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Name: Tarentola chazaliae, is most commonly referred to as the Helmeted Gecko, or the Helmethead Gecko, for its bulbous and uniquely shaped head. Their heads, which make up about one-third of the animal's snout-to-vent length, feature a bulbous, almost dinosaur-like bony crest extending from the rear of the skull, giving them a highly unique and well-protected ("helmeted") look.
Recommended Enclosure Size & Setup: A pair or trio of Helmeted Geckos can be kept in an 18x18x12 enclosure. Males should never be housed together.
These geckos are surprisingly very apt and eager climbers, so they will appreciate climbing pieces such as cholla wood, driftwood, cork bark, manzanita branches, and other décor. Since they'll sometimes dig (particularly to lay their eggs), all cage décor should be either safely secured to the sides of the tank or supported by the bottom of the tank, so that a digging gecko is not crushed.
Temperature (°F) & Lighting: Keep helmeted geckos in the mid to upper 70s. A basking spot of around 95 degrees should be maintained with an overhead basking bulb. Temperature should be monitored with a digital thermometer, and the basking spot can be checked with an infrared thermometer or temperature gun. Night temperatures should not fall below 65°.
UV lighting is strongly recommended. While helmeted geckos have successfully been kept and even bred in captivity without it, hatchlings have reportedly been notoriously difficult to raise. At Josh’s Frogs, we’ve found that offering UV lighting most reliably produces the healthiest and strongest geckos. UV lighting should be focused on their basking site and feature Ferguson zone 3 levels of UV radiation. Animals should also be provided opportunities to escape from UV exposure throughout the rest of their enclosure.
If you'd like to use a more advanced lighting setup, we highly recommend the VivTech Jungle Cover SurSun LED UVA/UVB Bulb (3 watt) in lieu of the compact fluorescent bulb linked previously, and the addition of a Josh's Frogs Green Gro LED light fixture. Make your life easier by plugging your lights into the Zilla 24/7 Digital Timer Power Center!
Humidity: Despite being from a traditionally arid region, helmeted geckos experience a very high amount of humidity rolling in from the ocean coastline. As such, they do best when kept at a humidity range of 60-80%. Substrate with a proper moisture gradient is the best way to achieve this. These geckos should be misted daily to rehydrate the soil, as well as to give the geckos water to drink off of the enclosure walls and décor. A water dish can be used, but is not necessary with regular misting.
Ambient humidity should be monitored with a digital hygrometer.
Size: These are remarkably small geckos (yet robust!), only reaching a total length of 3-4 inches as adults. Males and females have roughly the same sized heads, but females will be heavier-bodied and longer than males.
Helmeted geckos sold by Josh’s Frogs are at least 3/4 of an inch long at the time of sale.
Age: With proper care, captive helmeted geckos have a life expectancy of around 10-15 years. Helmeted geckos sold by Josh’s Frogs are at least 5 weeks old at the time of sale.
Sexing: Sexing helmeted geckos is relatively straightforward; at approximately 4 months old, male helmeted geckos will develop a conspicuous hemipenal bulge at the base of their tail. Males are also smaller-bodied than their more robust female counterparts.
Helmeted geckos sold by Josh’s Frogs are not sexed at the time of sale due to their young age.
Color/Pattern: There is a fair amount of variability in helmeted gecko coloration—some will feature striking blotchy patterning in shades of brown, tan, and cream, while others may be a more monotone color with more subtle shading.
Helmeted geckos are somewhat unique in that, unlike many other reptile species, the coloration and patterns displayed at hatching are kept all the way through adulthood.
Social Behavior: These nocturnal geckos can be kept in either a pair, trio, or on their own. Kept this way they are seldom, if ever, aggressive with their tank mates. Males should not be kept together. They are very bold & vocal, making little chirp/grunt-like noises, or full on screaming when they feel threatened. They are incredibly eager eaters, and will aggressively chase down prey items in their enclosure.
This species can be tamed down to tolerate brief 5-10 minute handling sessions a couple times a week, but is not the best choice if extensive handling is desired.
Breeding: This is a rather difficult species to breed regularly in captivity. It is highly advisable to drop ambient temperatures roughly 10-15 degrees for two months of the year to simulate their natural conditions and encourage the female’s body to begin cycling eggs. Once they are reliably breeding, helmeted geckos are appreciably prolific breeders, producing a clutch of two eggs once or twice per month.
Natural Range: This species has a very restricted range, being only found in the uninhabited and coastal regions of Morocco, Western Sahara, and the very northern edge of Mauritania.
History in the Hobby: Once incredibly prevalent in the reptile trade, they’ve become exceedingly difficult to find at all due to CITES and other exotic animal importation laws. That having been said, we are incredibly fortunate to be breeding Helmeted Geckos in our own facility, and making this incredibly rare species available to our customers!
After placing an order containing a live animal, you will receive a scheduling email containing our JotForm scheduling link to schedule your new pet's delivery date.
With this scheduling link, you will be able to schedule your order's delivery up to 30 days in advance. You will be able to choose a date of delivery for Tuesday-Saturday (Saturday arrival depends on the carrier's service availability) with the estimated time of arrival generally being 12pm, or 4:30pm for more rural areas. Overnight lows must be above 40°F to ship directly to you (or above 30°F for FedEx Ship Center pickups) as well as below 90°F by estimated time of arrival.
If you require further assistance, or prefer to talk to one of our Customer Service agents, please feel free to reach out to our [email protected] email or our phone line 1-800-691-8178.
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