Mniarogekko Chahoua – Care sheet
Mniarogekko chahoua is endemic to New Caledonia, an archipelago located about 2000 km east of Australia, in the Pacific Ocean. Archipelago formed by a central island, called Gran Terre, surrounded by islets and satellite atolls. The most important are the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines, respectively to the east and south of the Gran Terre. The climate, sub tropical in which there are two seasons: a dry temperate one, and a warm rainy one. Average temperatures are around 22 ° -24 ° C.
Scheme of annual temperature fluctuations recorded in the capital:
It is a semi-arboreal gecko endemic to the primary forest of New Caledonia. he lives in the south of the island of Grand Terre, on the island of Kotomo and in the isle of Pines.
The temperature in these areas in the summer season fluctuates between 20 ° C and 25 ° C almost all year round,
With a maximum temperature of 30 ° C and minimum temperatures that rarely drop below 20 ° C. In the winter season, the temperature rarely drops below 20 ° C. The relative humidity of this location varies between 60% and 70%
Mniarogekko chahoua is a medium-large gecko, reaching 28-30cm in total length and 70-80 grams in weight, it is one of the most impressive geckos in New Caledonia. It has a characteristic livery, which gives it an appearance similar to that of a bark covered with moss and lichen, the wrinkles and excesses of skin on the sides of the throat and body contribute to increasing its camouflage appearance. This camouflage appearance gives it the common name of “Moss Gecko”.
The most common colors range from green, to brown, to red. An unmistakable pattern of dark spots extends along the entire back, surrounded by curvilinear designs. Some specimens have the particularity of a white or green “collar” that extends from the nape to above the shoulders, sometimes such white spots are also found on the body. The long and prehensile tail, also abundantly adorned with irregular designs, acts as a fifth limb, used as a safety anchor in any movement on branches, trees, or as a stabilizer during a leap.
The head is powerful with high intraspecific morphological variability; the eyes with fixed lid, have a silver iris and black / red veins that give a very dense reticulum, are visibly protruding in an antero-lateral direction and covered by a supra-ocular lens that protects them from external agents. The pupil, vertical, extends from the base to the apex of the eye. The skin around the eyes has small “eyelashes”. Given its purely arboreal evolution, it has very robust legs that end with five fingers each, provided with subdigital lamellae, which guarantee a secure grip on any surface. Like all the Diplodactylidae of New Caledonia, it is omnivorous, in particular it feeds on insects and other small geckos, but it does not disdain fruit, berries and pollen at all.
This is a gecko with mainly nocturnal habits that occupies very characteristic habitats, have made it among the most difficult to observe in nature. Not only that, as well as Rhacodactylus leachianus and R. trachyrinchus, it is particularly dependent on tree cavities, in which it hides and spends most of its time.
Chahoua geckos are an arboreal species, living most of the time in trees. So you want an enclosure that has some height to it and also hiding places that simulate tree hollows. Due to potential aggressive behavior of adults towards each other, they should be housed individually unless breeding.
Young should be kept in smaller enclosures so they feel safe. As the juveniles grow, they can be moved to larger settings such as an Exo Terra 30 x 30 x 45cm or 30 x 30x 60cm.
After about a year, the adult can live in an enclosure like the Exo Terra 45 x 45 x 91cm or 60 x 45 x 91cm
Exo Terras screen enclosures can also be used, but you will spend more time keeping the humidity up in this enclosure.
Temperature and humidity
Chahoua geckos are hardy lizards. Being nocturnal, they usually sleep in the foliage or other hiding spots during the day and are active at night. UVB lighting is not necessary for these guys. You’ll want to turn any daylight off at night. They are comfortable with day temperatures of 25 to 27 degrees Celcius Use a good quality temperature gauge, like Zoo Meds digital temp gauge or Exo Terras Thermometer.
The easiest way to increase the heat in your enclosure is with a Basking bulb or a heat emitter. You always want part of the tank to be cooler so your gecko can regulate his own body temperature by choosing what temperature area to hang out in. Usually with a tall tank the hot part is near the top and the cooler part is towards the bottom.
The feeding of M. chahoua can be compared to that used for other New Caledonian geckos. Being omnivorous species, they will need a supply of both plant and animal matter. The schedule and doses below refer to my standard for healthy pets, puppies or adults.
One meal per week will consist of insects (if purchased from retailers, they will be fed for 2 days before feeding the geckos). I generally use Shelfordella lateralis, Blabtica dubia, Acheta domestica, of appropriate size according to the size of the animal. 2 or 3 insects per meal (in case of B. dubia, 1 only), abundantly dusted with Ca + D3.
After about 3 days I provide a meal based on pureed fruit (banana, peach, fig, mango …) with the addition of moderate doses of freeze-dried products (LL food or Repashy for example), once again Ca + D3 in addition.
Photo: Dragonborn exotics