Rhacodactylus leachianus size facts and habitat

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Rhacodactylus leachianus

Rhacodactylus leachianus, commonly known as the New Caledonian giant gecko or Leach’s giant gecko, is a large species of gecko, first described by Georges Cuvier in 1829, which is endemic to New Caledonia.

Scientific name: Rhacodactylus leachianus
Higher classification: Rhacodactylus
Rank: Species
Size: 34cm to 38cm leachianus leachianus, 28cm to 30cm leachies henkeli adult average.

Weight: 250 to 350 grams leachianus leachianus, 150 to 200 grams leachianus Henkeli adult average.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Diplodactylidae
  • Genus: Rhacodactylus
  • Species: R. Leachianus

About us

Leachianus is an arboreal species, living in trees. It is nocturnal, but may come out to bask in the sun during the day. It eats a diet of insects, spiders, small vertebrates, fruit, nectar, and sap.

Adult females lay two eggs at a time, having up to 10 clutches per year.

The gecko can make a loud growling noise, and local people call it “the devil in the trees.”

These geckos have a large head, thick body and a short tail that is comprised of two distinct segments: a broad base and a short slender section, separated by a fold of skin. Many people confuse the original tail for one that has been regenerated. Under certain conditions, leachianus can detach their tails if threatened, startled or grasped by the tail. This defense mechanism does not harm the geckos, and their tails will regenerate, though they will look different than the original. They are not likely to lose their tails due to handling; more often, it occurs during quarrels with cagemates.

Habitat and Ecology

This species inhabits coastal forests, closed humid forests and montane forests. It is nocturnal and arboreal. It shelters by day in tree crevices and holes, and forages at night in the canopy.

Conservation Actions

This species is protected in Province Nord under Code de l’environnement de la Province Nord (Délibération No. 306-2008/APN, 24 October 2008) and in Province Sud under Code de l’environnement de la Province Sud (Délibération No. 25-2009/APS, 20 March 2009). It is present in Réserve de Nature Sauvage du Mt Panié, Réserve de Nature Sauvage du Massif de l’Aoupinié, Parc Provincial de la Rivière Bleue and several other reserves including Nodela and Forêt Nord. No active conservation management is currently being undertaken for this species.

 Rhacodactylus leachianus Size

At 14 inches (360 mm) total length, it is the largest extant gecko in the world and is considered an example of island gigantism. It has a heavy body, loose skin, and a small, stumpy tail. It is variable in color, coming in shades of mottled green, gray, and brown.

Food

These geckos eat fermenting fruit in the wild and should be offered a prepared commercially available alternative.  They should be fed every other day, and it is recommended to feed them at night as they are nocturnal creatures.

Habitat

Found only on the island of New Caledonia, the geckos are arboreal (tree dwelling), and rarely descend to the ground. Although nocturnal, the geckos sometimes bask in the morning sun.

 Rhacodactylus leachianus Diet

feeding on crickets, roaches 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  offered in a shallow dish. All fruit should be non citrus. Turkey and chicken baby food may also be taken along with pinkie mice. Food should always be removed at the first signs of spoiling.

Housing

A minimum size of 60cm x 60cm x 60cm( L x W x H ) is recommended for an adult pair. Never house males together as they will fight and can 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 after first introductions. Peat or coconut fibre substrate can be used for juveniles/adults. Hatchlings are best kept on kitchen roll.

Being an arboreal species, climbing branches and 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.

Rhacodactylus leachianus Breeding

Leachianus should be kept at 21-25°C during the day and 18-20°C at night for a couple of months prior to breeding. They can produce approximately 3-4 clutches in a season, laying two soft-shelled eggs every 5 weeks. Breeding females should be monitored closely for any early signs of calcium deficiency.

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Rhacodactylus leachianus images

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