How to Care for an African Fat-Tailed Gecko

African Fat tail Gecko

The African Fat tail Gecko (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus) is a gecko native to West Africa. They are known for their distinctive tail shape, which can store fat reserves and be used as a food source during times of scarcity. 

They are also popular as pets due to their docile nature and ease of care. They are usually brown, with patterns of spots or stripes, and can grow up to 10 inches in length. They eat a diet of insects, worms, and fruits. They are also nocturnal and are known to be very hardy and adaptable in captivity.

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Behavior and Character

  • African Fat-tailed Gecko are generally considered docile and easy to handle, making them a popular choice as pets. They are nocturnal, which means they are most active at night and tend to be more sluggish during the day. They are also relatively hardy and adapt well to captivity if provided with appropriate care. They have calm and peaceful behavior and can be handled regularly without any issues.
  • They are also known for being solitary animals, meaning they do not need the company of other geckos. They can be kept in pairs or groups, but it’s important to have a large enclosure for them to have their own space.
  • Fat-tail geckos are also known for being relatively low-maintenance pets that do not require a lot of attention. They are easy to feed and do not require complex lighting or heating setups. They also only require a little space, which makes them a good option for those with limited living space.
  • Overall, African Fat-tailed Geckos are a great choice for those looking for a low-maintenance, docile, and easy-to-care-for pet.

Housing and Care

African Fat-tailed Geckos can be housed in various enclosures, such as terrariums, aquariums, or plastic tubs. The enclosure should be at least 20 gallons for an adult and larger if you keep more than one gecko. The enclosure should have a secure lid to prevent escape and to maintain the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.

In terms of temperature, Fat-tailed geckos prefer temperatures between 75-85°F during the day, with a basking spot of up to 90°F. At night, the temperature can drop to 70-75°F. A heat lamp or ceramic heat emitter can provide heat, but it’s important to ensure that there are also cooler areas in the enclosure for the gecko to thermoregulate.

Humidity levels should be kept between 50-60%. This can be achieved by regularly misting the enclosure or using a humidifier. A water dish should also be provided to increase the humidity.

Regarding substrate, various options, such as coconut fibre, eco-earth, or paper towel, can be used. It’s important to avoid using sand or small gravel as it can cause impaction if ingested.

It’s also important to provide hiding places for the gecko, such as caves, hides, or flowerpots. This can help the gecko feel more secure and provide a place to retreat when it wants to rest.


In terms of diet, they are opportunistic feeders and eat a wide variety of foods, including insects, worms, fruits, and commercial gecko diets. They can be fed every other day and are known to be very easy to feed. Regarding diet, African Fat-tailed Geckos can be fed various foods such as crickets, mealworms, wax worms, and fruits. They should be fed every other day, and it’s important to dust the food with a calcium supplement to ensure that they receive all the necessary nutrients.

Diseases they can Encounter

African Fat-tailed Geckos, like all other reptiles, can be prone to certain health issues if not provided with proper care. Some common diseases that can affect Fat-tailed geckos include:

  • Metabolic bone disease (MBD) is caused by a lack of calcium in the diet, leading to weak bones and fractures. Symptoms include lethargy, softening of the jaw, and twitching. It can be prevented by providing a diet rich in calcium and dusting the food with a calcium supplement.
  • Parasites, such as mites, ticks, and lice, can infest the skin and cause itching, irritation, and anaemia. This can be treated with veterinary-prescribed medication and by regular cleaning of the enclosure.
  • Respiratory infections can occur due to poor husbandries, such as high humidity or poor ventilation. Symptoms include mucus in the mouth and nose, difficulty breathing, and lethargy. It can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as impaction and constipation, can occur due to improper diet or ingesting substrate. Symptoms include lack of appetite and not defecating. It can be treated by providing a proper diet and avoiding using small substrates.

It’s important to note that early detection and treatment of any illness can improve the chances of a full recovery. It’s also important to regularly check for any signs of illness and to consult with a veterinarian who is experienced in treating reptiles if any concerns arise.

Proper husbandry, regular check-ups, and a healthy diet can help prevent these common diseases. It’s important to research and understands the specific care requirements of African Fat-tailed Gecko before bringing one home as a pet.

Pros and Cons

There are many advantages to having African Fat-tailed Geckos as pets. Some of these include:

  • Low maintenance: Fat-tailed geckos are relatively low-maintenance pets that do not require much attention or special care. They can adapt well to captivity and are easy to feed.
  • Docile and easy to handle: Fat-tailed geckos are generally considered docile and easy to handle, making them a great choice for first-time reptile owners or people who want a pet that is not too demanding.
  • Low space requirement: Fat-tailed geckos do not require much space, making them a good option for those with limited living space.
  • Interesting to observe: African Fat-tailed Geckos are nocturnal animals, which makes them interesting to observe at night, and they have a unique tail shape.

However, there are also some disadvantages to having African Fat-tailed Geckos as pets, including:

  • Short lifespan: Fat-tailed geckos have a relatively short lifespan of around 8-10 years, which may not be suitable for people who want a pet that will be around for a longer period.
  • Specialized care: While Fat-tailed geckos are relatively low maintenance, they still require specialized care and attention, such as providing appropriate temperatures, humidity levels, and diet.
  • Expensive: African Fat-tailed Geckos can be expensive to purchase, and their enclosure and food can also be costly.
  • Not suitable for children: African Fat-tailed Geckos are fragile and can be easily stressed, so they may not be suitable for households with very young children who may need help understanding how to handle them properly.


Overall, African Fat-tailed Geckos can be a great choice for those looking for a low-maintenance, docile, and easy-to-care-for pet. However, it’s important to consider the potential disadvantages and ensure that you are prepared to provide the appropriate care for them before bringing one home.

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