Uroplatus henkeli at BION Terrarium Center: the brief generalization of our keeping & breeding experience
The Henkel`s Flat-tail gecko (Uroplatus henkeli) is one of the largest species in the genus (with the total length up to 280 mm). It occurs in four disjunct areas in Madagascar mainland and Nosy Be Island, and is dependent from primary forest habitat. There is not enough information about population status of this species, and breeding projects with these animals are quite important to save them.
Uroplatus henkeli is a terrestrial nocturnal species with arboreal lifestyle. These geckos come down to the ground only to lay eggs. The most preferable prey for them are insects and snails.
This species is vulnerable because of dependence of humid primary forests.
Our breeding project with U. henkeli started in 2008, and in 2014 our group included 15 adult pairs and 3 juveniles.
The typical enclosure conditions
We provide keeping adult U. henkeli in pairs in glass terrariums not less than 750x700x450 mm.
Substrate: middle-size pieces of bark.
Decorations: the big number of horizontal and vertical branches, live plants, lianas and bark shelters is needed. We also use feeding dishes and water bowls.
Illumination: we provide 10 hours day light (with 5 UVB full spectrum lamp) during the breeding season and 8 hours long day during 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 (not more than 29° C!). Except the breeding season, spot lamp is not necessary. The night temperature should be 19-22° C.
Humidity: 70-80 %. We spray geckos twice a day.
Diet: henkeli prefer insects not less than 1-1,5 cm length. We feed geckos with crickets, locusts and Shefordella tartara(coacroaches) of this size. We also use Nauphoeta cinerea, but this species of insects should be proposed with the help of tweezers, as insects bury to the substrate. We feed henkeli 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 per week.
Wintering: the delicate winter season is provided with the help of short day lighting, not with temperature lowering, during autumn and winter.
These geckos become sexually mature in the age of 24-30 month. We keep adults in pairs during all over the year.
One female can make 3-4 clutches per season, with 1-2 eggs in each clutch. We basically get 6 eggs from adult female per year. Eggs are usually placed at the ground.
The period of incubation takes 75-90 days.
The temperature of incubation 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 not less than 600x450x450 mm. The box replaces by bigger one, when it`s needed, and after 2 weeks age we place youngs in groups of 2-4 animals.
As a substrate, you can use middle-size pieces of bark. Decorations are similar with adults` enclosures.
Spraying, temperature and light for young U. henkeli are the same, as for adults.
Feeding provides 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 useful size every time.
Calcium is very important for correct growth, but vitamins are not necessary (sometimes gutloading of insects is preferable to avoid poisoning of juveniles).
Almost all Uroplatus geckos are liable to problems with shedding, which may be caused by low humidity or vitamin A deficit. So, the high humidity at the enclosures is necessary. We also spray animals with solution of vitamin product “Chiktonik” (2-5 times a day, twice a week, with concentration 1 part of vitamin for 100 parts of water) if any signs of shedding problems are visible.
- 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