The Leachie gecko is not a reptile you see every day. It is a special and unique wrinkly reptile and pet lizard.
The New Caledonian giant gecko or Rhacodactylus leachianus is a unique reptile. Shockinly, this specie is the largest discovered gecko in the whole world.
Need I mention that these reptiles are a master of camouflage in their respective environments.This characteristic makes them deadly predators.
In the 1920s, George Curvier discovered the Rhacodactylus leachianus in New Caledonia. The region lies northwest of New Zealand and east of Australia.
Their natural habitat reached temperatures of up to 80oF while humidity could range up to 80 percent.
You can also check out this Leopard gecko care sheet
New Caledonian Giant Gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus ssp.)
One of the most unique and sought-after species of the Rhacodactylus genus is R.leachinus, with two sub-species that are currently recognized as giant geckos from New Caledonia, a group of islands northeast of Australia.
They are Rhacodactylus leachianus leachianus, found on Grande Terre (GT), the largest New Caledonia island, and Rhacodactylus leachianus henkeli, found on Pine Island (Isle of Pines) and other smaller islands.
The big size of R. l. leachianus makes for a very impressive lizard. Its patterns and coloration are more not as distinctive as that of R. l. henkeli.
Its color ranges from various shades of black, browns, black and grays with patterns ranging from transverse striping, white side-banding with black spots, or overall white blotching.
The island morphs of R.I. henkeli are smaller but their vivid cryptic coloration makes them visually appealing to humans. Colors from grays, browns, and moss-like green, to a mix of colors with blotches of lavender and pink, bands of orange, white or salmon with black spots.
These geckos have a large head, short tail and a thick body that is made of two distinct segments: a broad base and a short slender section, separated by a fold of skin.
Lots of people mistake the original for one that has been regenerated. Under certain conditions, leachianus can detach their details if startled, grasped by their tail or threatened.
This gecko defence mechanism does not harm the geckos, and their tails will regenerate, though they will look different than the original.
Chances are they will most likely lose their tails during quarrels with cage mates than human handling.
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Availability
Rhacodactylus leachianus were formerly limited in availability, making them really rare, but a current increase in successful captive breeding have made them more known in the reptile trade field.
They take longer to reach breeding age, this single fact makes them more expensive than other geckos, and availability is restricted due to the relatively low production of an average 2 to 5 clutches eggs each year.
Currently, they are no longer exported from New Caledonia due to conservation reasons.
Leachie Gecko Lifespan and Size
The new Caledonian giant geckos weigh about 200 grams on an average. The height of the species really depends on what region the particular type originates from.
New Caledonia is made up of many islands. Thus, geckos from smaller and less populated areas grow to reach about sizes inches long.
Plus, those who originate from highly populated areas reach a length of almost 8 inches.
This is just their length from the snout to the vent. Their tail, which is different from the rest of their body, adds another 3 to 5 inches. This addition makes them a whopping 9 to 13 inches long in total.
The weight can also differ. Thus, the Rhacodactylus leachianus can weigh between 120 and 300 grams.
The lifespan of the leachie gecko also depends on the environment that they’re in. Hence, you’ll notice a big difference between the lifespan of a Leachie gecko that lives in the wild, and one that lives in captivity.
A couple of studies show that the New Caledonian giant gecko that lives on an island, its natural habitat, survives for as long as eight years.
This finding is limited to geckos on Bayonnaise. Hence, it’s possible that Leachie geckos living on the mainland live longer than their island-based counterparts do. The reason is that they have sufficient space.
In its natural habitat, it’s a common phenomenal for geckos to fight with rivals. Hence, only the strongest of the species get a shot at breeding. Therefore, this species is a great example of the survival of the fittest.
Reverse is the case for geckos in captivity; they get proper nourishment and care, so it’s highly possible for them to live for well over 30 years.
Leachie Gecko as Pet (Behavior and Characteristics)
Island leachie geckos have a special body that’s cylindrical and stout in shape. Their color differs based on whether they’re a mainland or island geckos; they’re often shades of brown, green, or gray.
Island leachie geckos have skin with heavier pattern, bulbous eyes, anf shorter stout. Blotches cover their wrinkly skin, different from the base color; usually white, black and even pink.
Meanwhile, leachie geckos who live on the mainland are bigger and have a body that’s much more elongated than that of their island cousins.
