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Central American Banded Gecko
Coleonyx mitratus

Various Gecko pics

A Central American Favorite!
The Central American Banded Gecko, or Coleonyx mitratus, is another commonly kept gecko. The natural range is from Guatemala, south to Costa Rica. These are captive bred in fair numbers, but many are still wild caught. Coleonyx mitratus are ground dwelling geckos, much like the Leopard and Fat-Tailed Geckos. Once acclimated to captivity, these become hardy,  prolific little lizards.
Central American Banded Gecko-Coleonyx mitratus
Origin-Guatemala, south to Costa Rica
Life Span-Up to 10yrs
Temperment/Handling-Semi-docile if captive born.  Often these are wild caught lizards, requiring time before they take kindly to handling, without being aggressive or running away.  Never hold by the tail because it can fall off.
Hardiness-Easy to maintain if captive born.  A little more difficult to acclimate to captivity if wild caught. Care must be taken to rid them of any diseases and parasites.
Housing-A 10gal aquarium is adequate for two babies or one adult. A 20gal long is big enough to house one male and up to three females. Never house two males together. A lid is not necessary but recommended to keep other things from getting to the geckos.  Newspaper, paper towels, sand,  a sand/soil mix, fine orchid bark, or coconut fiber can be used as substrate. Baby geckos should always be kept on newspaper or paper towels to avoid sand impaction. This can cause serious health problems. Hide spots should be provided at both the warm and cool ends of the enclosure. To help facilitate with shedding, a hide box (small plastic container with a hole cut out of the side or top) containing moistened vermiculite or spragnum moss, should be provided, that may also double as a nesting box.  A shallow water dish should be available at all times, as well as a small dish of calcium and possibly a dish of mealworms. These geckos are nocturnal and may remain hidden most of the day. Finally add a few pieces of cork bark or well secured rocks to help keep the geckos occupied. The larger the enclosure, the more entertaining your new pet will be. Rack Systems-If housing a lot of geckos you may choose to keep them in a rack system, consisting of many tight fitting shelves full of Rubbermaid plastic bins.  A shoe box (12"x6"x4.5") will comfortably house a baby gecko, moving up to a sweater box (16"x10.5"x6")  for an individual or blanket box (22"x16"x6") for a small breeding group. The shelves on the rack double as a lid to keep the geckos from escaping.  Paper towels should be used as a substrate.  A hide spot should be provided at the warm end and the cool end as well as a single hide box containing moistened vermiculite or spragnum moss, that doubles as a nesting box.  A shallow water dish should be available at all times, as well as a small dish of calcium and possibly a dish of mealworms.  Rack systems are heated using heat tape.
Enclosure maintenance-Substrates can be changed every couple weeks as long as you remove fecal (poop) every few days. All cage items should be cleaned with a dilution of 1part bleach to 30parts water every three months or so making sure to thoroughly rinse.  Water should be changed daily.  Check all electrical devices as often as possible to help prevent fire hazards.
Lighting-This is a nocturnal (on the move at night time) species requiring no UVA/UVB lighting, but it can't hurt.  I use fluorescent and a basking or incandescent bulb suspended above one end of the enclosure. Never let the lizard touch the bulb itself, for this can cause severe burns. The lights should be left on 14hrs a day throughout the summer months and 9-10 hrs a day in the winter.  I recommend keeping all lighting on a timer, it saves the hassle of manually turning on and off the lights every day.
Heat/Temp-A good daytime temp should be 76-84F with a warm spot of 88F. Temps should be slightly cooler in the winter time. Nighttime temps should be 75-80F. Always allow a cooler end to help with thermo-regulation. A reptiles surroundings determine it's body temp, so they move from end to end as needed. Temps should be slightly cooler in the wintertime. Heating options include, under tank heaters covering about 1/2 to 1/3 the length of the tank, heat tape, or a basking bulb in a ceramic fixture over head.  Never use hot rocks, they often concentrate extreme heat causing severe burns.
Humidity/Water-Central american banded geckos are a species that prefer a semi-dry/humid environment. Mist every day or two to help keep the cage slightly damp and to help facilitate with shedding. A small, shallow water dish should be available at all times, as well as the humid hide box.
Diet/Food-As a general rule food items should be no larger than the width of the head. Commonly used food items include commercially raised crickets, mealworms, waxworms, and various other insects. Wild insects are readily accepted, but make sure they haven't come in contact with any pesticides.  All food items should be gut loaded (fed a nutritious diet of various greens, potatoes, and cricket food) for at least 24hrs prior to feeding. Insects should be supplemented or lightly coated (the easiest way is in a plastic bag) with vitamins and minerals.  The proper use of supplements can help lead to a healthier, happier gecko, and reduce the risk of metabolic bone disease. I use Rep-cal Calcium/vitD3, Herptivite, and  Miner-All.  All can be found at any pet store. I like to leave a small dish of calcium and mealworms in the enclosure at all times. Babies should be offered food 1 to 2 times daily. Juveniles should be fed daily. Adults should be fed 4-6 times a week.  Remove all free roaming food items if not eaten within 15-20min.  Insects will foul water and stress the geckos.
Sexing-Sexing babies can be difficult. With maturity sexing becomes much easier. To sex, look on the underside of the gecko. Males have a V-shaped row of enlarged pre-anal pores and hemipenal bulges at the base of the tail. Females have pre-anal pores that are less obvious and are lacking the hemipenal bulges.
Other-Just one of the many Banded Geckos, I hope to care for.
Disclaimer-Everything on this page is a matter of my personal opinion.  This care sheet is merely meant to help get you started.  Always do lots of other research and do what is in the best interest of you and your pet.
Last Updated-03/06/03 Aaron Downing  
Suggested Reading
*The Leopard Gecko Manual                                                                       DeVosjoli,Viets,Tremper,Klingenberg                            
1998 Advance Vivarium Systems                                                     
1995 Barron's Educational Series
*Lizards Of The World 
1992 Blandford 
*Designer Reptiles and Amphibians
Bartlett and Bartlett
2002 Barron's Educational Series
*Reptiles Magazine
Various Authors & Issues