Animals / Reptiles

The African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Синонимы и названия на других языках

Afrikanischer Krallengecko (German)

Классификация

Order: squamata

Family: eublepharidae

Subfamily: hemitheconyx

Genus: hemitheconyx stejneger

Species: Hemitheconyx caudicinctus.

Ареал

The fat-tailed gecko is native to most countries of Western Africa: Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana etc.  

This species can be found in dry areas, scrubs with sandy soil. 

Внешний вид

The fat-tailed gecko normally reaches length between 20 and 22 cm.

It has disruptive coloration and this makes the gecko hardly visible in the strips of light and shade among the scrubs. This enables the lizard to skip predators and to hunt insects successfully.

Males and females have similar coloration. Males are more powerful and have bigger heads. Also males have more visible preanal pores and at the base of the tail they have paired swellings.  

Характер

It is a terrestrial species which is active at dusk and at night. The fat-tailed geckoes spend the day in hiding places: holes under tree roots, among stones or in fallen leaves.

This lizard usually lives alone and doesn’t live its limited area. It is careful and a little skittish.

Males are aggressive towards each other. 

Содержание и уход

The African fat-tailed gecko needs a horizontal tank of minimal size 40×30×20 cm for 1-2 lizards. You can maintain the temperature with the help of heat mat or a heating lamp. You should put a stone or a log in the tank for the gecko to bask on. But you have to be careful: the lamp should be at least 15 cm from the lizard’s body, otherwise it can get burnt.

A water bowl with fresh and clean water is a must. You will have to change the water and to mist the enclosure daily, since the geckoes prefer to drink water licking the drops from stones.

Hiding places are also necessary. If you have logs, stones and real plants in the tank, the geckoes will find hiding places. Also you can buy in a pet store special artificial stones with entrances. For substrate you can use coconut husks or gardening soil, then you can put the plants right into it. Then you can cover the soil with sphagnum which has to be damp all the time. If you plant to breed the geckoes, the substrate has to be at least 8-10 cm thick for the female to burrow the eggs.  

It is not recommended to keep two males together. You can keep a male and a female, or a harem (one male with several females).

The ambient temperature should be about 27°C at night and a little less at night. In the basking spot it should reach 32°С.

The air humidity should be about 40-50%. 

Since the geckoes are nocturnal species, they need only dim light. 

Кормление

The African fat-tailed gecko eats insects or smaller lizards. In captivity they can eat crickets, cockroaches, mealworm, sometimes pink mice. You should put calcium powder on the food. Te geckoes should be fed every day or every second day.

You can add to the bowl mineral water, for example Borjomi. Once a month you should add vitamins to the food. 

Особенности

It is an easy to keep and long living species that doesn’t require a big tank.

The fat-tailed gecko can be fed from tweezers.

Males are usually very aggressive towards each other.  

It is not easy to watch the geckoes since they are mainly active at night. They are skittish and difficult to tame.  

You shouldn’t often handle them since it is a big stress for the lizards.

The fat-tailed gecko requires live feed. 

Болезни

If the level of humidity in the enclosure is not high enough, the geckoes can keep some shed skin on and this can lead to necrosis. The molted skin has to be removed with the help of tweezers, but you have to wet it properly first. The prevention is to maintain the appropriate level of humidity in the enclosure. 

Разведение

The African fat-tailed gecko is sexually mature at the age of 2-3 years old. It is an egg-laying species. For successful breeding the lizards need a 1-1.5 months’ brumation period under the temperature of 17-20 degrees.  When the geckoes are gradually taken out of hibernation, they should be fed varied food with supplements and then put together. The copulation usually lasts for about 7 minutes. Then the female carries the eggs for approximately 45 days, then it lays the eggs and buries them in the substrate. The clutch usually contains 1-2 eggs.  It is best to put them into an incubator and keep under the temperature of 27-29 degrees for 50 days. The hatchlings start eating once the yolk sac is dissolved. Then they start eating small insects with soft shell and without spikes. The hatchlings should be fed daily and they need mineral supplements.  

 Average life span in captivity is up to 20 years. 

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