Young leachie geckos have can show some temper, but adult ones are very calm, even when you handle them.
Leachie Gecko Care
Once you decide to keep a leachie gecko as pet at home, you must ensure that you take maximum care of their housing, and nutrition since they can’t just thrive in any environment.
You can make your housing unit from a plastic container or buy one with a specific design to house reptiles such as this gecko.
Ensure you keep adult leachie geckos separately in a large enclosure that’s at least the size of an aquarium with a 20-gallon capacity.
We recommend plastic as this is the best material for gecko housing since you can sterilize it easily. Personally, leachie geckos have a preference for opaque housing rather than transparent units, so you can opt for something translucent.
Leachie Gecko Feeding and Nutrition
Leachies in the wild depend on certain sources of food around them to get the energy they need for fighting and hunting. In captivity, however, you must provide them with a proper diet like powdered foods produced for Rhacodactylus species of geckos.
Most leachie gecko owners often make the mistake of feeding them baby food, but this usually results in them developing a deformity due to a nutritional deficiency and imbalance.
You should make sure to feed insects once or twice each week and not offer them any more than they can eat.
Note: Dust insects in a calcium supplement before feeding them to your geckos. Crickets, mealworms, crickets, and roaches are a favorite.
Do not bother feeding your gecko pinky mice more than twice a month since it can lead to obesity.
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Substrate
You can use some mulch as a substrate but be careful to maintain proper humidity if you’re housing breeding animals since a female gecko will lay her eggs in it and a dry environment can boost dehydration.
Keep a low depth of mulch and remember to moisten it often because humidity levels are low indoors.
Because of the high levels of humidity in gecko housing, you should take out uneaten food and fecal matter, since the environment encourages the growth of fungus and bacteria.
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Housing
One adult leachianus can be housed in an upright screen enclosure no smaller than 18 by 18 by 24 inches tall (larger would be even better), or a 40-gallon aquarium with a screen top.
Commercially manufactured enclosures with foam backgrounds and front-opening doors work well, too. It is advised to house giant geckos separately, unless they are of course, a breeding pair. Otherwise, they can quickly become aggressive toward each other. If aggression happens, separate them immediately.
Young juveniles and hatchlings can be housed in smaller enclosures, such as plastic shoe boxes with air holes or 1½-gallon Critter Keepers.
An enclosure that is too large can intimidate them. A simple setup is recommended, with just a piece of cork bark or small hide box, a shallow water bowl, and a small food dish.
As Juveniles grow, they can be moved to an intermediate enclosure, such as an upright screen enclosure or a10-gallon aquarium with a screen top.
Because leachianus live in tree hollows in the wild, it is vital to recreate this type of habitat in captivity. For adults, offer them plenty of climbing areas and hiding places so the gecko feels secure.
Cork bark tubes (which are durable enough to handle these large geckos), bamboo, PCV pipe, live or artificial foliage, plus a hide/egg-laying box, and a water dish should all be included.
A safe hiding spot is a must for these geckos. If live plants are desired, larger, sturdier types are recommended, as small plants will be crushed by these geckos.
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Lighting and Temperature
New Caledonian giant geckos are primarily active at night, although UVB lights can be used to stimulate day and night-time rhythms.
Daytime ambient temperatures should range between the upper 70s and lower 80s Fahrenheit, and can drop into the low 70s at night.
An under tank heater or low-wattage red bulb can be used if supplemental heat is needed to maintain this range. Fluorescent lighting can be used if live plants are in the enclosure. Turn off lights at night.
Leachie Gecko Health
A common myth amongs reptile owner is that reptiles are immune to sickness, making them the longest living class of species on the planet.
This is not the case, and Leachie geckos can get sick, even when kept improperly in captivity. Metabolic Bone Diseases are common in Leachie geckos held in captivity because the owners feed them the wrong diet.
So, while you need to give them food that’s meant for Rhacodactylus leachianus, remember not to overfeed them, since this can lead to obesity. Plus, growth problems can occur when you keep them in overly wet or dry conditions.
You need to sterilize and clean their housing properly; otherwise, you risk them getting a skin infection. All these health issues make it primary that you have a reptile veterinarian who is experienced to consult.
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Food
Adult leachie geckos can be fed Repashy Superfoods’ Crested Gecko Diet, a fruit-flavored protein diet that is mixed two parts water to one part food, supplemented with mineral and vitamins.
