub

Captive environment: Tropical desert vivarium

Preferred temperature range: 30º to 32ºc, to 20º to 23ºc at the cool end. Temperature can drop to 20ºC at night.

UVB Lighting: 6% UVB strip lamp or compact – 12 -14 hours a day 

Ferguson Zone: Zone 1

Substrate: Soil/sand based

Lifespan: Unknown, but should be 8 – 10 years