Jordan P (MD)

African Fat-Tail Gecko Help and Advice

African Fat-Tail Gecko Help and Advice

Greetings! You have arrived at the Curalux African Fat-Tailed Gecko Help and Advice Sheet. 

African fat-tailed geckos are reptiles that measure around 8 to 10 inches in length. They possess a thick, elongated body, short legs, a head that is shaped like an oval, skin covered in small bumps, and a well-rounded, segmented tail. Their coloration consists of bands that alternate between medium and dark brown, occasionally adorned with dark patterns and white markings, which encompass a white stripe stretching from their head to their tail. While they belong to the gecko family, what sets them apart from the majority is their possession of eyelids and their inability to climb walls.

African fat-tailed geckos are naturally found in West Africa, spanning from Senegal to the northern regions of Cameroon. They have a preference for living in dry Sahel and dry/moist savannah environments, usually being located close to crevices in rocks and within the leaf-covered ground of dry forests.

By dedicating proper care to your African fat-tailed gecko, it is probable that your pet will live for around 15-20 years, although a longer lifespan is also feasible.

List of items needed to purchase for an African Fat-Tailed Gecko
These are the items that I personally suggest for creating a fully functional terrarium specifically designed for African fat-tailed geckos. 

A terrarium that opens from the front, measuring either 36 inches long by 18 inches wide by 18 inches high or larger.
Halogen Lamp, 50w, designed to resist splashes.
The 5.5-inch  Porcelain Clamp Lamp.
Lamp dimmer that can be plugged in
A 22-inch  T5 HO 5.0 OR Forest 5% UVB bulb.
Lighting Strip with a single T5 HO bulb, measuring 24 inches.
Digital Power Center 
Riverbed Sand (40 pounds)
Rock for sunning
At least two small hideouts/caverns.
Misc. décor
dead leaves
cork shoes
plants that can withstand drought
fake plants
mag ledges
Tiny bowl
Cal+ LoD
Caring for Your African Fat-Tailed Gecko's Housing
Even though African fat-tailed geckos might appear small, it is essential to provide them with a spacious enclosure to ensure they have sufficient space to engage in natural behaviours, explore, hunt, and exercise. In addition, they live on land, indicating they are a species that inhabits the ground. Moreover, they typically favour terrariums that have more width than height.

That is the reason why it is advised to have a minimum enclosure size of 36 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 16 inches in height for a single African fat-tailed gecko. If you can, it is always preferable to have a larger enclosure. Even though they are typically found on land, African fat-tailed geckos are naturally adapted to living among rocks and are skilled climbers. 

Below are a few recommended enclosures suitable for African fat-tailed geckos:

. Reptile enthusiasts can now get their hands on a fantastic 3-foot reptile enclosure specifically designed for their beloved cold-blooded pets.

The Terrarium measures 36 inches in length, 18 inches in width, and 18 inches in height, and it is made entirely of glass.

The Cages Large size is 36 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches.

The Reptile Terrarium measures 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 18 inches tall.

Is it possible to keep several African fat-tailed geckos together in one enclosure? 

This particular species is typically believed to be solitary and does not seem to form social groups in their natural habitat.

Sources mention that a pair can be housed together successfully in a spacious enclosure, but it must be remembered that if the geckos do not get along, they can engage in fights leading to severe injuries.

Male geckos, in particular, are prone to fighting. Therefore, it is advisable to house only one gecko per enclosure.

Lighting and UVB requirements for African Fat-Tailed Geckos African fat-tailed geckos are creatures of the night, indicating that they are most active during the dark hours.

Consequently, they are inclined to enjoy lower temperatures, receive limited levels of indirect UVB during daylight, and possess exceptional vision in the darkness.

It is advised to switch off all lights during the night.

You have the option to follow a 12/12 day/night schedule, or adjust the length of daylight according to the seasons to promote more natural hormonal patterns.

In case you prefer the latter approach, lights should be kept on for a maximum of 13 hours per day in the summer and reduced to 11 hours per day in the winter, with gradual adjustments in between.

UVB Rays

African fat-tailed geckos can survive without UVB lighting if they are given a sufficient amount of high-D3 calcium supplement.

However, they are more likely to flourish when exposed to UVB. To ensure the correct intensity of UVB (measured by UV Index or UVI), factors like distance and obstructions need to be taken into account. 

T5 HO 5.0, 22" is the lamp that is positioned above the mesh.
The 12"  ShadeDweller Kit is equipped with a light fixture that is placed beneath a mesh structure.
To effectively work in conjunction, the UVB lamp needs to be positioned near the heat lamp on the warmer side of the enclosure.

Heating Needs for African Fat-Tailed Geckos
Being warm-blooded creatures, humans possess the ability to self-regulate their body temperature. On the other hand, African fat-tailed geckos are ectothermic creatures, implying that they need to navigate between environments with varying temperatures in order to control their own body heat. During the daytime in their natural habitat, African fat-tailed geckos raise their body temperature by either resting in a cozy burrow or basking in a sunny area. When animals are confined, the most effective way to imitate the warming properties of sunlight is by utilizing a heat lamp.

The temperature inside the hide is warm, measuring 90°F (32°C).
Temperature on the warmer side: 80-90°F (27-32°C)
Temperature on the cooler side: 70-77°F (21-25°C)
During night time, African fat-tailed geckos are capable of withstanding a decrease in temperature that can go as low as 60°F (16°C).

In most cases, using one or two halogen heat bulbs of approximately 50 watts should be sufficient to reach the desired temperatures in your African fat-tailed gecko's terrarium. Here are a few great choices:

PAR38 Halogen Flood with a power rating of 45 watts
Heat Lamp

Halogen Lamp, designed to resist water splashes.

