The African fat-tailed gecko is found in West Africa, from Senegal to Cameroon. Their habitat is dry and arid, although they will spend most of their time in a dark, humid hiding place. In captivity, it is important to provide these geckos with a source of humidity that mimics these conditions.
The African fat-tailed gecko is typically around 7-9 inches (18–23 cm), with females being slightly smaller than males. They have a captive lifespan of 10–25 years. Normal coloring is brown and tan/beige stripes, with a possible thin white stripe along the length of the back. The underbelly is pale pink or off-white.
The African fat-tailed gecko is equipped with the ability to lose its tail when threatened or attacked. If the tail is lost, the new tail will have a more rounded shape, similar to the head. It may not match the body coloration and pattern of the gecko. The tail is also where they store their fat, an important energy reserve. With its tail, an African fat tailed gecko can go days on end without food.
In the pet trade the African fat-tailed gecko has gained some popularity though is still not as popular as the closely related leopard gecko. Unlike the leopard gecko, these geckos tend to be more docile but do have a higher humidity requirement. Through selective breeding the reptile trade has been able to produce numerous color variants of the African fat-tailed gecko including tangerine, albino, patternless, black out, and aberrant fat-tails.
While it might seem that you can house these animals together with the similar leopard gecko species, these animals have different heating, humidity, and husbandry requirements. Housing these two species together is never recommended.