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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

African fat-tailed gecko

The African fat-tailed gecko, Hemitheconyx caudicinctus, is a nocturnal, ground-dwelling gecko from the subfamily Eublepharinae. They are found in West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon. Their habitat is dry and arid, although they will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding area.

Adult male geckos are from 8 to 10 inches long, and females 6 to 8 inches long. They will generally live from 15 to 20 years. The normal coloring is brown and tan stripes, with a possible white stripe along the length of the back. The under belly is pale pink or off-white. These geckos characteristics differ greatly from other geckos. They have moveable eyelids, vertical pupils, and no sticky feet.

The fat-tailed gecko is equipped with the natural defense of being able to lose its tail when attacked by a predator. The tail is also where the gecko stores its fat, which is an important energy reserve. When a new tail grows it is more similar to the head (fat and stubby), and may not match the coloration and patterns of the body of the gecko. The primary source of their diet is crickets, however they will also eat pinky mice, mealworms, and wax worms.

African fat-tailed gecko