Did You Know?The Satanic leaf-tailed gecko is found in the primary and secondary tropical forests, endemic to the African island of Madagascar.
The leaf-tailed gecko is a very fascinating creature. Now, you may ask why. Well, the first reason for this is its appearance. If you look at this lizard resting among a pile of leaves or twigs, it is next to impossible to actually find it. These tree dwellers are masters of camouflage and disguise, because they make themselves look exactly like dead leaves or tree barks. They mimic the patterns on trees, leaves, and twigs, thus making themselves nearly invisible to their predators and unsuspecting prey.
This gecko belongs to the genus Uroplatus, which comes from two Greek words - "ourá" and "platys", meaning "tail" and "flat", respectively. These creatures are not very fast, as their average speed is approximately 30 miles per hour. Sadly, due to human encroachment on their habitat, this beautiful and intriguing creature is a threatened species. This write-up gives you some more interesting information about the leaf-tailed gecko.
The appearance of this creature is like no other. It has a transparent covering over its eyes due to the absence of eyelids. The gecko cleans this covering using its long tongue. The most notable feature about this lizard is its tail, which it is named after. It is flat and leaf-like. This lizard is found in four colors - green, black, brown, and tan, depending on the species and habitat. Every species of this lizard has unique markings. The average size of leaf-tailed geckos ranges from 10 cm to more than 30 cm, depending on the species. The only exception to this is the spearpoint leaf-tailed gecko, the smallest species of Uroplatus, whose size is just 75 mm. Their skin is scaly, while their toes are sticky and broad.
Except the Southern leaf-tailed gecko, every other species of this creature is endemic to Madagascar. They usually populate the tropical forests of Madagascar. Their favorite food is spiders, but they are also known to gorge on other smaller insects. These geckos are nocturnal creatures; therefore, they come out to hunt only at night.
The natural predators of this lizard are owls, eagles, snakes, and rats. Due to threats on their natural habitat, like excessive deforestation and human encroachment, the existence of these creatures is in jeopardy. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the flat-tail gecko is endangered due to pet trade and is in their list of top ten most wanted species.
Due to the leaf-tailed gecko's secretive and mysterious ways, very little is known about its mating and breeding. The females lay about 2 to 4 eggs in a safe place.
The leaf-tailed gecko has 15 species, out of which only the Southern leaf-tailed gecko (Phyllurus) is found in Australia; the rest are found on Madagascar and its surrounding islands. The 14 species of the leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus) found in Madagascar are as follows:
|Generic Name||English Name||IUCN Status|
|Uroplatus alluaudi||Alluaud's leaftail, Northern flat-tail gecko||Near Threatened|
|Uroplatus ebenaui||Eban's or Spearpoint leaf-tailed gecko||Vulnerable|
|Uroplatus fimbriatus||Giant leaf-tail gecko||Least Concern|
|Uroplatus finiavana||-||Near Threatened|
|Uroplatus giganteus||White-eyed 'fimbriatus'||Vulnerable|
|Uroplatus guentheri||Gunther's leaf-tail gecko||Endangered|
|Uroplatus henkeli||Henkel's or Frilled leaf-tail gecko||Vulnerable|
|Uroplatus lineatus||Lined leaf-tail gecko||Least Concern|
|Uroplatus phantasticus||Satanic, Fantastic, or Eyelash leaf-tail gecko||Least Concern|
|Uroplatus pietschmanni||Spiny or Cork-bark leaf-tail gecko||Endangered|
|Uroplatus sameiti||-||Least Concern|
|Uroplatus sikorae||Mossy leaf-tail||Least Concern|
These creatures are truly amazing and unique. The pet trade of these lizards is growing rapidly due to its calm and easy temperament, and efforts are being made to breed the species that are endangered and vulnerable in captivity, so as to increase their numbers.