Mourning Gecko

Lepidodactylus lugubris

Mourning Gecko Care Guide: Your Tiny Reptile Companion

Introduction to Mourning Geckos

Welcome to our comprehensive Mourning Gecko care guide! These enchanting reptiles, also known as common smooth-scaled geckos, captivate reptile enthusiasts with their unique characteristics. Let’s dive into the world of these tiny wonders and learn how to provide them with optimal care.

Species Overview

  • Lepidodactylus lugubris: Mourning geckos are widely distributed across the South Pacific islands, Central and South America, and even Hawaii.
  • Size: These geckos measure just 8.9 to 10.2 centimeters in length, with a relatively thick tail used for fat storage.
  • Lifespan: Despite their small size, they can live up to 10 years, and some exceptional individuals have reached 15 years.
  • Color Variation: Like chameleons, mourning geckos can “fire up” (brown) or “fire down” (light tan) in response to their environment.

Unique Traits

  • Parthenogenesis: Almost all mourning geckos are female (we have only ever seen 2 in store)! They reproduce asexually through parthenogenesis, resulting in offspring that are essentially clones of their mothers.
  • Saltwater Tolerance: Their eggs are saltwater tolerant, contributing to their widespread distribution.
  • Genetic Diversity: Despite being clones, mourning geckos exhibit some genetic variation, especially in patterns based on locale.
  • Eyelid-Free: They lack eyelids and clean their eyes using their tongues.
  • Vertical Climbers: Thousands of tiny “hairs” on their toe pads allow them to climb vertical surfaces.
  • Tail Regeneration: If their tail gets cut or bitten off, they can regrow it.

Housing and Environment

  • Terrarium Size: A 30x30x45cm terrarium is sufficient for up to 3 mourning geckos but larger is always better.
  • Temperature and Humidity:
    • Basking Area: Maintain 26-29°C for digestion and activity.
    • Cool Area: Keep the bottom of the enclosure at 21-24°C.
    • Nighttime Temperature: 18-22°C for rest.
    • High Humidity: Provide a humid environment.
    • UVB Lighting: They are a Fergusson zone 1/2 species, so provide a UVI of 1.1 to 3.0 in the basking area.
  • Substrate: Use a suitable substrate for moisture retention.
  • Decor: Create a lush, bio-active terrarium with hiding spots and climbing structures.

Feeding and Diet

  • Omnivorous Diet: Offer a variety of food:
  • Limited Handling: Due to their small size and speed, minimize handling.

Observation and Maintenance

  • Stress and Illness: Regularly observe your geckos for signs of stress or illness.
  • Sanitization: Keep the terrarium clean and sanitized.
  • Visit Our Store: Explore our store in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, where you’ll find healthy mourning geckos.

Join the Mourning Gecko Community

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced reptile keeper, these geckos offer fascination and joy. At Evolution Reptiles, we prioritize pet welfare, ensuring our habitats meet the highest standards. Come visit us and embrace the magic of mourning geckos!



Animal Information

  • Common Name: Mourning gecko
  • Scientific Name: Lepidodactylus lugubris 
  • Location: Pacific Basin, tropics generally
  • Habitat (wild): Forest, urban areas, farmland, coastal areas
  • Captive environment: Tropical forest vivarium, preferably more height than width
  • Preferred temperature range: daytime hot spot of 32ºC under the basking light, background ambient of 26ºC, cool end of 22ºC. Temperature can drop to 18ºC at night.
  • UVB Lighting: 5% or 7% UVB strip lamp
  • Ferguson Zone: Zone 1/2
  • Humidity: 60/70% with a peak of 80-90% each day
  • Substrate: Soil/coir based
  • Lifespan: 4 to 10 years