African Fat-Tailed Gecko Care | How To Care For The Fat-Tailed Gecko

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are small, nocturnal geckos that are great for beginners and make amazing pets. African fat-tailed gecko care is relatively easy compared to many other pet reptiles. However, this does not mean you do not need to do your homework. Hopefully, this African fat-tailed gecko care guide will provide you with the information you need as well as help you decide if this is the right pet lizard for you.

 Then, we will discuss some of the requirements for caring for these Geckos, including how to handle them and what types of environments they require.

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Size and Appearance 

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Care

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are about 6-10 inches in length. These geckos are well known for their big fatty tails, and they typically live up to 25 years when well cared for. They also come with patterns such as spots, stripes, or bands that you can see through light-colored scales.

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Behavior

African Fat-Tailed Geckos, like many reptiles, will spend some time hiding during daylight hours. So don’t be alarmed if you find your pet hiding inside its enclosure at midday. You may also notice your African Fat-Tails shedding skin periodically, but this is entirely normal, especially in warm months where shedding might occur more often. 

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are Nocturnal or Crepuscular

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are nocturnal, which means they do most of their moving around at night when you are sleeping. 

Some would debate that they are actually Crepuscular instead of nocturnal. This simply means they are more most active during the twilight hours. They will start to become active during the evening time. So if you want to see them active this would be a good time to start observing them. 

There are many reasons why someone might want to care for African Fat-Tails, but one good reason would be that they make great pets.  African Fat-Tails are docile and can be handled without worrying about them getting aggressive. African Fat-Tailed Geckos enjoy spending time out of their tank, but they also appreciate being left alone in their enclosure as well. As a result, African Fat-Tails don’t require much care or maintenance, especially since they’re nocturnal.

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Lifespan

The lifespan for a captive African Fat-Tailed Geckocan be as much as 25 years, but wild ones only live up to 15 years. Thus, the lifespan of an African Fat-Tailed Geckos depends mainly on its environment, food availability, and the size of its territory. That said, the average lifespan of the African fat-tailed gecko is 10-25 years when properly care for. 

Fat-tailed geckos are naturally nocturnal, so their lifespan may be decreased in environments with a lot of daylight. When African Fat-Tailed Geckos get very old, they can start losing their teeth and eventually die from starvation or dehydration because it’s harder for them to eat hard insects such as crickets. 

The Temperament of An African Fat-Tailed Gecko

The temperament of an African Fat-Tailed Gecko is not aggressive and is typically easy to handle. Like most lizards, they can become skittish but with regular handling, they will likely learn to simply chill in your hands.

The African Fat-Tailed Geckos are easy to care for and is an animal that should resonate with almost anybody because it’s friendly and cute! However, there are some things everyone needs to know about these animals before deciding on whether or not they would like them as pets.

They are one of my top picks if you are looking for a pet reptile for a first-time owner or a child. However, African Fat-Tailed Geckos also need to be handled with care around children because their tails can break off easily.

Their size makes them both great and not-so-great options for some kids. This is because they are unlikely to do much damage to a small child but are also quite delicate if your child is too rough with it. They are best for kids old enough to understand how to properly handle them. 

Handling an African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Handling an African Fat-Tailed Gecko properly is essential for a few reasons. African Fat-Tailed Geckos can get defensive when they’re young because of their size. However, once they are used to being handled they are pretty easygoing and will likely just hang out in your hand or maybe crawl around a little bit. 

You should never grab their tail from behind at any time as it may break off.  Luckily this tail will grow back but it might not look quite the same. Of course, you should still do all you can to prevent this from happening. 

Though young Geckos can be housed together, Adult African Fat-Tails are territorial, and it is best to have one per tank. You should never put male African fat-tails in the same environment as another. African Fat-Tails can get stressed out from competing with other species for food, territory, or a mate.

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Diet

Proper African fat-tailed gecko care requires that you feed them a nutritious diet. Fat-Tail gecko’s food is just as important as any other animal on your care list; it will directly impact how well your pet lives each day. African Fat-Tailed Geckos eat crickets (high protein) and mealworms (with higher fats). African Fat-Tailed Geckos enjoy eating: 

  • Crickets
  • Mealworms
  • Silkworms
  • Superworms 
  • Dubai Roaches 

Feeding Your African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Fat-Tailed Geckos are insectivores, meaning their diet consists primarily of insects. The diet of Fat-Tailed Geckos consists primarily of crickets or locusts. However, Fat- Tail Geckos may also feed on moths and other winged insects such as termites that have been hunted by birds or caught in spider webs in the wild.

I would keep it simple when feeding them and stick to the basics. Crickets and mealworms will likely make up the majority of their diets. Crickets should be gut-loaded to ensure that they have plenty of nutrition. In addition, I would suggest dusting them with a calcium supplement often (more on this later ). 

