Species group: Geckos
Other common names: Fat-Tailed Gecko; AFT
Scientific name: Hemitheconyx caudicinctus
Much like its popular cousin the Leopard Gecko, the African Fat-tailed Gecko accepts handling readily, does not require UVB radiation, and is content with modestly-sized terrariums.
The African Fat-tailed Gecko ranges from Senegal to Niger and south to Cameroon, in West Africa, where it frequents both wet and dry savannas.
Appearance / health:
African Fat-tailed Geckos reach 20 - 30.4 cm ( 8-12 in) in length. The body is brown in color and marked with tan lines, and usually with a white stripe along the back. A large array of color morphs have been established by breeders.
Pet African Fat-tailed Geckos have approached 20 years of age. Dry sheds, resulting in retained eyelid linings and unshed skin at the toes, may occur if a moist shed-box is not provided.
Behavior / temperament:
African Fat-tailed Geckos usually take handing in stride, and rarely try to bite. However, they will defend themselves by biting if handled roughly.
Although mainly active at night, most are always ready for a daytime meal.
A single adult can be housed in a 10 gallon aquarium, while a 15-20 gallon will accommodate a pair.
Topsoil or cypress mulch can be used as a substrate but it is best to provide food in large bowls so that substrate ingestion is limited. Newspapers or washable cage liners are a safe option, as long as moist caves are provided
African Fat-tailed Geckos do not need a UVB light source. They require a temperature gradient of 74-78 F and a basking temperature of 86-92 F. As African Fat-tailed Geckos are nocturnal, a heat pad, ceramic heater or red/black reptile night bulb should be used to maintain temperatures. A cave stocked with moist sphagnum moss and a dry shelter should be provided.
The African Fat-tailed Gecko’s natural diet includes spiders, beetles, locusts, and other invertebrates. Pets should be offered crickets, roaches, locusts, sow bugs, earthworms, hornworms, calci-worms and other commercially-available species. Insects should themselves be provided with a nutritious diet for 1-3 days before being offered to your pets. Mealworms, implicated in intestinal blockages, should be avoided or used only when recently-molted (white in color).
Most meals should be powdered with a calcium/D3 supplement, with a vitamin/mineral powder being used 2-3 times weekly.
African Fat-tailed Geckos may breed following a cooling-off period of 4 weeks at 72-75 F (prior to which food has been withheld for 10 days). Females produce 2-8 clutches of 1-2 eggs annually. The eggs may be incubated in moist vermiculite at 80-90 F for 35-110 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
easy gecko, small manageable size, wonderful personalities, morphs, handling, great beginner pets
little boring, humid hide
humidity chamber, fat tail, walnut shell substrate, fat storage, brown velvety eyes, fat stubby tail
We bought Simba, our African Fat-Tailed Gecko, in 2012 from a local pet store. He was in a terrarium all alone and we feel in love with the little guy as soon as we saw him. He was about 4 inches long when we first brought him home; today he is about 8 inches long. Originally we were told that he would live for about 2 or 3 years but we have recently learned that these guys can live up to 15 years! I guess it's good that we like him! LOL
Simba is adorable and fun, even though he gets less active the older he gets.
He is a little picky about his food and refuses to eat anything other than live crickets and meal worms. He absolutely refuses freeze-dried anything. He loves to climb into his water dish every so often when he is starting to molt and won't eat anything for nearly a week because he eats all of the skin as he pulls it off.
The coolest thing about Simba is that with this type of gecko you can look into one ear and see all the way through their head. So he is officially an "air-head" and is awesome.
Simba is super easy to take care of. We clean his terrarium out about once a week by removing any poop and dead meal worms; he won't eat them if they are dead. We also wash out his water dish each week. About once every two months or so we clean out the sand and rinse off the fake plants that are hanging on the side of the terrarium. We keep a blue heat lamp for the night and a red heat lamp for the day. We also keep a regular light on for him during the day and with this combo and alternating light pattern the terrarium is always at the perfect temperature and the blue light is easy to sleep near.
The only down-side to having Simba is that he is VERY shy. He doesn't mind being held but he is very skittish when it comes to heights, so we have to be extra careful when taking him out of his terrarium..
From JennRoss Apr 9 2015 6:24PM
Very easy to care for and cute, but a little boring
We have a pair of African Fat Tailed Geckos at work and I think they are super cute. They are always happy to be woken up during the day and handled and once awake, will even take a locust or a waxworm off us. If they're not woken up though we never see them.
They are very simple and easy to care for, requiring only a few minutes work a day to clean, feed and change the water and due to their small size, only need a small enclosure, with no specialist lighting as they're nocturnal. Along with a few other species of geckos I think I'd rate them one of the easiest to care for.
If you want something that's active in the day then this species could be a little boring, but if you just want something low maintenance then I think they're great..
From Athravan Jun 17 2015 10:56AM