Care Sheets
The Collective

African Fat-Tail Gecko

Fat-Tailed Geckos
(Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)

Native Range: African Fat-tails in captivity are captive-bred from stock collected in Western Africa.  In the wild they inhabit dry savannah,moist savannah and semiarid scrub-land areas.  They spend daytime underground,where conditions are cooler and moist,emerging at night to hunt. Although imports are still common,captive breeding projects have exploded in the last few years in part dew to the emergence of several new morphs and combos there of.

Size: Approximately 2-2.5 inches long at birth,they weigh in at about 3 grams. They average 7-8” in length as adults. On rare occasions large males can exceed 8 inches perhaps pushing 9″.   African fat tails in captivity typically weigh in at 45-75 grams.

Handling:Fat-Tails like  Leopard Geckos rarely attempt to bite,although they may do so if restrained.  You should always handle them gently,without pinching or squeezing them.  Remember that the tail as with all geckos may break off if handled roughly or grabbed by the tail.  Although it will regenerate this causes unnecessary stress to the animal and should be avoided.  Until accustomed to handling,the gecko should be handled inside the cage or while sitting on the floor.  A frightened gecko may leap out of the keepers’ hand and take a fatal fall if held while standing.

Caging: A ten gallon aquarium or any container of similar size is adequate for one or two.  Never house males together they will fight inflicting damage to each other passiblyresulting in one or both of their deaths.  Fat-Tails like other eublepharids cannot climb smooth surfaces like glass,vertical walls or celings like others such as Day Geckos.  They are ground dwelling (terrestrial),so the floor space is more important than the height of the container.  Any container should have a secure fitting lid to prevent escape and protect them from household pets. One of the most popular for housing multiple geckos are rack systems which most often utilize shoe or sweater box storage containers. They are the most eficiant for mantaining larger numbers of geckos.

Substrate: Fat-Tailed Geckos can ingest particles of substrate wile hunting.  Therefore,use caution in choosing a substrate to avoid intestinal impaction.  Animals can be maintained on plain paper towels,coco fiber or cypress mulch if you prefer a more natural look.  The ladder two do a better job of holding humidity.  You can keep most of their enclosures relatively dry and spray an area down a few times a week preferably under one of their hides.

Food: A variety of small invertebrates (bugs/worms) are eagerly accepted by African Fat Tailed Geckos.  Some young neonate fattys will do well on a once a day feeding schedule,wile others do better on an every other day schedule. Adults will flourish at 3 times a week when fed one or two appropriate sized well gutloaded prey items.  Its good to keep a shallow dish of calcium in with them at all times,you can add mealworms and other prey items to this dish for feeding.  Fat Tailed Geckos will lick calcium from this whenever they feel the need. Hatchlings can be maintained on 1/8-1/4″crickets or small mealworms. As they grow,provide larger crickets,andmealworms. A variaty of pray items are excepted by fattys such as   wax-worms,silk worms,goliath worms,a variety of feeder roach species and  the occasional pinkie mouse.  Dust food with a calcium powder about twice a week to provide additional calcium for growing bones.  Adults may be supplemented once weekly,unless females are producing eggs.  This uses huge amounts of calcium,and supplements should be made daily.  Dust crickets and other food items once a week with a multivitamin supplement. Our Fat-Tails have never cared for mealworms so we maintain ours on crickets and dubia roaches.

Humidity &Water: Provide clean water in a shallow dish.  Fat-Tails prefer a little humidity in their enclosures.  Provide them with a humidity chamber or a hide area that you spray several times a week. Rack systems will not need to be sprayed as frequently because they hold humidity better then a screen top glass tank.  Due to the variance in cages and home environments,some geckos may experience shedding problems,particularly the toes.  Provide a small plastic container w/lid with a whole cut in the side or top for the gecko to enter and exit (humidity chamber).  Fill it with damp peat moss,coca fiber,or vermiculite.  This will help the animal to shed properly.  Stuck sheds on toes may harden and constrict the blood flow to the toes,if not treated the toes will become necrotic .

Heating &Lighting: Provide a thermal gradient by placing a heat pad or heat tape under one end of the cage.  This should allow the gecko to  regulate it body temperature by moving to either the hot side or the cool side (Thermoregulation) . these temperatures should be maintained at no higher then 98°F at the hot end and low 80s in the cool end.  Provide suitable hiding areas at both warm and cool areas,so the lizards can feel secure at any temperature.  Temperatures below 75°F (24°C) should be avoided.  No special lighting is required for these nocturnal geckos.

Captive Behavior: African Fat-Tailed Geckos in captivity are pretty sedentary animals.  As adults they are quite calm animals,not making a wasted movement  They are normally nocturnal,but will wake up and come out during the day if presented with food. Fatties like leopard geckos also use a specific area of their enclosure for defecation.  Adults have proven not to be as prolific as leopard geckos.  Hatchlings are not as hardy as their Leopard Gecko cousins unless cared for at optimum conditions. once established and feeding well Fatties can be quite hardy and make  excellent pets or a great addition to ones collection or projects.