Phelsuma serraticauda / Fantail daygekko- Care

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Specification Description
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Lacertilia
Infraorder: Gekkota
Family: Gekkonidae
Scientific name: Phelsuma serraticauda
English name: Flagtail daygecko
Dieet: Insectivorous, fruits, nectar
Average age: 12+ years
Average length: 15cm
Distribution: Madagascar
Lifestyle: Day active
Reproduction: oviparous / egglaying
Status: Declining
Cites: B / II

Phelsuma serraticauda, (Mertens, 1963)

General appearance:  The flat-tailed day gecko resembles a typical day gecko in many ways. They belong to the ‘laticauda’ group look strongly like a Phelsumas laticauda (gold dust day gecko). However, this gecko is distinguished from other species Pheluma by his tail. Where the other Phelsuma species have a cylindrical tail, these have a tail which is greatly flattened and wide, almost like a fan. This is particularly visible in adult animals whereby this tail is sometimes as wide as their bodies. This gecko has like most Phelsuma’s a green base body colour, they have three red bands running across their face and a teardrop-shaped red pattern between the hind legs on the back. In the neck and across the back, they can have a pattern that is very similar to that of the gold dust gecko. The tail is generally uniform coloured but could have blue coloration along the jagged edges. This is particularly evident with males and can intensify during the mating season. On average, these geckos get to be 14 am to 17cm long with a 6 to 7 cm snout-vent length. Females are often considerably slimmer and shorter than the males.


Origin and habitat:  The flat-tailed day gecko is endemic to Madagascar, which means that this species only occurs on this island. They have a fragmented distribution area on the east coast of Madagascar between Ivoloina (12km Toamasina) and Fasandiana. There are observations from Manara and Manompana. Their habitat includes humid and tropical rainforests in the lowlands to 75m above sea level. They are mainly observed high in coconut palm trees but also in banana trees. These trees can be a home to a single male with one or sometimes with several females.


Housing:  This gecko is very territorial, even females can be very intolerant towards other specimens. Always house young separately until they reach a minimum of 6 months of age, house adults preferably separately or per couple in a terrarium of at least 60x45x60. Obviously, height is important for these climbing lizards but a wider residence provides more space for the animals to avoid each other in different temperature zones. Naturally this species can be found in small harems containing a single male with 3 to 5 females. But this is not recommended in the terrarium because of the often limited space. It may already be very difficult to obtain a well-fitting couple in the long term and there are many observations of animals that damage each other seriously in territorial fights, even when they have been together for a while. So always keep a good observation on the interaction between the animals you house together. Is there an animal that constantly hides, looks emaciated or has any wounds. Then separate this animals from the enclosure immediately and ensure that there are always several hides and visual barriers so that the geckos can exclude themselves from one another.

The terrarium can be decorated as a typical day gecko setup with many horizontal, vertical and diagonal branches and bamboo stems. By using live plants like Sanseveria and Ficus binnendijkii you create more shelters and climbing opportunities. Live plants also help in maintaining the required high humidity of 70/80% during the day to 90% at night. Use as ground cover a thick layer of coco peat possibly mixed with bark, moss and leaves for a more natural look. (Bio-active is certainly the way to go with this sp.)

Phelsuma’s drink little to no water from dishes with stagnate water, especially if it is on the ground of the terrarium. Therefore mist the enclosure daily moist to increase the humidity. Spray on the walls, decoration and plants so the geckos can drink of the remaining drops. Placing a waterfall or drip system encourages drinking, these mimic dripping water of the leaves after rainfall. In addition, this water moving will be observed much easier by the geckos in comparison to stagnate water.

These geckos like high tropical temperatures averaging 26C/27C with 28C on the warm side and a basking spot of 32C+. These temperatures can be achieved by means of basking spots. Provide them 8 till 12 hours a day with a low wattage HID spot that radiates heat, UVA and UVB. Light the enclosure with a full spectrum daylight fluorescent tube, give a day / night rhythm of 14/10 in summer and 12/12 in the 'winter'. Night-time temperatures should not drop below 20C, if necessary you can additionally heat overnight with a ceramic emitter or by means of a heating strip on one of the walls of the enclosure.


Diet:  Like most daggekkos the diet of the flat-tailed gecko also consists out of insects and fruit and some nectar. The metabolism of these geckos goes fairly quickly because of their high activity and warm temperatures. Therefore you must feed young animals daily and adult animals every other day. Maintain a ratio with insects to nectar / fruit of 2 to 1. Offered insects may include the well-known small crickets and grasshoppers, these lizards love winged insects like (curly wing) flies, fruit flies and wax moths. Feed your insects to increase the quality and nutritional value and dust their food regularly with a calcium supplement. Most accepted fruits are banana, mango, pear and apple. There are also several diets developed by Allen Repashy that are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. The geckos love these diets and will feed eagerly on them.

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