Madagascan Giant Day Gecko
Scientific Name: Phelsuma madagascariensis
The day geckos are a group of stunningly beautiful lizards, many with bright green, red, blue or yellow markings. The giant day gecko is no exception. It is bright emerald green in colour with large dark eyes and patches of red on the lower back and sometimes also on the head. These are large lizards with males reaching almost 30cm in total length. While not particularly aggressive, if handled incorrectly they will attempt to bite and have very powerful jaws. The toes are broad and flattened and have an exceptional grip even on smooth surfaces such as glass.
Normally an inhabitant of the forests and palm groves of northern Madagascar, an island off the east African coast, the giant day gecko has adapted well to the presence of humans and commonly inhabits the walls of human dwellings.
Unlike most geckos, the giant day gecko is, as its name suggests, diurnal. This means it is active during the day, as opposed to its other gecko cousins, which are nocturnal. They are fast agile hunters racing up and down trees trunks, palm fronds and walls to capture small insects and spiders. They will also lick nectar and pollen from flowers and will sometimes eat soft fruits when available.
Female day geckos produce two eggs in each clutch, although several clutches may be produced in a single year. The eggs are hard-shelled and require a lot of calcium to produce. The females will extract calcium from their diet before egg-laying and store it in small sacks on the side of the head behind the ear opening. These sacks can become quite large and distended immediately prior to egg laying.