The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is an amazing-looking reptile from Madagascar. It gets its name from its close resemblance to a dragon, but it also has other names, including Eyelash Gecko and Phantastic Gecko. It’s one of the smallest species of gecko, with only one other in contention. If you are interested in keeping one of these tiny reptiles as a pet, keep reading as we look at their temperament, diet, habitat, and more to see if this gecko would make a good fit for your home.
Quick Facts About the Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko
|Species Name:||U. phantasticus|
|Temperature:||72–78 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Color Form:||Purple, orange, tan, yellow, brown|
|Diet:||Insects, flies, worms, spiders|
|Minimum Tank Size:||10” x 10” x 20”|
|Tank Set-Up:||Moss, plants, branches, logs|
Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko Overview
The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is one of three geckos from Madagascar that all resemble a dried leaf. You can only find it in its natural habitat on the island of Madagascar, and its numbers are falling due to habitat destruction and the illegal animal trade. It is essential to seek out a reputable breeder selling captive-bred animals, not those that hunters catch on the island.
How Much Do Satanic Leaf-Tailed Geckos Cost?
You should expect to spend between $300–$500 for a captive-bred Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko, depending on the breeder. There are quite a few large companies in America that can help you get your pet in this price range. You will also need to purchase a suitable aquarium, food, humidifier, and other accessories to house your new pet and keep it healthy.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is very shy and prefers to be left alone. You can house it with other Satanic Leaf-tailed Geckos, but it won’t like it if you pick it up or try to handle it. It’s a nocturnal animal that climbs through the shrubbery to hunt and avoid predators. In the wild, when faced with a predator, it can press itself against the ground to remove its shadow and can release its tail as a decoy.
Appearance & Varieties
Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko can be a wide variety of colors, including purple, orange, tan, yellow, and brown, and is 2.5 to 3.5 inches long. The tail is flat to mimic a dead leaf, and some will have notches along the edges to enhance the illusion, and there are long spines on the head, trunk, and body. Some will also have an eyelash-like projection over the eye to cover it and help them blend in during the day.
How to Take Care of a Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup
Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko requires a tall cage, so the traditional fish tank aquarium won’t work. Most experts recommend a minimum cage size of 10” W x 10” D x 20” H, though bigger is always better.
Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko enjoys cooler temperatures that hover between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not much more than many people’s homes, so it should be relatively easy to reach desired temperatures without expensive heating lamps. Your pet does not need to bask like other reptiles, and there is even debate over the amount of UVB light that they require if any. We recommend purchasing at least one UVB light to be on the safe side.
Creating enough humidity is the most difficult part of creating a habitat for a Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko. It will require constant levels between 70% and 85%, so it will need frequent misting and an accurate hygrometer to stay within guidelines.
You will also need to supply your pet with plenty of vegetation to climb on and hide behind. Plants, ivy, logs, and branches will make your pet feel more at home, and they will be more likely to come out of hiding.
Do Satanic Leaf-tailed Geckos Get Along with Other Pets?
Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is extremely shy and will flee for cover at the first sign of danger. However, unlike many other reptiles, you can house several of these in the same habitat as long as you increase the size of the tank. The males will rarely become aggressive toward each other.
What to Feed Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko
Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is an insectivore and eats all kinds of insects in the wild, but in captivity will eat mainly crickets because they are easy to find and inexpensive to purchase. You will want to gut load the insects, which means feeding them a nutritious meal before giving them to your pet. You will also need to dust them with a calcium supplement to get the nutrients they require.
Keeping Your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko Healthy
As long as you follow the guidelines we have listed here concerning habitat size and feeding, your Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko will provide you with several years of companionship with little effort. Resisting the urge to handle your pet will also help keep it happy and healthy.
Satanic Leaf-tailed Geckos are egg-laying animals that typically lay clutches of two eggs on the ground under the cover of leaves. The eggs will hatch 60–70 days later, and the gecko will be fully developed and independent without the need for further care.
Are Satanic Leaf-Tailed Geckos Suitable for You?
The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko can make an excellent pet as long as you maintain its habitat correctly. Once you get it set up, the most difficult part of maintaining your reptile is remembering to mist the cage frequently, so there is enough humidity in the air and your pet can get the moisture it needs to stay hydrated. Crickets will be its main food source, and you will need to gut-load them and dust them with calcium. It might sound like a lot, but it will take next to no time or thought after a few weeks.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over our look into this unique animal and learned a few new facts. If we have convinced you to price them at your local breeder, please share this guide to owning a Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Mark_Kostich, Shutterstock