09/10/2019

Vulnerable gecko hatches here at the Zoo

We have hatched a tiny lizard as part of a continuing effort to save a vulnerable species.

The Henkel’s leaf-tailed gecko is the fourth one to be bred here at the Zoo in the past 12 months and there could be more on the way.

These amazing creatures emerge from eggs which are just 1.5cm in diameter after being incubated at room temperature for three months.

The leaf-tailed geckos have an incredible ability to blend in with their surroundings especially when they rest on a lichen-covered branch or a tree trunk.

Tim Skelton, our curator of reptiles and amphibians said: “They are remarkable, and trying to spot them even in a relatively small enclosure is almost impossible.”

In the wild leaf-tailed geckos are classified as Vulnerable according to be International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

They are found in the north and west of Madagascar where their natural habitat is being destroyed for slash-and-burn agriculture. Many are also taken to be sold as pets.

We have been involved in breeding leaf-tailed geckos for several years. During the breeding season of 2016/17 keepers hatched 15 of them.

Tim said: “We have several more eggs incubating so we are hopeful they will hatch in the coming weeks.

“We hope that our breeding programme together with those at other zoos will help to safeguard their future.”

There are currently around 70 Henkel’s leaf-tailed geckos in zoos across Europe.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

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