Giant leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus giganteus)
The Giant leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus giganteus) inhabits primary mid-altitude rainforests at the north of Madagascar and is well-known due to the national park Montagne d’Ambre.
For many years, this species was considered as a “white-eyed” subspecies of the common flat-tailed gecko (uroplatus fimbriatus) but was described as the new species in 2006 (by Glaw, Kosuch, Henkel, Sound, and Bohme). As a matter of fact, both species resemble each other but have the morphological difference as well. Unlike the common flat-tailed gecko, the giant leaf-tailed gecko shows white eyes with red lines at night.
As it comes from the name “giganteus”, it is the largest of all existing Uroplatus species for today.
The basic color of the common flat-tailed gecko could vary from grey to dark orange with brown. The babies usually show a light grey coloring.
As of 2014, we had 4 adult males, 4 adult females, 2 juveniles of one-year-old as our breeding stock and 9 just born babies of the giant leaf-tailed gecko hatched in BION Terrarium Center
The details of keeping:
Cages: For adult pairs, we use 90х65х120 cm glass terrariums with two ventilation panels on the top and below the front sides of each cage.
Substrate: Large pieces of oak bark. For babies, we use 30х30х30 cm glass terrariums. Young geckos are kept one in a cage. As animals grow, we put them in larger cages.
Substrate: small pieces of oak bark
Decoration: We always settle large vertical and horizontal branches for adult species and smaller branches– for babies; artificial lianas; sometimes, live plants .
Diet: For adults: large roaches, locusts, crickets, snails. The size of insects and snails should be no less than 2.5 cm. Food is provided 1-2 times a week, 1-2 insects or snails per head.
For babies: roaches, locusts, crickets. The size of insects should always correspond to the gecko size. Food is provided 3 times a week, 3 insects per head.
Lighting: A full spectrum lamp is provided on a regular basis; daylight duration is 10 hours a day for all year round, except for 2 winter months.
Heating: a 40 watt spot lamp, the maximum temperature in a basking place is 29°C. During 2-5 hours in winter time (depends on the temperature in the terrarium).
UV: a full spectrum Zoo Med lamp “Reptisun 5 UVB”; 1-2 hours a day.
Temperature: 24-26°C daytime (basking place - maximum 29°C), 20-23°C at night.
Humidity: 60-80% is achieved by spraying cage and decorations 2 times a day.
Mineral supplements: The dish with Calcium with D3 (powder) is provided on a regular basis.
Males and females could reach their sexual maturity at the age of around 2.5 years.
We keep adult lizards in pairs (1:1).
One female makes 3-5 clutches per season.
The clutch consists of 1-2 (more often 2) eggs.
On average, 1 female gives up to 6 fertile eggs per season.
Pregnancy lasts about 30-50 days.
There are about 30-50 days between two clutches.
The incubation period is around 3.5-4.5 months.
We try incubating eggs in two temperature modes to see how it will affect the sex of newborn lizards:
- the first mode: 24-25°C daytime, 22-23°C at night;
- the second mode: 23-24°C daytime, 21-22°C at night.
The humidity level should be around 75-85% (a drop of water appears on the surface of vermiculate after pressing it with fingers).
In July 2013, we got the first clutch of 2 eggs from just one female. Hatchling occurred in November 2013.
In 2014, we got 5 clutches from 4 females, including 25 eggs total (18 fertile + 7 unfertile).
The size of newborn lizards is about 9-11 cm, including the tail. According to our observations, if a baby is born smaller, it usually doesn’t survive.
Healthy babies grow well, adding by 1-1.5cm to their size every month. Take into consideration the need to increase cage dimensions in the process of growth (the terrarium size should be adjusted every 1.5-2 months).
Rickets (deformation and softening of the bones) may develop in juveniles and adults in case of wrong care.
If this is the case, the exposure of UV should be increased (“hard” UV over 280nm during 2 minutes every other day until improvement)
Also, the dose of calcium should be increased (liquid calcium gluconate can be offered with drinking, 2-3 drops from a syringe 2 ml every other day until the condition improves).
Mouth rot occurs when keeping at low temperatures. For treatment, we use Vitamin C (orally, 1-2 drops from a syringe 2 ml every other day), Dioksidin (dioxydinum) solution and veterinary ointment “Mastidek-A” (applying to jaws with a cotton swab).
- 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