Staff at Ngā Manu were pleasantly surprised on the 12th of March with the discovery of a 5 cm long baby in our forest gecko display. Normally forest geckos (and other native geckos), produce twins by live birth. As yet we have not discovered the second twin. It is possible only one was born. These little geckos are self-sufficient from day one, but in captivity are at risk particularly from the male of the pair, so to avoid the little animal being eaten we have removed it from the display cage and are feeding it on fruit flies and other small flies so that it grows quickly.
Perhaps in a about a year we may be able to reintroduce the juvenile gecko to the cage or start another display together with other juvenile geckos. Often more active at night, the forest gecko can be seen during the day and often basks in sunshine. They feed mainly on invertebrates, particularly moths, beetles and flies, which in the wild they source from on and under bark and epiphytes on native trees. They will also eat ripe plant berries and enjoy native flower nectar.
New Zealand geckos can be very long lived. Captive Wellington green geckos have been recorded living over 40 years. It is less likely that a gecko would survive this long in the wild given the current predators, both native (eg morepork, kingfisher) and introduced (rats and mustelids etc) but a lifespan of 20+ years would not be unrealistic in an introduced predator-free environment.
Blog written by Sarah Fields (Ngā Manu Administration and Marketing Officer), talking with our Manager Dave Banks.
Images by: Rhys Mills (Ngā Manu Supervisor) and Sarah Fields (Ngā Manu Administration and Marketing Officer).