The coolest geckos you're not keeping...

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KevinS
Posts: 120
Joined: June 14th, 2010, 2:48 pm
Location: West Virginia

The coolest geckos you're not keeping...

Post by KevinS »

I started this thread on another forum, but interest has been a bit sparse so I thought I'd share with some of you guys who might be interested as well. Over the last year or so, I've made some drastic changes to my reptile collection. At the moment I have about a dozen gecko species, most of which are uncommonly available in the hobby. In reaching this point, I concentrated on trying new species that are off the beaten path for the most part, and I've been very happy with that decision overall. While not overly common, none of these species are difficult to keep. I've tried to avoid particularly delicate or demanding species in favor of those that are low maintenance and rewarding. So I thought I'd share some pictures and information on some of these since they seem to be so underrated. I'll be adding more as time allows, but to kick things off I wanted to start with Oedura monilis, the Ocellated Velvet Gecko.

I've got a bit of prior experience with Oedura (robusta and castelnaui). The O. robusta were too flighty and shy for my liking and wouldn't feed in front of me. I only had a single O. castelnaui that I ended up parting with in favor of another project, but I did enjoy keeping her and have been on the lookout for more of them. When I found some juvenile O. monilis available, I decided to give them a shot. I'm also hoping to do a bit of selective breeding with this species to focus on a particular variation of their pattern that I find attractive and I have a deal pending for unrelated individuals to help accomplish this. Anyway, once the group of juveniles arrived, I was very surprised at their temperament-they're much more calm and bold about feeding than the robusta I kept before. In reading about other keepers' experiences with this species, I've learned that it's common for them to have outgoing, curious personalities.

My group seems to prefer insects so far, but they will also feed on fruit-based gecko diets when offered. They also seem to favor vertically oriented crevices as hides during the day, similar to hiding under tree bark, but they make use of all the hides I offer. While they are nocturnal, they don't seem to be too strict about it since I sometimes see one out during the day. As juveniles they are purple with yellow blotches, but these colors reverse as they mature so that adults are speckled with yellow with the exception of lavender-gray blotches. The first two pictures show the difference between day and night coloration of the same individual. While the opposite was true for the O. robusta I kept, these show their light coloration during the day and darken at night.
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KevinS
Posts: 120
Joined: June 14th, 2010, 2:48 pm
Location: West Virginia

Re: The coolest geckos you're not keeping...

Post by KevinS »

Next up is a genus most have never heard of (I know I hadn't until relatively recently). Afroedura, the flat rock geckos of Africa, have got to be among the most underrated geckos to ever enter this country. I got all of mine from Jon Boone, who apparently is one of the only (maybe THE only?) person breeding them in the country right now. Jon ships internationally and I was competing with some keepers in Japan for these when I got them and I'm very glad I did now. I currently keep three different types, two of which are the same species, but different subspecies. It's a total of only seven geckos, but according to Jon, this makes my Afroedura collection one of the largest in the world, which absolutely boggles my mind. I don't know how a gecko that is so simple and enjoyable to keep doesn't have a more dedicated following, but they are nevertheless very rare in the hobby. Afroedura are specialized rock crevice dwellers, with unique morphology-very flattened bodies, wide heads, uniquely designed toe pads, and scalloped tails. Now, for some of the differences...

Afroedura africana namaquensis are probably the most attractively patterned of the three that I have experience with, and I believe the smallest as well. They seem to have longer, more tapered tails when compared to the others and possibly larger heads proportionately (hard to say for sure given my small sample size). I think they rival the more popular Pachydactylus rangei for their bizarre beauty.
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This is a juvenile (cross your fingers for me that it ends up being a male).
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The Afroedura africana africana really captured my attention early on. I never expected to get so much enjoyment out of these. I have three of these, all of which look female to me. Here is a pic taken in August shortly after I got them.
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This is one of the same individuals in September.
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Here's a picture from October.
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I've been astounded at their growth rate. They are the calmest and most outgoing of the Afroedura that I keep as well as the most aggressive eaters.
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One of them dropped its tail in transit, and I've learned that the regrown tails lack the interesting scallops unfortunately. This animal's tail is now fully regenerated as seen in one of the pictures above.
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Finally, I also have a pair of Afroedura loveridgei. These are more secretive than my others, and apparently only come out to prowl after I've gone to bed. They are the largest of my Afroedura and more drab in appearance compared to the sometimes translucent africana subspecies, though I still think they're attractive. While the female in particular looks fat, it's misleading. She is very wide with relatively loose skin at her sides, but flattened from top to bottom. Viewed from beneath, she appears more opaque along these loose sections of skin at her sides (see pic below), which makes me wonder if they have lymphatic glands in these areas to store water since they are a desert species. That's pure speculation though-it may be fat storage or something else entirely. I have noticed that adult female Afroedura loveridgei pictured from other collections also have a wide, saggy appearance. The males don't seem to share this trait from what I've seen so far.
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I'll be adding at least one more species when I find time to compile the pictures and information-stay tuned.

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Kelly Mc
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Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: The coolest geckos you're not keeping...

Post by Kelly Mc »

I will! Cool Kev! I also always appreciate your text, the geckos deserve it - please more soon.

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