African Fat-Tailed Gecko

(Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)

African Fat tailed gecko

African Fat tailed gecko

Origin: Western Africa

Lifespan: 10-15 years in best captive conditions

Diet: Mealworms, crickets, locust, cockroaches, butter worms, silkworms and cutworms

Size: Adults approx. 8-10 inches with males having a larger build

Habitat: Terrestrial, Areas from Senegal to Nigeria

Temperature: Between 80°F – 90°F (27°C – 32°C)

Humidity: Between 50-70 humidity on a hygrometer

Housing: Terrarium with plenty of floor space. 20 Long tank from Zilla. There are many other options available with nicer terrariums at Exo-Terra.

Active at: Nocturnal, Most active at night


African Fat-Tailed Geckos are neat geckos and are a pleaure to own. These geckos come from western Africa around Senegal and Nigeria. African Fat-Tailed Geckos are well known for, you guessed it, their fat tails. They are relatively easy to care for and are for the most part, docile. They do have a few higher requirements than Crested Geckos, but all the same, are simple to care for as long as you provide them with the things they need.

Housing African Fat-Tailed Geckos

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are easy to take care of. They need the right mixture of heat, humidity, night, and day. They are terrestrial, meaning they do not climb much, and therefore do not need much to climb on. These geckos do need hides and the proper substrate though. Without these things, they can get stressed. Heat is very important for many reasons. These geckos, like all other reptiles, are cold blooded and need heat to be able to regulate their temperatures and keep from getting to cold. Heat also helps them grow their tails back should they ever lose it. It also helps with digestion.

These geckos do very well in terrariums with lots of floor space. The best terrariums for these geckos are terrariums from either Zilla or Exo-Terra. I find that Exo-Terra makes a superior terrarium and as such, I recommend them for any reptile enclosure. Exo-Terra is also more expensive so you will need to get what your budget allows and still be able to provide an adequate habitat for your gecko. If you do decide to go with Zilla, the 20 Long tank is good for your geckos entire life. You can even house more than one fat-tailed gecko in the 20 Long, provided they are all female. Do not house males together as they are very territorial. When you get a terrarium, you need to provide the gecko with plenty of places to hide in. You can find many appropriate hides through Exo-Terra and they are not all that expensive. You can also provide the gecko with some ground foliage for a more realistic terrarium.

The substrate for the African Fat-Tailed Gecko needs to be kept moist, or have an area that is able to be kept moist for sheds. I find that magnatural hides with moss in it makes for a very good hide that can hold moisture. You can also do this with a ground hide. A good blend for the substrate is cocoa husk, peat moss, and a little sand. These geckos like to burrow in moist substrate to rehydrate and hide. I find that this lets them burrow and holds moisture pretty well.

For their temperatures, I recommend using an undertank heat pad regulated with a thermostat and timer. The temperatures for the daytime should be higher than the nighttime. For the night, allow the temperatures to drop a couple degrees. This provides a realistic night and day and promotes a healthy stress-free gecko. I do not recommend using heat rocks as they can sometimes cause burns to the gecko. Only use a heat rock if it can be regulated with a thermostat. Even then, I still don’t recommend their use for geckos.

Keep the humidity between 50-70 on your hygrometer. These geckos don’t need it to humid but also don’t need it to dry. Try to keep one of their hides more humid then the others. This helps when they are shedding especially, and they will use it when they see fit. You can mist them a couple times a week, depending on the climate you live in, and you can also keep a water dish in the terrarium to promote evaporation to create humidity. Keep in mind that these geckos are a temperate species. Try not to give them a jungle or rainforest setting with temperatures and humidity.

Here is a little video. She knows what she is talking about and it’s a great bit of information for you to watch. Enjoy!

Feeding and Watering Your African Fat-Tailed Gecko

African Fat-Tailed Geckos eat a variety of insects. A good base diet for your gecko is mealworms. The geckos also readily feed upon crickets, locust, cockroaches, butter worms, silkworms and cutworms. Prior to feeding your gecko these insects, it is usually a good idea to gut-load the insects so that your geckos get all the nutrients possible. You can buy a product called Repashy SuperLoad Insect Gutload. Feed your insects this mixture approx. 24 hours prior to feeding your geckos. The nutritional value of the insects goes way up. You can and should also lightly dust the feeder insects with calcium +D3.

I always keep a dish in the terrarium at all times with mealworms. This allows the gecko to eat when it’s hungry. Depending on the age of the gecko, it will eat more or less often. Younger geckos tend to eat more whereas older geckos tend to eat every two days. I just find that keeping mealworms readily available is beneficial to them.

Always keep fresh water in a small dish in the terrarium at all times. You should change this water every 24 hours to keep it from getting contaminated with bacteria or other bad things. African Fat-Tailed Geckos drink water from a dish and do not drink from droplets so misting the cage will not cut it when it comes to watering them.

It’s pretty simple. African Fat-Tailed Geckos are fairly easy to take care of. With proper care you will have your gecko for a long time to come.

Enjoy your new African Fat-Tailed Gecko!

These geckos make great pets. They are docile and easy to tame. You just need to have patience. Most of the time, these geckos will mellow out after a few weeks, sometimes more or less time. It just depends on the gecko and how often you handle it. Keep in mind you do not want to stress it out, so do try to minimize contact at first to a couple times a week. The gecko does need to acclimate.

As with any pet, you should research it before you purchase. Geckos, like all other pets, need proper care and treatment. I try to promote that people become educated pet owners so that pets don’t end up mistreated or even worse, dead. If all of this sounds like something you can handle and it sounds fun, then you and your gecko will be very happy. If this sounds like to much work for you or you aren’t able to be around to take care of your pet, I suggest you do not get this reptile. Even though they are hardy animals, they still need proper care. I hope you learned everything you needed to know. Go pick the gecko that is right for you!