- Category: Uroplatus lineatus
- Published on 25 September 2012
- Written by Luis C. Wiedemann
- Hits: 329
*Note: This care sheet is a work in progress. Please forgive any spelling errors and topics that appear to be missing. Please check back for updates!
Species: Uroplatus lineatus
Common Name: Lined Leaf Tail Gecko
Of all of the species in the genus Uroplatus, U. lineatus is by far one of the most unique of the group. They're one of the largest Uroplatus, reaching a total length of 10-11". They lack the dermal fringe most frequently seen in species belonging to the "fimbriatus" group, but many adorn themselves with spiny scales which give the appearance of "eye lashes" above their eyes. Their bodies are long and slender with smooth skin and a "snake-like" head. Patterns change from solid beige or yellowish during the day and wood grain striped at night. They very much resemble the bamboo plants they inhabit in their natural habitat. One of the more arboreal species, they generally stick to the walls and branches in their enclosure. Like all Uroplatus, they are nocturnal and sleep during the day. This is a very elegant species, moving about the enclosure with grace and style.
U. lineatus primarily inhabits the tropical and bamboo forests in eastern Madagascar. Their range is limited to the are between the regions of Toamasina and Maroantsetra.
U. lineatus will thrive in most natural vivariums, but being a larger species of Uroplatus, adults require enough space to hunt and frolic about in order to thrive. We house breeding trios (1.2) in 2x2x4' screen cages that are most commonly used for keeping chameleons. These cages are taller than they are wide and allows them to fully enjoy their arboreal lifestyle.
It is essential to have a good deal of foliage as they normally drink from the leaves of misted plants. Our enclosures are densely planted with Dracaena fragrans 'Massangeana', commonly labeled as a "Corn Plant". During the day they will sleep exposed on the leaves and sometimes on the trunk of the plant. This being a very arboreal species, vertically arranged branches, 2-3" in diameter, are recommended. We provide a layer of coco fiber in shallow seedling planters on the bottom of the enclosure to act as litter pans.
Hatchlings are kept in ten gallon tanks until they reach 6" or so and then are placed in screen cages similar to the adults. Every hatchling has live plants and appropriately sized branches in their enclosures, as well as a small bottle cap filled with clean water. Cork tiles can be found at most office supply stores and makes a decent cage liner.
U. lineatus usually thrive at room temperatures with slight increases and decreases during the day and night. There have been reports from some keepers of their U. lineatus preferring warmer daytime temperatures. While this hasn't been officially tested, the general consensus is they will thrive as long as they have been slowly acclimated to the current temperatures. If you acquire a wild caught specimen, more than likely it will prefer 75-78f during the day with a few degree drop at night, 72-75f. If you maintain a steady 77-78 during the day and 72-75 at night, no extra heat source is necessary.
UVB lighting was a hot topic with Uroplatus keepers a little while ago. While there haven't been any official studies done on whether or not Uroplatus benefit from UVB, I've found that most of our U. lineatus will sleep towards the brightest UVB source in the room. To be on the safe side, we provide all of our U. lineatus with 5.0 UVB lighting.
Whether you choose to use UVB lighting or not, it is still recommended to provide some form of daylight in order to ensure they maintain a normal day/night cycle.
Being nocturnal doesn't mean the can see in complete darkness. All Uroplatus require some ambient light (think moonlight) to help them hunt and move about. We provide red LED's for night time observation while giving them a little light to work with. We tested other colors of LED lighting but found most, other than red, to be almost too bright for them. It doesn't take much, but a little light is required at night.
Humidity is something that has been slightly overstated regarding Uroplatus. Common advice suggests to maintain a level of 75-90% RH at all times, but we've found this leads to more issues than it solves. Frequent misting for the purpose of maintaining high RH can lend an optimal environment for bacterial and mold growths in the enclosures, potentially leading to health risks down the road.
Like most arboreal species, U. lineatus hydrate themselves by drinking dew/rain drops from the leaves of plants. We recommend giving the enclosure a good misting 30-45 minutes after lights out. Focus on misting the leaves and branches but not the animals themselves.This allows the enclosure to dry out during the day, preventing these issues from blossoming and becoming a greater problem. We also recommend leaving a shallow bowl of clean water in the enclosure at night.
All of our Uroplatus are fed a diet of well gut-loaded crickets and Dubia roaches. They don't readily take super-worms and other similar feeders, seeming to prefer roaches over anything else. We recommend dusting all feeders with a high quality Calcium w/D3 supplement twice a week for general care. We supplement Calcium w/D3 nightly for our gravid females.
Maintenance is similar to any other reptile. We recommend daily spot cleaning of all droppings and removal of any uneaten feeders.
We weigh all of our animals on a regular schedule. Only coming out at night makes it difficult to determine health and weigh by sight. We recommend weighing newly acquired animals every week or two and healthy established animals once a month. It enclosures housing multiple females, frequent weight recordings help in determining which female deposited that clutch of eggs you just found!