Tuesday, 16 September 2014

  I am now responsible for the well being og 6 Satanic or Fantastic Leaf-tailed Geckoes,
 Uroplatus phantasticus.

4 males, 2 females [4.2.], all captive bred from 2012 -2014.

Largest male, CB 2012. [JS]

Male, CB 2012. [AN]

Male, CB 2013. [AN]

Male, CB 2013. [JS].

Female, CB 2014. [AN]

Female, CB 2012. [AN]

Each gecko has changed colour many times to various hues, but the skin patterning seems pretty constant - offering a means to identify/recognise individuals. I´m astounded by how effectively they can camouflage themselves whilst having purple, lilac and even bright white elements to their colouring. They are also very adept at contorting themselves to break up any recogniseable body outline, sometimes sticking out a leg which then looks just like a tiny twig with small buds at its end.

The first thing I did on getting home from work today was to check and see how the new geckoes were doing - and I was shocked when I could only find two of them . . . . . Convinced that there was no way that escape could have been possible, I began emptying the quarantine enclosures and -, sure enough - soon discovered that the "missing" four were hidden in plain sight amongst withered leaves on some willow twigs provided for cover and security!
 So, now I will be simplifying the naturalistic "environments" in their quarantine boxes and vivaria, planting enough to provide hiding oppurtunities but not so much that emptying the enclosures will be necessary should I need to search for geckoes.

Large quarantine boxes, each housing a pair of U. phantasticus.

Small quarantine boxes, each housing individual U. phantasticus.

Contents of a simplified small quarantine box.
Moistened paper towel substrate, fallen leaves, feeding cup, Ficus and a single male
  Uroplatus phantasticus.

Close-up of the male inhabitant.

     Have now seen all individuals eat at least one small cricket or house spider.  Garden Cross spiders, Harvestmen and Woodlice seem not to interest them - yet. I will persevere with offering a variety of wild caught prey items - especially Woodlice of all sizes.


The left vivarium (80cm w. x 40cm d. x 80cm h.) houses a currently single male Gargoyle gecko,
Rhacodactylus auriculatus.
The vivarium of the same proportions on the right is intended for a 1.1. pair of
Uroplatus phantasticus.

This vivarium (40cm w. x 40 cm d. x 60cm h.) is almost ready to house a single (for the time being) male Uroplatus phantasticus.

Trying out a vivarium (60cm w. x 30cm d. x 70 cm h,) for size.
It will house a pair [1.1.] of the smaller geckoes.
I would prefer another of the slightly larger (80cm w. x 40cm d. x 80cm h.) version, but this will do for a while.
One or two higher plants and some witch-hazel climbing twigs will be added.

Close-up of the largest male trying things out.


Every other night I present my geckoes with 4 small crickets in a feeding box.
Tonight, my largest female (CB2012 AN) sprang down from twigs and devoured a large adult House cricket, Acheta domesticus.

The small female pounced upon and ate a Black cricket, Gryllus assimilis.
Some advise against feeding these to U. phantasticus as they can be aggressive and bite enough to injure small geckoes. I provide only a couple of small crickets at a time and supervise the feeding. There have been no problems as yet.


There is a male Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko sleeping here, but I had problems seeing it.

This is the same individual from another angle, notice what he is doing with his hind legs to confuse your eyes.

The largest female often sleeps like this, hanging head-down like a bat.

There is another male gecko sleeping here and, again, I had difficulty finding him . . . . .

. . . . . until I noticed his eye.

Well, hello there. . . what have we here?

Another male, doing what males do best - just hangin´.

Feeding box strategy seems to be working ok - have seen most of my geckoes hunt and eat at least one more cricket, some woodlice have been eaten and the smallest female [CB2014 AN] has twice taken 2 crickets in rapid succession. I would feel better if they all did this, but am confident that it will come.

This vivarium (80cm w., 40cm d., 80cm h.) just needs a few details seeing to, soon it will house a pair of Uroplatus phantasticus.

My largest female [CB2012 AN] is ravenous, eagerly taking woodlice, crickets, harvestmen and spiders. However, when transferring one of my males [CB2012 JS] to a feeding box tonight I observed that it was noticeably weaker at holding on to things and less well co-ordinated than the other geckoes. Must keep an eye on him.

Could not resist buying these two "bonsai" Ficus for my little devils. Nice shapes. I will thin them out a bit and then a couple of vivariums are going to have to be re-planted. . . . .

I´ve been pleased to witness several of my geckoes devouring some of the woodlice that roam freely in their vivaria. Have also observed that they seem to prefer to drink when I gently hand mist their enclosures.
The individual I have been concerned about is now obviously preparing to slough, both eyes are milky and this must have an effect upon his vision and co-ordination. Perhaps the loosening skin on his toes and feet also contributes to his "weak" clambering - maybe his grip and demeanour will improve once he has shed and begins to eat again. Until then he´s being kept in quarantine. All the other geckoes are doing well in their vivaria.

Am especially loving the shapes, patterns and colours on this fine little fellow.
Yes, that appears to be purple on his right heel!

The gecko that I have been concerned about (Male, CB2013 [JS]) had begun to shed the skin from his head yesterday, but was poorly co-ordinated, sluggish and cold to the touch. He was transferred to a mossy vivarium with twigs and leaves in the hope that this would assist his sloughing. At 23.30 today I checked for him and found him dead on the mossy floor of the vivarium. I had feared that things would go his way for him, but had not expected so rapid a deterioration. The others are all doing fine, eating, drinking, actively exploring and hunting in their vivaria at night; but an an extra watchful eye must now be kept on them all for a while.

I was lucky enough to observe our smallest male mating with our smallest female this evening.
no photos of the act - I didn´t want to disturb them.

This is our smallest male.

 This is our smallest female.