The African Tiger Gecko also known as the African Thick Toed Gecko has a small head, chubby body and a tail which is chubby at the top and tapers down to a point. They usually have a light greyish underside, a light brown back and tail and are covered in dark brown, black and white spots across their head, back and tail.
Adults grow between 6-9cms including the tail.
These geckos can live for over 10 years!
African Tiger geckos originate from African countries such as Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. As they are nocturnal they usually hide in granite and sandstone rocky areas during the day, then come out at night to hunt.
African Tiger geckos reach breeding age around 9 to 11 months old but shouldn't be bred from until they reach roughly 18 months. The female will burrow small holes into the sand about 1cm deep and lay 2 eggs 3 - 4 weeks after breeding. Incubate between 26 - 28C and after another 45-65 days they should start hatching.
African tiger gecko's are insectivores and will eat crickets, mealworms and locusts with the occasional wax worm as a treat, all food should be dusted with calci powder and D3 Vitamin as they don't have UVB bulbs this is a very important step to follow to protect against MBD. Spray the enclosure once or twice a day as these geckos will lick the water from the leaves.
This reptile is more of a pet to be observed rather than handled as they will generally run and hide to avoid being picked up. Always ensure that if you do need to handle your gecko you are gentle and never put pressure or hold them by the tail as the tail will drop off, this is a defense mechanism used in the wild so if a predator caught them they could drop their tail and make a swift retreat to safety.
Whilst it is possible to keep one male with a group 2-4 females it is not advised to keep 2 males together as like most lizards they are territorial and may show signs of aggression.
A 5-10 gallon tank should house 1 male and 2 females comfortably. Provide plenty of places for your African Tiger geckos to hide such as rock hides, and remember to put a hide with moist moss or vermiculite inside to help with shedding and egg laying if you intend to breed, if you do use rocks make sure that they are positioned so they don't fall or slide onto your gecko. An earthy sand mixture or coco fibre works well for substrate.
An African fat tailed gecko will need a range of temperature in its enclosure to help it self regulate its body temperature. The best way of doing this is to have your heat source on one side of the cage. Temperatures can be kept around 25-32C and mist the tank daily to provide suitable humidity of 40-50%.
Being nocturnal your gecko won't require a UVB light. For heating you can use a night bulb which usually come in red or blue.
Daily tasks include spot cleaning the enclosure and spraying the enclosure daily so they can drink the water from the plants. A 5% bleach solution is excellent for deep cleaning the tank but you must make sure to thoroughly rinse the enclosure before putting your pet back in.
What will I need?
- An enclosure measuring 18" x 18" x 18" (45cm x 45cm x 45cm) such as the Exo Terra Terrarium
- A soil brick or sand subtrate
- Moss or vermiculite for the moist hide
- An Exo Terra rainforest heat mat measuring 20cm x 20cm
- A light holder such as the Exo Terra Compact Top Canopy
- A 25W Daylight heat bulb
- A 15W Nightlight heat bulb
- At least 2 hides (cool and warm hides)
- A feeding dish and water dish
- A thermometer to check temperature
- A hygrometer to check humidity