Mossy Prehensile-tailed Gecko

RHACODACTYLUS CHAHOUA

Mossy Prehensile Tailed GeckoThe Brandywine Zoo has three Mossy Prehensile-tailed Geckos. Conan is our male, and Peach and Plum are our two females.

HABITAT
They are terrestrial and live at elevations up to 500 m. This species inhabits gallery and closed forests.

GEOGRAPHIC REGION AND RANGE
This species is endemic to New Caledonia, a French territory off the East coast of Australia.

DIET
Onmivore – They are opportunistic feeders. They will typically be feeding on crickets and soft fruits

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Colors range from rusty red and brown to green or gray. There has been some notation that color could possibly be a geographic indicator in this species as the geckos from the outer islands most often display the lighter gray patterns. Their prehensile tail that allows it to grip branches and other things for balance while it is climbing.

SIZE
5-6 inches (13-15 cm)

WEIGHT
50 to 60 grams

LIFESPAN
Under Human Care: 20-30 years

THREATS
The primary threat to this species is the continued loss or degradation of forest habitat. This is a particular risk near settlements and along river valleys where agricultural activities are intensifying, and on Ile des Pins where there is the additional effect of increased tourism.

STATUS
Vulnerable

REPRODUCTION
Oviparous meaning they lay eggs
• Lays two well calcified eggs that become adhered to one another shortly after laying. This is known as “egg gluing”
• They can produce approximately 4-5 clutches in a season
• The eggs hatch 90-120 days after being laid

BEHAVIOR
Nocturnal, night-active
Arboreal, tree-dwelling. It shelters by day in tree crevices and holes and forages at night in the canopy

FUN FACTS

Mossy prehensile-tailed geckos get their common name from the moss or lichen-like camouflage pattern it displays.

Females have also been known to guard their eggs, which are laid in clutches of 2 eggs at a time, with typically 4-5 clutches per season.

What are AZA Zoos doing for Geckos?

Henkel’s Leaf-tailed Geckos (a gecko relative to mossy prehensile-tailed geckos) have been an AZA SSP program for over 25 years (even though the species was only described in 1990!), which recently won an award from AZA for program sustainability.

Additionally, programs like Smithsonian’s Bird Friendly Coffee helps non-avian species by protecting their habitats, too!

More images of our Mossy Prehensile-tailed Gecko