African fat-tailed gecko

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African fat-tailed gecko
Hemitheconyx caudicinctus.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Eublepharidae
Genus: Hemitheconyx
H. caudicinctus
Binomial name
Hemitheconyx caudicinctus
(Duméril, 1851)[2]

The African fat-tailed gecko[3] or fat-tail gecko (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus) is a ground-dwelling species of gecko from West Africa and Cameroon.[1][4]


The African fat-tailed gecko is from the subfamily Eublepharinae. This subfamily has clearly different characteristics from other geckos. They are terrestrial, and have moveable eyelids, vertical pupils, and no adhesive lamellae.

The African fat-tailed gecko is typically around 7–9 inches (18–23 cm), with females being slightly smaller than males. Normal coloring is brown and tan/beige stripes, with a possible thin white stripe along the length of the back. The underbelly is pale pink or off-white.

Distribution and Habitat[edit]

The African fat-tailed gecko is found in West Africa, from Senegal to Nigeria, extending marginally to Central Africa (northern Cameroon).[1] Within their range, these geckos are found in the dry Sahel habitat, as well as in wet or dry savannah habitat. African fat-tailed geckos will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding place. [5]

African Fat-tailed geckos have been seen to vary in physical attributes based on their habitat even within specific regions of Africa from size, scale pattern, to color. This allows for them to be able to fend off predators and be successful at repopulating.[6]


The African fat-tailed gecko is equipped with the ability to lose its tail when threatened or attacked. If the tail is lost, the new tail will have a more rounded shape, similar to the head. It may not match the body coloration and pattern of the gecko. The tail is also where they store their fat, an important energy reserve. With its tail, an African fat tailed gecko can go days on end without food.[7]

African fat-tailed geckos are reportedly strictly nocturnal, taking shelter from their generally hot and dry environment during the day and emerging at night to forage.[8][9][5][10] They have been found during the day hiding under a variety of cover and will retreat to burrows or hide under rocks or fallen logs.[5]


African fat-tailed geckos have a primarily insectivorous diet.

African fat-tailed geckos as pets[edit]

In the pet trade the African fat-tailed gecko has gained some popularity though is still not as popular as the closely-related leopard gecko.[11] With good care, African fat-tailed geckos generally live 15-20 years, although longer may be possible.[12]

Through selective breeding the reptile trade has been able to produce numerous color variants of the African fat-tailed gecko including tangerine, albino, patternless, black out, and aberrant.


  1. ^ a b c Penner, J.; Rödel , M.-O.; Luiselli, L.; Segniagbeto, G. (2013). "Hemitheconyx caudicinctus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T203830A2771717. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T203830A2771717.en. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  2. ^ Richard D. Bartlett; Patricia Pope Bartlett (1995). Geckos: Everything About Selection, Care, Nutrition, Diseases, Breeding, and Behavior. Barron's Educational Series. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-8120-9082-6. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  3. ^ Craig Stewart (24 November 2014). "African Fat-Tailed Gecko Care Sheet". Reptiles Magazine. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  4. ^ Hemitheconyx caudicinctus at the Reptile Database. Accessed 30 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Andreas Kirschner; Hermann Seufer & Yuri Kaverkin (2005). The eyelash geckos: Care, breeding and natural history. Karlsruhe: Kirschner und Seufer. ISBN 978-3-9804207-8-5. OCLC 181523397.
  6. ^ Gabriel Hoinsoude Segniagbeto; Jean-François Trape & Komlan M. Afiademanyo (2015). Checklist of the lizards of Togo (West Africa), with comments on systematics, distribution, ecology, and conservation. Karlsruhe: Segniagbeto und Trape.
  7. ^ "African fat tail gecko facts". The Pet Enthusiast. 17 March 2020.
  8. ^ Vitt, Laurie J. & Caldwell, Janalee P. (2014). Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (4th ed.). Academic Press. p. 516. OCLC 839312807.
  9. ^ Gerster, Katherine. "Hemitheconyx caudicinctus (Fat-tail Gecko)". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  10. ^ Fat-Tailed Gecko: Zilla Beyond the Glass -- Season 2, Episode 3, archived from the original on 2021-12-12, retrieved 2021-09-07
  11. ^ Valdez, Jose W. (March 2021). "Using Google Trends to determine current, past, and future trends in the reptile pet trade". Animals. 11 (3): 676. doi:10.3390/ani11030676. PMC 8001315. PMID 33802560.
  12. ^ Healey, Mariah. "The ReptiFiles African Fat-Tailed Gecko Care Sheet". ReptiFiles. Archived from the original on 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2022-01-18.

External links[edit]