Scientific Name: Uroplatus
Colour: Green, Black, Brown, Tan
Life Span: 2 - 9 years
Predator: Owls, Rats, Snakes
Prey: Spiders, Insects, Worms
Size (L): 10cm - 30cm (4in - 12in)
Weight: 10g - 30g (0.35oz - 1oz)
Top Speed: 48km/h (30mph)
Habitat: Dense tropical jungle
The leaf-tailed gecko (also known as the flat-tailed gecko) is a group of geckos that are found only on the African island of Madagascar and on a number of the little islands that surround it. There are eight different species of leaf-tailed gecko all of which are endemic to the island.
Leaf-tailed geckos are found in both the primary and secondary tropical forests of Madagascar where they are either found stuck vertically to the tree trunks or resting amongst the twigs, depending on the species. All species of leaf-tailed gecko are being threatened by habitat loss caused by drastic deforestation across the island.
As their name suggests, leaf-tailed geckos are named after their broad, flat leaf-like tail which extends out between this lizard's hind legs. Leaf-tailed geckos are also brown or green in colour and their skin is usually marked in such a way that it resembles tree bark. This gives the leaf-tailed gecko excellent camouflage when it is basking in the sun amongst the branches during the day.
Leaf-tailed geckos can range in size from just 10cm to more than 30cm in length depending on the species. Some of the different species of the leaf-tailed gecko include the Spearpoint leaf-tailed gecko, the Henkel's leaf-tailed gecko, the Satanic leaf-tailed gecko and the Mossy leaf-tailed gecko, all of which vary slightly in their appearance as well as the areas which they inhabit.
The leaf-tailed gecko is a carnivorous animal and the bulk of this lizard's diet is primarily comprised of insects. Leaf-tailed geckos also hunt a number of other invertebrates along with the odd small rodents or reptile should it get the chance. Leaf-tailed geckos are nocturnal hunters, most actively searching the forest for food under the cover of night.
The excellent camouflage of the leaf-tailed gecko can make this animal pretty tricky for predators to spot. Birds of prey such as owls and eagles, along with rats and snakes are the most common predators of the leaf-tailed gecko in it's native environment.