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African Fat-tailed Gecko – scientifically known as the Hemitheconyx caudicinctus – is a species of the gecko that lives in Cameron and Western parts of Africa. It is known as some of the ideal choices for those who are looking forward to owning/petting a gecko. It is not only an exotic choice but also a species that is easy to keep. It can be kept in a variety of environments including indoors, partial outdoors, and multiple other types of surroundings. African Fat-tailed Gecko is also called Fat-tailed Gecko. This is a territorial gecko species that lives on the surface of the earth.

The African Fat-tailed Gecko belongs to the reptile family, called Eublepharidae. It not only lives in the desert areas but also near the vegetation. If you are new to this hobby, then it should be your first choice as it is one of the best species for beginners. It can endure changes to some degree. So, even if you make mistakes while caring for it, it will survive. But, it is always better to do complete research about the species beforehand. Otherwise, you might end up hurting or killing your gecko. The article below is a complete guide that will help you know more about this species, and how to take care of it.

Basic Facts Table:

SizeUp to 10 inches.
LifespanUp to 25 years.
ColorBrown and Beige, with darker stripes and spots.
TemperatureBetween 80° F to 95° F.
Habitat SizeMore than 10 gallons.
TemperamentDocile, and Calm.
Care level RequirementsBeginner level.

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Species Overview

African Fat-tailed Gecko is a well-known ground dweller that is very popular among those who want to keep the geckos as a pet. It is not an exotic species, but still is one of the most beautiful, practical choices for beginners. This species only requires a small amount of effort and can survive for a very long time. It makes them an ideal choice for those who want to keep their pet for a very long time. This species can last for up to 25 years with proper care. Also, it is one of those species of geckos that are capable of surviving a vast number of climate conditions. This species of geckos originated from West African plains and savannas. Its natural habitat has a mix of trees, bushes, and small plants. Also, there is a lot of sand.

This is also one of the hottest regions in the world where temperatures during the summer can reach near 50 C. But this gecko has developed multiple methods to survive in those harsh conditions. This makes them a perfect pet for beginners, who do not know proper management and care guidelines for this species. In its natural habitat, it hunts smaller prey such as flies, and other insects to eat. The African Fat-tailed Gecko has brown and beige colors that help it hide among the sand and tree husks of similar colors. It helps them avoid being detected by other predators who eat them. The African Fat-tailed Gecko is a quick-moving gecko. It has a very fast speed that allows it to swiftly sneak up on its prey and kill it.

Also, its tongue is long and comes out very quickly to tackle the prey. It has many common regional names, but most English speakers call it Fat-tailed Gecko or African Fat-tailed Gecko. The word African in its name specifies the origin of this species to help avoid any misunderstandings but “Fat-tailed Gecko” is also a commonly used name. It builds small holes in the humid sandy areas where digging is comparatively easy. These types of hidey holes help them escape the scorching sunlight during the day. But they can also be seen sitting on the rocks basking in the sunlight during the summer days. As you know that it is a reptilian species, meaning that it is a cold-blooded animal. They regulate their body temperature using their environment.


The African Fat-tailed Gecko or Fat-tailed Gecko is a beautiful species with multiple color patterns on its body. It has a unique body feature – its abnormally fat tail. This tail helps the animal store all of its fat reserve in it for future use. The normal morphs of this species have pretty standard colors, including brown, and beige. Its lower part is covered with brown color, meanwhile, the upper side of its body is covered with stripes and spots of shades of brown, beige, and black color. They have large round eyes, with eyelids that cover them. These eyelids are very helpful in preventing the sand from damaging their eyes.

African Fat-tailed Gecko’s black eyes are surrounded by a sharp brown stripe. Its mouth is similar to most of the other species of geckos. You can think of it as a miniaturized version of an alligator with a fat tail. It has four legs that are also very thick. These legs help it navigate through the shifting sands in the desert. The bottom of their feet contains very small but sharp nails that can penetrate your skin. So, when you are handling them, make sure that you are wearing some safety gear. But it is not an aggressive species, which means it won’t bite you if you try to pick it up from the tank.

There are two most common subspecies of the African Fat-tailed Gecko, one is a striped species, while the other is a spotted species. You can buy any of the two for your tank. There are also some hybrid breeds with exotic colors but they are mostly expensive and are prone to diseases. So, it is better to select the ones with natural colors.

Behavior and Temperament

The African Fat-tailed Gecko is known for being a calm and peaceful species. It can get along very well with a large number of other species of geckos, pets, and even humans. There are a lot of gecko species that do not like being touched by humans and often react harshly towards anyone who tries to touch them. But the African Fat-tailed Gecko does not mind being touched or petted by the humans. This means you can touch them without having to worry about them biting your fingers. Its non-aggressive behavior is also one of the reasons why beginners to this hobby should start with this species.

You can also keep them with other species of geckos in the same habitats; they can form communities and live peacefully. If your geckos start fighting or cause any trouble for their habitat Mates, you can just separate them using a single barrier for the time being. After that, just remove the barrier and allow them to live in the same tank. Mostly, fights occur when there are more males in the same tank. It is better to keep one or two females with one male. Apart from this, if you want to keep more than one African Fat-tailed Geckos in the same tank, you should select a larger habitat That has more space for each member.

