Added May 2003. Last updated 5 April 2013: added further details to H. caudicinctus and updated Bibliography.

A look at the

Subfamily EUBLEPHARINAE - Eyelid Geckos


Genus HEMITHECONYX - the African Fat-Tailed Geckos

A genus of two species, of which the first has become a well-known captive reptile while the second is practically unknown in captivity, even among gecko aficionados. The two are fairly easily distinguished by their tubercles or lack thereof, although in practice one is unlikely to see H. taylori outside of its natural habitat.

Boulenger gave the following details for the genus, which is described (1885) as Psilodactylus: claws partly exposed; digits granular inferiorly; claw-sheath small, claws only partially retractile.




Hemitheconyx caudinctus, African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Hemitheconyx taylori, Taylor's Fat-Tailed Gecko



Scientific Name 

Common Name 





H. caudicinctus

(African) Fat-Tail(ed) Gecko

West Africa


Close in popularity after the Leopard. Care very similar but requires slightly more humidity. More captive-bred specimens are now becoming available. See also Fat-Tailed Geckos. The Reptile Database entry gives more precise distribution data. Scalation details: head covered with flat, irregular polygonal tubercles, largest on temples; rostral quadrangular, twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril between several scales, the anterior of which is largely separated from the same on the other side; 8-10 supralabials, about 10 infralabials; mental broadly pentagonal, in contact with two enlarged chin-shields, surrounded by irregular small ones passing gradually into the flat granules of the gular region; body covered dorsally with small irregular flat scales intermixed with numerous suboval obtusely keeled tubercles, which on the sides unite 3 to 3. Other: body stout; limbs short, weak; digits very short; snout as long as distance between eye and ear-opening; ear-opening large, oval, slightly oblique; tail swollen, rounded, tapering at the end, circularly plaited, above with small flat scales and rows of enlarged obtusely keeled tubercles, below with larger flat scales arranged regularly. Coloration: dorsally cream-coloured with broad reddish-brown bands, of which one forms a horseshoe-shaped band from eye to eye across the nape, two broad transverse bands across the back and three across the tail; slight reddish marblings on lips and sides of neck; lower surfaces white. Some individuals have a white dorsal stripe running from between the eyes onto the tail, this apparently being caused by a recessive gene. Reproduction: male distinguished by 13 preanal pores; two eggs laid per clutch: from personal experience it does not seem difficult to induce this species to breed in captivity. B I

H. taylori

Taylor's Fat-Tail(ed) Gecko

East Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia).

SVL up to 14cm; SVL max 11cm

This gecko is rarely seen and little is known of its requirements. In overall appearnace it is rather similar to H. caudicinctus, but with more pronounced tubercles that (to this writer anyway) are reminiscent in the head area of sesame seeds on a bun. It is a ground dweller found in arid desert areas and lives in small burrows beneath stones. Prey consists of slow-moving insects. Barts and Boone recommend high temperatures for captives, noting that in one of the valley habitats the temperatures are in the region of 28-38 deg C. Scalation: polygonal scales; temporals not larger than occipitals; nostril round and contacts rostral; 7-8 supralabials, 6-8 infralabials; body covered with polygonal gransular scales, interspersed with numerous enlarged keeled scales. Coloration: dorsally pale brown, darker on the snout and sides of the head; broad darker bands run across the nape of the neck, the Lendenregion, the tailbase and the middle of the tail. Ventrally white. Reproduction: males have 28 preanal and femoral pores and are also territorial, capable of emitting. Presumably 2 eggs laid per clutch: no other information available. Click here for the Reptile Database entry and pictures. B I


Covers Fat-Tails and the other eublepharid geckos. Not as detailed as the above but still quite good and again covers most of the other eublepharids.

"Das Portrait: der Kurzbericht zum Titelbild: Hemitheconyx taylori PARKER, 1930", Mirko Barts & Jon Boone, Sauria Vol 24/3, September 2002. Useful summary of H. taylori, to which this account is indebted.



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