Northern leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus alluaudi)
The Northern leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus alluaudi) (Mocquard, 1894) is a medium-sized leaf-tailed gecko with a snout-vent length (SVL) of between 69-79 mm (Glaw and Vences, 2007). The species is found in dense transition forests at a medium altitude associated with the sub-humid microclimate. It is described as arboreal and can occur in anthropogenically disturbed habitats (D'Cruze et al., 2008). The species can be confused with the Günther's flat-tail gecko (Uroplatus guentheri).
Endemic to Madagascar. Prior to 2006, the species was only known from this type locality and was believed to have a range restricted to the isolated northern rainforests of Montagne d’Ambre.
The initial breeding stock was obtained in 2012 as the custom’s confiscate. Together with other partners, we launched a joint pilot project with this species. In 2015, in the context of BION’s general Uroplatus breeding program, we formed our own breeding stock and began to continue this project independently. BION Terrarium Center currently has a breeding stock of 7 adult males and 7 females as the first generation (F1) .
The keeping conditions:
Enclosure: adult animals are kept in pairs. The terrarium size is 45x45x60 cm.
Substrate: a level of small bark pieces, covered with dry leaf-litter (usually, oak).
Decoration: a number of shelters inside the enclosure are provided. We use tree branches with hollows, bamboo tubes, coco shells, etc. Live and plastic plants are used as well. A water bowl should be used on a daily basis.
Illumination: full spectrum lamps are used on a daily basis. We provide the day length up to 10 hours during the breeding season and 6-8 hours during the autumn-winter season.
Temperature and heating: day 21-24ºC, night 19-21ºC in summer; day 21-24ºC, night 17-20ºC in winter. The 40 W lamps are used for a basking spot but the basking temperature should be no more than 26ºC. During the winter season, the heating period is 2-5 hours a day only.
Humidity: 60-80% - both for adults and babies.
Diet: We feed our Northern leaf-tailed geckos by Shefordella tartara, Pyralidaesps, and crickets. The insect size is no less than 15 mm for adults and no less than 7 mm for babies. We give 1-2 insects with each feeding to an adult lizard 1 or 2 times a week and 3 insects with each feeding to a juvenile lizard 2 or 3 times a week.
If the animal is prone to obesity (due to its low activity), the number of feedings should be reduced.
Mineral supplements: we use Calcium powder every second feeding (with insects) and sometimes we use D3. We also use multivitamins once a week.
We offer additional calcium supplements to females after each egg laying in a liquid form - calcium gluconate or calcium chloride (0.2 ml per one individual a day, 5 times in total)
Animals become sexually mature at the age of 18 months. Females are larger than males of the same age.
As of 06.04.2016, we get from our females up to 3 clutches (1-2 eggs per each) during the breeding season (from September to December 2015):
1st female - 3 clutches of 2 eggs
2nd female - 3 clutches of 2 eggs
3rd female - 2 clutches (1 and 2 eggs accordingly)
4th female - 2 clutches of 2 eggs
5th female - 1 clutch (2 egg)
6th female - 1 clutch (2 eggs)
7th-female - 3 clutch (3 eggs) (unfertile).
Hibernation: To stimulate breeding, in 2016, we provided mild hibernation at their cages. Males and females were kept separately( from the beginning of January to mid-February (1.5 months) at the temperature of 20-23ºC during the day and 18-20ºC at night (we gradually reduced the temperature and illumination). Feeding: once a week 1-2 crickets per head.
2015 – we received 15 clutches in total (26 eggs = 22 good eggs + 2 eggs became bad during incubation + 2 unfertile eggs)
2016 –we received the first 4 babies in January and 2 babies in March.
6 babies (according to the last report as of 6.04.2016)
The total length of newborn babies was around 40-50 mm.
The incubation period took 74-124 days.
Geckos, especially babies, are prone to shedding issues, which may be caused by low humidity or vitamin A deficiency. To avoid this, high humidity at the enclosures is necessary.
Also, if any signs of shedding issues are visible, we spray our 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).
Despite these species are extremely rare in captivity due to the lack of official export quotes, they could be bred on a regular basis in case of proper care and conditions.
As a matter of fact, for today, BION is one of the very few legal sources of Northern leaf-tailed geckos in captivity.
- 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