African Fat-Tailed Gecko Caresheet

Here is my own caresheet that I have compiled.


Basic Terrarium Setups

Here are some basic setups:


Hagen 27 Gallon Glass Aquarium (Long style, 36x12x15)

- 1 x Hagen 27 gal aquarium

- 1 x Hagen 36x12 Screen

- 1 x Exo-Terra Heat Wave under tank heating pad 11x17


Hagen 15 Gallon Glass Aquarium (24x12x12)

- 1 x Hagen 15 gal aquarium

- 1 x Hagen 24x12 Screen

- 1 x Exo-Terra Heat Wave under tank heating pad 10x11


EXO-TERRA Glass Terrarium with doors Large (24"x18"x18")

- 1 x Exo-Terra Glass Terrarium

- 1 x Exo-Terra Heat Wave under tank heating pad 10"x11"


African Fat-Tailed Gecko General Information

The African Fat-tail Gecko are nearly identical in care to Leopard Geckos with a few exceptions. Please read carefully.

Information on African Fat-tailed Geckos:

Common Name: African Fat-tail Gecko

Latin name: Hemitheconyx caudicinctus

            Most of the African Fat-Tailed Geckos in captivity originate from stock collected in Togo and Ghana in Western Africa The Fat-tailed gecko is found in West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon. Their habitat is dry and arid, although they will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding place. They inhabit dry areas of desert scrub-land and savannahs, preferring sandy areas which provide burrows for cover. They spend daytime underground, where conditions are cooler and moist, emerging at night when conditions are suitable to hunt.


            When frightened by a predator, their first reaction is to find shelter. However, if they are cornered or cannot find an adequate hiding place, they have another defence. They will shake their tail vigorously to call all the attention to it. If the predator grabs its tail, the Gecko will drop it and run off. When the tail has been dropped, it will continue to shake on the ground, effectively distracting the threat towards the dropped tail until the Gecko can find a safe hiding spot. If the writhing tail doesn't manage to distract the predator and the gecko is captured, it will let out a loud, high-pitched scream and bite furiously. This is its final attempt to save its life. The tail will grow back, but will not be as elegant as the original.


            The Fat-tailed gecko will grow to be 6" to 10". Females are 6" to 8", and males are 8" to 10". They will live 15 to 20 years. The normal coloring is brown and tan stripes. The under belly is usually a pale pink or off-white. The Fat-tailed gecko is terrestrial, nocturnal, and has vertical pupils. Fat-tails lack adhesive lamellae on their toes and have movable eyelids. The geckos tail is its reserve of fat, so the fatter the tail, the healthier your gecko is. Never grab your gecko by the tail. Like many lizards, their tails will break off as a defensive mechanism if handled roughly. The tail will grow back fairly quickly, although it will not be as elegant as the original.


If you have 2 males they will fight and injure each other, but multiple females can be together. Males can be housed with multiple females, but ensure that your enclosure is large enough to accommodate the number of geckos you have.


Geckos will choose one spot usually of the tank to do their business in, which makes for easy cleanup, so watch for which corner they use. Try and place a lid or dish in the spot or even some sand (a calcium sand is recommended to prevent impaction as much as possible) for even easier cleaning. Any droppings should be removed often to keep a healthy environment for your pet. Substrates should be either cleaned (matting ect) or replaced (moss, bark, sand) relatively often. Every two weeks is a safe time, the more often, the better tho. Fat-tailed geckos are very easy to take care of and are quite timid and well tempered. They are not highly susceptible to health problems.


Parasites - it's possible to obtain a gecko that is infested with parasites. This could be accompanied with loss of weight, refusal of food, runny stools, being lethargic, and regurgitation. If you have any combination of these, or have doubts as to your gecko's health, consult a vet as soon as possible. A stool sample test is a good idea if you are concerned. 


African Fat-Tailed Gecko Enclosures / Terrariums

Fat-tailed geckos require a thermal gradient by placing a heat pad under one end of the cage. This should allow the gecko to choose from higher temperatures (about 90F) at the warm end, and cooler temperatures (about 75F) at the cooler end. Tank should remain from 80F-90F during daytime and 75F-85F during nighttime. Provide suitable hiding areas at both warm and cool areas, so the geckos can feel secure at any temperature. Temperatures below 75F should be avoided. No special lighting is required for these nocturnal animals, but a day/night lighting pattern may help the geckos health. I do not recommend heat rocks, as they can be too hot and burn your geckos.


Fat-tailed geckos lack adhesive lamellae and cannot climb glass, but a screen is a good idea to prevent crickets from escaping and to keep other pets out. I ensure that there are at least 1 to 2 hides for every gecko in the tank. A guide of 1-3 geckos in a 15-gallon tank (24"Wx12"Dx12"H) is a good guideline to use. I think that cramping your gecko in an undersized tank may stunt the geckos growth and cause stress.


