Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus henkeli)
The Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus henkeli) is one of the largest species in the genus (with the total length of up to 280 mm). It occurs in four disjunct areas in Madagascar mainland and Nosy Be Island and is dependent on the primary forest habitat. There is not enough information about the population status of this species and breeding projects with these animals are quite important to save them.
Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus henkeli) is a terrestrial nocturnal species with an arboreal lifestyle. These geckos come down to the ground only to lay eggs. The most preferable preys for them are insects and snails.
This species is vulnerable because of its dependence on humid primary forests.
Our breeding project with Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko started in 2008. In 2014, our group included 15 adult pairs and 3 juveniles.
Typical enclosure conditions:
We keep adult Henkel's leaf-tailed geckos in pairs in glass terrariums of no less than 750x700x450 mm.
Substrate: middle-sized pieces of bark.
Decorations: a large number of horizontal and vertical branches, live plants, lianas, and bark shelters are needed. We also use feeding dishes and water bowls.
Illumination: we provide a 10-hour daylight (with a 5 UVB full spectrum lamp) during the breeding season and 8-hour day during the autumn and winter period.
Temperature and heating: the normal day temperature is 25-27° C (at the enclosure) and 28-29° C at the basking spot under the spot lamp 40 W (no more than 29° C!). Except for the breeding season, a spot lamp is not necessary. The night temperature should be 19-22° C.
Humidity: 70-80 %. We spray geckos twice a day.
Diet: Henkel's leaf-tailed geckos prefer insects no less than 1-1,5 cm long. We feed geckos with crickets, locusts, and Shefordella tartara (cockroaches) of this size. We also use Nauphoeta cinerea, but this insect species should be proposed with the help of tweezers, as insects bury themselves into the substrate. We feed Henkel's leaf-tailed geckos 1-2 times a week (2-3 insects per each gecko). Sometimes, we propose food only 0,5-1 times a week (the diet like this is health-giving for fat individuals).
Mineral supplements: we give Calcium supplements every second feeding (with insects). We also use vitamins once a week.
Wintering: the delicate winter season is provided with the help of short daylight but not with lower temperatures in autumn and winter.
These geckos become sexually mature at the age of 24-30 months. We keep adults in pairs throughout the year.
One female can make 3-4 clutches per season, with 1-2 eggs in each clutch. Basically, we get 6 eggs from an adult female per year. Eggs are usually placed in the ground.
The incubation period takes 75-90 days.
The incubation temperature is 25-26° C. The humidity should be 60-80 % (a drop of water should appear on the surface of vermiculite after pressing it).
The total length of new-born geckos is near 8.5-9 cm. We keep them separately, sometimes in pairs, in boxes of no less than 600x450x450 mm. The boxes are replaced with bigger ones when necessary. After youngs reach the age of 2 weeks, we place them in groups of 2-4 animals.
As a substrate, you can use middle-sized pieces of bark. Decorations are similar to adult enclosures.
Spraying, temperature, and light for young Henkel's leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus henkeli)are the same as for adults.
Feeding is provided 2-3 times a week (3 insects per one young henkeli). We use the same species of insects as for adult geckos but choose individuals of a proper size every time.
Calcium is very important to correct growth but vitamins are not necessary (sometimes insect gut loading is preferable to avoid poisoning juveniles).
Almost all leaf-tailed (Uroplatus) geckos are prone to shedding issues, which may be caused by low humidity or vitamin A deficit. So, high humidity at the enclosures is necessary. We also spray animals with solution of the vitamin product “Chiktonik” (2-5 times a day, twice a week, with concentration 1 part vitamin to 100 parts water) if any signs of shedding problems are visible.
- 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