The Bibron's Gecko
Bibrons Dickfingergecko (German)
Species: Pachydactylus bibroni
The Bibron’s gecko is distributed across southern Africa.
This species is widely common throughout its range and can be found in a variety of terrains. It is an arboreal species, so the most part of its life the gecko spend on trees and in scrubs. It is often seen in parks and near residential areas, sometimes lives in buildings.
This gecko reaches a total length of 17-18 cm in captivity, and in the wild it can grow to 20 cm long.
The Bibron’s gecko has protective coloring that varies depending on the substrate: from dark-brown to light olive color. They have regular dark-brown bands across their backs, and there are white dots on each band. Such coloration enables the gecko to become invisible on the background of tree bark both for predators and for prey.
It is an interesting species to keep, but these geckoes have very fragile skin, so it’s best not to handle them.
In the wild they live in groups quite far away from each other. In a tank males will probably be aggressive to each other, so it’s best to keep them in couples or in harems (one male and several females).
The Bibron’s gecko needs a vertical or a cubic tank, since it is an arboreal and diurnal species. The tank should be at least 60x60x60 cm large for two lizards; for a harem you will want a bigger tank.
For decorations you can use logs; the geckoes can climb them and hide behind them. Also you can have real plants in the tank, the geckoes don’t destroy them. The plants will also help to maintain the proper humidity level in the tank. For substrate you can use coconut husks: it will cover the plant pots. A UV lamp is a must.
The temperature at the basking spot should reach 35°С. Normally a heating lamp is directed at a log, but the lamp should be at some distance from the lizard, otherwise it can burn the reptile. You will have to mist daily; a water bowl is also desirable, even though the geckoes drink by licking water drops from the leaves and tank walls.
The ambient temperature should be from 22°C at night and up to 35°C at the basking spot at daytime.
The air humidity should be around 65 %.
The light should be diffused.
The Bibron’s gecko is insectivore, so it is normally fed with live insects: crickets, cockroaches, mealworm, woodlouse, bee moth.
Females can be also fed with pink mice, it is particularly important during the pregnancy. Mineral supplements are compulsory in order to avoid rachitis. Also you can add to the food liquid vitamins or cover insects with vitamin powder.
It is a diurnal species which is interesting to watch.
The Bibron’s gecko is easy to keep.
It can be taught to be fed from tweezers; then the gecko will get used to seeing a person near it tank.
The gecko can be skittish and has very fragile skin that gets injured from the slightest touch. It’s best to catch and carry these lizards in soft gloves.
They require live feed.
Rachitis: skeleton development disorder which manifests itself in limbs’ distortion. The prevention is mineral supplements and UV light.
Stomatitis: a mouth cavity disease. The lizard stops eating, slime accumulates in the mouth. For treatment you will need to clean the mouth from slime and wash it with disinfecting solutions.
Shedding disorder: when the humidity in the tank is not high enough, the skin during the shedding comes off in pieces, and some pieces can be left on the lizard’s body. It can lead to necrosis. You will have to wet the molted skin properly and take it off carefully with tweezers.
The Bibron’s gecko is sexually mature at the age of 18 months. Under proper husbandry the couple will normally start mating without any stimulation. Copulation usually occurs at night, and then the female lays 2 eggs in the damp substrate. The incubation period lasts for 26-28 days. The hatchlings at birth are about 5 cm long. They start eating after 3 - 4 days. The hatchlings should be separated from adults, otherwise cannibalism is possible.
Average life span is quite long for such a small lizard, about 6-8 years.