All the information listed here is based on my own experience, please carry out your own research before attempting to replicate anything on this site.
When it comes to habitats and enclosure design, I always steer towards the idea of a tropical rainforest, densely packed with bromeliads, creepers and vines. Even with my aquatic turtle enclosures, few are without an overhanging plant or two, or some tough riparium species around the margins. So this week I wanted to share a little side project of mine - an arid, African enclosure for Stenodacylis petrii.
Dune geckos (Stenodactylis petrii) are small, terrestrial geckos from North Africa and the Middle East. They are a nocturnal, burrowing species, often found near rocky outcrops with sandy earth.
My pair are kept in an Exo Terra 45cm cube, chosen for easy access and ample ventilation. I've never been a fan of the Exo Terra polystyrene backgrounds, and instead, I opted for a simple black background when designing this tank.
To facilitate burrowing, I've used 2-3 inches of dry playsand, with numerous bark and driftwood pieces to provide caves and hiding spots at varying distances from a spotlight. This allows a number of different basking spots which the geckos can choose between.
The key part to this habitat is the live plant. Being from arid, desert landscapes, plants are sparse, and highly adapted to dry soils. Sticking with the African theme, I planted a 'Mother-in-law's Tongue' (Sansevieria trifasciata) in the back corner. This drought-tolerant succulent not only looks great, but also allows me to keep that corner of the vivarium slightly damp, and perfect for creating a nest.
As you can see from the pictures, the pair are already busy excavating, so hopefully that will be something to look forward to in the near future.
That's all for now; there's another big vivarium setup in the works for my Vietnamse Golden Geckos (Gekko ulikovskii) in the next couple of weeks, as well as a few new bits and pieces from around the reptile room.
If you have any questions or would like any more information, feel free to email me at the address below.