More commonly known as the web-footed gecko (Palmatogecko rangei), the Namib Sand Gecko makes up for its size in speed. They live in Africa next to the coast with sandy dunes stretching across the land. These geckos are interesting, fast and their care is essential to their wellbeing.
Web-footed geckos stay about 4 inches, but they can create a speedy getaway. Their yellow-brown scales blend into the sand and they normally have egg white bellies. They have tails that make up about a third of its body length. Tails normally stay skinny and have rings that decrease in size as they go.
Web-footed geckos get their names because of their webbed feet. The feet aid them in grip for the loose sand that they live on. The small stretches of skin in between the toes also help them burrow if running is not an option. They can disappear under the sand in seconds.
Web-footed geckos are fast. Especially babies, who will escape from your grip the first chance they get. If you work with them, some will learn to calm down as they grow, but these geckos are mainly a look-donít-touch gecko. Web-footed geckos will not bite, and their mouths cannot fit around your finger.
Small crickets work best for a small gecko. Since they live in a cage, chasing crickets around is good to keep a web-footed gecko active. Worms can be used as an alternative source of food. Phoenix and silk worms are the most nutritious, and mealworms should be avoided because most of their body is their exoskeleton.
If the food is too large for your gecko, it will regurgitate the food, and will not make that mistake again. Baby geckos need to be fed 5 crickets or 3 worms a day. Adults need to be fed every three days about 5 crickets. Remove any leftover crickets from the day before so they do not bother your gecko.
An adult will have plenty of room in a 10 gallon tank, and can even be housed in trios. Males should never be housed together because they will fight for food and females. Young web-footed geckos can live in smaller critter keepers until they get older. Give them large flat rocks to burrow under. They do not need branches or foliage because they prefer staying on the ground.
Sand is the only substrate that would work for a desert dwelling burrower. Make sure there is plenty of room for them to dig. They need a minimum of 4 inches of sand, but 6 are ideal. If it is possible, make the bottom couple of inches moist so burrows will not collapse.
Provide a hide on each side of the tank. Burrows will make up most of their hides, so you do not need to provide too many.
Being from sand dunes, these geckos like it hot. Temperatures should range from 85-92F, and can drop 15-20F at night. Since web-footed geckos burrow deep, under tank heating pads can end up burning them so overhead lighting is preferred. UVB and UVA bulbs are not needed and have not presented any improvements on health. Never use hot rocks because they will develop hot spots and can also burn reptiles.
A small dish of water is all that is needed for a web-footed gecko. They need little water, but fresh water should be provided all the time. The dunes they are found in are next to the coast so ocean mists roll over the land. You can mist a very light and warm mist at night to mimic this because they can absorb some water through their skin. Mist only a little water, and skipping a day or two will not harm it.
Remove feces as soon as possible, and replace the sand every six months. Water should be replaced and kept clean daily. Cleaning is pretty basic with this gecko compared to many reptiles and amphibians.
Breeding these geckos can be easy but make sure you know what you are getting into before jumping in. In April or May, pair a male and female(s) together. Once they have mated, the male can be moved back into a separate tank. Females will have their stomachs swell as eggs are being made.
Eggs will be laid in pairs and there can be up to eight pairs. Females having eggs for the first time will have less eggs and a higher chance of infertility. Eggs will be buried underground, and can be removed if needed. Keep the eggs at about 92F in an incubator, but if that temperature can be maintained in the cage they can stay in there. Temperature should never be under 80%.
Do more research on this speciesí breeding before trying it, as this is more of a summary.
Hatchling web-footed geckos can be kept together until they can be sexed. They need half a gallon per gecko, but as they get bigger split them up so there is more space per gecko. Feed each gecko five crickets a day, and monitor them when feeding so if one is not getting enough, you can separate it and make sure it eats.
Care for the baby geckos like adults, except everything you do should be smaller.
Web-footed geckos are small burrowing geckos taking up little space, and they will not disappoint you. They can live for many years and never get over 6 inches. This look-donít-touch gecko has pretty basic care, but do your research before going out and buying one. These are a hardy desert species of gecko that will be sure to please you.
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Georgia Stampley - November 25, 2011
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