New Caledonian Giant Gecko

New Caledonian Giant Gecko

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One of the most spectacular and sought-after species of the Rhacodactylus genus is R. leachianus, with two subspecies that are presently recognized as giant geckos from New Caledonia, a group of islands northeast of Australia. They are Rhacodactylus leachianus leachianus, found on Grande Terre (GT), the largest New Caledonia island, and Rhacodactylus leachianus henkeli, found on Pine Island (Isle of Pines) and other smaller islands.

Rhacodactylus l. leachianus is the larger of the two subspecies, and one of the largest geckos in the world. Adult size ranges from 14 to 17 inches, including the tail, and it can weigh 212 to 279 grams. Hatchlings are about 3 1/2 to 4 inches long, including the tail. Adult R. l. henkeli range from about 9 to 12 inches, including the tail, and they can weigh 115 to 250 grams. Newborn R. l. henkeli are about 3 to 3 1/2 inches long, including the tail.

A single adult leachianus can be housed in an upright screen enclosure no smaller than 18 by 18 by 24 inches tall (larger would be even better), or a 40-gallon aquarium with a screen top. Commercially manufactured enclosures with foam backgrounds and front-opening doors work well, too. It is best to house giant geckos individually, unless they are a breeding pair. Otherwise, they can become aggressive toward each other. If aggression occurs, separate them immediately.

New Caledonian giant geckos are nocturnal and do not require lighting, although UVB lights can be used to simulate day and nighttime rhythms. Daytime ambient temperatures should range between the upper 70s and lower 80s Fahrenheit, and can drop into the low 70s at night. A low-wattage red bulb or undertank heater can be used if supplemental heat is needed to maintain this range. Fluorescent lighting can be used if live plants are in the enclosure. Turn off lights at night.

Adults can be fed Repashy Superfoods’ Crested Gecko Diet, a fruit-flavored protein diet that is mixed two parts water to one part food, supplemented with vitamins and minerals. Offer this in a sturdy, shallow crock that cannot be easily tipped over. Remove uneaten food after 24 to 36 hours. This can be done two to three times a week.  Fruit puree can also be offered, but you must supplement it before feeding.