African Fat Tailed Gecko Care
This care sheet does not represent the only way to care for these animals but the method that we use at Gecko Daddy. We encourage you to search for other care sheets and use the method or combination of methods that best serves you and most of all, your gecko!
African Fat Tailed geckos are one of our favorite geckos to keep. They are relatively easy to care for and breed, and because they are naturally very mellow, they are quickly becoming a “must have” for the hobbyist as well as the professional breeder. There are several different morphs of these wonderful geckos available including: normal (banded), striped, amelanistic (banded and striped), aberrant (abnormal) patterned, jungle patterned, patternless, ghost, caramel albino, white socks, white out, the zero, and axanthic. With more morphs and morph combos to almost certainly appear in the coming years, many believe this gecko is on the verge of becoming as popular as the Leopard gecko.
Females may be kept by themselves or in colonies (multiple females/ no more than one male). Males should not be housed with other males as they are territorial and will fight. We keep our geckos in plastic bins, in a rack system, although a glass enclosure such as an aquarium can be used to allow for optimal viewing of the animal. Nothing smaller than a 10-gallon enclosure should be used for housing an adult gecko.
There are several substrates available to use for these geckos, however, none of them work better than paper towel or news paper. Our bins get fresh paper once to twice a week depending on the need. Some keepers use coconut fiber (bed-o beast) while others use calci-sand. While these substrates look nice, be aware that geckos can ingest bedding while feeding and impaction can occur. This often results in an expensive trip to the vet. In our opinion, paper is the way to go!
Because reptiles are cold-blooded, they require an external heat source to help regulate body temperatures and aid digestion. By providing a range of temperatures for your gecko to choose from, you will allow it to thermo-regulate its body temperature. Temperatures may range from 90-92 degrees F on the warm side of the enclosure to 80 degrees F on the cool side. We do not provide a night heat cycle for our geckos here, however some keepers choose to lower temps at night to 75 degrees F. You can use a radiant heat source such as a bulb (light or ceramic) with a dimmer switch or an under the tank heat source such as a hot pad or heat tape. Place the heat source on one side of the tank (roughly 1/3). This will create that range in temperature that you want. We do not recommend heat sources such as heating rocks as they can cause injury or death to your animal.
Provide a dish of water in the enclosure, preferably one that isn’t too deep. By placing the water dish under the light/heat source, you will create some natural humidity as the water evaporates a bit quicker. Fat Tails like humidity. The larger circumference of the dish, the more humidity will be created. If the dish is deeper than the gecko can stand, provide a rock for it to use. Geckos are not swimmers! We also lightly mist the enclosure 4 times a week to keep humidity levels up a bit. Make sure the substrate is never wet for long as mold and fungus are bad news if you are a gecko. When a fat tailed gecko is preparing to shed, they appreciate moist hiding places. We use glad-ware boxes with a hole cut in the side with moss that can be misted daily. This works well for us.
AFT’s are aggressive feeders most of the time. Crickets and meal worms are their most common food items in captivity although they have also been known to feed on roaches as well. Make sure that your food item is appropriately sized. Dust your insects with calcium w/ vit.D3 powder before each feeding. It is also recommended that you place a small dish with calcium powder in the cage.
Your insects will also need food. We feed ours a variety of fresh greens, carrots and squash as well as oats and grains. Healthy food equals a healthier gecko.