AFRICAN FAT-TAILED GECKOS (Hemitheconyx caudintus)
LEOPARD GECKOS (Eublepharis macularius)
A 10-to 20-gallon aquarium houses one or two Leopard or African Fat-Tailed (AFT) geckos from hatchling to adult size. Do not house two adult males together, as they will fight. Many people use plastic storage tubs as housing. Be sure to have a secure screen top on your gecko enclosure if you need to protect them from other pets. A “wet” hide box filled with moist moss or coconut fiber is needed, so your gecko can shed its skin properly. You should also provide your gecko with a dark "dry" hide to make them feel more secure and reduce stress.
The best way to heat your gecko enclosure is by using under-the-tank heating. Heating one end of the enclosure is best. This allows for a temperature variation that your gecko needs. Because these geckos are most active at dusk and dawn, they do not need to bask under a special UVB light. The ideal temperature of the warm end is 88 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The ambient air temperature of the room they are housed in should be 70-75 degrees.
Paper towel, artificial turf, or stone tiles work well as floor covering. Cage substrate should be kept dry. DO NOT USE SAND, as this could lead to intestinal impaction.
Live insects are a must for your gecko. Mealworms and crickets are the most commonly used, but roaches and superworms are other options. All insects must be first given a nutritious powdered diet for at least 8 hours before being fed to your gecko. This is known as "gut-loading." Simply place the insects in a tub of gut-load diet with a piece of potato or carrot to serve as a source of water. Crickets need to be dusted with calcium powder that contains vitamin D3. You can also put the supplements in the gecko’s feeding dish with the mealworms. The gecko knows how much vitamin powder its body needs, and it will lick up the powder accordingly. Keepers can offer two appropriately sized insects for every inch of a gecko’s total length. Feed adults every four to seven days. Hatchlings should be fed every other day. It is normal for geckos to eat their shed skin. A shallow water dish with fresh water must be available at all times.
Do not handle Leopard and AFT geckos until they settle in to their new home for about a week. Let your gecko crawl through loose fingers and hand-over-hand for 10 to 15 minutes per day until it is accustomed to your touch. This taming process takes about a week. Never restrain the gecko. Don’t grab or hold the gecko’s tail, or it might drop its tail as a defense mechanism. The tail usually regenerates in less than 40 days but will not be as attractive as the original.
CRESTED GECKOS (Correlophus cialatus)
GARGOYLE GECKOS (Rhacodactylus auriculatus)
Crested and Gargoyle geckos like to climb and are best housed in enclosures with more height than floor space, Plastic tubs can be used as long as they are ventilated. An adult gecko can be housed in a 20-gallon tank with screen top. Larger tanks will allow for better displays. If you have a screen with a door, tanks can be positioned on their sides to provide more height for climbing.
Crested and Gargoyle geckos like resting in foliage and climbing on wood. Dried wood branches angled across a vivarium provide resting and activity areas. Leave plenty of open space and don't over-clutter the tank. Live or artificial plants in combination with wood and bark will provide the security needed to rest in the open and add a decorative element to the display. High relative humidity is needed, crested and gargoyle gecko enclosures need misting one or two times a day. All screen cages are not recommended as they do not retain humidity. High humidity will help your geckos shed properly. A humid hide will also aid your gecko with shedding its skin along with making it feel safe. This leads to less stress and therefore a healthier gecko.
You can keep one male and several female geckos together. Male geckos may fight, particularly when in the company of females, and should not kept together.
Temperatures should be maintained between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit for most of the year. At temperatures of 82 degrees they will become stressed, which could lead to illness, and over 85 could be lethal. During the winter these geckos will tolerate night temperature drops into the 60s. If supplemental heat is needed, the easiest way is a low-wattage heat source on one side of the tank so that the temperature reaches the desired range. One side of the tank should be unheated so that geckos can regulate their body temperature. Turn off lights at night. They do not require UVB light if fed a diet that contains vitamin D3.
A variety of substrates can be used. Reptile carpet is attractive and easily cleaned. For a more natural look, a peat moss and soil mix that doesn’t contain perlite will work well. Equal parts of coconut fiber and soil is a good choice for growing plants.
A complete meal replacement powder mixed with water, like Repashy or Pangea, is all the food your gecko requires. Leftover food should be removed after 48 hours. Although not necessary, live insects will increase your gecko's growth rate as well as provide mental stimulation from the hunt. Crickets are the best choice and you should select crickets sized equal to the width of the gecko's head or less. All insects must be first given a nutritious powdered diet for at least 8 hours before being fed to your gecko. Simply place the insects in a tub of gut-load diet with a piece of potato or carrot to serve as a source of water. Crickets should be dusted with calcium powder containing vitamin D3. Crickets can be offered 3 times a week as a primary diet or once a week as a treat/supplement to the crested/gargoyle gecko meal replacement diet. Your geckos will drink water from the foliage when you mist their cage. However, a shallow dish of fresh water should be provided at all times.
In nature, Crested geckos will usually lose their tails and end up with a tiny pointed tail nub. "Taillessness" is a normal condition of Crested geckos. Gargoyle geckos have the ability to regrow their tails if lost.
Newly purchased geckos should not be handled, but first allowed to settle in for 1 to 2 weeks to let them adjust to their new environment and to make sure they are eating regularly. When you start handling your gecko, make handling sessions less than 5 minutes. Baby geckos tend to be flighty.