Yucatan Banded Gecko

Coleonyx elegans

Yucatan Banded Gecko Care

The Yucatan banded gecko originates from Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. They are a ground dwelling species and are commonly found inhabiting forests and open habitats throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. They have a slender body and a smooth, soft tail. Their bodies are mainly a mix of chocolate browns with bands of dark brown/black covering their entire length which becomes increasingly spotty with age. They are mostly nocturnal, but will occasionally come out during the day and can reach a length of around 18cm in total when fully grown.

This small gecko can be kept in either glass or wooden vivaria, with a minimum of 60 x 45 x 45cm in glass or 90 x 45 x 45cm in wood for a single adult, although more space is always appreciated. They can be kept in groups, although each group should only contain a single male.

They require a temperature gradient from 32º to 35ºc in the warm end, to 20º to 23ºc at the cool end.  This can be provided by mounting a deep heat projector at one end, controlled with a suitable thermostat. They do appreciate a slight temperature drop at night, and in most centrally heated homes they will need no additional heating at night. Never guess your temperatures, but always check them with a good quality digital thermometer.

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 banded geckos. It is important to provide your gecko with fresh water daily, in a shallow bowl to enable live foods – 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.

Banded geckos are insectivorous, and eat a variety of insects including crickets, mealworms, wax worms and locusts which should always be dusted with calcium or multivitamin/multimineral powder. They are voracious feeders, and seem to prefer small, fast moving prey.

Another less-often seen species, these geckos are easy to maintain to a high standard. They are active and pretty, and although they are not as easy to handle as some of the smaller gecko species, they are bold enough to hand feed with a little patience on the part of the keeper.

If you don’t have a great deal of space and fancy something a little different, these are an excellent species to keep!


Animal Information

Common Name: Yucatan Banded Gecko

Scientific Name: Coleonyx elegans

Location: Yucatan peninsula

Habitat (wild): Arid woodland edge, scrub, rocky desert

Captive environment: Tropical desert vivarium

Preferred temperature range: 32º to 35ºc in the warm end, 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 as a minimum.