Scientific name: Rhacodactylus leachianus
Common names: leachie, New Caledonian giant gecko
Natural habitat: New Caledonia
Adult size: 12-18"
Life span: 10+ years
Reptile keeping experience: moderate to advanced
Below are the basics for keeping leachianus geckos.
Cage: This is the largest gecko species so they will need bigger homes than most geckos. Young leachies can be housed in enclosures that are 12"Lx12"Wx12"H. Adults should be kept in enclosures that are at least 18"Lx18"Wx24"H. They are arboreal so climbing height is preferred over floor area. An escape-proof screen lid should be used on top of any glass terrarium. Leachies should be housed individually but sexed pairs or 1.2 trios can be housed during breeding (but always be cautious of conflicts and aggressive behavior).
Accessories: Leachies are arboreal and relish access to climbing decor and hides. Cork tubes and assorted cork pieces/branches are favorites. Other climbing branches should be provided and suitable live plants/tress such as bromeliads and ficus can be incorporated. Be sure any climbing decor is secure.
Humidity: Leachies have high humidity requirements. Humidity should range from 60% to 80%. Leachies should be misted twice daily (morning/evening), or more depending on humidity levels. A shallow water bowl can be provided but is not essential if misted properly while maintaining proper humidity levels.
Substrate: For basic setups, choose a substrate that can be easily spot cleaned and will provide humidity retention. Choices include sphagnum moss, soils, bark/soil mixtures, etc. For more elaborate enclosures, bioactive substrates can be utilized. Do not use certain mosses or stringy substrates if freely feeding live insects (to prevent potential digestion issues).
Lighting/Heating: Being primarily crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk), UVA/UVB lighting is not required. However, providing full spectrum lighting is beneficial. A day/night cycle is important to provide a proper photoperiod. Be sure any daytime bulb is off at night so you do not disrupt the day/night cycle. A day time basking spot of 80°-85°F can be provided but be certain the entire cage is not this warm. As with any reptile, leachies must be able to thermoregulate by having access to a range of temperatures. A low-end temperature of 70°-75°F should be provided during the day and nighttime cage temperatures should allow a range from to 65°-75°F. Leachies are not a desert species! Be sure you do not keep them too warm.
Diet/Feeding: Hatchling to young leachies should be offered food daily or every other day. Adult leachies can be fed every 2-3 days. Feed leachies at dusk/night and leave food in the cage overnight. Powdered leachie diets can be the staple. Simple directions are included on the packages but the powder is mixed with water. Present the meals in elevated dishes/bowls. Magnetic or suction cup holders are ideal to elevate the meals and allow the geckos to eat up high rather than coming to the bottom of the enclosure. If not possible to offer elevated meals, place the food at the base of a favorite climbing area and not in the middle of an open floor area.
You can supplement the foods with some fruit baby foods (mix with powdered diet) or other offerings but it is not required if using a powdered diet that is complete. Live or canned insects including crickets, dubia roaches, hornworms, etc. can be offered, and even pinkie mice, on occasion. Note that acceptance of insects and pinkies varies among individual leachies. Some will readily eat certain options, while others will refuse all of them.