Last updated 6 February 2001: added thumbnail image

A look at the

Subfamily GEKKONINAE - "True" Geckos


Genus PTYODACTYLUS - Fan-Fingered Geckos

Small genus (5 or 6 species) distributed across dry areas of Africa and the Middle East. I have never seen any in captivity or offered for sale. The common name is derived from the obvious pattern of the straight toes which are splayed out rather like the pattern of a snowflake. The pads are adhesive and have a retractable claw on each.

Scientific Name Common Name Distribution Size Notes
P. hasselquisti hasselquisti

Ptyodactylus hasselquisti (Fan-Fingered Gecko)

House Gecko Algeria across the Sahara to Iraq and Iran 6" A "haggard"-looking gecko (Grzimek) with a thick head and big eyes. The overall body colour is pale brown, with slightly darker bands. Its preferred habitat is stony wasteland, where it is found as high as 2,000 m (6,000 ft). Its toes have a fan-like structure for running up vertical faces. It is also found in thorny undergrowth, oases and houses. Unusually for a reptile, it is not affected by snowfall. It is often found with Turkish Geckos (Hemidactylus turcicus) and/or harduns (Agama stellio). In the mating season P. hasselquisti occupy fixed areas which they defend against conspecifics. Between May and August the female lays four or five times, with two to four weeks between each clutch. The eggs are hidden in cracks, crevices or holes. These geckos hibernate from November to January, emerging in the third week of February or later. For such small lizards they live quite long, one having been recorded as 9 years of age. Click here for EMBL's links to a photo and other references.
P. ragazzii House Gecko West Africa as far as Togo 6" Formerly a subspecies of P. hasselquistii, referred to as either P. hasselquisti togoensis (Grzimek) or P. hasselquisti ragazzii (EMBL). This gecko is now apparently considered a full species (see EMBL).
P. puiseuxi Israeli Fan-Fingered Gecko N. Israel, Syria, Jordan & Lebanon 6" Rock-dwelling species that is active often during both night and day. See the informative article by Hans Esterbauer in the Bibliography. Like many geckos P. puiseuxi is fairly sociable when sharing basking areas, but this would not apply to keeping within terrarium where a single or pair of these geckos are the optimum number. They seek cover from the sun during the hottest part of the day.
P. oudrii House Gecko Morocco and Algeria 6" Formerly a subspecies of P. hasselquistii, this gecko was raised to full species level in 1987 (see EMBL).
P. guttatus ? Egypt, Israel & Sudan ? Click here for the EMBL link and a link to an excellent Israeli article on this and other geckos in the region.
P. homolepis ? Pakistan ? Click here for the EMBL link.


The information above was culled from a number of sources, including Mattison:

Lizards of the World, Mattison

Keeping and Breeding Lizards, Mattison

Geckos: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Walls and Walls, TFH 1999.

Echsen [Lizards] 1, Rogner, Eugen Ulmer, Germany 1992

"Israeli Fan-Fingered Gecko", Hans Estebauer, Reptile Hobbyist 2:5, TFH 1997.

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