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Scientific Name:Uroplatus phantasticus
Common Names: Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko
Geographic Range: Eastern Madagascar
Life Span: 10+ Years
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Top 10 List
1. A Leafy Appearance
Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos can come in a variety colours. These colours can include various shades of purples, oranges, yellows and tans. However the most common colour for satanic leaf tailed geckos is a mottled brown colour. In addition to their main colours they have small black dots on their undersides. As their name suggests their tail is flattened with a leaf like appearance to it. Above their eyes are eyelash like projections, and their eyes have a transparent covering over them, in place of eyelids. They can range in size from anywhere between 2.6 – 6 inches in length, including their tail.
2. Baby Satanics
Like most geckos, Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos are oviparous, meaning that they lay eggs. Mating season is the beginning of the rainy season in their habitats. Every 30 days or so during the breeding season females will lay clutches of two round eggs onto the ground under leaf litter, or in dead leaves of plants. Hiding the eggs allows the young hatchlings to stay hidden when they hatch, until they are ready to venture out into the world. Anywhere from 90-120 days after the eggs are laid, they hatch into baby Satanic Geckos.
3. Insectivorous Geckos
Satanic Leaf Tailed geckos are nocturnal insectivores, hunting for their prey at night once it’s dark out. While their diet has not been too researched in the wild, it is believed that they eat various crickets and spiders, and other insects that will fit into their mouths.
4. Origin of Their Scientific Name
The beginning of their Scientific name “Uroplatus” is a Latinization of two Greek words. “Oura” translates to tail in English, and “platys” which translates to flat. Put together this is flat tail, which describes the flat appearance of these gecko’s tails.
Phantasticus is a Latin word that means imaginary, and was based upon the Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos unique appearance.
5. Home of the Satanic Geckos
Satanic Leaf Geckos are endemic to Madagascar, meaning that they are found nowhere else in the world. They are arboreal and live among the trees that grow in their habitat. They rely on their specialized camouflage to blend into the trees and survive in the Northern and Central tropical forests in which they are found throughout Madagascar.
6. Adaptations For Survival
Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos have scales under their toes that help them to climb and move easily throughout the trees. This coupled with their long, strong claws makes them perfectly suited for the tree tops. These little geckos are also great at avoiding predators. Their leaf like tail and leaf like veined skin helps them hide within the trees when they feel threatened. They are able to effectively flatten their body against the ground to reduce the shadow they produce. If Their camouflage doesn’t work, they will open their mouth widely, to try and ward of predators. As a last resort they will shed their leaf-like tail in order to confuse predators enough to get away.
7. Sexual Dimorphism
While the overall look of Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos stays the same throughout the males and the females, they do have some differences between them. At 5-6 months old the males will develop a hemipenal bulge at the base of the tail. More often the male Satanic’s tail will have what look like insect bites throughout it, while females are more likely to have fully intact looking leaf tails. Female Satanic Geckos are generally larger, and weigh 8 – 9 grams, while the males only weigh 4 – 6 grams.
8. Captive Geckos
The Satanic Leaf Tailed gecko is a popular pet due to their unique appearance. They are often kept in breeding pairs or trios. If their needs are met in captivity male – male aggression is rare, however still possible as every animal is different. They are better as unique looking display animals only, as they do not enjoy being touched much, and can be fragile. They need high specific humidity. While awesome pets, they are not for beginners and need a ton of research done before attempting to keep them.
9. Threats To These Geckos
Satanic Leaf Tailed geckos have quite a few threats to their safety as a population, a large chunk of them having to do with humans. A few of these threats include: habitat deforestation due to logging, agriculture and cattle grazing, and collection for the pet trade. Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos only live in a specific environment and area, and therefor are very susceptible to any changes that happen to their habitat. They are listed as a CITES appendix 2 protected animal. These geckos are present in at least 3 protected wildlife reserves, however illegal poachers at these reserves are still know to occur.
10. Misidentified Geckos
Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos are sometimes confused for Spear-Point Leaf Tailed Geckos. Spearpoint geckos have been described as a northern version of the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko. If you look closely the Spearpoint Geckos seems to have a smaller and less defined tail than Satanic Leaf Tailed Geckos do.
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