Chahoua Diets & Nutrition
The Chahoua Chamber
October 12, 2020
When it comes to diet, chahoua are a lot like many other New Caledonian geckos in the sense that they are frugivorous and insectivorous, but there is one key differentiator: Chahoua need and consume considerably more insect prey than their cousins. This is an overview of how I feed my chahoua collection, and which products I recommend for doing so.
There is no shortage of fruit diets available on the market today, and the line of diets that I recommend is from Pangea Reptile. Pangea has many diets available spanning several fruit flavors, formulas and protein bases, but the one I have had the most luck with for chahoua is the Fig and Insects formula. With that said, individual geckos do tend to have individual tastes, so I recommend trying many of the different flavors and even trying other diets, such as Repashy. I feed a fruit diet 2-3x per week, by mixing it up, pouring into 1oz solo cups, placing the cup into the feeding ledge and often leave the diet in the enclosure for ~48 hours. Some geckos will eat fruit diet when it is fresh while others prefer it to ferment a bit, then eat more on the second night. Either way, after 48 hours, I remove the diet as you can smell it beginning to sour.
My philosophy is to offer a mix of smoothie diets and live insects on an ongoing bases. Variety is key, and for that reason, I always recommend offering different things to determine what works best for your individual gecko. I also make my own proprietary fruit diet that I add to the rotation. Here is the recipe:
The Chahoua Chamber Diet
1 3.5oz package of Plum Organics brand organic mango fruit baby food
2 1/2 tablespoons distilled water
2 teaspoons of flavorless whey protein isolate
3/4 teaspoon Miner-All Indoor calcium supplement
1 pinch organic rose hips
1 small pinch Hawaiian green spirulina algae
Mix all ingredients in a blender and serve immediately.
As mentioned above, insects are a significant part of a chahoua’s diet and they should not be considered optional or “just every now and then” like many other New Caledonian species. Geckos under the age of 1 to 1.5 years will vigorously eat insects as they are undergoing the most rapid pace of maturation and change. Adult geckos will eat insects as well, but not with as much gusto, unless it is females during the breeding and egg laying season. Still, I generally offer insects to adult and subadult chahoua two to three times per week, alternating in between offerings of fruit diet.
I recommend banded crickets vs. discoid or dubia roaches. While I know that roaches are easier to keep, over many years and hundreds of chahoua kept and bred in my collection, I’ve noticed that they tend to stop eating roaches around 25 grams of weight or so. Chahoua have a strong prey drive so they will often pounce at and bite a roach, but are more apt to spit it out. On the flip side, chahoua love crickets and will eat 10-15 of them in a single feeding depending on age and size.
Other feeder insects like wax worms and horn worms can be offered as treats, but crickets should be considered the staple insect option for chahoua.
Chahoua, moreso many other gecko species, are highly dependent on a steady supplementation of calcium. Adequate calcium is most important in breeding females, but is also very important as young geckos are growing into adulthood. Calcium deficiency can kill females and result in underbites, kinked tails and death in younger and juvenile geckos as well. The easiest way to provide the right amount of calcium is to offer a high quality fruit smoothie diet as noted above, and to dust all of your feeder insects with a calcium supplement prior to feeding. I personally use and recommend Miner-All Indoor Calcium with D3.
If you see your gecko beginning to develop a wavy tail, that is the first sign of calcium deficiency. Mix some extra calcium into his or her fruit diet, and offer some extra calcium-dusted insects. That tends to solve the problem.