Fat-tailed Geckos also require slightly higher humidity levels. Multiple humid hides and moistened substrate can accomplish this. Dehydration and shedding problems may arise otherwise. Reptile cage carpet, sphagnum moss, slate, and paper towel can all be used for substrate (bedding) in the tank for geckos. Clean or replace any substrate frequently. Decorations like cork-bark, rock slabs, driftwood, artificial cave structures, and artificial plants can also be used as decorations for your tank. Be careful that your decorations will not collapse and crush your geckos, and that the decorations provide some cover and hiding spots for your geckos. If there are not enough hiding spots, your gecko may become stressed and nervous and may not eat properly. Adult and juveniles should not be kept together, due to bullying and smaller geckos not getting enough food.


A moist chamber of some form with coco fibre or sphagnum moss is important also. This can be as simple as a container with a hole 1" H x 1.5" W cut in the side or top for your gecko to crawl into. This provides a humid environment to aid with shedding and for females to lay eggs in. I consider a humid chamber a must for every gecko. If several females are in your tank, you may want several humid chambers available, to prevent fights over egg laying territory.


About cleaning your tanks. Do not use any harmful cleaners, only herp safe cleaners and rinse everything well after to ensure no residue is left behind. Clean fecal matter very often and sterilize everything in your tank regularly, to prevent bacteria build up. Substrates like moss and forest bedding should be changed completely on a regular basis. These creatures depend on YOU to keep their environment clean and healthy for them, so please, do not neglect your little friends!!


Feeding African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Geckos require Calcium supplements. All feed should be shaken in a Calcium supplement till coated before feeding and a small dish of calcium is recommended in the tank for you gecko's to lick, especially if you are breeding them. Two supplements should be used: one that is just calcium/D3 and another that is a reptile multivitamin. You can feed your gecko calcium dusted insects such as crickets.


Gut-loading your geckos food is recommended. Whatever you feed you gecko's food supply with will be inadvertently be fed to your gecko, so the more minerals the food eats, the more your gecko will be ingesting. Its always a good idea to feed the insects a high quality diet so as to "gut-load" them and increase their nutritional value. Baby carrots are what I use to gut load all my geckos foods. I slice the carrots in half; the crickets seem to eat it a little more readily then. There are a wide variety of feeds you can use for all your geckos feeders.


Fresh water should be kept in the tank at all times and changed daily to stop bacteria and fungus growth. Keep the water dish at the cool end of your tank. A water conditioner is recommended to remove Chlorine from the water.

A good measure for the size of cricket or mealworm is never feed your gecko insects larger than the length from the gecko's tip of the nose to its eyes. If too large of a cricket is fed, the juvenile may have digestive problems and regurgitate the meal. A few stray crickets may not be bad, but large numbers of crickets can stress your gecko, and should be reduced to an acceptable amount (A few for snacks in-between feedings). Feed hatchlings and younger geckos everyday. Feed juveniles and adults every second day.


Feeders used:

-1 or 2 week old crickets for very young geckos, 3 or 4 week old crickets for sub-adult geckos, 4 week old or adult crickets for adult geckos (4 weeks are easier to digest, allow for more consumption of calcium, and less noise)

I have heard AFTs are pickier than Leopard Geckos and may only eat crickets.

Some may take Mealworms as well. Try a variety and see what they will eat.

See Feeders Bugs Page for more options.


Breeding African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Female fat-tailed geckos also lose weight faster than female leopard geckos during the breeding season so pay extra attention and quickly extra feed thin females.


Eggs are usually laid in pairs of 2 eggs and are laid every three to four weeks. Each female can lay up to 12 eggs in a season, depending on their health. Eggs should not be incubated below 80 degrees F as this will kill the embryo, and a maximum temperature of 90F. Under 85F produces mainly females. Above 89F produces males. The eggs usually hatch out between forty to sixty days , depending on the temperature incubated at.

Sexing AFT's:


Males are larger than females, and can be distinguished by the presence a V-shaped row of pre-anal pores and a pair of prominent hemipenal bulges. Basically, they are the same as a Leopard Gecko for sexing.


African Fat-Tailed Gecko Morphs

There are not alot of morphs when compared to Leopard geckos, but there are alot more morphs available every season. Have a look at the African Fat-Tailed Gecko Morph Page.


Caresheets Disclaimer:

These Caresheets are what I have researched and found have worked best for me. There are many differences of opinions on caring for different species, and these Caresheets are  from my experiences, and from my research. I try to provide as accurate and in-depth detail as I can, BUT please, do plenty of research for your pet yourself, and consider these as guidelines. There are many Caresheets available, and it is your decision to care for your pet using this information provided.

Alberta Bred Geckos is not liable in any way if you choose to do so.


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