African Fat-Tailed Geckos and Leopard Geckos are from the same subfamily named Eublepharinae. They look quite similar and as African Fat-Tailed Geckos get more popular, people start asking which one is the best pet. And the short answer is that it all depends on what you look for in a gecko.
Despite looking similar to one another, these geckos come from different parts of the world. This means that they live in different habitats and have different husbandry requirements. Both of them are fairly easy to take care of and are great for the novice lizard keeper.
In this article, we’ll talk about the similarities and differences between these two lovely geckos. This will paint a clearer picture when you try to decide which one to get.
African Fat Tailed Gecko: Their name is based on their big tail that is used to store fat, and that also looks like a caterpillar. They’re typically a light brown with darker brown patterns and may or may not have a white line along their backs from their head to their tail.
Those geckos are the most docile and easy-to-handle lizards a beginner can get. They’re very calm and they spend most of their time sleeping and relaxing. Handling them is a pleasure as long as you don’t pick them up by their tail as they have the ability to lose their tail if they feel attacked.
Leopard Gecko: They’re lovingly nicknamed “Leos” and they are the most popular geckos in the world when it comes to first-time keepers. Their name is based on their look as they have a greenish color with lots and lots of spots, similar to a leopard. Their tail also looks like a caterpillar. They also come in lots of morphs.
While Leos are very docile as well, they tend to be more interactive and be more squirmy. They spend most of their time exploring their enclosure and sleeping. With patience, your Leo can become even more friendly. But be careful to never pick them up by their tail either as they can also lose their tail.
African Fat Tailed Gecko vs Leopard Gecko – Which One Is The Better Pet?
African Fat-Tailed Geckos are the better pet for children and first-time owners that are very nervous about having their first lizard. They’re very docile and never bite. They don’t even fight each other for food. It’s the best pet that can warm up a person to lizards. You will also have an easy time caring for them.
Leopard Geckos, on the other hand, are the better pet for more daring children and first-time keepers. If you’re extremely curious about those creatures and can’t wait to interact with them, Leos have a more active and interactive personality. They’re also docile, don’t bite, and are easy to take care of.
Temperament and Habits Comparison
African Fat-Tailed Geckos are nocturnal and are the calmest geckos you’ll ever meet. They can be tamed easily even if they’re wild-caught, which is very uncommon. This calm gecko only gets aggressive when it meets an intruder. And even then, they prefer scaring them away by being vocal and avoid fighting.
Those geckos love burrowing and have quite an interesting hunting approach. They lift their tail up and shake them to distract the prey and then it attacks. You will quickly notice this while feeding.
Leopard Geckos are also nocturnal and are well-known for their docile temperament, but they can get more squirmy if not handled properly. Since they have a longer body and thinner legs, they move faster and are a bit more interesting to observe in the vivarium. They love exploring every inch of it.
They also love burrowing and need lots of hiding places as in their natural habitat they spend most of their time hidden in dark places.
Can African Fat Tailed Geckos and Leopard Geckos live together?
Just because they look similar and are from the same subfamily it doesn’t mean that these two lizards can live together. The main reason for that is that they have different caging requirements and they can get very sick if they live in each other’s vivarium.
Another obvious reason is that geckos don’t like any other species of geckos besides their own. They’re also known for eating each other, especially if one of them is smaller. While they may seem friendly at first, putting an African Fat-Tailed Gecko and a Leopard Gecko in the same cage can end in them trying to kill each other.
Despite both being very docile and sweet creatures, they will fight until one of them is dead if they don’t have a way out of the tank you put them in. Don’t ever leave them together on their own no matter how friendly they seem to each other.
Both species of geckos have the exact same dietary requirements. They’re strict insectivores and love a varied diet. They can eat crickets, cockroaches, waxworms, mealworms, caterpillars, etc. You’ll also have to provide a dish of fresh and clean water every day.
The prey they eat should always be slightly smaller than the space between their eyes. And if you don’t provide UVB lighting, dust their prey with a vitamin D3 supplement every few meals. If you do use a UVB bulb, don’t use vitamin D3 supplements.
Comparison – Cage Requirements (size, substrate, heat level, humidity)
Let’s start with what these two species have in common. Both the African Fat-Tailed Gecko and the Leopard Gecko are similar in size and don’t grow longer than 9 inches. This means you can use the same vivarium for both the hatchling and the adult.
A 10-gallon tank does OK for one of these geckos, but a 20-gallon enclosure is the ideal choice. If you house two geckos together, a 25-gallon tank is the best option, and a 30-gallon vivarium is ideal for housing three geckos.
Another thing they have in common is their substrate. Both of them love burrowing so using soil or reptile-safe clay is ideal. But they don’t bother if you use a reptile carpet as it’s the easiest to clean, but only if they have various hiding places.
African Fat-Tailed Geckos need a hot and cool side. The cool side should be around 80F while the hotter side between 86F and 88F. They need the humidity level to always remain between 50% and 70% and you’ll need to mist the tank a few times a week.
Leopard Geckos need a hotter enclosure but with both hotter and cooler sides. Between 75F and 80F is perfect for the coolest side, between 80F and 85F is ideal on the warm side, and they also need a basking spot that’s between 90F to 95F.
When it comes to humidity, they need significantly less than African Fat-Tailed Geckos, otherwise, they can develop lots of health issues. The humidity level should always remain between 30% to 40%.