Tuesday, August 16, 2011

African Fat Tailed Gecko


The Fat-tailed gecko is from the subfamily Eublepharinae. Members of this subfamily include the leopard gecko of Iran. This subfamily has clearly different characteristics from other geckos. They are terrestrial, nocturnal, have moveable eyelids, have vertical pupils, and no adhesive lamellae (sticky feet).

The Fat-tailed gecko is found in West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon. Their habitat is dry and arid, although they will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding place. In captivity, it is important to provide these geckos with a source of humidity that mimics these conditions.

The Fat-tailed gecko will grow to be 6 to 10 inches. Females being 6 to 8 inches, and males being 8 to 10 inches. They will live 15 to 18 years. The normal colouring is brown and tan stripes, with a possible thin white stripe along the length of the back. The under belly is pale pink or off-white.

The Fat-tailed gecko is equipped with the natural defense of being able to lose their tails when attacked by a predator. The tail is also where they store their fat, an important energy reserve. If the tail is lost the new tail will look more similar to the head (fat and stubby), and may not match the coloration patterns of the body of the gecko. With its tail, an African fat tailed gecko can go days on end without food.

The Fat-tailed Gecko is medium-sized among geckos. It comes from the Sahara desert.

Scientific name : Hemitheconyx caudicunctus

Common name : African fat tailed gecko

Housing size : 48'' x 24'' x 24''

Housing type : Desert

Adult size : total 8 - 10 inches

Care/Keeping : Keep singularly, as a pair or in a group with only one male.

Level Of Difficulty : Easy

Life Span : up to 18 years

Diet : Insectivores


Fat tailed geckos are nocturnal. They are usually quite docile though they can be shy. Never house males together.


Fat tailed geckos show two main patterns -- one with a white stripe down back, and one without. They come in several colours, with dark and light brown being most common. The most notable feature is the large, thick tail (used for fat storage).

Tank for Fat Tailed Geckos

A 10 gallon tank is probably sufficient for a single fat tailed gecko, but larger is better. Hides, logs, cork bark pieces, rocks, and plants can be provided.


Orchid bark, cypress mulch, coconut fiber bedding, or peat moss can be used for a substrate and will help maintain humidity. Hides, logs, cork bark pieces, rocks, and plants should be provided for fat tailed geckos.

Temperature and Humidity

The daytime temperature gradient should be around 80-90 F (27-32 C) but can drop to 75-80 F (24-27 C) at night. Undertank heating is preferred, although a heat lamp (a nocturnal bulb works well) can be used as well if needed. No UV lighting is necessary. Humidity should be quite high (over 50%) and maintained by misting several times a week and providing a shallow water dish at all times. A humidity retreat is also a good idea (e.g. a small container with damp spaghum moss inside).

Feeding Fat Tailed Geckos

Fat tailed geckos can be fed primarily on crickets and mealworms, although adults can be offered the occasional superworm or waxworm. Prey should be always be gut loaded prior to feeding, and dusted with a vitamin supplement containing calcium. Adults can be fed every 2-3 day, and juveniels every 1-2 days. Provide a shallow dish with water as well.

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