Chinese Cave Gecko 101 – Care, Size, Lifespan, Diet & More

The Chinese cave gecko is a relatively small species of lizard known for their unique characteristics and distinct appearance. They are known for their docile temperament and are easy to care for, making them popular among reptile lovers. This article will comprehensively guide you on  Chinese cave geckos and their care requirements.

Chinese cave geckos or Goniurosaurus luii is a captivating reptile found in rocky karst landscapes of China. They are known for their unique appearance with vibrant colors and distinct patterns, making them a favorite among the reptile community. The Chinese cave gecko is relatively small in size and easy to care for making it an ideal choice for beginner reptile enthusiasts.


The Chinese cave gecko is one of the captivating reptiles to house as pet. They are known for their unique and vibrant coloration. They also consist of intricate patterns making them popular among reptile lovers. The Chinese cave geckos’ skin consists of earthy tones such as brown, orange, and gray, along with intricate markings that vary between individuals. These markings not only add to the gecko’s aesthetic but also serve as camouflage in the wild.

In terms of size, the Chinese cave gecko is relatively small, compared to its other cousin species. A fully grown cave gecko can reach a length of 5-6 inches, making it easier to care for. These geckos are also known for their climbing abilities, as they are used to living in rocky habitats. They have specialized adhesive pads on their feet which help them climb surfaces and stick to them easily. These pads with tiny hair are called setae, which allows them to cling and climb on vertical spaces, thus making them excellent climbers.

Like its other cousin species, the Chinese cave gecko is also nocturnal, meaning it is most active during the nighttime. During the day, it spends most of its time hiding in various crevices and caves. These reptiles have minimum care requirements and an average-sized tank to live in, making them ideal if you do not have a lot of space. They also prefer a rocky setup mimicking their natural habitat with enough hiding spaces.

Key AspectsInformation
Common NameChinese Cave Gecko
Scientific NameGoniurosaurus luii
HabitatRocky karst landscapes, caves, crevices
Size5 to 6 inches in length
LifespanAround 10 to 15 years in captivity
DietInsectivorous; primarily feeds on small spiders and other invertebrates
ReproductionTypically 2-4 eggs per clutch
BehaviorGenerally docile and easy to handle
HousingAverage-sized enclosure with ample space to move around
Temperature75°F to 85°F during the day, slight temperature drop at night
Diet in CaptivityCrickets, mealworms, waxworms, and other small insects
HandlingCan be handled, but not by their tail
Health ConcernsRespiratory infections, parasitic infections, and metabolic bone disease
Care LevelIntermediate

What Does a Chinese Cave Gecko Look Like?

chinese cave gecko

The Chinese cave gecko has a distinctive and striking appearance. This species of gecko exhibit a range of vibrant colors and intricate patterns all over their skin. The coloration of a Chinese cave gecko varies based on its age, genetics, and health. Some commonly featured shades include earthy tones such as brown, orange, and gray. These colors are arranged in an intricate pattern making each gecko unique. Some patterns can include spots, bands, lines, and speckles, creating an entire mosaic on the gecko’s body.

The gecko’s body is small and compact compared to its cousin species. The Chinese cave gecko can grow up to 5-6 inches and require an average-sized enclosure to live comfortably. It has a slender body structure with a slightly flattened appearance. It also has a rounded snout and large-sized eyes on its body. These eyes provide the Chinese cave gecko excellent vision even in low light conditions.

The Chinese cave gecko’s skin is relatively smooth and covered with small scales. This species also lack any flaps or crests, which can be noticed in other gecko species. Another notable feature is the cave gecko’s tail, which is shorter than the rest of the body and acts as a fat reserve. The Chinese cave gecko uses its tail as a food reserve in cold months when food reserves are scarce. They also use this thick tail for balance and agility.

Size and Growth Rate of Chinese Cave Geckos

Chinese cave gecko

The Chinese cave gecko is relatively small compared to other species of geckos. An average male cave gecko reaches a length of 5-6 inches when they reach full maturity.  Their small size makes them ideal pets, as they are manageable and suitable for various places. A young cave gecko is about 2 inches when they hatch from the egg.  As they mature, they go through a growth spree and reach their full length within a few years.

