Henkel's Leaf-Tailed Gecko/Fringed Leaf-Tailed Gecko

Children's Zoo

Location

In the Zoo
Size
Male
Female
Height:
Length:
10 inches
10 inches
Weight
1-2 pounds
Maturity:
7 years

Geographic Range

Rainforest of northern mainland Madagascar and the island of Nosy Be.

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Uroplatus henkeli
Class:
Reptilia
Order:
Squamata
Family:
Gekkonidae
Genus:
Uroplatus

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Diet:
Carnivorous
Activity Time Frame:
Nocturnal
Interactivity:
Social
Sexual Dimorphism:
Yes
Gestation:
85-95 days
Lifespan in the Wild:
10 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
10 years

Conservation

Status:
Vulnerable
Threats:
Habitat Loss

Characteristics

This gecko's coloring is variable; many have a beige or grey background with black cross-banding. The anterior side is usually a whitish color. This gecko has a large triangular head, prominent eyes with a polka-dot appearance, and vertically-oriented pupils. Possessing flaps of skin around the edges of the head and body, long slender limbs, and a long, broad, flat tail shaped like a leaf!

Species Specifics

The Three-Toed Box Turtle has a tan or olive carapace with darker seams and some vague markings. They also have orange, red and yellow spots on their head and forelimbs.The defining characteristic of this turtle is its toes. It has three toes on its back feet, thus why its known as the Three Toed Box Turtle. Hybrid Three Toed Box Turtles who have been interbred with Common Box Turtles sometimes have four toes instead of three. Sexual Dimorphism: males are larger. Males are slightly larger on average, the posterior lobe of their plastron is concave, and the claws on their hind legs are short, thick and curved. Males also have thicker and longer tails. Females' rear claws are longer, straighter and more slender, and the posterior lobe of their plastron is flat or slightly convex. There are four subspecies of Terrapene carolina in the United States. Terrapene carolina bauri (Florida Box Turtle) lives on the peninsula of Florida. Terrapene c. major (Gulf Coast Box Turtle) ranges from the panhandle of Florida westward along the Gulf cost to eastern Texas. Terrapene c. triunguis (Three-toed Box Turtle) lives in the Mississippi River Valley from northern Missouri southward across southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma into southcentral Texas; and southeastward across western Tennessee and Georgia to the coastal lowlands.

Physical Characteristics

Able to eat mushrooms containing poisonous compounds which are not safe for humans or other animals, perhaps acting as a defense against predation.

Ecology

Habitat

Rainforest

Distribution

Rainforest of northern mainland Madagascar and the island of Nosy Be.

Diet

Carnivorous. Insects and other small invertebrates.

Ecological Web

Secondary consumer.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern

Nocturnal and arboreal. They do not venture high up into the trees or down to the ground.These geckos spend much of their lives in the trees, typically hanging with their heads pointed downward. They descend from the trees only to lay eggs in the leaf litter on the forest floor. Due to tiny pads on the gecko's feet that create a strong adhesive effect, they can cling and climb on a variety of surfaces.

Behavior

The gecko will lick its eye to clean it from dust and other particles.

Social Behavior

Solitary. Although monitors are not social, neither are they territorial. Bipedal ritual combat has been observed in the trees during the breeding season. Since their tails are so important, they defend their tails, rather than use them as whips. Black Tree Monitors in the wild are reported to be nervous and high-strung; they will flee if threatened, and if handled carelessly, will scratch, bite and then defecate on the offender.

Reproductive Behavior

Two eggs are laid by the female and hatching occurs in 85-95 days. Three clutches may be laid per year. Little is known about how they reproduce, but it is believed that they lay between 2-4 eggs, and that the female does not care for the young after they hatch.

Offspring

Precocial. The female does not care for the young after they hatch.

Conservation

Status

CITES is not currently protecting the genus, but at the current rate of deforestation the genus will soon be threatened. This species of Uroplatus are not endangered, but due to the cutting down of the rainforest, many of the species are found in undisturbed parts of Madagascar. Listed by as Vulnerable by IUCN.

Historical

Due to a widespread, consistent and persistent decline of the species, the ICUN considers the Box Turtle to be a Vulnerable Species. The decline is associated with anthropogenic causes, or manmade causes centering on urbanization. Agricultural use of pesticides within a shared water shed has negatively impacted young turtle survivability due to malformed eggs. Introduction of synanthopic predator species, (species who live near and benefit mutually from human settlement and urban habitats) such as ravens, coyotes and raccoons, are increasing in numbers as humans continue to urbanize.

Current Threats

Habitat Loss

Our Role

No items found.

How You Can Help

Please be aware of the pets you choose to buy. Never get a pet that has been taken from the wild and never return a pet to the wild. Be aware of pesticide applications so as to not poison native animals that benefit your ecosystem. Finally, be conscious of your trash and waste so as to not attract unwanted animals such as ravens.

Fascinating Facts

Henkel's Leaf-Tailed Geckos get their name from their broad, flat tail that looks very leaf-like.

The Henkel's Leaf-Tailed Gecko is one of the most unique geckos in the entire genus. The genus contains 9 species in total: U. henkeli, U. malahelo, U. lineatus, U. sikorae, U. fimbriatus, U. alluaudi, U. guentheri, U. ebenaui, U. phantasticus.

All of the leaf-tailed geckos are camouflage specialists. Some have beards, others have patterns that mimic tree bark or moss, while this one has a tail that looks like a dead leaf. Satanic leaf-tailed geckos have horns above their eyes that break up the silhouette of their bodies and make them harder for predators to find.

Nearly two-thirds of gecko species, including this one, have adhesive pads on their fingers and toes.

Small, flat scales create a soft, silken appearance. When shedding skin, many geckos tear it from toes and tail with their mouths. Loose skin is a defense against predators.

Like most lizard species, geckos can shed their tails when attacked. If the predator focuses on the tail, the gecko can escape. A re-grown tail, supported by cartilage, not bone, is often shorter and patterned differently from the original.

References

Davies, Robert and Valerie. The Reptile and Amphibian Problem Solver. 1997. Tetra Press, Blacksburg, VA.

Internet: Global Gecko Association, Fort Worth Zoo.

Mattison, Chris. Lizards of the World. 1989. Facts on File Inc.,New York, NY.