Knob Tailed Gecko – The Ultimate Guide


Knob Tailed Gecko

Origin                         

Looking for something popular to add to your gecko collection? With knob-tailed geckos, you’ll never go out of trend! These unique looking animals are rocking the market today because of their distinct features!

Knob-tailed geckos or Nephrurus laevissimus have originated from Australia and are now widely distributed in different regions. The other species of knob-tailed geckos can also be found in different habitats. These animals are highly flexible since they can live in arid and hot climates, woodlands or vegetative parts of the desert. 

Knob-tailed are also called barking geckos because if they feel threatened, they have the tendency to wag their bodies and swing their little tails. They also bark loudly on the predators once they are provoked in order to shoo them away.

This animal has 10 species and is available in most reptile pet stores. Some of the subspecies which are owned by most breeders in captivity are Nephrurus wheeleri, Nephrurus amyee and Nephrurus milii. The price for this animal varies. Usually rare species cost more while common species are normally within 150 to 250 dollars. 

Identifying Traits 

This type of geckos is characterized by their unusual physical features. This is known for their short bodies and huge heads. They look extremely unique because their tails seem like a small knob.  

They also have different varieties of colors and patterns. The largest species which is the Centralian Knob-tailed geckos can grow 5 inches. In general, females are usually larger than the males adults.

Knob-tailed geckos are nocturnal animals. They stay active at night to hunt for smaller prey. They also have a natural adaptation to cold weather and because of this they are very efficient in hunting during night time where temperature drops.

During cold nights, they chase their preys in wide areas before they eat them. Compared to other geckos, they can better resist the cold weather. However, when the temperature drops excessively, they dig up the soil and bury themselves for warmth.They also stay in the hole during the day to sleep and avoid predators.

Habitation

The suggested enclosure for knob-tailed geckos is a 10 gallon tank or terrarium. This is sufficient to house a single gecko. Gecko keepers, who reproduce this animal usually place them on racks or plastic boxes with a size of 16.5 by 10.5 by 6 inches plastic box.

As suggested also by experts, this type of geckos should be individually housed.They are also terrestrial which means that they spend their time mostly on the ground. Hence the enclosure should be wider to maximize the movements. 

Substrate

The most recommended substrate for knob-tailed geckos is sand since this is loose and easily dug by the geckos. Using this substrate will also replicate their natural environment. In setting up the enclosure, place at least 4 inches of sand. This must also be replaced after 3-4 months to maintain the cleanliness and health of your pet.

You can also maintain the cleanliness by spot cleaning from time to time.Always remove the dirt and leftovers as they decay on the enclosure, thus attracting growth of fungi.

Humidity and Temperature

Knob tailed geckos are native from arid  places where the temperature is high and humidity is low. In captivity, they can manage with 30-40% humidity as measured by the hygrometer. You should also add a water dish to keep them hydrated. Moist hide may also be added to help them shed properly.

Spraying can also be done to give them extra moisture especially during hot seasons. This can be made every other day or at least three times per week. Spraying keeps them hydrated and at the same time, shedding becomes more manageable.

Temperature must also be maintained at the right level. Knob-tailed geckos need at least 70-75 degrees temperature on the cool side while 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit on the basking area. This can be maintained by the use of a digital thermometer.

Heat mat can also be placed below the tank to keep them warm while they burrow themselves on the substrate or hide. There are also other sources of heating such as the halogen heat bulb which is good in imitating the sunlight and is usually considered as an excellent product by reptile keepers due to its superior quality. 

Light Requirement 

Knob-tailed geckos are nocturnal animals. Hence, they do not require high quality light inside their tanks. However, they need UVB lighting in order for their body to generate Vitamin D3. This is essential for their bodily functions and in the absence of this, their health can be adversely affected. 

UVB can also help them stay healthy and stress free since it keeps them on track with the day and night cycle.  The UVB must be turned on for 11 hours during winter season and 13 hours during summer time.

In alternative to UVB lights, Vitamin D3 can also be sourced from vitamins and minerals which are enriched with D3. 

Decoration 

In the wild, geckos have the opportunity to explore vast areas to hunt or play. They can see lots of vegetation, rock formations, wood areas and other interesting places which ignites their spirit to thrive or survive.

The life of geckos in captivity is not as interesting in the wild. It can be boring and dull especially when the tank is without decoration to capture their interest. Hence, ornaments must be placed inside the tank to keep them moving and active. Rock, woods and plants are great ways to imitate their habitat and stimulate them. Their natural habitat should be imitated as much as possible to keep them healthier and stay longer.

Diet and nutrition/Supplements 

Knob-tailed geckos are normally fed with crickets and other smaller insects such as mealworms, superworms, locust or dubia roaches. These insects have to be gut-loaded or sprinkled with vitamins to make sure that they are properly nourished. Aside from insects, they can also be fed with small animals. 

Geckos must not be fed during the day time since they tend to rest or sleep during this period. The best time to feed them is during the night when they are ready to hunt insects and are active. 

Breeding     

Knob-tailed geckos start their breeding behavior during spring until summer or the commencement of autumn. Females must be properly nourished prior to breeding period to ensure the viability of the eggs. The females must be supplied with nutritious food a few weeks before introducing it with the male gecko.

If breeding has been successful, the female will lay a pair of eggs in 3-5 clutches  every breeding season. He will lay it on the sand and this has to be incubated in a nest box for higher success of hatching. The digging of the eggs must be carefully done because it is difficult to determine the exact place where they hide such eggs. The temperature in the incubator must be 29-30 degrees celsius. The incubation period usually ends after 51 to 60 days.

Once the eggs are hatched, they should be placed in a separate enclosure which is of the same setup as of the adult geckos. After the incubation and the eggs hatch, hatchlings can be fed right after 4 to 7 days. They can be fed with small crickets or mealworms.

Common Health issues 

Knob-tailed geckos experience the same health issues as other members of the lizard family. They are prone to stuck shed, bone disease as well as regurgitation.

Stuck shed is the most common health issue among geckos and this is caused by lack of humidity or moisture inside the enclosure. As they grow, they need to remove their old skin and this process will be hampered when the moisture is not enough. As a result, the old skin will be stuck on their body leading to several problems like blood restriction on toes and or toes to fall off. This problem can be treated by means of providing moist hide or spraying or bathing them.

Bone diseases are caused by insufficient nutrients or poor diet. Hence, it is advisable that they be provided with healthy and nutritious food which is enriched with calcium and other essential nutrients. Some of the symptoms of bone diseases are bone malformation and stunted growth.

Regurgitation, on the other hand, is caused by improper feeding. This occurs when the geckos are given large insects which their body cannot process. As a result, the food ingested goes back to the mouth of the geckos. The main cause of this problem is the geckos’ failure to thermoregulate. As discussed in previous articles, geckos need the right temperature to support their digestion.

Final Thoughts 

Based on research, knob-tailed geckos have a lifespan of 10 years if they are properly cared and nourished. Hence, health problems must be addressed to keep them healthy and alive. 

Also remember that the guidelines in this article must be observed to promote their optimal health. They must also be kept stress free by avoiding frequent handling. This animal is easily threatened. However, they are also hardy animals and require only minimal care. 

Most importantly, knob-tailed geckos are good pets because aside from the fact that they are docile, they are also harmless. They can be a great pet to anyone!

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