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© Sedgwick County Zoo, credit: Jim Marlett

Leaf-tailed Gecko

Uroplatus henkeli


Physical Characteristics

  • These lizards are olive-green or brownish with paler, dark-edged blotches, dark brown flecks and spots above, whitish below. They are capable of noticeable color change from light to dark  The head is large, triangular and flat, the tail is long and leaf shaped and the limbs are long and spindly. Molting looks like lichen. The broad, fleshy tongue is used to keep the lidless eyes clean. The toes have special pads which allow the geckos to climb vertical surfaces and cling to a surface as smooth as glass.
  • Size of average adult
    • length: 10 - 12 inches

Diet

  • Wild: large invertebrates like spiders and cockroaches

Behavior

  • Nocturnal, wait perched, head-down on a tree to ambush prey
  • During day hide in shelter of tree hollows or epiphytic ferns
  • Gape (open mouth wide) to startle predators
  • Leaf-like tail can be dropped and regrown
  • Reproduction
    • 2 eggs are buried on the forest floor and hatch after about 90 days

Environmental/Global

  • Habitat: primary undisturbed rainforest
  • Distribution: Madagascar

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