Blaesodactylus boivini is a hidden gem of Madagascar. These large, active, arboreal geckos
range across the island of Madagascar, with the highest population densities occurring mainly in the northeast, with pockets of animals on off shore islands, and an isolated subpopulation located further south. This species resides on tree trunks and amongst rock piles with a preference for dry, deciduous forest habitat. They will also hang around human habitation to take advantage of pest species as prey, much like the tokay and house geckos of Asia. These geckos are large and impressive, with an average adult size of 10-14 inches, and some individuals weighing in excess of 160 grams. Females tend to be slightly larger and heavier than males, as well as sport large, obvious calcium sacs. Sexing is extremely easy: males have large obvious pores, even from hatching. These geckos are partially fruigivorous, and will consume some soft fruit in addition to the bulk of their diet which is insects, spiders, and smaller reptiles.
B. boivini are undemanding captives that are an absolute delight to keep. These are by far one of my favorite gecko species. Along with their impressive size and attractive coloration, they are outgoing and inquisitive, and my animals are often active both day and night. Due to their large size, I house adults in enclosures 18in X 18inX 36in for a pair, and I really would prefer to go a bit bigger. These geckos are very, very active in nature, and spend time basking, hunting, and exploring often. They will readily feed on a diet of large insects and a commercial fruigivorous gecko diet, with the occasional rodent or small lizard. Some individuals become quite tame, and I have never had one even attempt to bite if left unrestrained. I have had success breeding this species, and despite the common consensus, it is my experience that eggs hatch in a matter of 90 days to 4-5 months on average, depending on incubation conditions. Hatchlings are large and hardy, growing very fast under the same conditions as adults scaled down. They are absolute monsters when it comes to food, and will quickly learn their keeper is a source, often waiting at the door as soon as they see the feeding tongs. Overall, this species has many excellent attributes and no real downsides. If you want a large, hardy, easy to keep gecko I highly recommend them, you won’t be disappointed.
Left- Adult Pair
Right- Juvenile female
Ted Cook II
All photos by the author