Mniarogekko chahoua. or mossy prehensile-tailed geckos or Chewies are arboreal geckos found natively on the southern portion of the island of New Caledonia and on the outlying islands of Isle of Pines and Grande Terre. Until recently, this gecko was in the genus Rhacodactylus.
Chewies have a very unique coloration and are excellent at camouflaging against a background of tree bark with patches of moss-like greenish brown that has traces of red spattered throughout.
Chewies are a semi-arboreal species, so a more vertical rather than horizontal enclosure is recommended. A 12x12x18 enclosure is bare minimum for a single juvenile. It is recommended to start young chahoua in small enclosures and increase their size as they grow because they tend to do better in an environment they feel secure in. For an adult, we recommend an 18x18x24. For a breeding pair, a 40-gallon aquarium with a screen top will do the trick.
Josh’s Frogs Tropical Bio-Bedding or Coco Select will work well as a substrate. Provide plenty of hiding places, branches, standing cork, and strong plants to make your arboreal geckos feel at home. We recommend you house them individually unless you plan to breed, and then only house as pairs that have reached sexual maturity.
A temperature range of 72 to 78°F is ideal. Never allow the temperature to fall below 65° or rise above 85°, as prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures can be fatal.
Chewies like it humid. Provide a water bowl and mist frequently enough to maintain humidity at about 60-75%. Misting will also provide dew on the enclosure walls and cage items from which they can drink. Substrate can be allowed to just dry out between mistings, but it should not be bone dry or soaking wet. Plants can be added to help stabilize higher humidity as well as provide humid microclimates. Ambient humidity should be monitored with a digital hygrometer.
The chahoua is the second largest Rhacodactylus gecko, smaller only than the Rhacodactylus leachianus. They can grow up to 10 inches long, including their tail. They can weigh 45-75 grams. Hatchlings are about 1.5-2 inches long, including the tail. Provided proper care, these geckos can live up to 15-20 years in captivity!
Chewies feed primarily on fruit and insects in the wild. They thrive on a staple diet of fruit mixes. Chewies may not readily accept insects or other prey items like crested geckos; however, appropriately sized crickets, roaches, waxworms, black soldier fly larvae, and butterworms may be offered. All feeder insects should be dusted with a vitamin/mineral supplement and provided using an escape-proof bowl. Don’t be concerned if your chewie does not accept any live insects as long as it is feeding well on fruit mixes.
Males have hemipenal bulges and femoral pores, which are found only in males. These pores are located on the underside of their rear legs and form a 'V' shape in front of the vent. Typically they can be sexed around 12 months of age.
Breeding groups should consist of one male and one female only. A nest and humidity box should be made available at all times to a possibly gravid female, but most likely she will lay her eggs on the ground under leaf litter. After copulation, eggs can usually be expected in the next 30-35 days. A clutch contains two eggs. One to three clutches a year is normal. They will hatch out in around 70-200 days. Always watch your chewies very closely and separate geckos at any sign of aggression.
So, think chewie geckos are the right geckos for you? Hop on over to Josh’s Frogs! Chances are we have offspring for sale right now. Our chewies are fed fruit mix three times a week, so they’re growing well and are ready for their new homes!