New Caledonian Giant Gecko Care
Scientific name: Rhactodactylus leachianus
Natural Habitat: These giant geckos are native to the islands of New Caledonia, off the coast of Northeastern Australia.
Lifespan: Leachie geckos can 20 years or more in captivity if properly cared for.
Size: Adults can measure up to 14" - 17" as adults, and weigh 220-280 grams.
Appearance: New Caledonian giant geckos come in a variety of shades of gray, brown, black, and yellow with various striping, splotching, or spotting patterns.
Minimum recommended tank size is an 18"x18"x24" terrarium for 1 adult leachie gecko. Ideal tank size is a 40 gallon tank.
Ideal temperatures for New Caledonian giant geckos range from 76-84 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Lighting & Heating:
New Caledonian giant geckos do not require special lighting such as UVB, as long as proper temperatures are maintained. It is still a good idea to provide them with some form of lighting to help regulate their photo-voltaic cycle.
High grade mulch or peat-based organic potting soil (pesticide & fertilizer free) are the two best substrates. Hatchlings and babies should be kept on moist paper towels, to avoid impaction.
New Caledonian giant geckos are arboreal animals, which means they live in trees and like to climb. Good terrarium decorations include vines, branches, driftwood, and live plants.
"Cohabitation", or housing more than 1 gecko together, is appropriate only under the right circumstances. Two adult males should never be housed together, as they will fight. Adult females that are not aggressive can usually be safely housed together, but not always. Leachie geckos can sometimes be successfully housed as breeding pairs also. If any aggression between geckos occurs, separate them immediately.
DIET & FEEDING
New Caledonian giant geckos thrive on powdered complete diet food like Repashy or Pangea, offered 2 to 3 times per week. Uneaten food should be removed 24 to 36 hours after offering to avoid molding. You can also add some variety to your gecko's diet by offering it live prey such as calcium-dusted small dubia roaches or crickets.
SELECTING A GECKO
If you are looking to purchase a New Caledonian giant gecko, make sure to check out our list of gecko breeders.
HANDLING, TAMING & BEHAVIOR
Placing your hand in your gecko's tank and letting it crawl on you is the best way to start taming your gecko and getting it used to your presence. This can also be used to gauge its temperament towards you. If your gecko arches its back slightly and starts to draw its head back, this is a sign of aggression or fear. When handling your gecko, make sure to minimize the distance between your hands and the floor, especially if it is a hard wood or concrete floor or if you have a jumpy gecko. Never close your hand around the gecko! This can cause internal injuries. Always sanitize your hands both before and after handling your gecko.
When transporting your gecko while driving, remove the gecko from its tank and place the gecko in a tupperware or critter keeper with holes. Do not transport the gecko inside its regular tank, as the contents can shift during transport and injure your gecko.
COMMON HEALTH ISSUES
• Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) occurs when a gecko does not receive enough calcium in its diet. This leads to a softening of its bones, making it easier for the gecko's bones to break. Once severe, the damage will become permanent and the gecko will have trouble walking and shedding. Make sure to gutload & dust your feeders with calcium + vitamin D3 to avoid this!
• Stuck shed can cause loss of circulation to toes & eventual loss of toes after a few days. Normally this is caused by not having a moist hide in the gecko's tank to help it shed and can also be exacerbated by other diseases and conditions like metabolic bone disease (MBD) and poor husbandry. This common problem is usually easily fixed with 10-15 minute soak in warm water. If the stuck shed persists, try gently tugging on it when it's wet.
• Tail loss is a defense mechanism for many species of geckos. If grabbed or if something is dropped on it or if they are feeling threatened in general, the gecko can drop their tail by flexing special connecting tissues that connect it to the rest of their body. Very little blood loss occurs, if any, because the blood vessels leading to the tail are constricted during this process. The tail will wiggle on its own for several minutes. If your gecko drops its tail, it is very important to practice clean hygiene to prevent infection. Paper towel substrate changed daily or every other day is recommended, as well as additional feeding since the gecko no longer can rely on fat deposits stored in its tail for nourishment. Its tail will grow back, but it will take time and a clean environment is needed to ensure that its stump won't become infected as the new tail grows in. The new tail will also look slightly different, but function just the same.
• Pinworms are the Enterobius parasite and are contracted usually by contact with surface covered with their microscopic eggs. Symptoms include discomfort and red, swollen vent. A visit to your local reptile vet is recommended.
• Mouth rot (infectious stomatitis) is a symptom of multiple diseases. It can be caused by cricket bites or poor tank hygiene. A visit to your local reptile vet is recommended.
• Geckos are not known to carry Salmonella, as it is usually only found in aquatic animals.