'Halogen Basking Spot' 
Nevertheless, if you realize that the heated shelter is excessively warm, decrease the temperature using a plug-in lamp dimmer or replace the bulb with one of lower wattage. If the overall temperature in the environment is too low, consider incorporating an additional heat bulb with a higher wattage.

Basking Space Creation

Position one of the hides (I suggest using a rectangular black box hide) directly beneath the heat lamp(s) and add a thin stone slab such as flagstone, aquarium slate, or slate tile on its surface to form a basking platform. The warm hide will be the one underneath. The heat lamp should have the capability to warm the hide to the desired temperature, although this may differ based on factors like room temperature and the thickness of the rock.

If the warm shelter is not providing enough warmth, you can enhance it by placing a heat mat underneath, and make sure to cover it with 1" of substrate to avoid direct contact. Connect this heat mat to a thermostat. Insert the thermostat probe into the warm hide to control its temperature. r>. Temp Tracking r>. To determine the overall temperature in various parts of your terrarium, you can utilize an infrared thermometer (also known as a temperature gun). For monitoring the temperature in basking areas, a digital probe thermometer can be used, with the probe positioned on the basking surface beneath the heat source. The Etekcity 774 is a reliable infrared thermometer, and digital probe thermometers from reputable reptile brands are generally effective. r>. Humidity conditions needed for African Fat-Tailed Geckos. African fat-tailed geckos thrive in a habitat that experiences alternating wet and dry seasons. r>. During the wet season (summer), the humidity levels are around 70-80% during the day and reach 100% during the night. During the dry season (winter), the humidity level is approximately 50% during the day and around 70-75% during the night. It is crucial for the well-being of your gecko to make sure they have regular access to a section with higher humidity levels. A way to achieve this is by utilizing a "humid hide," which is a shelter or cave filled with damp material and positioned at the cooler section of their habitat. This aids in the successful shedding process and ensures that your gecko remains well-hydrated. Ensure that the humidity levels in this hiding spot remain similar to your desired night time humidity.

To monitor the humidity levels in your humid hide, you can use a digital probe hygrometer by positioning its probe in the centre. If you wish to observe the humid hide independently, you will require an additional device.

To raise the humidity levels in the enclosure, employ a portable pressurized sprayer. If your aim is to prevent water spots, it is preferable to use distilled or reverse osmosis water.

Various choices for the bedding of African Fat-Tailed Geckos
The question of whether to provide a substrate for African fat-tailed geckos is subject to some debate. However, the bottom line is that as long as a natural and realistic substrate is used, and the gecko is properly warmed, hydrated, exposed to UVB, and in good health overall, there is no need for concern. To gain a more comprehensive understanding, refer to this article.

Using a well-drained, naturalistic substrate resembling their natural surroundings is ideal for African fat-tailed geckos. To enable burrowing behaviour, it is recommended to have a minimum depth of 4 inches for this substrate. Options:

Homemade dry mixture: A combination of 40% organic topsoil, 40% play sand, and 20% Excavator Clay.
Reptile Bedding made from natural materials
Before introducing naturalistic substrate into their habitat, newly arrived African fat-tailed geckos must undergo a quarantine process.

It is important to clean up waste and urine on a daily basis, and any soiled bedding should be removed and replaced. Depending on the degree of daily cleaning that you practice, the substrate should be replaced entirely every 3-6 months.

Choices for Decorating African Fat-Tailed Gecko Habitat
Environmental enrichment is crucial for your African fat-tailed gecko's enclosure, and decorations play a significant part in it. Enrichment products promote physical activity, activate your pet's innate behaviours, and contribute to their overall health and happiness. Additionally, they enhance the aesthetic appeal of the enclosure, naturally! Your gecko's terrarium is merely a costly container of soil if it lacks decorations.

African fat-tailed gecko enclosures can be decorated effectively using hollow logs, thick branches, leaf litter, ledges, and either artificial or drought-resistant live plants. Furthermore, you have the option to offer extra places of concealment. Organize these objects in a manner that motivates your gecko to climb and investigate, while also offering different spots for sleeping or seeking shelter during daylight hours.

Food for African Fat-Tailed Geckos
African fat-tailed geckos have a feeding habit where they primarily consume insects.

The frequency of feeding an African fat-tailed gecko varies based on its age. A general guideline is to provide 2 bugs of suitable size for every inch of the gecko's length, or an amount that it can consume within a 15-minute period. Young individuals should receive daily meals, while those in their early adulthood should be fed on alternate days or every three days. Adults with a neck slimmer than their tail can be fed once in every 5 days.

Insect feeders: '

baby dubia roaches
baby roaches
black bugs
silkworms' = 'silk bugs
Variety is crucial in order to offer your pet a nutritious and well-rounded diet. By offering a wide range of food options, you will have a healthier pet that eagerly anticipates its meals.

 Beastmode Silks, and Luna Roaches are reliable breeders where you can conveniently find feeder insects through online platforms.


To achieve a balanced calcium-phosphorus ratio, it is recommended to gently sprinkle calcium powder on all insects that are being used as feed. Occasionally, one can utilize multivitamin powder as a means to supplement additional nutrients. All-in-one powders deliver a well-proportioned combination of both simultaneously.

There are numerous choices when it comes to supplements, however CalciumPlus LoD stands out as a comprehensive and reliable option for African fat-tailed geckos that receive adequate UVB light. For optimal outcomes, follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Drink H2O

Every day, it is important to provide African fat-tailed geckos with unrestricted access to a shallow dish of clean, fresh water. In order to uphold good hygiene, it is recommended to clean the water bowl thoroughly once a week using a disinfectant that is of veterinary quality.