Offer this in a sturdy, shallow crock that will be hard to tip over. Remove uneaten food after 1 to 2 days. This can be done two to three times a week. Fruit puree can also be offered, but you must supplement it before feeding.
To spice up their food choice, offer crickets which are sized up according to the distance from the gecko’s eye to its mouth many times a week. Dubia roaches or waxworms too can be offered to them.
The larger R. l. leachianus is known to become increasingly insectivorous with age. Dust insects with a vitamin supplement an calcium/D3 according to manufacturer directions. Occasionally, a pinky mouse can be offered as a treat.
Generally, hatchlings will only begin eating after 3-5 days of hatching, as they are still absorbing yolk. Start by offering them a few quarter-inch crickets, while trying a commercial diet in a shallow dish three to four times a week.
Crickets should be coated with reptile calcium/D3 and vitamins. Because these geckos are nocturnal, it is best to feed them at night, when they are awake.
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Water and Humidity
All leachianus must have access to fresh water in their enclosures at all times. For juveniles and hatchlings, use a shallow dish. Adults can use larger dishes.
The humidity level should be between 50 and 75 percent; use a hygrometer (which can be bought at any pet shop) to keep track.
Mist the enclosure three to four times a week to maintain humidity, either by using a commercial misting system or by hand. The enclosure should be moist but not overly wet.
Leachianus Gecko Temperament
New Caledonian giant geckos may or may not allow handling, depending on the individual gecko. Hatchling R. leachianus should not be handled until they are 2 to 3 months old, as they need time to become accustomed to their habitat.
Hatchlings are very flighty and will jump, but with intermittent gentle handling they will calm down. Do not hold tightly, but let it grasp on to you.
If it begins to jump, control can be maintained by using the hand-to-hand technique; let it jump onto one hand, then the other, etc.
Want more knowledge on Leachie gecko temperament… Continue reading
To handle larger leachianus, approach with caution and remove them from their enclosure by quickly grasping the gecko behind the neck area while supporting its feet with your other hand. If the gecko feels threatened by your intrusion into its territory, it may attempt to bite or lunge, which can be quite painful due to the lizard’s strong jaws. Once you’ve got one out and feeling secure, though, it will usually calm down.
Other Leach Geckos Varieties (Rhacodactylus Leachianus Locals)
Here is a list of other Leachianus Locales Grande Terre Forms (GT)
Black Leachianus Poindimié
These geckos are one of the largest recognized forms of Leachianus. Having long tails, coupled with elongated head. These leachies are known to weigh over 40g while reaching uowards of 15 inches in total length.
Typical colours are a dark olive green to a dark chocolate brown in the “dark morph” varieties and they usually exhibit little or no white markings. However uncommon, if markings are apparent, they can be rows of lighter spots or thin white lines along the sides of the animal.
With age, yellow markings are not uncommon. Bodies are typically long an slender.
These geckos are very similar to Poindimie in weight, reaching 400 grams or more but often look more bulky or compact, while Poindimié are longer and slender animals.
Typically, these geckos display a brown or sometimes golden yellow backgrounds. Bodies are generally bulky and big with a very large neck region and often have a thicker, shorter tail.
Markings exhibited in yate can be simple thin, white dots, or broken white lines arranged along the sides. Sometimes, you can notice a black spider web like pattering on the sides of their heads.
Mt. Humboldt is one of the rarest locales to identify due to its variability in various specimens. However, there are common factors you can use to identify them.
They tend to have an olive-green background with brown markings and white blotches along the sides that are typically in the form of spots rather than solid bars.
When compared to Yate, their eyes are narrow and their shorter snout can appear almost beak-like.
The largest recorded Mt. Humboldt Leachianus to date has reached just over 420 grams.
Perhaps, the simplest way to identify this breed is the enlarged scales along the bridge of the snout. These animals are typically quite bulky, reaching into the 300 gram range.
Base colour of this local is typically from olive green with browns all the way to jet black. Markings are typically apparent in this local and their Blotches appear in rows along the sides and can be as wide as some insular locals.
There were many breeders claiming to have original Mt. Koghis breeding stock:
Conley Dark Morph (CDM)
These geckos originate from Mike Conley (Conoley Dark Morph) and are often referred to as “CDM”.
