At Zen Habitats, We Love Tokay Geckos!
Tokay Geckos are feisty, arboreal geckos that are widely known for their fearless attitude, beautiful coloration, and distinctive call. Tokay Geckos were given their name due to their loud bark that sounds like they are yelling “Tokay! Tokay!” much like a real-life Pokémon! They are widely distributed around south-eastern Asia, and often inhabit areas alongside humans where they are frequently seen scaling the walls of houses. Since they can often be found scampering up and down buildings, this city- themed enclosure build is both unique and fun, but also quite naturalistic for our new resident Tokay Gecko, Gogi!
To see Gogi in her brand new reptile enclosure, check out the full video here: MASSIVE Reptile Enclosure Build For Our New Tokay Gecko + A Special Visit from Dakotah Blue Exotics!
Planning The Tokay Gecko Enclosure Build
Our Animal Care Manager, Kasey, plans to create an enclosure for our new Tokay Gecko that is quite different than any enclosure concept she has tackled before! She chooses a 2x2x4 Zen Habitats PVC enclosure as the base of her cityscape. The vertical orientation of this habitat will give our Tokay Gecko plenty of climbing space, and also provide lots of height to create our little city! Kasey plans to make a series of buildings for our gecko to explore. She wants the final product to look as though a city is being reclaimed by nature, so she plans to incorporate some moss and vines to pull her vision together; the vines will also add an extra climbing opportunity for our Tokay Gecko.
In almost every city, you can unfortunately find quite a bit of trash and litter, and Tokay City will not be an exception to this. Kasey has sourced some tiny trash cans and miniature litter to make the city look more realistic. Another staple of every city is colorful billboards! Kasey will use several mini-illuminated reptile-themed billboards in the final build.
Creating Tokay City
Kasey is hoping to give the city a dark, contrasting vibe that will pop against the bamboo-finished panels. She creates a stencil of a cityscape using her Cricut machine and attaches the stencils inside the enclosure. After taping off the areas that she did not want to be painted, she spray-paints the inside of the enclosure using a dark Krylon spray paint. Once the paint dries, she carefully peels up the stencil to reveal the silhouette of a city skyline.
Next, she begins to craft the buildings using floral foam to create staggering structures. To make the city as accurate as possible, she creates outcroppings and areas that she will later add plants and artwork to tie the city together. She adds texture to the buildings by carving out a brick-like pattern, which she admits makes a huge mess! As she is painting the bricks with water-based paint, she runs into the issue of the floral foam absorbing most of the pigment; so she coats the foam in a thin layer of white spray paint to keep the paint from being absorbed. After the buildings were painted to her liking, Kasey carves out a few large chunks of foam to install her billboards. “Tokay Ramen”, “Live Crickets”, and a small ticker billboard that has “Zen Habitats” scrolling by are securely fastened into the foam.
She then adds small wooden planks to make railings and stairs on the buildings for climbing opportunities for our Tokay Gecko. She places both live and preserved moss on the buildings to make the city appear post- apocalyptic. Then comes the time for the accessories to be added, such as trash cans with litter, vines between the buildings, and finally, corrugated metal awnings. For the metal roofing, Kasey states the material was quite difficult to work with, and she needs to use pliers to bend over sharp edges so no rough parts are exposed that could harm our Tokay.
The Big Reveal of Tokay Gecko City
With the city in place, the team carefully moves the new enclosure into place. Josh’s Frog’s Bioactive ABG mix is added to sustain our live plants. Kasey carefully plants a few tropical plants within the bottom of the enclosure and adds an LED plant light to support the growth of the plants. For our Tokay, a linear UVB bulb and basking bulb are installed on the top of the enclosure. The last step of this enclosure build was adding our inhabitant! Our feisty little Tokay showed her appreciation for her new enclosure by gaping her mouth angrily at Kasey and zooming off right into her enclosure to find a secure place to hide in the buildings. We can’t wait to watch her grow up and rule over her own little city!
What are your thoughts of Tokay City? Are there any changes or modifications you would’ve made for the setup? Let’s know on our full YouTube video of the build or on one of our various posts about Gogi the Tokay Gecko’s brand new city!