Breeding & keeping info

The keeping & breeding of Uroplatus guentheri  at BION Terrarium Center:  keeping, breeding and some notable facts

by Anna Ivanuna, Lilya Krivosheeva & Anna Golenko

Uroplatus guentheri, or Gunter’s Flat-tail Gecko, is a nocturnal medium-sized species, which lives in dry deciduous forest with rainless summer and extremely wet winter season. In their natural conditions winter lasts from March-April to October-November. Animals were recorded from western part of Madagascar (as an endemic species) at elevations between 30 and 120 meters above the sea level. The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 3,554 km². These geckos have been observed at height 1-6 metreson the bushes and low trees.

640px-Uroplatus guentheri distributionUroplatus guentheri reach alength 150 mm(including tail). They are colored in shades of brown and grey, and may also have black spots. The drawing on the belly side is used for individual identification of specimens because this drawing does not change with the years. However, day and night coloration of each animal can be different. The sex difference is visible in adult animals: the males have enlarged hemipene bulbs.

As all members of the genus, U.  guentheri is insectivorous species (but can also consume other small invertebrates) with dusk and night activity.

Uroplatus guentheri is protected by CITES II/B, so keeping and breeding of captive-bred individuals is possible with due paperwork only

BION Terrarium Center currently(for September 2015) has 3 adult males and 3 females, a group of juveniles and some eggs on incubation. We provide breeding project with this species, according with our general Uroplatus breeding programm.

 

The founder stock was legally imported as w.c. from Madagascar.

The typical enclosure conditions

Enclosure: adult animals can feel well keeping in pairs or in groups of 1 male with 2 females. The terrarium size  is 450x450x600 mm. Two males, if put together, may fight.

Substrate: 4-7 cm of small bark pieces, covered with dry leaf-litter (usually, oak).

Decoration: a  number of shelters inside the enclosure are recommended. You can use tree branches with hollows, bamboo tubes, coco shells, etc. Live and plastic plants are recommended. Water bowl should be used on a daily base.

Illumination: full spectrum lamp is necessary for all age individuals. Day length should be 9 hours in summer and 7 hours in winter season.

Temperature and heating: day 24-26º C, night 19-23º C in summer; day 22-26º C, night 16-18º C in winter. The 40 W lamps can be used for basking spot, if a general temperature is too low.

Humidity: 70-90% in winter (rainy season, 2-3 spraying a day), 60% in summer (soft dry season, 1 spraying a day). During 2-3 weeks in summer we recommend to spray animals only once per 2-3 days, and in combination with 26º C day temperature it makes the imitation of natural dry season.

Diet: U.  guentheri can feed on different insects. We usually propose them Shefordella tartara, locust larvae (3 cm) and crickets (1,5 cm). We give 2-3 insects per each lizard 1 or 2 times a week (depending on the health of animal, to avoid fatness).

Mineral supplements: we use Calcium powder with feed once or twice per month, and lumb calcium in dishes is always available. Gravid females receive more calcium powder. Also, we give vitamin powder 1 or 2 times a month.

Hibernation: dry summer and chilly winter seasons, see above.

Veterinary

Fatness is the main health problem for our animals. Keeping this in mind a bland diet is the only technology we practice. 

Breeding

Animals become sexually mature at the age of 12-18 month.

Breeding season falls on April-September. One female usually makes 1-2 clutches a year, laying 1-2 spherical eggs in leaf-litter every time.

Temperature of incubation: 22-24º C during day, 22-24º C at night.

Humidity for incubation: 70-80% (a drop of water should appear on the surface of substrate – vermiculite – after pressing it).

Incubation period takes 100-110 days.

Offsprings

We recommend keeping babies in glass terrariums 350x300x350 mm, and not less. Group of 2-3 juveniles could be settled together.

Paper towels are preferable as a substrate. Lighting, heating, temperature and decoration are generally similar to adult’s enclosures, but cooler and more humid.

Babies need spraying 2-3 times a day ( the level of humidity about 70%).

The first feed are crickets and Shefordella tartara larvae (0,5 cm) 3 times per week (3-4 insects for each gecko). Calcium should be proposed with every feeding. Be careful to prevent fatness.

At the age of 10 month young animals can be sexed.

USEFUL SOURCES 

Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag GbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany 

Sacha Svatek and Susanna van Duin. 2001. Leaf-tailed geckos – the Genus Uroplatus. Brahmer-Verlag, 161 p. Germany

References and useful links

http://www.uroplatus.org/species-index/alluaudi-group/uroplatus-guentheri

https://sites.google.com/site/geckosincorporated/home/uroplatus-guentheri

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/172927/0

http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Uroplatus&species=guentheri

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