You may have seen the Leachie gecko, but not at your local pet store. This wrinkly reptile is far from your ordinary pet lizard. The New Caledonian giant gecko or Rhacodactylus leachianus is a unique reptile. In fact, the species is the largest discovered gecko in the entire world. Don’t fall for their harmless appearance because these reptiles are masters of camouflage in their respective environments. This characteristic makes them one of the most vicious predators.
In the 1820s, Georges Curvier discovered the Rhacodactylus leachianus in New Caledonia. The region lies northwest of New Zealand and east of Australia. Their natural habitat reached temperatures of up to 80oF while humidity could range up to 80 percent.
Leachie Gecko Lifespan and Size
The new Caledonian giant gecko weighs about 200 grams on average. The height of the species depends upon what region the specific type originates from. New Caledonia comprises many islands. Hence, geckos from smaller and less populated areas grow to be about six inches long. Moreover, those belonging to highly populated areas reach a length of almost eight inches.
This is just their length from the snout to the vent. The tail, which appears different from the rest of their body, adds another three to five inches. This addition makes them a whopping nine to thirteen inches long in total. The weight can also vary. Hence, the Rhacodactylus leachianus can weigh between 120 and 300 grams.
The lifespan of a gecko highly depends upon the environment that they’re in. Hence, you’ll find a stark difference between the lifespan of a leachie gecko that lives in the wild, and one that lives in captivity. A few studies show that the New Caledonian giant gecko that lives on an island, its natural habitat, survives for as long as eight years.
This finding is limited to geckos on Bayonnaise. Hence, it’s possible that Leachie geckos living on the mainland live longer than their island-based counterparts do. The reason is that they have sufficient space. In its natural habitat, it’s quite common for geckos to fight with rivals. Hence, only the strongest of the species get the chance to breed. Therefore, this species is a true example of the survival of the fittest.
However, in captivity, the situation completely different; geckos get proper nourishment and care, so it’s highly possible for them to live for over thirty years.
Behavior and Characteristics
Island leachie geckos have a distinct body that’s cylindrical and stout in shape. Their color differs based on whether they’re an island or mainland geckos; they’re often shades of green, gray or brown. Island leachie geckos have skin with a heavier pattern, shorter stout and bulbous eyes. Blotches cover their wrinkly skin, different from the base color; usually black, white and even pink.
Meanwhile, leachie geckos found on the mainland are bigger and have a body that’s much more elongated than that of their island cousins. Young leachie geckos have a bit of a temper, but adult ones are very calm, even when you handle them.
In the wild, leachie geckos rely upon the sources of food around them to get the energy they need for hunting and fighting. In captivity, however, you need to provide them with a proper diet like powdered foods produced specially produced for Rhacodactylus species of geckos.
Many leachie gecko owners make the mistake of feeding them baby food, but this usually results in them developing a deformity due to a nutritional imbalance and deficiency. You should make sure to feed insects once or twice every week and not give them any more than they can eat.
Before giving your gecko insects to feed on, dust them in a calcium supplement; roaches, crickets and mealworms are a favorite. Don’t feed your gecko pinky mice more than twice a month since it can lead to obesity.
Leachie Gecko Care
When you’re keeping a Lechie Gecko at home, you need to ensure that you take proper care of their housing, since they can’t just thrive in any environment. You can make your housing unit from a plastic container or purchase one with a specific design to house reptiles such as this gecko.
Keep adult leachie geckos separately in a large enclosure that’s at least the size of an aquarium with a 20-gallon capacity. Plastic is the best type of material for gecko housing since you can sterilize it easily. Although leachie geckos have a taste for opaque housing rather than transparent units, you can opt for something translucent.
Use some mulch as a substrate but be careful to maintain proper humidity if you’re housing breeding animals since a female gecko will lay her eggs in it and a dry environment can encourage dehydration. Keep a low depth of mulch and remember to moisten it regularly because humidity levels are low indoors.
Due to the high levels of humidity in the gecko housing, you should be careful to pick up fecal matter and food that is uneaten, since the environment promotes the growth of bacteria and fungus.
Leachie Gecko Health
A common belief is that reptiles are immune to sickness, making them the longest living class of species on the planet. This is not the case, and Leachie geckos are prone to getting sick, even when kept improperly in captivity. Metabolic Bone Diseases are common in Leachie geckos held in captivity because the owners feed them the wrong diet.
So, while you need to give them food that’s meant for Rhacodactylus leachianus, remember not to overfeed them, since this can lead to obesity. Not to mention, growth problems can arise from keeping them in overly dry or moist conditions. You need to clean and sterilize their housing too properly; otherwise, you risk them getting a skin infection. All these health issues make it essential that you have an experienced reptile veterinarian to consult.
To conclude, it’s easy to see that the Lechie Gecko would make for a great pet at home, especially if you have a taste for reptiles. Nonetheless, proper care is necessary and just because you need to keep them in individual housing doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care of them.