The growth rate for a Chinese cave gecko depends on different factors, such as genetics, diet, temperature, and health. While the exact time they will reach maturity may vary, an average cave gecko takes 1-2 years to fully grow. Throughout this process, they will undergo numerous shedding till their body has reached its full height.

Provide your pet with a well-balanced diet and proper temperature and humidity levels for rapid growth. You should also ensure that they get a hygienic and stress-free environment to live in, as these factors can also hinder the growth development of your pet gecko. Keeping a note of their size and health will help you detect any underlying medical issues and sort them out immediately.

The temperament of a Chinese Cave Gecko

Chinese cave gecko on owner's fingers

The Chinese cave gecko is well known for its docile temperament and calm behavior. While individual cave geckos might have different behavior, they are typically loving and explorative. Thus, making them a great fit for beginner reptile enthusiasts.

These reptiles are not known to be aggressive or territorial but exhibit a docile demeanor. Although, some cave geckos are known to be more shy and skittish. You should gradually earn the trust of your reptile pet and provide it with proper care and nourishment. Respect your pet’s boundaries till it feels safe and comfortable around you.

With the help of occasional handling and husbandry, Chinese cave geckos can get accustomed to human interaction. It is crucial to approach them without making any sudden movements. You should hold them gently and keep the handling sessions to a minimum. If your pet gecko tries to run away from you or hide during these sessions, you should give it some space and try to hold it another day to avoid stress.

Editor’s Note
You should provide a clean and hygienic environment to keep it calm and healthy. Improper handling and not giving your Chinese cave gecko its private space can lead to accidental bites.

Enclosure Setup for Chinese Cave Gecko

It is important to provide a balanced and clean environment for the well-being of your Chinese cave gecko. Proper enclosure size, temperature gradient, and humidity levels should be kept in mind before housing a pet gecko. Here are some of the specific care requirements you should know to keep your pet healthy and safe.

Enclosure Size

gecko enclosure

The Chinese cave gecko is relatively small and needs an average-sized terrarium to live in.  A minimum of 20-gallon tank should be provided for a single cave gecko to live comfortably. You can even go for a bigger tank to provide them with more space to roam around and climb freely. If you plan on housing multiple cave geckos, you should add 10 gallons to provide extra space.

You should also note that there should be plenty of vertical space, as Chinese cave geckos are skilled climbers and love to explore their surroundings. Provide them with tree logs and corn bark for them to climb on and engage in exploration.

Lighting Requirements

Chinese Cave Gecko enclosure lighting

Unlike many other reptiles, Chinese cave geckos are nocturnal and do not require access to UVB lighting. Although, providing a few hours of low-wattage UVB lighting can be beneficial for their overall health.  Ensure the lighting is appropriate to the size of the enclosure and your pet gecko. You should also follow the user guide for the lighting and turn it on for the recommended duration.

Temperature and Humidity Requirements

Chinese Cave Gecko enclosure with lighting and thermometer

Maintaining the right temperature and humidity levels is essential for the overall health and growth of your Chinese cave gecko. The temperature of the enclosure should be at a temperature gradient of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit just as the flying gecko, while the warm side can have a temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a heating pad or a small heating lamp to maintain the temperature levels inside the tank. It is important to provide your Chinese cave gecko with enough basking spots to keep them happy and healthy.

Editor’s Note
Chinese cave geckos are nocturnal thus the temperature should be dropped by a few degrees at night to mimic their natural habitat.

Chinese cave geckos also require moderate to high humidity levels inside the enclosure. The humidity levels inside the tank should range from 60-80 percent. This can be easily achieved by misting the tank on an occasional basis and providing a shallow water bowl inside the tank for your pet gecko to soak in. You can also monitor the humidity levels inside the tank by setting up a hygrometer.


Choosing the right substrate is crucial while setting up an enclosure for your Chinese cave gecko. Some of the safe substrate options for your pet gecko include reptile carpets, paper towels, and coconut fiber. You should never opt for a substrate that can cause digestive issues such as impactions. These substrates are easy to clean and replace. Thus, maintaining the cleanliness level inside the tank.

