African Fat Tail Gecko Care Sheet

Hemitheconyx caudinctus

African fat tail geckos are native to West Africa, coming from the dry, arid regions of Senegal and Cameroon.

African fat tail geckos are similar to the leopard gecko except AFTs tend to be stockier with slightly smaller feet and bulkier heads. They also require more humidity than leopard geckos.

  • Temperament: This gecko is very docile, even calmer than leopard geckos. They rarely bite or show any aggressive nature. They may hiss when they are spooked.
  • Lifespan: African fat tails can live an average life of 15 to 20 years with the proper care and husbandry.
  • Size: 6-10 inches. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males, averaging 6-8 inches long.

Housing African Fat Tail Geckos

Enclosure Size: A 10 gallon aquarium is the minimum size for one African fat tail, whereas a 20-gallon long aquarium is better.

Substrate: Some keepers use a loose substrate, like sand, wood chips, or Bed-A-Beast, but African fat tail geckos should be housed on solid surfaces such as paper towels, tile, or reptile carpet in order to best prevent risks of impaction.

Décor: Put at least 2 shelters in the cage- 1 on the warm side and 1 on the cool side.  You will need to add a humid hide in the enclosure, which you can make by using a tupperware, cutting an access hole in it, and filling it with moist moss, vermiculite, perlite, or even paper towels.

Lighting: Since African fat tail geckos are nocturnal, they do not require any UV lighting, much less any regular lighting. Some keepers use a regular light bulb to create a 12 hour day/night scenario, although this is not necessary.

Heating: Maintain day temperatures between 82 to 88F. The best way to provide an AFT the proper heat is by using an under tank heater, since they acquire most of their heat through their bellies.

  • DO NOT use heat rocks as exposure will burn your gecko.

Humidity: In order to achieve proper humidity, a humid hide is necessary. You may want to mist the enclosure, but do not over-mist, as mold and bacteria growth can occur.

African Fat Tail Diet

African fat tail geckos are insectivores and need a diet of insects. Generally crickets or roaches make the best diet. Some AFT’s may eat mealworms and silkworms, but I’ve found most African fat tail geckos prefer insects that move around a little more.

  • Do not get insects from your backyard because insects travel and can carry pesticides and chemicals used by someone else.

A shallow water dish should be available at all times.