New Caledonian Geckos

Care sheet for Rhacodactylus sarasinorum (Slender prehensile-tailed gecko)

Size: 230-250 mm adult average

Weight: 45 to 60 grams adult average

Distribution: New Caledonia. Southern portion of Grande Terre.

Habitat: Mature rainforest.

Description: Nocturnal, arboreal prehensile tailed gecko. Coloration is from very pale yellow to a dark brown, patterning can consist of a speckling of black over the head and body. Some specimens have a white collar and or spots on a pale background.

Sexing: Males develop external large hemipenal bulges and pre-anal pores.

Temperature: Maintained at 74-78°F during the day, dropping to a minimum of 68°F at night. Always properly protect the heat source as an unprotected heat source can cause severe burns if an animal comes into contact with it.

Lighting: Being a nocturnal species it seems not to require additional UVA/UVB lighting, but one may be provided for limited periods with no detrimental affects. Background lighting should be controlled with a timing device left on 10-12hrs a day in summer with a 2-4 hour reduction during winter months. As with the heat source, always properly protect the light source as this too may become hot after prolonged used.

Humidity/Water: Humidity should be kept high 70 to 80%. A misting should take place twice daily during the early morning and evening. Also include a shallow water dish c¬ontaining filtered water which should be changed daily.

Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on crickets and soft fruits. Feed a number of appropriately sized crickets approximately two times a week with a twice weekly feeding of a commercially available Rhacodactylus powered diet, fresh pureed fruit or baby food mixed with a calcium and mineral supplement offered in a shallow dish. All fruit should be non citrus. Food should always be removed at the first signs of spoiling.

Housing: A minimum size of 400mm wide x 400mm deep x 600mm high is recommended for an adult pair. Never house males together as they may fight and inflict serous injuries. If a number of animals are to be housed together make sure they are of a similar size and always closely monitor first introductions to identify any incompatibility. Peat or coconut fibre substrate can be used for juveniles/adults, but hatchlings are best kept on kitchen roll. Being an arboreal species, climbing branches, slabs or curls of cork bark should be used, also provide a different hide spot for every occupant. Plenty of foliage either real or artificial should also be used. A hide box half filled with a mixture of moistened vermiculite or perlite, peat and sphagnum moss should be included to facilitate shedding and egg laying if a natural substrate is not used. Any fecal matter should be removed immediately with a complete cleaning occurring every month.

Breeding: Sara’s should be kept at 66-68°F during the day and 62-64°F at night for a couple of months prior to breeding. They can produce approximately 4-6 clutches in a season, laying two soft-shelled eggs every 5 weeks. Females should be at least 18 months of age before breeding is attempted and should be monitored closely for any early signs of calcium deficiency, especially as the season draws to a close.

Incubation: Eggs should be incubated in an aerated plastic container, on a medium of vermiculite or perlite mixed with filtered water at a ratio of 2 parts medium to 1 part water, by weight and at temperatures between 70-80°F. Eggs normally hatch in 65-95 days. Any discoloured eggs should be put to one side in the container, do not discard as these eggs could still be viable, if they collapse and mould is visible they should be discarded immediately.