Another important behavioral trait that you might observe is making holes in the sand. Mostly they use these holes to hide. Their bodies help them camouflage in their natural habitat. Similarly, they will use their surroundings in the habitat to their advantage and would try to blend in with their environment. If you put a stone inside the tank, you will notice that they will spend a lot of their time sun-basking on that stone. It is one of those species of reptiles that become active during the nighttime. Mostly, they hunt for food during the night.

Also, members of this species are known for being partially territorial. They claim a territory that suits their needs and would keep on living in that area. If any member of their species or other species tries to attack their territory, they would defend it against the intruders. The African Fat-tailed Gecko makes sharp noises to threaten the intruders. This tactic works most of the time but sometimes they have to resort to physical attacks as well. Also, these sounds are used for attracting the female members of their species for breeding.

Apart from that, they can also communicate using the motion of their tails. These cues include wag, rattle, stiffening, and softening of the tail. These are some of the important details related to their behavior. The key takeaway from this discussion is that they are a peaceful, calm, and docile species. That is why they are the best choice for beginners as they won’t have to worry about being bitten or attacked by them.

The lifespan of the African Fat-Tailed Gecko

The African Fat-tailed Gecko can live for more than 25 years in its natural habitat under the perfect or ideal conditions. The average lifespan however is about 10 years as they are hunted by many predators in their natural habitat. Even in captivity, they are known for their long lifespan. If you have gotten one that was young when you bought it, you should know that it would last for more than a decade. But for that, you will have to make sure that you get a very young specimen.

If you bought an African Fat-tailed Gecko that was already a few years old, you should not expect a very long lifespan that you otherwise would have expected. The key takeaway from this discussion is that you should always inspect them before buying to determine their age and health conditions. A healthy and young member would last for a very long period but an unhealthy or an old member would only last a few years. Also, their lifespan can be extended using a proper diet and following a proper care routine. You will have to give them extra care if you want them to live longer in your tank.

How to Care for African Fat-Tailed Geckos?

To care for the African Fat-tailed Gecko, you need to know about their natural habitat, living conditions, dietary habits, and behavioral traits. These will give you an idea about their life and you can use that knowledge to create a perfect habitat for them. You will have to start by selecting a house (tank) for them. After that, you will have to create an environment in that habitat with certain conditions that are according to the natural habitat of the African Fat-tailed Geckos. Then, you will have to maintain those conditions inside the tank. Below are some of the important factors that relate to the care of the African Fat-tailed Gecko.

Housing Conditions and Setup

The first step in the care of the African Fat-tailed Gecko is to get the housing conditions right. Certain things need to be considered such as temperature, humidity, light conditions, and more. Each of these conditions helps us provide them with a habitat Based environment and living conditions that are similar to their natural habitat in the wild.

●     Habitat Size

When selecting a housing setup or habitat for the African Fat-tailed Gecko it is very important to consider the size of your habitat. A lot of habitat owners use a small 10-gallon tank for this species. That is fine for one member per tank, but if you want to add more than one member of this species to your tank, you should consider a slightly bigger tank. A bigger tank has many benefits over a smaller one. For example, a larger tank is easy to maintain as compared to a smaller tank when it comes to temperature, humidity, light, and other environmental conditions. The small size of the habitat makes it difficult to maintain these parameters with precision.

A larger tank also has many other benefits, such as being suitable for housing more than one member. But it is also important that you do not select a very large habitat, because an extra-large habitat will also be difficult to maintain. It is better to make a moderate selection when it comes to the size. You should keep the number of geckos in mind while selecting a habitat. You also need to know that the habitats do not need to be very tall. It is better to select a habitat that is moderately tall, but wide and long. That type of habitat will provide more space for the Fat-tailed Gecko.

●     Habitat Setup

After selecting a habitat, you will have to start working on creating a setup for the African Fat-tailed Gecko. A habitat setup should look like the natural habitat of this species. Keeping this fact in mind, you will have to select materials that are found in the natural habitat of this species. As you know that this species can only live in a specific temperature range, you will have to create a setup that helps you maintain that temperature. A lot of experts agree that a wooden habitat is better for them. You will need a ventilation system to maintain the flow of air in your habitat.

Tank setup should also include using bright lamps to provide light in those areas where the sun doesn’t shine all day long. Apart from that, you also need a temperature monitoring and controlling device in the habitat to help you maintain it within the given ranges. You also need to carefully select a substrate. Most experts advise using a paper-based substrate as it is easy to clean but you have to replace it very often. Other types of substrates include compressed coconuts that last longer but are difficult to obtain, clean, and use. You can select the one that you are more comfortable with.

