Gunther's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus guentheri)
The Gunther's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus guentheri) is a nocturnal medium-sized species, which lives in dry deciduous forests with rainless summers and extremely wet winter seasons. In their natural conditions, a winter lasts from March-April to October-November. Animals were recorded from the western part of Madagascar (as an endemic species) at an altitude between 30 and 120 meters above sea level. The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 3,554 km². These geckos have been observed at a height of 1-6 metres on the bushes and low trees.
Gunther's leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus guentheri) reach a length of up to150 mm (including the tail). They are colored in shades of brown and grey and may also have black spots. The pattern on the belly side is used for individual identification of specimens because this pattern does not change over the years. However, the day and night coloration of each animal can be different. The sex difference is visible in adult animals: the males have enlarged hemipenes bulbs.
As all members of the genus, the Gunther's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatusguentheri) is an insectivorous species (but can also consume other small invertebrates) with dusk and night activity.
The Gunther's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus guentheri) is protected by CITES II/B. Therefore, keeping and breeding captive-bred individuals is possible with due paperwork only.
As of September 2015, BION Terrarium Center currently had 3 adult males and 3 females, a group of juveniles, and some eggs on incubation. We provide a breeding project with this species, in accordance with our general Uroplatus breeding program.
The founder stock was legally imported as w.c. from Madagascar.
Typical enclosure conditions:
Enclosure: adult animals can feel well when being kept in pairs or in groups of 1 male with 2 females. The terrarium size is 450x450x600 mm. Two males, if placed 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 is recommended. You can use tree branches with hollows, bamboo tubes, coco shells, etc. Live and plastic plants are recommended. A water bowl should be used on a daily basis.
Illumination: a full spectrum lamp is necessary for all age individuals. The day length should be 9 hours in summer and 7 hours in the 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 a basking spot, if the general temperature is too low.
Humidity: 70-90% in winter (a rainy season, 2-3 spraying a day), 60% in summer (a soft dry season, 1 spraying a day). During 2-3 weeks in summer, we recommend to spray animals only once 2-3 days. Combined with the 26º C day temperature, this makes the imitation of a natural dry season.
Diet: Gunther's leaf-tailed geckos can feed on various 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 the animal to avoid obesity).
Mineral supplements: we use Calcium powder provided with feed once or twice a 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.
Obesity is the main health issue for our animals. Keeping this in mind, a bland diet is the only technology we practice.
Animals become sexually mature at the age of 12-18 months.
A 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 the day, 22-24º C at night.
Humidity for incubation: 70-80% (a drop of water should appear on the substrate surface – vermiculite – after pressing it).
The incubation period takes 100-110 days.
We recommend keeping babies in glass terrariums of at least 350x300x350 mm. A 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 enclosures, but cooler and more humid.
Babies need spraying 2-3 times a day (the humidity level of about 70%).
The first feed is crickets and Shefordella tartara larvae (0.5 cm) 3 times a week (3-4 insects per each gecko). Calcium should be proposed with every feeding. Be careful to prevent obesity.
At the age of 10 months, young animals can be sexed.
- Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences and GlawVerlagGbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany
- Sacha Svatek and Susanna van Duin. 2001. Leaf-tailed geckos – the Genus Uroplatus. Brahmer-Verlag, 161 p. Germany