Reptile import-export and breeding since 1993



Nephrurus amyae Couper & Gregson, 1994 or centralian rough knob-tailed gecko: keeping and breeding at BION Terrarium Center 


Nephrurus amyae is named after Amy Couper, daughter of Australian herpetologist Patrick J. Couper. It is the largest species within Nephrurus genus. This terrestrial species is endemic to Australia and essentially arid-adapted like all other knob-tailed gecko species. This species is restricted to the center of Australia around the Alice Springs area, north to Barrow Creek in the Northern Territory. Here it inhabits open or lightly wooded areas on stony soils or rocky hillsides (Porter, 2005; Cogger, 1902). Snout-to-vent length (SVL) is 127-140 mm (5-5.5 in). Adult specimens commonly weigh at over 50 g. Tail is relatively short and narrow. Rostral and mental shields are rounded. Labials are larger than adjacent scales. Digits are short, round, without enlarged apical subdigital lamellae and covered below by numerous irregular, small, spinose tubercles. All digits are clawed. Preanal pores are absent (Cogger, 1992). Background coloration is sandy or reddish brown, and a fine, dark, reticulated network often covers the head.

Some of the highly spinous tubercles are creamy colored, and these may be organized into rough transverse lines; others can be darker, producing a spotted effect (Swan, 2008). Males are easy to sex being around 12 months of age. They are smaller than females in length and bulk. They also possess a pair of hemipenal swellings at the base of the tail. Sometimes it is possible to sex these geckos due to presence of such bulges at 3 months of age (Wagner & Lasik, 1996).



Keeping. We keep adults geckos in horizontal terrariums. Required space is 50x50 cm (19.68x19.68 in) per individual. We use 2-4 cm (0.79-1.57 in) layer of coarse sand as a substrate. Decoration includes several ceramic shelters and a moist chamber with sand. Sand layer inside the moist chamber is 5-7 cm (1.97-2.75 in) deep. It should have medium humidity as a place for egg laying and as a resource of moisture.

Lighting. Simple lighting lamps are used for day lighting (12 hours). We use no basking lighting.

Temperature. Daytime temperature is +26 - +28 °C, nighttime - +20 - +23 °C. Temperature does not exceed +28 °C. Temperature at the hibernation time (2-4 weeks) is +18 °C. After slight hibernation we smoothly increase temperature to +26 - +28 °C and the daylighting period to 14 hours.

Humidity. Humidity level is 50-60% with 2-3 spraying sessions per week.

Water. Water bowl is desirable, but not mandatory.

Diet. Diet consists of crickets and Turkestan cockroaches. For adults food is provided 2-3 times a week (4-6 insects per head). We offer “Repashy” calcium-vitamin supplements for every feeding.


Our geckos gain sexual maturity at age of 18-24 months. It’s better to let females breed later to avoid infertile eggs. We keep adults separately. Males and females are paired in the mating period only (after hibernation). Gestation lasts about 1 month. Female buries eggs in moist sand inside the moist chamber. Number of clutches per breeding season: 4–5 (1–2 eggs in each). Incubation period is 81–85 days. Incubation temperature is +27 – +27.5 °С.

According to other breeders (Till Ramm), incubation period can last from 76 to 90 days (with incubation temperature +26 - +28 °C) and 132 days (with incubation temperature +24 °C). Substrate for incubation: vermiculite. Humidity during incubation is 75–85%. Average SVL of hatchlings is 51.6 mm (2.03 in), TL is 11.3 mm (0.44 in). Average weight is around 4 g. 

First shedding takes place immediately after hatching. After that juveniles shed every 20-25 days. We keep hatchlings separately. We use paper towels of medium humidity instead of substrate and a small ceramic shelter inside the box. We provide light spraying in the evening 2-3 times per week.​

Diet for juveniles consists of small crickets, wax moths and molted zophobas. We offer “Repashy” calcium-vitamin supplements for every feeding. Neonates may eat within the first couple of days, although usually feeding may start after a week or more after hatching (Swan, 2008).

Other keeping requirements for juveniles are identical to those for adults.


1..Annable TJ. “Observations on the husbandry and captive breeding of Nephrurus asper, the spiny knob-tailed gecko.” Herpetofauna 22(1):7-11. 1992.

2..Bedford G. & Christian K. Egg size of the prickly knob-tailed gecko (Nephrurus asper, Gunther, 1876) with a preliminary comparison of investment per progeny among geckos. Dactylus 1(4):38-41. 1993.

3..Sameit H.–J. Asper & Co. Australische knopfschwanzgeckos. AquaTerr.Z., gart 41(6):162-164. 1988.

4..Wagner E. & Lazik C. Husbandry and reproduction of Australian geckos of the genus Nephrurus. Reptiles May: 56-67. 1996.

5..Porter R. Captive breeding and maintenance of rough knob-tailed geckos Nephurus amyae and N. asper. Reptiles Australia 2(3):6-10. 2005.

6..Harold G. Cogger. Reptiles and amphibians of Australia (fifth edition). – Reed Books and Cornell University Press. – New York. – 1992. – 775p. – with illustrations.

7..Swan M. Keeping and breeding Australian lizards. 1st ed. ISBN 978 0 9803667 1 6 (pbk.). – Mike Swan Herp. Books. – Lilydale, Viktoria, Australia. – 2008. – 615 p. with illustrations.