It is clear that people refer to the Flat-Tailed Gecko as the leaf-tailed gecko. Madagascar is the only home to all eight species of Leaf-Tailed Gecko, although the Oakland Zoo claims ten species that belong to the family “Uroplatus”. These Geckos are excellent pets. These pets from Madagascar vary from 10-30 cm (4”-10”) in length. Feed them a diet of insects and tiny boneless creatures as a greater part of their diet, and you will see them enjoying a homely feeling. Being creatures of the night, you can return home leisurely to feed them.
Based on their species, one comes across Leaf-Tailed Geckos in main and subordinate tropical Madagascar forests, either adhering to tree trunks perpendicularly or basking amidst the straight shoots of branches. The extreme deforestation is stripping away the forests and endangering their habitat.
The gecko’s tail resembles a broad flattened-leaf stretching between their rear legs, which is why you call them Leaf-Tailed Geckos. They look like the bark of a tree since their skin is brown or green. Owing to this, at daytime, while it relaxes in the sun, it sets up a good camouflage among the branches.
Depending on the species, the Leaf-Tailed Geckos vary in size from 4 inches (10cm) to above 12 inches (30 cm). The other types of leaf-tailed geckos have minimal variations in their looks and their habitat and consist of the Spear point, Satanic Leaf Tailed, the Henkel’s and the Mossy leaf-tailed gecko.
Owing to the Leaf-Tailed Gecko’s reserved behavior, there is only limited knowledge of its reproduction process. The female lays 2-4 eggs at a time in a protected space and leaves them on their own.
The Leaf-Tailed Geckos live longer up to 15 years in custody but in their natural habitat they live only 3-5 years. Their food includes meal-worms, moths and crickets. The Leaf-Tailed Geckos in captivity, require the same food as other similar captive geckos, their enclosures mostly resembling their natural environment.
Usually Uroplatus in custody are six species. The usual captive Leaf-Tailed geckos or Uroplatus fimbriatus is the biggest, and grows up to 12” or 30 cm. With perpendicular stripes forming a pattern on its body and the color of its eyes translucent yellow, these geckos go by the name,” Giant Leaf-Tailed Geckos.” The Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko or Uroplatus Phantasticus is the smallest at 3.5” (9cm)
The two geckos, Henkel’s and Leaf-Tailed Geckos have colors ranging from white to orange. The excellent grasping capacity of its tail helps Henkel’s Leaf-tailed Gecko to suspend itself from the tree branches.
Use a 10-gallon tank with a screen top as a terrarium to house two geckos. For substrate, at the base of the tank, use peat-moss or other protective covering, usually made up of organic substances like leaves, straw and the like, which one would generally call mulch. Provide them few places for hiding and branches for climbing. Cork bark is a good medium for hiding. To uphold the humidity at 85%, mist the house every day.
Heat and Lighting
You can assure the comfort and health of your gecko pets by using UVB spectrum lighting. Use incandescent bulbs to emit gradient heat varying from 65-80% F during the day and 60-65% F at night. Switch On/off lights every 12 hours to imitate the natural day cycle.
Supplement the diet of the leaf-tailed gecko with gut-loaded insects, feed dusted with vitamins and minerals. You could feed them with Silkworms, meal-worms, moths, butter worms and crickets. In a little vessel, give them fresh water that is free from chlorine.
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.