Chameleon Gecko, Eurydactylodes agricole
The Chameleon Gecko, Eurydactylodes agricole, is a fascinating gecko species we keep and breed. This species is slow moving and very well aware of its surroundings making it one of the most handleable small gecko species for the cold-blooded pet owner to date. Found on the island of New Caledonia this species is endemic to Grande Terre, Iles Belep and Ile Yandé. Reaching a maximum size of 6-7" for females and 4-6" for males. Females are sexually dimorphic and may also appear as darker in color than males during breeding.
A 1.1 pair, one male to one female is recommended but a trio may cohabitate without competition for food.
- 12 x 12 x 18 terrarium for the adult breeding pair and trio.
- Escape proof housing should be selected as the offspring of this species are comparable in size to mourning geckos. Hatchlings should be kept in escape proof enclosures such as large deli cups and fully enclosed terrariums to prevent escape.
Housing multiple individuals with multiple foods, hiding and climbing surfaces may be adequate.
Temperature, Humidity & Lighting
Chameleon Geckos come from a brush land type of environment often found in thin foliage brush and low to the ground. This species has also been witnessed in the tree tops at elevations of 1,000km to 2,400km in their native habitat. A temperature range of 72-78F with a nighttime drop between 68-74F is adequate. A humidity range of 60-80% should be provided to compensate for natural weather parameters of New Caledonia. Full spectrum lighting should be provided as this species enjoys to bask while sleeping and may benefit from d3 absorption. The most significant benefit of full spectrum lighting is the coloration of this species when exposed to UVA/UVB lighting.
Diet & Nutrition
Chameleon Geckos feed on insects, fruit, and nectar in the wild. Their natural habitat should be full of potential prey items and from a young age, all insects similar in size to the space between the eyes are relished.
Meal Replacement Powder MRPs work by mixing the product in powder form with water to create a semi-thick liquid that smells like fruit nectar. There are a number of products on the market. Crested Gecko Diet from Repashy Superfoods is one example.
Live Feeders Chameleon Geckos will readily feed on live insects from hatchling to juvenile. Offer a small prey item such as fruit flies. As they mature, an adult may be offered cockroach nymphs (dubia) and crickets of appropriate size.
Dust all live feeders with a Vitamin and Mineral supplement mixed with Calcium that has D3. D3 is required for nocturnal species that do not utilize UVA/UVB lighting to properly digest and utilize Calcium. Without D3, any reptile will suffer and eventually die from Metabolic Bone Disease. We use and recommend CalciumPlus by Repashy Superfoods and ReptiCalcium by ZooMed.
For Chameleon-Geckos choose an insect by size in length. The size should not be much greater than the length between the eyes and very robust. Coat the feeder using Calcium with Vitamin D3 by placing the feeder in a plastic bag with the powder and shaking until the feeder is coated in the supplement.
Weekly Feeding Routine We follow the same feeding routine as with all our frugivorous geckos. We offer fresh Crested Gecko Diet three times a week; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We allow the food to stay in the enclosure until we replace it on that third night. We find that as the diet becomes ripe the geckos tend to consume more of it. In nature, a piece of fruit that falls to the ground and begins to ripen (not spoil) allows for the geckos to be more apt to smell, find and consume the fruit. On Sunday we remove all food from the enclosure and offer live prey that has been dusted with vitamins and minerals and gut loaded the night before. Any mixed but not served diet is placed in the refrigerator or freezer for future feeding.
From time to time, during the breeding season, we attempt to switch up the feeding of live prey and the CGD. Rather than feed live prey once a week we may try to feed again on a second night during the week rather than the Crested Gecko Diet. We shoot for Wednesday and Sunday for live feeders but if no live feeders are accepted we offer the CGD the following day or that evening.
Handling & Taming
Much like Crested Geckos, Chameleon Geckos tolerate a good amount of handling. Care should be given to new additions or untamed animals. Always allow a 2 weeks period where handling is avoided. Hatchlings especially should be observed and if handling becomes necessary bring the cage to the ground level and handle the gecko just barely off the ground. This two weeks period will allow the animal to become accustomed to your interaction and routine limiting undue stress. Handling your new gecko will help tame them. We recommend handling each day after the two weeks waiting period of about 5 minutes or more. This will help the gecko become accustomed to you by sight and scent. After the first few weeks and depending on the behavior of the gecko you can increase the handling time of up to 20 minutes. We recommend a handling technique referred to as "hand walking". While the gecko is on one hand and alert they will attempt to jump, climb or move from one hand to the next. With the gecko in either your left or right hand place your free hand in front of the gecko. A distance away will entice the gecko to jump while a hand in hand posture will result in climbing. With the gecko moving from one hand to the next continue placing the free hand in front. This is also very good exercise and a bonding experience between the gecko and handler essentially taming the pet. Remember to do this process low to the ground to prevent injury from falling. Young Gargoyle Geckos should not be placed in a position to jump especially over a hard surface. Keep your hands close while using this technique.
Sexing Chameleon Geckos can be performed visually. The male will have an enlarged hemipenal bulge while females will not.
Breeding Chameleon Geckos requires patience and greater attention than the breeding of Crested Geckos. A watchful eye is recommended to ensure breeding success. The breeding cage should be set up first and of appropriate size with a good amount of thin branches and foliage to escape an aggressor. Do not disturb the cage except to clean and be sure to keep the breeders in the same cage throughout the season. A lay box with appropriate substrate material should be incorporated into the enclosure before the breeders are introduced. The lay box serves other purposes than depositing eggs such as shedding and refuge from tankmates.
- Provide a cool down for females to recover from the previous breeding season.
- Check for eggs regularly. Notate the females production. Some females will produce on a regular basis while others may go months without laying eggs.
Incubation We only recommend calcined clay (SuperHatch) as an incubation medium. Temperatures should be regulated between 72 °F and 78 °F.
We house single hatchlings in a small deli cup until they reach 1" SVL and at that point move them into 5-gallon enclosures up until adult size. I keep the same feeding schedule for Hatchlings as I do Adults with the only difference being the amount of food offered is slightly less.
- Chameleon Geckos secrete a smelly substance from their tail during distress.
- The entire range is subject to deforestation and fires threatening the species.
- The main threat to the Chameleon Gecko species habitat is nickel mines.
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