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African Fat-Tailed Gecko

From The Reptile File Wiki



Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Genus: Hemitheconyx
Species: Caudicinctus


Photo by RosenKrieger
Photo by RosenKrieger

African Fat-Tailed geckos are a type of gecko from Western Africa, ranging from Senegal to Cameroon. Like other geckos, never handle the African Fat-Tailed Geckos by their tail, it can be dropped in defense. The tail will grow back, but will never look the same, often shorter and fatter.


Easy. Fat tails make a good beginners gecko as they are a pretty hands on species. The requirements are relatively easy for this nocturnal little gecko. Bottom heat is the preferred heat source for these and as long as there is light coming in through the windows then you need no overhead lighting, although some may enjoy some overhead heat from time to time.

Basic Info


They generally grow 6 to 10 inches in length.


They can live up to 20 years.


they seem to enjoy being out and about and don't mind being held at all. Husbandry requirements are simple and straightforward. All in all, they are an enjoyable lot.


At least a 10 gallon aquarium should be used to house one fat tailed gecko. Males cannot be housed with other males. Females on the other hand can live with other females or a male. When they share an environment with a male make sure the female isn’t being bullied and is staying up to weight. Breeding will most likely occur during this time. Make sure to keep the environment mildly humid, which means misting the cage a few times during the week.


Repti-Bark is one option to use, but some people prefer repti-carpet, paper towels or even tiles to this. Repti-Bark retains humidity a lot better than the other options.


A heat pad should be used on one side of the cage to get the temperature up to around 85-88 F. In the evening the temperature should be around 75 F. These temperatures can be done by using a heat bulb as well.


Should be no higher that 50%. But isn't really necessary except during the shedding process. This can be easily taken care of by adding a humid hide to the enclosure. There are any number of things you can use as a hide, from a plastic butter bowl with a hole cut in the top to those rubbermaid containers with a hole cut in the lid also. put some sphagnum moss, peat moss or eco earth about half full and moisten it. I keep mine on the warm side


Fat tails need no extra lighting as they are nocturnal. Regular sunlight through the windows will be enough for a day/night cycle if that's a concern.



Crickets or mealworms are the suggested diet for a African Fat-Tailed Gecko. Waxworms are considered a treat and should be feed sparingly. Adult geckos, especially breeding females, can be fed a pinkie mice occasionally. When selecting crickets a rule of thumb is the cricket should be half the size of the gecko's head or smaller. It is recommend to gut load the crickets to provide more nutritional value. Make sure you remove any uneaten food by the end of the day. Insects will sometimes pick on the gecko while it is sleeping, chewing away at their feet or other tender areas.


Supplements added to the worms and crickets is also recommend. You can coat the mealworms, crickets, etc with calcium by placing them in a bag with a small amount of calcium to dust them. D3 can also be used as a supplement, but should not be used for every feeding, as too much D3 is a problem.


A peanut butter jar lid makes a great water dish, and contrary to popular belief they will use it.



African Fat-Tailed Gecko's are easy to sex when they are older. Males have V-shaped pre-anal pores and a hemipenal bulges as the base of the tail. Females have less noticeably pores and no bulge.


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  • The Leopard Gecko Manual: Includes African Fat-Tailed Geckos - Philippe De Vosjoli (Author), Roger Klingenberg (Author), Roger Tremper (Author), Brian Viets (Author)
  • Leopard and Fat-Tailed Geckos (Reptile Guidebook Series) - by Richard Bartlett

Many of these books can be found on Amazon for very reasonable prices. Use the Amazon link on the main forum pages and help to contribute to the upkeep of all that is good here.


This article was originally written by c1rc4. View other articles by c1rc4. Please note that others may have contributed to this article.

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