Cleaning Requirements

Proper cleanliness and husbandry are required to keep your Chinese cave gecko fit and healthy. You should remove any uneaten food and feces from the tank after every feeding session. This will stop the bacteria from building up inside the tank and also removes the bad odor. Depending on the substrate you opt for, you should regularly clean it or replace it consecutively. This can be done after every few weeks or whenever needed. 

After every few months, you should also perform a deep clean where you remove everything from the tank and clean it thoroughly using a reptile-safe disinfectant. Toxic and chemical disinfectants should not be used, as they can cause serious damage. You should also wipe the tank with a paper towel before placing your Chinese cave gecko back in its enclosure.

Lately, replace the water after every feeding session and ensure your pet gecko always has access to clean drinking water. You can also opt for a second bowl for your pet gecko to soak in. Replacing water regularly will prevent bacteria buildup and keep your Chinese cave gecko healthy.

Diet Plan For a Chinese Cave Gecko

The Chinese cave gecko is insectivorous, and its diet includes several small insects such as crickets, worms, roaches, etc. You should feed your pet gecko a well-balanced and nutritious diet to promote their rapid growth and to keep them healthy. The Chinese gecko is small and should be fed small insects that are proportionate to the size of its head. Feeding bigger insects can lead to digestive issues such as impactions.

Crickets can be served as a staple food for your pet gecko as they are small in size and provide hydration to your pet. You can also give them some mealworms on an occasional basis as treats due to their high-fat levels. Dubai roaches can also serve as a good replacement for crickets as well.

Silkworms are highly nutritious and can be fed from time to time. Waxworms can be fed as high-fat treats whenever your gecko looks weak or underweight. Waxworms should be only given as occasional treats as they are high in fat content.

You can also gutt-load these insects or sprinkle them with nutrients and vitamin D3 powder before feeding them to your Chinese cave gecko. This will provide additional nutrients to your pet and act as a supplementary diet. Doing so will lower the chance of your pet getting diseases such as metabolic bone disease, which occurs due to a lack of calcium.

Ensure your pet gecko has access to clean drinking water at all times. You should clean the bowl and replace the water after every feeding session. This will prevent bacteria buildup and keep your Chinese cave gecko happy and healthy.

Feed young geckos daily and adjust the frequency of feeding as they grow up. As your Chinese cave gecko reaches the age of maturity, you can feed them every other day or a few times a week, depending on their size and appetite. You can let your pet gecko eat as many insects as they can for 10-15 minutes during each feeding session.

MondayGut-loaded crickets
TuesdaySmall silkworms
WednesdayGut-loaded crickets
ThursdayDubia roaches
FridayGut-loaded crickets
SaturdaySmall mealworms
SundayGut-loaded crickets

Shedding Process for Chinese Cave Geckos

The shedding process in Chinese cave geckos is a naturally occurring process necessary for the growth and development of your pet. Shedding allows your pet to shed its old and worn-out skin to make room for the growing body. When the shedding process is completed your pet gecko will reveal a fresh and vibrant skin underneath it. Shedding typically occurs at regular intervals till your pet gecko reaches the age of maturity. It is more frequent in young geckos as compared to adults.

Some signs of shedding include dull appearance, loss of appetite, fatigue, and hiding behavior. If you notice any of these occurring, you should be worried as your Chinese cave gecko is going throw its shedding process. You may also notice loose patches of skin hanging from their body.

Editor’s Note
You should never try to physically remove shed skin from your pet’s body as it might accidentally injure them in the process. Mist the tank and provide a shallow bowl to soak in to help them achieve an even shed.

The Chinese cave gecko might also rub its skiing against rough surfaces such as logs and stones to get rid of the old skin. When the shedding process is completed, your pet gecko will again have a vibrant color. If your Chinese cave gecko is experiencing an uneven or delayed shed, you should visit a veterinarian immediately. An uneven shed can occur due to stress, health problems, and an unbalanced diet.

