Uroplatus geckos have thin skin, so they dehydrate easily and do not handle heat stress well. Paying attention to leaf-tailed gecko humidity, then, is critical for preserving these species’ health. Most Uroplatus do well between 60-80% humidity, but certain species prefer more or less moisture:
- fimbriatus: 60-70% day, 75-85% night
- henkeli: 60% day, 80% night
- aff. henkeli: 60% day, 80% night
- sameiti: 60% day, 80% night
- sikorae: 70-75% day, 80-85% night
- aff. sikorae: 70-75% day, 80-85% night
- giganteus: 60% day, 80% night
- ebenaui: 60% day, 80% night
- phantasticus: 75-80% day, 90-100% night
- fiera: 60% day, 80% night
- finiavana: 60% day, 80% night
- fotsivava: No data
- kelirambo: No data
- malama: No data
- pietschmanni: 60% day, 80% night
- alluaudi: 60% day, 80% night
- malahelo: No data
- guentheri: 60% day, 80% night
- lineatus: 70% day, 80% night
**Note: U. phantasticus is particularly susceptible to dehydration, so proper humidity is imperative to keeping them alive.**
You’ve probably noticed that I have generally recommended drier conditions during the day than at night. This follows natural humidity cycles, which thereby helps inhibit mold growth and helps support the geckos’ respiratory health. I keep track of my terrarium’s humidity cycle with the Zilla digital thermometer-hygrometer.
For more sensitive leaf-tailed gecko humidity requirements (ex: U. phantasticus) an automated misting system is recommended. This is not to be confused with a fogger; misters create water droplets on leaves and terrarium walls that geckos can drink from, while foggers simply raise ambient humidity without creating water droplets.
Automated misting systems are particularly recommended for screen enclosures, as these dry out more easily. If you choose to automate, the cycle that seems to work best is letting the enclosure dry to 60-70% (or lowest point) in the afternoon, followed by a heavy mist to 85-90% (or highest point) in the evening.
If you can’t afford or would rather not invest in an automated mister, pressure sprayers work well as a manual solution — although they are more work. Use lukewarm or warm water (never hot) for misting, as cold water tends to shock them and can cause undue stress. Spray in the morning, evening, and during the day if needed. Do not soak the substrate when misting, as this encourages mold and bacterial growth.
Keeping a large, shallow (no deeper than .5-1” (1-2 cm)) water dish at the bottom of the terrarium will also help humidity, as well as provide a backup source of drinking water if needed.
Do not use distilled, softened, or even filtered water! Tap water (assuming that it’s safe for humans to drink) contains minerals vital to your gecko’s health. Yes, this means you’ll have to clean up water spots, but it’s worth it. Here’s why.
PRO TIP: You will know that your humidity is correct when your gecko sheds in one piece no extra pieces left clinging in the morning) and does not appear dehydrated (sunken eyes, drooping tail).