●     Temperature

After setting up the habitat, you need to turn the temperature controlling and monitoring device on and make sure it is working. You need to maintain the temperature between 80° F to 90° F in winter and during the summer you can raise this limit to 95° F. As it is a cold-blooded animal that cannot maintain its temperature by itself, it needs the help from its environment. So, if the temperature is not according to the recommended range in your habitat, then your African Fat-tailed Gecko would die. For that reason, you need to monitor the temperature carefully and make sure that your equipment is working round the clock to maintain it. In very cold areas, try using a stronger heating system to cope with the extremely cold temperature of winter.

●     Humidity

Another important factor that you need to maintain is the humidity in your habitat. The African Fat-tailed Gecko needs humid conditions to live; you need to provide them with the right amount of humidity in their habitat. There are several methods to keep the environment humid inside the habitat. For example, you can use the spraying technique, which involves spraying a small amount of water. You should do this early in the morning before turning the lights on. When the lights will turn on, they will raise the temperature and cause the water to evaporate, hence producing humid conditions. Humidity levels should be maintained between 50 to 70% limits all day long.

●     Light Conditions

You also need to work on providing your African Fat-tailed Gecko with enough amount of light that they need. The natural habitat of this species consists of very bright desert areas where sunlight is available in abundance for at least 12 hours a day. You should keep the lights in the habitat on – for at least 10 to 12 hours. It is also important that you use a lamp that is capable of providing the right type of light. There are many lamps available that can be used in their habitat, and you can buy one from your local shops.

The position of the lamp is also very important inside the habitat. You should not put the lamp in the middle of the tank. If you place the lamp in the middle of the tank, there will be blind spots where there is no light. Put the light on the corner side of the tank, so that there are some blind spots in your tank where the gecko can go to avoid the light during the day.

●     Substrate

There are a lot of types of substrates available for this species. You can use normal sand, beach sand, dirt mixture with stones, paper towels, shredded paper, and even old newspapers. When selecting a substrate, you should focus on cleaning, and replacing it. Some of these are easy to clean, but you have to replace them very often. Meanwhile, some are hard to clean but can last longer. It is better to experiment using different types of substrates and observe which one is liked by your African Fat-tailed Gecko.

Diet and Feeding Guidelines

The African Fat-tailed Gecko is an insect-eating carnivorous species. You should feed them different types of small insects such as flies, crickets, mealworms, and other insects. Their natural habitat is enriched with the type of food they eat. But in captivity, they need additional supplements along with their insect-based diet. Make sure to provide them with a healthy diet. You don’t need to feed them according to a calendar or routine as they are known for randomly eating behavior. It can store fat in its tail. They can eat once and last for many days without eating. It is better to put some food in their habitat every second day.

Breeding of African Fat-tailed Gecko

The African Fat-tailed Gecko is known as some of the easiest species to breed in captivity. This species only needs space and time to breed. You just need to put a male and female in the same tank. The breeding season of this species starts in November and lasts till March, and during this time, they can reproduce multiple times. Females would produce two eggs. These eggs take a few days to hatch. During this time, you need to maintain the temperature between 83 to 89 F. small hatchlings will emerge after the eggs hatch. You will have to feed them smaller insects to keep them fed and healthy.


The African Fat-tailed Gecko can be kept only with other African Fat-tailed Geckos. You cannot keep them in the same tank with other species. Also, you need to make sure that you don’t add multiple males in the same tank as that can lead to territorial fights. To maintain a peaceful community, you should add two or more females with one male. Females are less aggressive and can live with other females in the presence of a single male. This type of setting has many advantages, for example, it helps you produce more offspring in every season.

Health Concerns and Diseases

The African Fat-tailed Gecko is one of those species that are immune to a large number of diseases. They can live for a long time without needing any medical help. But there are sometimes when your gecko might need help. It is important to keep looking for the signs of abnormalities and diseases.  They are prone to Cryptosporidium, which is caused by a parasite of the same name. It spreads through the feces of this species and you can prevent this disease from spreading by periodically cleaning their habitat.


The African Fat-tailed Gecko is one of the most beautiful, docile, and peaceful species of geckos that you can keep. It is a species that even a new vivarium keeper can have as it does not require much effort. If you want to keep them in your vivarium, then it is better to know about them before buying them. It is native to Africa and has a very fat tail, hence named the African Fat-tailed Gecko. It requires beginner-level care expertise. You can keep them in very small containers of ten to twenty gallons capacity. Also, it is a species that does not mind being picked or held. So, you can play with it whenever you want. There are certain conditions such as temperature, humidity, and light conditions that you need to maintain to keep them healthy.


Question: Are African Fat-tailed Geckos good pets?

Answer: Yes, among the different species of geckos, only the African Fat-tailed Gecko is a good pet. It won’t mind if you pick it up from its vivarium and hold it in your hand. It develops a bond with the owner. But all of this takes time. So, be patient and keep taking care of it and it will slowly allow you to pet it.

Question: Can African Fat-tailed Geckos climb?

Answer: Unlike most other species of Geckos, the African Fat-tailed Geckos are not known for their climbing skills. Most experts say that it is because of their heavy tail that drags them down when they try to climb.

Question: Are African fat-tailed geckos venomous?

Answer: No, it is a non-venomous species of geckos. They do not produce any type of venom that can hurt humans or pets.

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