The leaf-tailed gecko is one of the most amazing small gecko species in the world. But it is only found in Madagascar Island. Geckos have a large variety of colors including hues of tan, yellow, orange and purple. And also they have black dots on their underside which helps to distinguish them from other species. The texture of the leaf-tailed geckos helps them to be camouflaged with their surroundings and to survive against the threats in their surroundings. And also their coloring helps them to easily blend with the barks of trees with leaves. However, there are few species of gecko namely satanic, mossy and giant leaf-tailed.
When talking about their appearance, the leaf-tailed gecko can be easily distinguished by their long bodies which usually grow 4 to 12 inches. They have broad heads with triangular shapes and triangular angles in their tails. Usually giant leaf-tailed geckos have 2.5 inches long bodies when they are babies and grow around 10-12 inches long as adults with larger eyes than other variations of Geckos.
These lizards have big and marbled eyes with red centers of the eyes. Those centers significantly stand out against their bodies and feature brown, grey, green and tan. The natural colors help them to easily camouflage with the surrounding. Especially the rough texture they have like the branches and leaves of the trees. And also the mossy leaf-tailed geckos can camouflage with the moss on trees. They can flatten their bodies when they lay on a surface and create the illusion that they are leaves in nature.
Leaf-tailed geckos are nocturnal animals. It means that they are active during the night and rest during the day. During the daytime, you can find most of these geckos basking in the sun until the night to hunt for a pray. It is an active hunter during the night time and it is also a carnivorous reptile. Shadows and darkness in the night help them to stay hidden from prey and to easily seek out a hunt without even being noticed.
While these lizards are resting, they keep their face downward. But they are always prepared for any danger. If they are being disturbed by anything in their surrounding while they are resting, they make a loud distress call which is similar to a child’s scream. And also they become aggressive with the disturbance and show their widely opened red mouth towards the disturbance. Specially the satanic leaf-tailed geckos do not like to have such interruptions during their resting as they spend most of their time alone.
According to the camouflage capabilities of these lizards, their way of sleeping differs. For example, the lizards that look like leaves, curl up in knots when they sleep to protect themselves from predators. And also ones that look like bamboo stretch out while sleeping. Usually, geckos have very slow movements like a chameleon and also they do not like the limelight. If you see a gecko moving slowly, it is a good sign to know that it is happy. But if a gecko is jumping around in constant motion with a sense of panic, it is stressed and just trying to escape the situation.
While geckos are hunting, they possess a pose which is called a bug stare. In this pose, they widen their eyes. Then their pupils are revealed. It gives the hint that they are hunting more. The jaws and claws of geckos are not much strong. So even if they bite, it is not dangerous to humans as their claw grip is not enough strong to break human skin. But it is important to follow safety procedures while dealing with them.
When talking about their habitats, most of the time they choose humid forests in the lowlands to stay in. Sometimes they also live at elevations up to 2,625 feet. During the day, they rest on leaves and branches of trees in those forests while allowing their bodies to be camouflaged. Then they do not have to worry about any predators. The Nosy Mangabe Island is one of the most common habitats of Leaf-tailed geckos. If you search enough you’ll also be able to see them in rainforests on the eastern coast of Madagascar.
As Geckos are carnivorous, they are not in higher ranks of the food chain. Instead of looking for birds, mammals and reptiles, Geckos look for invertebrates and insects which can be easily captured within their territories. Insects and land snails are some of their favorite food items. But satanic leaf-tailed geckos like to have a large variety of food items which includes spiders, flies and worms.
Even though Geckos have amazing camouflage capabilities, they still cannot hide from some predators such as birds and animals. Eagles, snakes, rats and owls are some of those predators. And also some human activities have become threats to these animals such as deforestation. It causes them to lose their natural habitats and put them in danger.
The leaf-tailed geckos are usually known as solitary animals. They come together only for mating. When their environment has the rainy season, they start to mate. There are only a few details about the reproduction process of these Geckos. After a matured couple mates, the female gecko usually lays 2 to 4 eggs at a time. They usually lay these eggs under dead plants or under the leaves to protect them from predators.
The cluster of leaf-tailed geckos is known as clutches. Female employees usually lay 3 clutches per year and their eggs take around 95 days to hatch. Normally the life span of a leaf-tailed gecko varies around 5 years.
There are no exact details about the population of these animals. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), leaf-tailed geckos are categorized as “Vulnerable”. It makes them one of the least concerning populations of animals in the world.