Reptile owners and gecko lovers have been fascinated by Leachie geckos for a long time. They have been popular for their giant size, unique appearance, and their ability to make peculiar sounds.
A Leachie gecko can only be found found in the tropical forests of New Caledonia. They are arboreal, meaning they live on trees. As they have a reputation of being aggressive, they are not suitable for being kept as a pet. But before we discuss their temperament in more detail, we will first look into its origin and naming history. So, let’s get started.
Origin and Naming History
Scientifically known as ‘Rhacodactylus leachianus,’ these geckos are the largest in the family of Diplodactylidae. The Leachie gecko was first described and named by Georges Cuvier, a French naturalist and zoologist, in the year 1829. Being found exclusively in the forests of New Caledonia, it is also called a New Caledonian giant gecko. Other names include Leachianus gecko, Grande Terre Gecko, or simply a Leachie.
Leachie Gecko Size and Appearance
When it comes to the physical characteristics of Leachie geckos, we know one thing about their size. They are bigger than the other geckos in the Diplodactylidae family. But how big are they?
An adult Leachie gecko can reach up to a total of 17 inches in length. So, on average, you can expect a healthy adult leachie gecko to fall somewhere between 14 – 17 inches in length. A baby leachie gecko is also bigger in size right from its birth, measuring around 3 – 4 inches. One thing, however, is different in these geckos as compared to other reptiles. There is no difference in the sizes of a male or female leachie gecko.
Their appearance is something many people find amusing and fascinating. As they are arboreal creatures, they are born with the ability to camouflage their bodies. They can perfectly conceal themselves on the trunk of a tree and a predator would never know they are there. This is because their bodies and skin resemble the bark of a tree trunk.
They have bumpy skin—just like the outer layer of a tree. Their head is large and triangular and their tail is thick. They have grey eyes. They can be found in a variety of colors but more commonly their bodies will be in the colors closer to their natural surroundings. The most common colors are grey, green, brown, and black.
As mentioned earlier, a Leachie gecko has a reputation for being aggressive. They are considered anti-social; they don’t get along well with other geckos and even not with their owners in most cases. It is very likely to own a Leachie gecko that never gets used to being handled.
One of the reasons behind their aggression can be their territorial behavior. They are naturally territorial reptiles and do not allow anyone to invade their personal space. So, if you are trying to hold them in your hand or want them to warm up, you may not succeed initially. But if they are being trained from a young age, chances of them warming up to you are high.
It is, however, important to mention here, that the process of training a baby gecko or the one in a new habitat shouldn’t be rushed. They should be trained slowly, so they can get comfortable in their new space.
Leachie Gecko Diet Requirements
Leachie geckos are omnivorous, so their diet should primarily include insects, crickets, small mammals, as well as fruits, vegetables, and some sources of protein. As they consume a variety of foods when they are in their natural habitat, it is essential to feed them a balanced diet when they are in captivity. You can rely on feeding them the pre-balanced Crested Gecko Diet (aka CGD).
Regarding the feeding frequency, you should feed them 4 times a week. This feeding frequency will also allow the fruits to become ripe before they consume them—as they like to eat ripe fruits. The food should be kept at a height from the floor, as they prefer consuming their food in high areas.
You can add 2 ounces of the pre-balanced CGD to their food, every time they eat while also feeding them live insects, crickets, fruits, and mice. Baby Leachie geckos, however, should be fed 4 – 5 times a week. They can be fed small insects and cricket right from the beginning.
With food, Leachie gecko should also have access to clean and fresh water all the time. Although they can easily drink water from the water bowl, some of them will prefer getting sprayed with water to fulfill their need for water consumption.
Leachie Gecko Setup and Temperature
Any reptile and pet need to be provided with an appropriate living set up to ensure they are happy and healthy. To keep a Leachie gecko comfortable and happy, you need to invest in a suitable tank or enclosure. As they are arboreal, you should look for a vertical enclosure—they love to be on a height.
You can also add some tree trunks to their tank, so they can climb on them. Just make sure the trees are properly fixed, so they can carry the weight of a large gecko.
Given that they are nocturnal, they don’t need any extra lighting inside or outside of their enclosure. But you need to maintain the temperatures in their tank. This is because a Leachie gecko needs external sources of heat to keep its body warm. So it is essential that you make proper heating arrangements for your Leachie gecko. Keep their tank’s temperature between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Potential Health Risks and Life Expectancy
A Leachie can live up to 15 – 20 years if they are healthy and live in favorable conditions. But some of them may experience some serious health risks. Most of the time, these health risks are because of poor or unhygienic living conditions.
Some of the common health risks faced by Leachies can be a fungal or bacterial infection. This happens when a gecko is living in a moist environment. They need humidity but too much moisture can bring along unwanted infections.
Another common health risk can be the deficiency of calcium. Inadequate exposure to light or lack of a balanced diet can be the reason behind calcium deficiency in geckos. They are also prone to become infected by parasites.
A female Leachie gecko can suffer from a fatal health issue—egg binding, also called Dystocia. This happens when a gecko or a reptile faces difficulty in giving birth or laying eggs. This is also considered to be because of poor living or husbandry conditions, improper temperatures of a tank, unhealthy diet, or dehydration.
Leachie Gecko Price
As a Leachie gecko is expensive. You can find an adult Leachie gecko for $600 to $1000. They are expensive for two reasons. One, they are difficult to breed—they don’t get along well with just any Leachie gecko from the opposite gender. To breed them, a breeder would have to find a pair that are compatible with each other. If not, they will fight with each other.
The other reason is—their females lay fewer eggs. So this makes them a rare breed of reptiles, which results in higher prices for these geckos.
Can You Keep a Leachie Gecko as a Pet?
As we now know these reptiles are aggressive and take time to adapt to a new place, keeping them as a pet is no easy feat. They require special husbandry and living conditions, balanced food, and well-maintained temperatures. If you are a first-time reptile keeper, we urge you to start with keeping a reptile that is relatively easy to look after. But if you are totally fascinated by this gecko, then it is essential you do thorough research and gain knowledge before you bring a Leachie gecko home.
Care should be taken to provide them with an enclosure that is suitable for their large size. To mimic their natural habitat, you should add some tree branches or indoor plants in their tank. To help them keep healthy and thriving, provide them with a balanced diet and clean water. If you find something unusual in their behavior or if they are showing signs of lethargy or anxiety, take them to a vet. A healthy and happy Leachie gecko will stay with you for more than 20 years.