Hatchling should be fed smaller-sized crickets that are about as long as the length between their eyes. Feed hatchling 5-8 smaller-sized crickets daily. Juveniles can eat slightly larger crickets and will typically eat a bit more each day. Really feed them what they will eat but remove any crickets from the enclosure after they have had an hour or two to eat their food. As they get larger they can be fed larger prey such as mealworms. 

Adults can be fed less often which is about 3 times per week. Just feed them as much as they will eat in a period of time and remove uneaten crickets afterward. Mealworms can however be left in a dish for them to eat later. 

Watering an African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Hydration is key when caring for the African fat-tailed gecko. African Fat-Tail care is minimal, but water can sometimes be scarce in their natural environment, so they must have an area of the enclosure for drinking and bathing. 

African Fat-Tailed Geckos need fresh non-chlorinated water at least every other day. I would simply provide this in a small shallow watering dish. 

When an African fat-tail starts shedding involuntarily or goes through cycles where it often sheds and then looks like it has stopped, you know it needs more moisture. If dehydrated, they will have trouble getting out of tight spots on their substrate as dehydration kicks in. An African Fat-Tail going through this cycle may take some time before showing any signs because they’re conserving energy due to lack of water.

When you see African Fat-Tailed Gecko shedding, it’s time to increase the humidity in their enclosure and start misting them frequently with a spray bottle or soaking them daily for up to two weeks. 

You should take your African Fat-Tail to an exotic vet if this continues beyond one week, as dehydration can cause death even without any other factors being present. If your African Fat-Tail is still not recovering after a month of increasing humidity and frequent spraying, then its health may be affected by an underlying issue like parasites.

Vitamins and Supplements for an African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Vitamins and supplements for African Fat-Tailed Geckos include:

  • A multivitamin
  • Calcium supplement
  • Vitamin D

African Fat-Tails are prone to Vitamin A deficiency, leading to eye problems or blindness. Be sure they have access to an appropriate amount of beta carotene in their diet. Let’s look at why African Fat-Tailed Geckos need supplements and vitamins added to their diet.

Why African Fat-Tailed Geckos need Vitamin D

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are a species native to Africa, so they need Vitamin D from the sun in the same way that geckos found in other parts of the world do. African Fat-Tailed Geckos have a low tolerance for heat and cold which can make maintaining proper vitamin levels difficult.

Their diet must be supplemented with calcium and vitamins D to ensure continued good health! African Fat-Tails cannot produce the correct levels of vitamins independently and instead rely on what we provide through a balanced diet or supplements! Vitamin D aids in digestion helps calcium absorption and can help keep your gecko healthy overall by providing them with enough energy, among other things. 

Why African Fat-Tailed Geckos Need Calcium?

African Fat-Tailed Geckos need calcium for strong bones and to avoid any bone problems. It is also important that African Fat-Tail geckos stay hydrated with a water dish, soaked paper towel, or misting of the tank every day. 

African Fat-Tailed Geckos need calcium to help form and maintain their skin. A lack of calcium can lead to weakened skin, making the African Fat-Tailed Geckomore vulnerable to predators. So, if you notice your African Fat-Tailed Gecko’s skin looks dry or flaky, then that might be due to inadequate dietary intake in terms of minerals such as calcium.

A lack of calcium will also make it difficult for African Fat-Tail gecko eggs to hatch correctly without human intervention. African Fat-Tailed Geckos get most of their required calcium from insect prey when they eat them whole rather than just eating soft body parts like other reptiles do (i.e., snakes).

Always consult with a veterinarian before starting a supplement program. That said, most would suggest supplementing with calcium with most feeding and with a calcium and D3 combo once per week as well. 

What About a Multivitamin?

It is debated whether or not to provide a multivitamin for a fat-tailed gecko.  African Fat-Tailed Geckos has evolved to eat an insect-rich diet high in protein and contains all essential amino acids, meaning it needs more vitamins or minerals than other animals of its size.

The African Fat-Tailed Geckos we see today are descended from species originating near Africa’s equator, where there is plenty of sunlight, water, and food. Unfortunately, when African Fat-Tailed Geckos are taken in captivity, they don’t always have access to a wide enough range of nutrients available on their home soil, so they could take potentially benefit from a multivitamin. 

They also rely heavily on vitamins because they undergo periodic shedding, which causes stress. In addition, starvation can occur due to the skin becoming too tight during this process, making it difficult for nutrient or energy intake.

Again talk to your vet first, but you might want to consider dusting your crickets with a reptile multivitamin once a month or so. 

