Image Credit : Thor Hakonsen Photography
Uroplatus sikorae are nocturnal and arboreal. Their eyes are large and lidless, and have yellow sclera with elliptical pupils, suited for the gecko’s nocturnal habits.
Uroplatus sikorae has flaps of skin, running the length of its body, head and limbs, known as the dermal flap, which it can lay against the tree during the day, scattering shadows, and making its outline practically invisible. Additionally, the gecko has a limited ability to alter its skin color to match its surroundings.
- Scientific name : Uroplatus sikorae
- Distribution : Madagascar
- Average Size : 0.18 m (0.6 ft)
- Life Span : 5 years or more
- Difficulty : Advanced
These geckos prefer an enclosure with lots of branches, perches, and vines for them to climb on and jump to and from. Taller is better than wider with most Uroplatus species, so for this reason, the ExoTerra tall terrariums typically work well for them. A pair of sikorae can be comfortably housed in an 0.45 x 0.45 x 0.6 meters (1.5 x 1.5 x 2 feet) ExoTerra enclosure. During the day, the geckos will often lay themselves flat
onto a branch, vine, or even the glass siding of the terrarium. During the nighttime, they come alive in search for food, and become skilled little acrobats.
Eco earth works very well as a substrate for this species. A soil based substrate works well when trying to keep a higher humidity for them. Sphagnum/peat or other mosses can be added to the substrate for added humidity.
Lighting – Heating
A simple UVB 5.0 bulb can be used with these geckos, and provides them with the ability to synthesize Vitamin D needed for the metabolism of Calcium. It is essential that these geckos be exposed to natural UVB rays, as it also helps them with their internal biological clock. A timer can be very helpful when placing them on a routine and being consistent with hours of daylight vs. hours of darkness.
Uroplatus geckos tend to be fairly sensitive to heat, and so it is imperative that they are not exposed to temperatures above 27 ºC (80 ºF). Their optimal temperatures fall in a range of 15-24 ºC (60-75 ºF). A good daytime high for them is 21-24 ºC (70-75 ºF) with a nighttime drop of 15-21 ºC (60-70 ºF). These temperature ranges can vary slightly with seasonal temperatures, so allow for a natural warm season and a cool season, especially when attempting to breed.
These geckos get much of their water intake from lapping up water droplets with their tongue after a good misting of the enclosure. However, it has proven to be beneficial to them to have a water dish in their enclosure as well, as they have been documented to drink from them from time to time. Misting is an essential aspect of care for them, and so nightly misting is required. Misting can also be done throughout the day to maintain a desired humidity for them. Dehydration can be detrimental for these geckos, and so it is very important that they are being well hydrated and given many opportunities to drink during the nighttime.
Mossy leaf tailed geckos are native to the rainforests of Madagascar, and so they require fairly high humidity. A good daytime humidity is around 60-80% and a nighttime humidity of close to 100%.
Feeding can be done every other day. They enjoy a variety of insect feeders: crickets, Dubia roaches, hornworms, silkworms, superworms, and snails. Dusting their food once a week with a Calcium+D3 supplement powder is essential for a healthy gecko.
Handling should be kept to a minimal. They can be stressed fairly easily, and so only handle them when completely necessary (when transporting or when completing a health check).
Daily spot cleaning is recommended for them as it reduces the risk of mold growth in their enclosure, and also reduces the risk of bacterial/parasitic infection. Most wild caught geckos will have parasites when they are imported, so clean the enclosure of their feces as often as possible to minimize the transfer and re-ingestion of the parasites. This is why acquiring these geckos as captive bred specimens is the BEST option; they are in better health, readily eat, and typically will not have any parasitic infections.
They will shed occasionally, and typically do so on their own, given their enclosures are kept at an appropriate humidity. Sometimes shedding can be difficult for hatchlings or young specimens, so from time to time, you may need to assist them with the shedding process. This can be done with small tweezers, and a lot of patience. If you are unable to pull their stuck shed off, put the gecko in a container with soaked paper towel, leave them in there for 20-30 minutes, then try again. This helps to hydrate the gecko’s skin, and facilitates the shedding process.
Potential Health Problems
When breeding these geckos, the females can experience “calcium crashes” after they lay a clutch of eggs. This is due to a calcium deficiency, leading them to go into shock due to hypocalcaemia. This can be fatal for them, and can be very difficult to reversed if caught too late. This condition can be avoided by supplementing them with Calcium+D3 powder (dusting their insect feeders with it), and making sure that their calcium sacs (on the underside of their mouths) are visible and sufficiently large.
The information contained in this care sheet reflect the opinions and methods of the mentioned breeder, based on their expertise and long-established experience.