How to Care for Your African Fat Tail Gecko
African Fat Tail geckos (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus) are mid sized, nocturnal, terrestrial geckos native to western Africa. Their habitat is generally considered to be arid savannah, though they likely spend much of their time in more humid microclimates. Wild type Fat Tail geckos are banded in varying shades of brown. Some have a white stripe that runs from nose to tail. Recent selective breeding has resulted in a wider variety of Fat Tail gecko patterns and colors. Fat Tail geckos are called “Eublepharid”, meaning that they have eyelids and can close their eyes. Fat Tail geckos are among the more reclusive and timid geckos and are generally considered to be a beginner pet.
A single Fat Tail gecko may be housed in a 10 gallon tank (20”x10”x12”), although it may appreciate a larger 20 gallon long tank (30”x12”x12”) or equivalent sized plastic tub, which could house 1-3 geckos. Although Fat Tail geckos generally don’t climb, it’s important that the enclosure have a lid to keep other animals or curious children out. Sand or other particulate substrate is not recommended for juvenile Fat Tail geckos, and calci-sand is not recommended for any Fat Tail gecko due to danger of impaction. Fat Tail geckos are frequently kept in planted habitats due to their need for some degree of humidity. Eco earth is the typical substrate for a planted enclosure. The most common non-particulate substrates include paper towel, newspaper, repti-carpet and ceramic tile.
Fat Tail geckos require at least one dry hide per gecko placed on the hot side of the enclosure (see below) as well as a humid hide, which is usually a plastic container with moist paper towel, eco earth or sphagnum moss. In addition, a basic Fat Tail gecko setup has a water bowl.
Fat Tail gecko enclosures should be lightly misted daily to provide adequate humidity.
Heating and Lighting
Fat Tail geckos are nocturnal, and consequently don’t require overhead lighting as long as the room in which they are kept has ambient light to distinguish night from day. If they are in a planted habitat, lighting is required for the benefit of the plants. A compact florescent light is adequate. Fat Tail geckos require belly heat, usually provided by means of an under tank heater (UTH), which is placed on the bottom of one side of the enclosure to create a “temperature gradient” from hot side to cool side. The temperature on the floor of the enclosure on the hot side should be in the low 90’s. A UTH will require a thermostat or a rheostat to regulate the temperature. Fat Tail geckos will thrive in an indoor environment that is comfortable for humans and will spend more time in their warm hides when the ambient indoor temperatures are cooler in the winter.
Food and Supplementation
Fat Tail geckos are primarily insectivorous (insect eating), though some are fed newborn “pinkie” mice on occasion as adults. They are generally attracted only to live food. Although some Fat Tail geckos have been conditioned to eat worms, most Fat Tail geckos seem to prefer bugs which may include locusts, crickets and Dubia Roaches. Needless to day, Dubia Roaches are a wonderful staple food for Fat Tailgeckos. Care should be taken to feed appropriate sized prey and not to leave prey in the enclosure for long periods of time.
Fat Tail geckos require calcium to build strong bones, vitamin D3 to metabolize the calcium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals. It’s generally recommended to dust their prey with calcium, vitamin D3 and other vitamins using a commercially available product every feeding for juveniles and every other feeding for adults.
*This care sheet contains only very basic information. If you are new to Fat Tail geckos, please do additional research to obtain additional information from more detailed care sheets.