Satanic leaf-tailed gecko
The Satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is known from different localities in the central-east of Madagascar, and it is endemic to the island. The amazing exterior of these animals, their specific behavior, and small size make them highly popular in live collections all over the world.
The Satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is a forest-depended species as it prefers humid forests. It occurs at 400 m above sea level but their habitats can reach as high as 1300 m.
According to the nocturnal activity lifestyle, animals are secretive. They prefer habitats of over 1,2-2 m above the ground with great a quantity of plants. The diet of Satanic leaf-tailed geckos includes various invertebrates.
The species is endangered because of Madagascar forests deforestation. No subspecies is described. However, the exterior of individuals from different localities can be considerably different.
BION has been keeping and breeding Satanic leaf-tailed gecko since 2009. Now, we have a group of 13 males and 16 females in this project.
The typical enclosure conditions:
We usually use glass terrariums of no less than 700x500x500 mm for these animals. The group of 1-2 males and 1-2 adult females can be comfortably placed there.
Substrate: small pieces of bark.
Decorations: a large number of thin branches and live plants is important for this species. If possible, you can place dried or live leaves into the enclosure. You can use a feeding dish and water bowl, too.
Illumination: we provide our animals 10-hour daylight (with a 5 UVB full spectrum lamp) during the breeding season and a 8-hour long day during the autumn and winter period.
Temperature and heating: the optimal temperature for Satanic leaf-tailed geckos is 18-21° C at night and 22-25° C during the day. Higher temperatures can injure animals! A basking spot is not needed.
Humidity: 70-80 % for both youngs and adults. We spray our animals twice a day.
Diet: Satanic leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus phantasticus) prefer insects no less than of 1-1,2 cm length. So, crickets and Shefordella tartara (coackroaches) of this size are the most useful. Our animals receive 2-3 insects 1-2 times a week. Be careful as these geckos demonstrate a high tendency to obesity. Therefore, sometimes, feeding once a week could be health-giving.
Mineral supplements: we propose mineral supplements every second feeding (with insects). Sometimes, we use D3 and vitamin complexes.
Hibernation: the delicate winter season is provided with the help of short daylighting, without lowering the temperature. This period takes place in autumn and winter.
The first mature age we observed was for 18-month-old individuals.
We keep adult animals in pairs, sometimes – 2 pairs in 1 enclosure. One female makes 2-3 clutches (1-2 eggs in each clutch) per season. We usually find eggs placed at the ground.
The gravidity period takes 20-25 days, and the incubation period length is 85-110 days.
The temperature of incubation is 18-21° C at night and 22-25° C during the day. Humidity should be 60-80 % (a drop of water should appear on the surface of vermiculite after pressing it).
We keep juveniles separately in plastic boxes of no less than 300x300x300 mm. The box is replaced with a bigger one every 1,5-2 months.
Till offsprings reach 1 month old, we recommend paper towels as a substrate. Later, you can use pieces of bark. Decorations are common for adult enclosures.
Spraying, temperatures, and lighting for young Satanic leaf-tailed geckos are the same as for adults.
A diet includes the same insect species but you should choose 0,3-0,7 cm sized larvae as the most usual –for the beginning. We feed young Satanic leaf-tailed geckos 2-3 times a week and offer 3 insects each time.
Calcium is very important for proper growth but vitamins are not necessary (sometimes gut loading of insects is preferable to avoid poisoning juveniles).
Satanic leaf-tailed geckos (Uroplatus phantasticus) are prone to shedding issues, which may be caused by low humidity or vitamin A deficit. To avoid this, high humidity at the enclosures is necessary. Also, it is useful to spray animals with the vitamin product “Chiktonik”solution (2-5 times a day, twice a week, with concentration 1 part to 100 parts water) if any signs of shedding issues are visible.
- Frank Glaw - Miguel Vences. 2007: Field Guide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences and GlawVerlag GbR 3rd Edition. 496 pp. Germany
- Sacha Svatek and Susanna van Duin. 2001. Leaf-tailed geckos – the Genus Uroplatus. Brahmer-Verlag, 161 p. Germany