P.grandis are the most commonly kept day gecko in the UK by a long way. Other ‘madie’ (madagascariensis) subspecies are less colourful. Their captive popularity reflects their generally hardy, active dispositions; they are adaptable and widely spread in the wild.
grandis do well in a large tank (minimum 45 x 45 x 60cm) with fairly warm temperatures and moderate to good humidity. Spray daily. Melamine vivariums are often used, but make sure the inside edges are silicone sealed to prevent the wood rotting, or (preferably) line the inside of a wooden tank with glass or Perspex (and then seal that). Exoterra tanks are ideal but must be the largest of available sizes.
Zonal lighting (areas of light and shade) allows heliocentric (sun-seeking) thermoregulation. In captivity is best provided by full spectrum metal halide lighting mounted in a reflector above the top mesh of the vivarium, providing a deep column of light to the vivarium floor for animals and plants.
No thermostat is required for such lights (though a specific ballast unit is), and the animals will shuttle in and out of the light as they would in nature (UV tubes diffuse light and work against this behaviour; they also have poor light penetration, leading to Phelsuma clustering just around the top of the viv craving light – see also lighting recommendations in ‘General Care’).
Tough, broad-leafed plants are appreciated, like Monstera and rubber plants, along with sturdy thick branches and pieces of cork bark.
Keep them only singly or in compatible pairs, unless in a very large vivarium. Watch the female doesn’t get bullied or injured – regular violent matings will often result in neck scars and tearing of the skin, which usually heal without concern, but anything more serious (leg or head bites, tail loss) require the female to be moved to recover on her own. Females need plenty of calcium.
grandis have large appetites for insects at any age and take fruit foods greedily, daily.
© Phelsuma Farm, 2004; edited 2015