What Makes the African Fat Tail Gecko Unique To Other Geckos?

The African fat-tail Gecko is not as common as other gecko breeds and that makes it a great choice for someone who wants something unique. But is there anything else that makes them unique?

The African Fat Tail gecko is unique because its tail longer than the length of its body and it is thicker than other gecko species. The eyelids, personality, morphs and habitat are also unique. They can cost more than other geckos because they are not widely available.

Keep reading to get a better understanding of these features and why they are so unique.

The Fat Tail

The most distinctive feature of the African fat-tailed gecko is its tail. It’s really wide and thick in shape and can have lines running along its length.

The fat in the tail is for storage, making it an important energy reserve. This allows them to go days without eating if there’s a shortage of food.

Another semi-unique thing about African fat-tailed geckos is that they can lose their tails if they get attacked or feel threatened in any way. The shedding of their tale can confuse the predator and allow them to escape. I say semi-unique because some other gecko species can do this also.

The tail grows back and it can come back rounder than before.

You can also check the overall health of the gecko by looking at the health of its tail. A rounder fatter tail gives a good indication it has access to a good supply of food.

On the other hand, a thin tail can indicate that the gecko is not getting enough food or can be a sign of illness. 

Another unique feature of the African fat-tailed gecko is that they have eyelids and they can blink. This is not typically found in other common geckos, who need to lick their eyelids to provide moisture. This is really helpful for the African fat-tailed gecko considering it comes from a dusty habitat and the blinking eyelids can help protect its eyes from dust particles.

Do African Fat Tailed Geckos Climb

Most geckos have sticky pads on their feet called adhesive lamellae and this helps them to climb upwards easily without falling and they can even hang upside down. The African fat-tailed gecko, however, is unique because it doesn’t have these sticky toe pads. This could be because they come from a desert environment where it’s not necessary. This also means they don’t climb vertically.

Are African Fat Tailed Geckos Active? What About Their Temperament…

African fat-tail geckos don’t like to socialize much and love their own space.  They tend to be slow and docile-natured and like to remain calm, so if that is what you’re looking for then this gecko is a great option.

Their movement is really slow and that’s really because of their unique thick fat tails, which stops them from moving too quickly.

These pet geckos do not like being constrained, so take special care when handling them. Use open hands and never hold them by their tails. They will detach their tails as a defense mechanism and though it will regenerate, it may have a different appearance than its original shape.

Despite African Fat-Tailed Geckos being timid creatures, they are also quite territorial. They aren’t likely to but could snap at you if you enter their space when they aren’t in the mood. If you try to hold them and they’re not happy about it then they could bite you, though this isn’t a common occurrence.

The male geckos are very territorial and it’s best not to have two male fat-tailed geckos in one enclosure as they can get aggressive with one another and cause injuries. But a female fat-tailed gecko can be placed with a male gecko without much problem.

These unique features make them easy to handle and care for. After the initial week or so of settling in, they usually don’t mind familiar humans handling them. They’ll even start to develop individual personalities that you can pick up on overtime.

Fat Tail Environment

The Fat-Tailed Gecko is native to hot, humid climates, so it’s critical to recreate their natural environment as closely as possible in the household vivarium.

It is usually recommended to get a 10-gallon vivarium, but 20 gallons is ideal because it gives the gecko more room to explore.

The dirt is their preferred substrate since it holds moisture without becoming wet and allows for the natural burrowing activity geckos do.

They love to spend a lot of their time in a humid hiding place. African fat-tails need a basking area with a temperature between 86-88° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C) and their enclosure needs to have a humidity range of 70%-80%.

When cared for properly, they can live for up to 25 years in captivity!


African fat-tail geckos are gaining in popularity among pet owners. The starting price for an African fat-tailed gecko is around $75, with rare morphs selling for as much as $500. These unique geckos are so hard to come by, breeding them is becoming popular among gecko breeders. You can also get them online and I wrote an article comparing breeders to online stores here that you can check out.

Final Thoughts

These African fat-tail geckos are unique in many ways and this also means they have unique needs that have to be met. But this isn’t difficult to do or maintain.

These little reptiles have a calm and docile nature and they make great pets for newbie reptile pet owners.

These unique geckos are mainly known for their fat tails so if you decide to buy one I think you’ll love them.

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