Rhacodactylus leachianus

The New Caledonian Giant Gecko, Leach's Giant Gecko or Leochianus gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus), is a large species of gecko first described by Georges Cuvier in 1829. It is often commonly referred to as a Leachie gecko (plural Leachies). It is the largest of the Rhacodactylus geckos. At 14 inches (360 mm) total length, it is one of the largest geckos in the world, if not the largest, and is considered an example of island gigantism. R. leachianus is currently being evaluated for protected status by CITES. There are three recognized subspecies of R. leachianus: R. l. aubrianus, R. l. henkeli (first described by Seipp and Obst in 1994), and R. l. leachianus.

The leochianus gecko is a nocturnal arboreal gecko. It makes its home in the highest treetops on the island of New Caledonia. Its range includes all of the southern and eastern portions of the main island as well as several of the smaller islands in the group.

This is a heavy bodied gecko. Its skin appears too loose for its body and it has small, stumpy tail. Female New Caledonian giant geckos lay two eggs, which hatch 60-90 days after they are laid.

R. leachianus feeds on insects and fruit. It will also occasionally consume smaller lizards and in captivity may eat newborn mice.

Many of the locals in New Caledonia call this gecko "the devil in the trees" because of the growling noises it makes.

In captivity

In captivity, males should be housed separately or as a part of a breeding pair or trio with females. Males housed together will often fight. Females are social and can be housed together. R. leachianus can live up to 20 years in captivity. This gecko requires a large, spacious enclosure and as is the case with all arboreal species, the cage should be vertically oriented.

See also

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