African Fat Tail Gecko- Small to Adult
In store price: 34.99
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Fat-tailed geckos are native to West Africa, where they inhabit savannas and scrublands. During the day, these nocturnal lizards take refuge in underground burrows, under rocks or under rotting trees. They come out at night to hunt for small insects such as locusts, spiders and beetles.
Captive fat-tails originated from wild-caught lineages mainly imported from Benin, Ghana and Togo. Most wild-caught specimens today come from Benin. They are collected on moonless nights when the fat-tails are out foraging for prey.
These African lizards can live for more than 20 years, and both experienced and new hobbyists find them interesting. Attractive morphs, either available or on the herpetocultural horizon, make this species an even more desirable project. Fat-tails may soon rival the popularity of other commonly kept and bred geckos in the industry.
Handling and Care
Fat-tails take handling really well, which makes them excellent candidates for a pet. Their calm disposition and sluggish movement makes them both wonderful to work with and easy to handle. Three tips will improve handling experiences for both owner and pet.
- Scoop them up. Fat-tails do not like being restrained.
- No grabbing. A gecko might eject its tail if tugged too hard or handled too rough.
- Use your palms or lap. Young geckos can be a bit skittish at first, so handle them close to the floor or just above their enclosure in case they decide to leap.
Captive breeding has helped to advance fat-tailed geckos in the pet trade. They make a great project for both experienced and new hobbyists, and they may someday rival the popularity of other commonly kept and bred geckos. There certainly is a lot of genetic work that can be done with this species for years to come.
Male fat-tailed geckos are territorial, so only one male should be housed per enclosure. Mature males in the same enclosure begin to fight, and death is a strong possibility. Two males as young as 10 weeks old can even begin fighting. To avoid fights, never house males weighing more than 15 grams together. Females are not territorial, and they can be housed together safely.
Substrate for subadults and adults is peat moss and vermiculite mixed in a 1-1 ratio and layered 1 inch deep. The moisture-holding ability of vermiculite and the mold-inhibiting properties of peat moss combine for a great mix that is also easy to spot-clean as needed.
Fat-tails require well-regulated humidity and temperatures. Humidity between 50 percent and 70 percent is ideal, so mist the enclosures daily, especially those containing babies. Also keep the substrate fairly moist, so the enclosure stays humid, but there should be some dry spots for the fat-tails to lie on. As most reptile hobbyists know, fat-tails need a hotspot and cooler spots to regulate their body temperature. We use thermostatically controlled heat tape for the hotspot in our rack systems. It runs between 88 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit, and the cool side of the enclosure is about 75 to 80 degrees. These temperatures are maintained 24 hours a day.
This temperature gradient helps determine where other cage items should go. We place one hide over the heat tape and one hide in the middle of the cage, so the fat-tails can choose the hide and temperature they prefer. Finally, a water dish 2 to 3 inches in diameter is placed on the cool side of the enclosure.
Fat-tails are nocturnal, so they do not require basking lights or ultraviolet rays. A regular light bulb providing a photoperiod of 12 hours is sufficient.
Fat-tailed geckos are insectivores. They can be fed a variety of commonly available prey items. We feed all of our fat-tails a staple diet of crickets. But dietary variety is healthy for fat-tails. Roaches can be a direct replacement for crickets, but we suggest that other insects, such as mealworms, superworms, waxworms, silkworms and Phoenix Worms, be offered sparingly because most are too fatty. These other insects should make up about one-quarter to one-half of a gecko’s diet.