There are often dark and slender in length. These geckos are long with long tails and can often have small white spots on their sides but never white barring.
Females are really hard to come by so this variation is often bred with other locales.
Treoger Mt. Koghis
Bred in Europe by the late Micheal Treogor, many of this stock was imported to the USA after his death and joined the collection of Allen Repashy and PDV. This variation is defined by white barring on many of the examples.
Friedel Line Mt. Koghis
Bodo Friedel, another European breeder, focused on another Mt. Koghis line that is defined by barring or speckling in a pink or white or light colouration.
Body is stockier and shorter than other locales, similar to Yate body-type, while the head is a bit broader. There is also a Dark Form of this GT Leachianus, as it the case with all Mt. Koghis varieties
Type C GT (Not to be confused with Isle C – Bayonnasie Leachianus Island Locale)
Having its origins from one lone pair in Phil Tramper’s collection, rumoured to be collected sometime in 1988 from a felled tree.
This is supposed to be one of the largest examples of GTs in captivity. Examples have a long snout, small head, an unusual disposition and white blotches.
There are quite vocal and grow slowly, sometimes taking 10-15 years to reach full size.
Isle of Pines Leachianus
Colors range from olive green to mustard yellow mostly white blotches with little to no black dots within them.
They are best known for being the largest insular Geckos, reaching 300 grams or more. They also feature bulky heads and necks.
Bayonnaise Leachianus(Isle C)
These are the Medium-sized insular species which exhibit variations of color. Generally, they have a base color of green or yellow and will always almost have heavy nading which can be very white, or have purples and pinks.
Brosse (Isle D)
Also called Brosie Leachianus, these geckos often live on the larger side for insular locales. They are the most attractive pure locals, featuring red, deep pinks, and purples.
This is amplified due to their light yellow to light green backgrounds.
One distinguishing factor of this locale is diagonal blotching on their necks.
Moro (Isle E)
Moros often reach a total length of 12 to 13 length and have a base color of yellow with purple, peach, white banding , or lime green on their sides.
Their most vivid feature us their squared off snout with a prominent ridge from the eye to the nose.
Nuu Ana (Isle G)
Without a doubt, these are the most talked about locale as they are the smallest sized leachianus and quite beautiful.
Aside their size, they feature short, stumpy legs and a broad head. Another characteristic of this local is a tilted iris.
Base colors are almost always yellow and they exhibit, pink or white crisp blotches with black speckling. Sometimes the link can be intense it looks purple.
When this local reaches maturity, they typically develop yellow spots as well.
Nuu Ami (Isle H)
Nuu Ami Base colors are generally greenish brown with their patterning ranging from very small white blotches to very large white blotches sometimes called “snowflaking”.
Their patterning sometimes also exhibits peach or pink colors. This is also a larger Island locale, similar in size to Moro and Pine Isle. Some can be defined by the “W” pattern seen on their backs.
As they age, these geckos develop yellow spotting like the ana’s and some even develop red bloctches. Their eyes are usually gray with a reticulated iris.
Caanawa (Isle K)
Caanawa leachianus one specie that display various variable insular.
These leachianus are known for changing color quickly. They usually have a dark brown base color with their patterning exhibiting furry edges.
Patterning colors can range from purple to white and they show heavy speckling. Many examples of this locale show very high colour.
Their main characteristics are they are large and solid with thick legs and heavy trunk.
What do Leachianus eat?
Giant Leachianus Geckos are frugivorous. They feed on live prey such as crickets, roaches and fruits. They also love fresh clean water on a daily basis.
What is the biggest gecko?
New Caledonian Giant Gecko Size. Rhacodactylus l. leachianus is the biggest subspecies, and one of the largest geckos in the world. Adult size ranges from 14 to 17 inches, including the tail, and it can weigh 212 to 279 grams
What is the smallest gecko?
The dwarf gecko or Jaragua Sphaero or dwarf gecko measures just 1.6 centimetres (three-quarters of an inch) in length and is reported in the December issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science. It is also worlds smallest gecko.
To conclude, it’s easy using our Leachie gecko care guide to take the best care of your reptile. Also, we hope you can now see reasons why you should keep a Leachie gecko as pet at home, especially if you have a great taste for reptiles.
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Hi, would you know. If I can get one in Australia? Thanks
Yes, you can.