African fat tailed geckos and leopard geckos are often seen as closely related and very similar animals. However, there are some noticeable differences and despite being in the same subfamily of geckos (Eublepharidae), there are a lot of aspects that make them unique.
Leopard geckos are slightly bigger in size and shape than African fat tailed geckos. Some leopard geckos even carry a giant gene due to selective breeding, with the heaviest being 156g and the longest being 28cm.
As well as this, leopard geckos are generally more vibrant and colourful with bright yellow and orange genes such as carrot tail, tangerine and high yellow.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the African fat tailed gecko is known for it’s darker colours and solid stripes such as stinger, striped and Oreo. They’re smaller than the leopard gecko and have fatter tails (hence their name). Most African fat tailed geckos are about 18-23cm.
Both the leopard gecko and African fat tailed gecko have a similar setup both coming from dry arid lands naturally in the wild. However, African fat tailed geckos need slightly higher humidity.
Both geckos are insectivores, eating a wide variety of insects such as mealworms, crickets, locusts, dubia roaches and wax worms however there is plenty more that they can eat. You can find out more about feeding leopard geckos here.
Both leopard geckos and African fat tailed geckos are very good handlers and easy to tame. Leopard geckos are often skittish when young and hard to handle initially but if you keep handling regularly they will generally calm down as they get older.
African fat tailed geckos will move more slowly and be more cautious on the handler’s hands making them easier to handle then leopard geckos at a young age. However as males get older they will become more territorial and more agitated. If they aren’t in the mood for handling they will snap at you and occasionally if you persist they will bite.
Generally, like all animals, temperaments vary and it’s about getting to know your pet leopard gecko or African fat tailed gecko and them getting used to both you and being handled.
Both leopard geckos and African fat tailed geckos make fantastic pet lizards and given the right care and attention can become a rewarding family member for any reptile enthusiast.