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HomeRough Banded Knob-Tailed Gecko (Nephrurus wheeleri cinctus) Care Sheet

Rough Banded Knob-Tailed Gecko (Nephrurus wheeleri cinctus) Care Sheet

By Will Gyurgyik
Josh's Frogs

The rough banded knob-tailed gecko is a small, beautiful species that's easy to keep.

rough banded knob-tailed gecko


Nephrurus wheeleri cinctus. The rough banded knob-tailed gecko is so named for its rough scales, bands, and characteristic knob at the end of its tail.


Rough banded knob-tailed geckos are often red-orange to orange in color with dark brown to black bands. Most notable are the rough scales and knob at the end of the tail.


Juveniles or a single adult can be kept in a 12x12x12 enclosure, but pairs or trios should be provided with more space, such as a 10 gallon or 18x18x12 enclosure. Sand or Desert BioBedding works well as a substrate. Numerous hides should be provided; slate, cork flats, or even everyday items like overturned flower saucers work well. Low climbing materials like rocks, driftwood, cork bark, manzanita branches, and other rough surfaces can be added, but should be supported by the bottom of the enclosure instead of the substrate, as these geckos will often excavate around their enclosure. Succulents and arid plants can also be added.


Keep rough banded knob-tailed geckos between 75-85 F. Provide a basking spot of around 87-89 F maintained with an under tank heater. Be sure to use a thermostat to prevent overheating. Temperature should be monitored with a digital thermometer, and the basking spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer. Night temperatures should not fall below 65 F. UV light is not required for this nocturnal species.


Keep knob-tailed geckos at 30-40% humidity. Ambient humidity should be monitored with a digital hygrometer. A humid hide is recommended for this species to provide a humid microclimate. These banded geckos should be lightly misted once or twice a week, moisten a portion of the substrate and provide dew on enclosure walls and cage items from which they can drink, but enough ventilation should be provided to allow the enclosure to dry out after a few hours. A shallow water dish can be provided but is not necessary with regular misting.


Rough banded knob-tailed geckos reach around 4.5 inches from head to tail. Juveniles sold by Josh’s Frogs are roughly 2 inches long. Due to their age when sold by Josh's Frogs, they are sold as unsexed.


Rough banded knob-tailed geckos are insectivores, and you can buy all the feeders you’ll need right from Josh’s Frogs! Juveniles sold by Josh’s Frogs are large enough to take ¼-inch crickets or dubia roaches. These juveniles can also be occasionally offered small to medium black soldier fly larvae and small mealworms. Adults should be fed a staple of 1/2-inch crickets or dubia roaches and can be offered other feeder insects such as black soldier fly larvae, mealworms, and, as an occasional treat, waxworms, silkworms, or butterworms. All feeder insects should be gut loaded and dusted with vitamin/mineral supplements, and can be offered in a food dish.


Adult male rough banded knob-tailed geckos exhibit a bulge at the base of the tail.


A light brumation period in the winter or longer days in the summer will help incite breeding. Females lay pairs of eggs about once every 30-40 days. Eggs are buried in substrate and should be carefully removed and incubated to prevent desiccation or being dug out by inhabitants.