Friday, June 7, 2013

Fat-tailed Gecko

A nocturnal lizard that barks and bites...

Geckos are small-like lizards.  The majority of these little creatures are nocturnal, albeit some of the most beautiful of all the geckos are the Phelsumas, also known as day geckos.  In contrast to most other gecko species, day geckos are active mainly during the day. Other diurnal geckos include species of the genera Lygodactylus and Gonatodes. Day geckos have rounded pupils and a clear, fixed plate covering their eyes which they clean with their tongue. Day geckos do not have eyelids. Many species have bright green, red and blue colors which make them popular terrarium or vivarium pets.

In fact, many of these geckos are kept as pets, including the fat-tailed gecko.  Geckos have a transparent, protective scale over their eyes and eyelids which do not close.  The shape of their feet varies enormously, as some species have hooked flaps of skin on the pads of the toes which enable them to run upside down across ceilings or up panes of glass.  With the exception of the day geckos, which also eat raw fruit, geckos are insectivorous by nature.  I'm sure the diet is slightly different among the ones that are kept as pets, but out in the wild, insects are normally the food of choice.

There is some debate on which is the largest species of Gecko, with many folks saying the Tokay is the largest, although Wikipedia says it is the 2nd largest, and many other resources say the New Caledonian Giant Gecko is the largest on average.  The fat-tailed gecko is a medium-sized gecko.  Oh, speaking of a Tokay, they can grow well past 14 inches and they have what many would call "a nasty temper," and is probably not a good first pet for beginners, going by what I have heard.  Tokays can inflict a vicious bite and can let out a series of sharp barks, sort of like a small dog, which would be very confusing for someone that has never seen or heard one before.

Depicted below is an African Fat-tailed Gecko:


The Fat-tailed gecko is found in West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon. Their habitat is dry and arid, although they will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding place. In captivity, it is important to provide these geckos with a source of humidity that mimics these conditions. The Fat-tailed gecko will grow to be 6 to 10 inches.  The females are generally a couple of inches shorter than the males.  They will live 15 to 18 years, on average. ['Click here' for a blog post about the average life expectancy for common pets.] The normal coloring is brown and tan stripes, with the under belly being a pale pink or off-white.

When searching online for additional info about the fat-tailed gecko, I noticed that most entries just speak about the one from Africa.  I find that odd, since I have read in the past about fat-tailed geckos dwelling in Pakistan, Iran and also neighboring Russia.  Anyway, its puffy tail contains fat reserves which are thought to enable it to survive long periods of drought, when insects are scarce, without dehydrating.   At any rate, if you have much experience keeping any type of gecko for a pet, feel free to share your experience in the comment field below.

---End of Post "Fat-tailed Gecko"

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