It is also important to minimize handling during the shedding process, as it might cause stress to your loving pet. By providing proper humidity levels and a nutritious diet, your Chinese cave gecko will be able to complete its shedding process easily. Remember the shedding process does not cause any pain to your pet and should not be interfered with.

How to Identify the Sex of a Chinese Cave Gecko?

Male Chinese Cave Gecko

Determining the sex of a Chinese cave gecko can be a challenging task, especially at a young age. However, gradually as your pet gecko ages, it is easy to distinguish between their characteristic traits to identify their sex. One method to identify the sex of your pet gecko is to notice the shape and size of the vents underneath its tail. Male cave geckos have larger and more prominent pores, also known as the perianal pores which are responsible for releasing pheromones.

Male geckos also have thicker tails and robust heads compared to females. To confirm the sex of your pet gecko you should visit a trained veterinarian, they will be able to identify their sex with ease. You can also go to the breeder or store you purchased them from to confirm their sex.

How to Handle a Chinese Cave Gecko?

Chinese Cave Gecko on owner's palm

Handling a Chinese cave gecko requires a gentle and calm approach. You should move slowly and avoid any sudden moments that might startle your pet gecko and make it perceive you as a threat. This can lead to defensive behavior and accidental bites and should be avoided. To handle your pet with care, place one hand underneath its body and support the weight using your other arm. You should never grip or squeeze your pet, as it might lead to stress and hiding behavior.

You should also stay mindful of the tail, as it is fragile and can come off easily if not handled correctly. Never pull or squeeze the tail while trying to handle your pet gecko. Respect your pet’s boundaries, and never grab it by its tail alone. If your pet does not feel comfortable being held you should give it some personal space and try to build a strong bond. Once they stop perceiving you as a threat, they will feel comfortable being held for extended periods. You should also minimize handling sessions during the shedding seasons, as it can lead to an exchange of bacteria and cause additional stress to your Chinese cave gecko.

Common Health Issues in Chinese Cave Geckos

Sick Chinese Cave Gecko

Like other pets, such as cats and dogs, even reptiles fall sick from time to time. They can experience health issues caused by various factors. It is important to know about common health issues to detect them at an early stage and provide immediate help. Some of the common health issues in Chinese cave geckos include respiratory infections, MBD, and parasitic infestation.

Improper temperature and humidity levels can lead to respiratory infections. Some of the symptoms include wheezing, decreased appetite, and open-mouth breathing. If you notice any of these signs, you should visit a vet immediately. Internal and external parasites such as mites and worms can also infest your pet’s body. You should maintain proper hygiene inside the tank and provide a clean environment to avoid such issues from taking place. Regular fecal matter exams can also help detect these issues at an earlier stage.

Lastly, inadequate calcium or vitamin D3 can lead to metabolic bone disease or MBD. Provide additional supplements to your pet using methods such as gut-loading. This will provide essential nutrients and vitamins to your pet’s body. Providing a calcium-rich diet and low-wattage UVB lighting might also help avoid and treat MBD.


How much does an average Chinese Cave Gecko cost?

The average cost of purchasing a Chinese cave gecko varies on different factors such as age, genetics, and the breeder you purchase it from. On average these geckos can cost you around $50-$200, depending on their coloration and morph. You should also consider additional costs, such as the ongoing cost of equipment and food, and one-time costs, such as purchasing your pet and setting up its enclosure.

Are Chinese cave geckos dangerous?

Chinese cave geckos are not dangerous and have a docile temperament. They are easy to care for and have a calm nature. They will not get aggressive until they are stressed or messed around. Improper handling can lead to accidental bites and aggressive behavior.

Final Thoughts

The Chinese cave geckos are magnificent creatures that are easy to care for with docile temperament. They come in various intricate morphs and are quite popular among reptile enthusiasts. The Chinese cave geckos are also relatively small and thus do not acquire much space to live in. Thus, making them an ideal choice for beginner reptile keepers. 

With proper care and husbandry, these reptiles can become fascinating pets to have in your house. Ensure to provide them with a well-balanced diet and a clean environment to keep them happy and avoid any medical issues.

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