African Fat-Tailed Gecko Enclosure Requirements

Providing the proper enclosure is an essential aspect of African fat-tailed gecko care. The African Fat-Tail Gecko is a fascinating creature with nocturnal tendencies and distinct physical features that make them easy to care for. African Fat-Tail geckos have specific needs compared to other reptiles that make taking care of these animals a breeze! A typical 20-gallon tank with a secure lid is the perfect size enclosure for an African fat-tailed gecko. 

The most important part of your African Fat-Tail Gecko’s habitat setup is attaining proper humidity levels, followed closely by feeding requirements and temperature regulation. African Fat-Tail Geckos thrive at temperatures between 70-85 degrees.

Enclosure Substrate And Decor

African Fat-Tailed Gecko enclosure substrate varies, but it is recommended to use a substrate that will not decay or rot. A popular choice for African Fat-Tailed Geckos is orchid bark and cypress mulch such as Zoomed Forest Floor because the material does not pack down, so there’s plenty of air to keep humidity levels high and maintain healthy skin on your pet.

Other suitable substrates include: 

  • Paper towels 
  • Artificial turf (newspaper can be used if you are very diligent about changing out dirty bedding)

If using any kind of loose substrates like aspen shavings or potting soil, African Fat-Tailed Geckos can be considered ‘diggers,’ which means you may want to provide a layer of material on the top that stays in place, so they don’t pull it out.

One of the most important considerations when setting up African Fat-Tailed Gecko enclosures is providing a branch to perch on so they can regulate their body temperature by basking in direct sunlight or cooling off in shade if it’s too hot outside.

Suppose you do not have branches high enough for normal African Fat-Tailed Gecko enclosure decor. In that case, you should also provide a thermometer and thermostatic light bulbs that will allow them to regulate their ambient temperature without leaving the safety of the enclosure walls.

African Fat-Tailed Geckos are tree specialists; therefore, providing an African Fat-Tail Gecko enclosure with plenty of climbing surfaces is essential for these reptiles. African Fat-Tailed Geck enclosure decor should be provided to reflect this behavior by placing climbing branches, vines, ivies, and live plants throughout your African Fat-Tail Gecko enclosure.

African Fat-Tailed Geckos Temperatures and Humidity 

The African Fat-Tailed Gecko has many different features which set it apart from other species – but one thing they all have in common is their need to be cared for diligently and with patience. Your African Fat-Tail Gecko will need a temperature of about 75-85 degrees with one side of the enclosure being cooler than the other side. 

They will also require a basking spot that reaches temperatures in the mid-’90s. You can allow nighttime temperatures to get as low as 65-70 degrees. Ideal humidity levels should be between 40-60 percent. I would suggest keeping track through a simple hydrometer and thermometer combo such as the Vivosun combo. 

African fat-tailed geckos do not require UVB lighting though they might benefit from it. That said, they do need some sort of lighting cycle so that they can tell the difference between night and day. If they are in a room that gets natural sunlight then that is good enough. 

Provide a place where your African Fat-Tailed Geckos can hide from daylight and take shelter while they sleep during daytime hours. They are nocturnal creatures by nature, so these little guys need their rest! African Fat-Tail Geckos also can shed their skin which helps them grow new cells. This process occurs twice a year, just before temperatures start cooling off for the winter months.

Provide an appropriate habitat with the correct temperature and humidity levels. African Fat-Tails live in Africa, which means they require someplace warm enough to maintain their body heat at all times but not too hot where there would be high temperatures or suffocation risks. 

There should also be plenty of places for your gecko to hide, which can include you when you open up the tank lid! The best way to prevent this situation is by making sure your African Fat-Tail’s enclosure has plenty of places to hide. Make sure there is a place to hid on both the warmer and cooler side of the enclosure. 

The African Fat-Tailed Gecko needs just as much care, if not more than any other animal species on Earth, so make sure you know what you’re getting into before purchasing one. That said, African fat-tailed gecko care is pretty simple when compared to some other pet reptiles. 


Understanding proper African fat-tailed gecko care is essential if you choose them to be your next pet. The Fat-Tailed Gecko is one of the most captivating pet lizards to be found in captivity. It has a sleek, streamlined body, and its bright coloration can range from blue to green, with yellow spots on their backs or leopard-like patterning or dots. Their colors are vibrant, and they’re often seen sitting on branches in trees during the day. They have an exotic appearance that fascinates many people who see them for the first time. 

There’s nothing like having an African Fat-Tailed Gecko as a companion pet. These creatures have tons of personality and are always up for some playtime. African Fat-Tailed Geckos are easy to care for ( compared to many other reptiles), and their tanks don’t have to be huge; they’re quite content as long as there are a few hiding spots, some foliage, water in the form of live plants, or reptile beads/stones that can hold moisture.

They are also a great option for kids and first-time lizard owners. In fact, they come in at #6 on my list of Top 15 Pet Lizards For Kids And Beginners

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