Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko
The Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) is native to tropical forests of Madagascar. Uroplatus phantasticus is a lizard (reptile) member of the Gekkonidae family. This gecko is also known as the "fantastic leaf tailed gecko" or "eyelash leaf tailed gecko."
This Gecko is found within the deep rain forests of Madagascar (this species is only found in Madagascar) the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko is quite the weirdest species of lizard around thanks to its leaf shaped tail and the multiple colors it consists of. This gecko has the ability to sit on a thin branch and blend in with the environment surrounding it to make it look like part of a small tree – as it looks just like a leaf and you won’t be able to tell it’s a lizard no matter how close you get to it, this is the perfect defense mechanism within a rain forest with so many predators about.
The Leaf Tailed Gecko is one of the smallest geckos you’ll find consisting of just 2 – 6 inches at its full adult size including its tail. These geckos rely solely on nightfall to be able to move around the rain forest feeding on much smaller insects and trying to avoid predators on their travels – they are professionals at doing just that thanks to their ability to blend in with other leaves and trees.
These geckos can easily be kept as pets but you’ll need to mimic the hot humid temperatures they are used to in Madagascar by using good heating and lighting equipment within an aquarium based enclosure. Male geckos aren’t as territorial when it comes to other male geckos so you can keep them in pairs but it’s recommended to have one male and one female in any one tank. As these geckos are only small you will only need a small enclosure no bigger than 18 – 36 inches – you should put small plants and trees within their enclosure with a couple of shelters that they can hideaway in if they should require it – so they can escape the lighting and the heat.
A simple newspaper substrate will suit these geckos nicely but it would be nice if you could include an area that’s filled with moss/dirt so they can fill at home like in a typical rain forest – but the most important thing is to get the humidity right and not overdo the substrate by putting too much in there.
Heating & Lighting
You need to be sure that your enclosure is the right humidity and temperature for your leaf tailed gecko to survive in, many hobbyists recommend a tank that is 72 – 90 degrees, but make sure the temperature of the tank varies from one end to the other so the reptile can adjust if it needs too.
These reptiles eat mainly insects and you should feed them moths and live crickets as a standard diet so they can hunt their own prey within the enclosure – it’s recommended that you feed these reptiles every two days but you need to judge that yourself, feed them and if there is anything left you should take it out immediately.
Reproduction occurs once a year during the start of the rainy seasons of Madagascar and will lay a clutch of two eggs, which are always laid out of sight under a bush covered in dead leaves or plant litter.
These reptiles are good at being handled but as they are small just be careful they don’t jump out of your arms as you’ll struggle to get them back in their enclosure – handle with care for a few minutes daily to let the reptile get used to you and its environment.
- Suborder: Gekkota
- Family: Gekkonidae
- Genus: Uroplatus
- Species: U. phantasticus
- Binomial Name: Uroplatus phantasticus
- Conservation Status: Extinct (EX)
- Size: 2 - 6 Inches
- Lifespan: 4 - 10 Years
- Housing: 10 – 20 Gallon
- Substrate: Newspaper, moss, dirt
- Temperature: 72 - 90 ° F
- Humidity: 75% – 100%
- Food: Mealworms, butter-worms, crickets, wax-worms, super-worms