Caring for leopard geckos and African fat-tailed geckos
- Read here how to care for your Leopard gecko ( Euplebharis macularius ) African fat-tailed gecko ( Hemitheconyx caudicinctu ).
1. Animal species
Leopard gecko ( Euplebharis macularius ) African fat-tailed gecko ( Hemitheconyx caudicinctu )
2. Full grown size
African fattail: length 15-25 cm (depending on sex) Leopard gecko: length 20-30 cm (depending on sex)
3. Life expectancy
Approx. Ten years.
4. Recommended size and layout of facility or cage
The terrarium must be made of a suitable, waterproof material such as glass, wood or plastic. The terrarium must have a size and layout that allows the animals to exhibit natural behavior. Both the leopard and the fat-tailed gecko are bottom-dwelling animals, which is why the terrarium must be designed so that the bottom area is used optimally. Size of the terrarium for a pair or trio (one male and two females) can be H40 x D40 x L80 cm. For each additional animal, the bottom area is increased by 1/3. The terrarium can be decorated with tree roots, stones and plants.
There must be one cave per gecko. The bottom layer must be dry and can be made of tiles or flat stones, fine sand (leopard gecko), smaller pieces of bark (fat-tailed gecko). However, it is recommended that cubs are not kept on loose bedding before they are 6 months old. Geckos must always have access to fresh water and preferably a bowl of loose lime. Faeces must be removed regularly.
5. Special care needs, including special requirements for temperature conditions
The terrarium must meet the gecko's need to alternate between a living temperature of 20-35 °C during the day and normal room temperature at night. You can use a heating mat under the terrarium or a heat bulb and a thermostat to regulate the temperature. The animals must have access to a moisture box (a closed cave/box with e.g. damp sphagnum, vermeculite or paper towel). This gives the gecko the best opportunity to change him. The animals must have vitamins, calcium and minerals adapted to twilight/nocturnal reptiles.
6. Stimulation and need for exercise
The terrarium must be arranged so that the gecko can exhibit as natural behavior as possible. When feeding with live and varied feed items, a natural feed stimulus is ensured.
The feed consists of all kinds of live insects and larvae that the animal will eat. As a general rule, the feed must not be larger than the length between the animal's eyes. Food for geckos should be shaken in a vitamin mixture specially made for reptiles.
8. Social needs
The animals are not social, but socially tolerant, and several animals can be kept together. You will often find them in the same caves or at the same hot spots. Two males must never be kept in the same terrarium.
9. Propagation, brood care and possible neutralization
In the spring, the females begin to ovulate, i.e. they form eggs. The animals become sexually mature when they weigh around 40-50 g. If the female and male go together or are put together, a mating will usually take place if the female is receptive. The mating act starts with the male vibrating strongly with his tail and nibbling on the female's body. The act of mating can look violent, and the females can get bite marks. After successful mating, the first eggs will be laid approx. 6 weeks after, and then with approx. Two eggs are laid 14 days apart until between 6-10 eggs are laid. The female must have the opportunity to bury her eggs in a moist medium (e.g. vermiculite, perlite or unfertilized sphagnum). The children are approx. 8-10 cm when they hatch. The parents provide no brood care, as the young can fend for themselves from the time they hatch.
10. Typical signs of illness and reduced well-being
The healthy gecko has clear eyes without any kind of plaster, without remnants of previous molting, and the animal must be alert. The gecko's tail should be thick. The gate must be clean and the gecko's feces must be solid. Typical signs of illness are refusal to eat, runny and foul-smelling faeces, and the gecko appearing limp and inactive. If a gecko loses weight and the tail becomes thin and limp, this may be a sign of unwellness and/or an attack of parasites. It is important to clarify the cause, i.a. by evaluating care and feeding. Take a stool sample and have it examined by a veterinarian. If several animals are kept together, the sick animal must be isolated. If parasites are suspected, all animals should be examined, as the risk of infection between animals is high.
These care instructions have been drawn up on the basis of information from the Nordic Herpetological Association ( www.nhf.dk ). The care instructions contain general information about the care of an animal species/animal group. Further information can be found in the library or on the above and other websites. The professional content of the care guide was approved by the Council regarding the keeping of special animals on 5 January 2014 in accordance with the executive order on commercial trade in animals.