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Telos Vivaria: A Cat Gecko Setup


The Species: Cat Geckos - Aeluroscalabotes felinus

Cat gecko on cork bark

Cat geckos (also called cat eye / cat-eyed geckos) are a fascinating nocturnal gecko species from Borneo (Malaysia and Indonesia) and continental Malaysia. These eyelid geckos have a long body, thin legs, and a somewhat short, curling tail.

We acquired a male/female pair from a local vendor. They had them for about 6 months, prior they were most likely wild caught. Captive breeding doesn't seem to be commonly achieved - in the US at least. TBD if our two will find conditions right to reproduce!


Our Husbandry Goals:

In order to support the welfare of our cat gecko inhabitants, our goal is to provide an excellent setup that allows for:

  • secure daytime hiding areas

  • space to climb up into plants and branches

  • the ability to hunt for prey at night

  • dietary diversity

  • appropriate humidity, temperature, and lighting


Cat Gecko Natural Habitat:

Climate: Hot, humid, rainforest. The equator goes right through Borneo. The humidity is consistently 80-85% as far as weather records go, however the humidity is often higher within the forests. Daylight hours only vary from 11.5-12.5hr/day. For the two locations below, note how stable temperatures, humidity, and day length are year-round.

Example Locations: *source:

Sandakan, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Annual high temps

85-91*F (*C)

89-92*F (*C)

Annual low temps

75-76*F (*C)

73-76*F (*C)

Annual humidity



Annual hours of daylight



Typical Vegetation: Classic tropical rainforest with large hardwood trees, figs (ficus), lots of aroids and ferns/mosses.

Here are some photos of forests in Sabah, Borneo I took in the summer of 2017.

The forest after sunset - imagine cicadas buzzing, and hot, wet air.


The Setup:

Photo from July 2022 - lots of growing in to do

Photo from Jan 2023, things have filled out! Different plants have come and gone. We're currently using a broken mist head as a dripper, but the plants will be much happier to have a functioning mister back up. Haven't gotten shingling plants going yet but it will continue to improve!

Cat gecko viv - Jan '23

Enclosure: 18x18x24" front-opening Exo-Terra vivarium

Substrate: A tropical mix (top soil, coco chips, cypress mulch, biochar, leaf litter) on top of landscape fabric + hydroton for the drainage layer.

Structures: Branches, coco husk hide, ceramic hide, wall-mounted planters, mini clay "buttress roots," large seed pods, decomposing "logs," rocks.

Plants: Syngoniums, ferns, moss, Ficus pumila, Ficus benjamina, Peperomias, Pileas, jewel orchid, lipstick plant, polka dot plant, Philodendron micans, dwarf mondo grass. We're in the process of determining which plants thrive the best, and will tailor accordingly.

CUC: Springtails, isopods, millipedes. Various opportunistic fungi and molds. In the future will add other arthropods as options arise.

Temps: Aim for a high of mid 80's during day, mid 70's at night. Looking for ambient heat with cooler escape areas. Adding some heat to substrate with a side heat pad.

Humidity: Maintain at min 80% humidity, supported by damp "forest floor" and daily misting. Also supported by side heat pad.

Lighting: During day, lights contribute to to heat. Full spectrum for plants, but make sure there are multiple dark hides for the geckos to sleep in.

Feeding: Because these are fairly shy, fragile geckos, I put their primary prey items in a wide dish that they can't climb out of. This gives them space to move around and attract the geckos' attention while being contained so I can visualize how much they are eating. There are also inverts like isopods and moths throughout the enclosure available for more involved "hunting."

Build Progress:


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