Our planet is full of amazing and peculiar creatures. A variety of different creatures can be found in the forests, underwater, in deserts, and in the mountains. A Satanic Leaf-tailed gecko is one such creature. It is small and has a bizarre appearance. These are found perfectly camouflaged in the forests—on trees and under leaves. They are found in a variety of colors, but what makes them unique is their absurd physical appearance. They can blend in their environment by mimicking to appear like a decomposed leaf. More detail on the appearance of a Satanic Leaf-tailed gecko later, but first, let’s take a look at its natural habitat and the history behind its name.
Origin and Naming History of a Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
These geckos are found only in the rainforests of Madagascar. They are also called Phantastic leaf-tailed Gecko, Demonic leaf-tailed Gecko, or Eyelash leaf-tailed Gecko. Its scientific name is Uroplatus (meaning Flat Tailed) Phantasticus (meaning Imaginary). This name was first coined by a Belgian biologist George Albert Boulenger in 1888. There are 14 different species in the Uroplatus genus, with the Phantasticus being the smallest of all. They are arboreal creatures and are not found anywhere except on the islands of Madagascar. They solely depend upon their concealing abilities to survive in the forest. The Tailed Gecko only come out at night to hunt and remain hidden under the dead leaves—imitating to be one.
Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko Size and Appearance
As discussed earlier, these Geckos are famous for their peculiar and absurd appearance. A Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is very small in size—around 9 cm in total. As evident from their name, they have a tail that resembles a decomposing leaf. Just like a fallen, crumbled leaf, it also has small cutouts. Above their eyes, they have what you can call eyebrow horns that look more like pointed scions. Their body color keeps changing—with a shiny orange belly and smears on the back. These physical characteristics help the Geckos blend in with their surroundings so they can avoid encountering their predators. During the night, however, these features help them in hunting their prey by concealing themselves. They can also hang motionless from the branches of trees, which makes them look like leaves.
Diet and Habitat of a Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko
Geckos are carnivorous, which means they feed upon other living beings. Their food includes small insects, reptiles, birds, invertebrates, and other mammals that they can hunt easily. They also feed upon worms, spiders, snails, and flies.
Although trading Demonic Leaf-Tailed Geckos is illegal, yet they are traded. Their existence is at risk due to illegal pet trade, forest erosion, and the loss of their natural habitat. These Geckos can only survive in a specific environment and cannot bear the consequences of their habitat’s degeneration.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Uroplatus species was among the top 10 most wanted species on their list. This list comprises of the animals whose existence is at risk due to factors such as deforestation or illegal pet trade. To protect them from being sold illegally or becoming extinct, specially protected areas are being designed. At present, there are three protected areas for this species; Anjanaharibe Special Reserve, Marojejy National Park, and Tsaratanana Strict Nature Reserve.
Can A Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko Be Kept as a Pet?
Apart from their bizarre appearance, Geckos are also popular for their shy demeanor. They don’t like to be controlled and prefer to live alone. Because of these temperamental traits, they cannot be kept as a pet in ordinary households. Additionally, they require a special environment to live in, which can only be provided by an expert reptile owner.
A Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko can be purchased at around $300 – 500, but due to their special living needs, they may cost you more. With appropriate living conditions and proper care, a Satanic Leaf-tailed gecko can live beyond ten years of age.
Fun Facts About a Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko
- Due to their unique appearance, the Belgian biologist George Albert Boulenger described them as “mythical.”
- They do not have eyelids. Their eyes are covered with a transparent shield. When dust or debris gets in their eyes, they clean them with their long tongues.
- Apart from using its perfectly camouflaged appearance to hide from its predators, it also uses its shriek voice to scare away predators. To accomplish this, a Demonic Leaf-tailed Gecko opens its mouth wide, takes out its red tongue, and cries a high-pitched screech. This demonic display of terror is enough to scare away the hunting snakes and birds.
- The female Gecko lays her eggs under dead leaves on a tree or the ground. This ensures the young ones can stay hidden and protected after they hatch out of the eggs. The mother—once she lays eggs—leaves them and goes away.
- They sometimes use odd sounds to communicate with their kind. These sounds can either be soft humming or barking.
These peculiar-looking creatures with their even more peculiar and devilish name may be considered to have evil behavior, but this is not true. They are shy and are very popular among reptile owners. Their unique appearance and small size make them appealing to many but keeping them is no easy feat. It requires special husbandry arrangements and a suitable environment to keep these Geckos. We urge you to gain some knowledge and experience regarding Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko care and invest some time in making special arrangements for their living before you bring one home.