Uroplatus phantasticus. By far one of the most naturally diverse and unique geckos we work with. Phantasticus are the smallest bodied of the Uroplatus and prefer cooler temperature and an environment enriched lower level and foliage. Unlike many other Uroplatus, phantasticus have evolved to mimic dead and dying leaves and will often hunt on and between foliage. They also can be frequently seen sleeping suspended from their hind legs, which further mimic the appearance of a dying leaf. Their small size and environmental/husbandry needs attribute to them being a more difficult species requiring a more experienced keeper.
Although they are a species that prefers not to be handled and relatively left alone, that doesn’t mean they are not exciting to keep and work with. They are very active hunters and will often hop around chasing insects or dive bomb a passing isopod. With an adequately arranged enclosure, just finding them can be a fun daily challenge. I personally love watching the hatchlings grow.
After hatching my first hatchlings I was elated to see my effort come to fruition, but nervous about raising a baby the size of a small cricket. The process of raising these tiny babies into beautiful adults has quickly become one of the most rewarding aspects of working with this species. Because of their natural beauty, smaller size, and unique appearance, phantasticus have become a “must have” for many keepers. However, with more successful CB (captive bred) animals being released, there has also been an influx in lost animals due to ill-equipped or inexperienced keepers and shippers. If you are looking to get into this beautiful species, be sure to do sufficient research prior. I would also advise working with a less frail species from the same region to ensure you can provide and maintain an adequate microenvironment. No better reward than seeing this beautiful species thriving under your care.
Travis Kuhse EnigmaticReptiles.com
all photos by the author