Ciliate gecko banana-eater In recent years, it has become increasingly widespread as a pet, and, more recently, it was not known at all in this capacity at all. The banana-eater inhabits the tropical New Caledonia, but people around the world live much more than in nature, because they are unpretentious and interesting pets.
Origin of view and description
Terrestrial vertebrates - labyrinthodonts, arose at the end of the Devonian period. They were still closely associated with water, but more and more adapted to life on land. It was they who became the ancestors of reptiles - as a result of changes in the body, they became able to live and at a distance from water.
As a result of a new lifestyle, their skeleton and muscles were gradually changing, and their habitat was expanding. The squamous order arose in the Permian period from diapsids, and the suborder of lizards formed already in the Cretaceous period. The oldest fossils of geckos, which include banana-eaters, belong to the same time.
So, in Burma, they found perfectly preserved amber lizards that lived on Earth 99 million years ago, and some of them belong to geckos - direct ancestors of modern species from this infraorder. One of the individuals is generally almost indistinguishable from the modern gecko - all the main characters were formed at that time.
The ciliated gecko-banana-eater was described in 1866 by the French zoologist A. Guceno, the name of the species in Latin is Rhacodactylus ciliatus.
Interesting fact: Unlike some other lizards, when a tail is lost, a new banana-eater does not grow. Such a loss is still not fatal, and in nature most of the individuals live without it, but the pet is prettier with the tail, and therefore it is necessary to handle them very carefully: then it can save its tail until old age.
Appearance and features
Photo: What a banana-eater looks like
The size of this lizard is very small: an adult reaches 14-18 cm, and this counts along with the tail, which is about a third of the length of the body. This means that the animal can fit in the palm of your hand. Its weight is also small: an adult individual gains up to 40-70 gr. Such small pets can live for a long time, up to 12-15 years with good care. In nature, their life expectancy is usually shorter due to imminent dangers, and is 8-10 years.
The lizard has several color variations, depending on various factors, primarily on the area surrounding the young individual: it is in youth that the color of its skin is established. The main options: yellow, red, brown, gray and green; the most common are yellow and red variations.
Most often, the color is almost monophonic, but sometimes shapeless spots go on the skin, for example, there are yellow-black individuals. Although the color of these lizards should be masked, it is quite bright, because the nature of New Caledonia shines with bright colors.
Outgrowths around the eyes are noteworthy, for which this lizard was given a name, because they are a bit like eyelashes. Further from the eyes to the tail itself stretch two low ridges. The eyes themselves are large in relation to the head, the pupils are vertical, which makes the lizard look very characteristic "crazy".
The head is triangular in shape, the tongue is long, sticking it far forward, the banana-eater can catch insects. Auricles are absent, there are only holes on the head. Banana eaters are very dexterous and agile, they can easily climb both trees and glass. Such a pet looks spectacular and pleases the eye.
Now you know how to keep a banana-eater at home. Let’s see where the lizard lives in the wild.
Where does the bananoe eat?
Photo: Banana-eater in nature
This species is an endemic of New Caledonia and groups of islands around, that is, it does not occur in nature in other places of the Earth.
There are three separate populations of banana-eaters, each with its own natural habitat:
- the first lives on the banks of the Blue River in the southern part of New Caledonia;
- the second is a little to the north, near the Dzumac mountain;
- the third lives on the island of Pen, lying southeast of New Caledonia, as well as on small islands scattered around it.
These lizards live on trees, in the upper tier of the rain forest, that is, in an area of high humidity and in a warm climate. The places where they live are so little touched by humans that for a long time people did not even know what animals live there, including about banana-eaters.
To provide this lizard with comfort in captivity, you need to try to recreate the conditions in which it lives in nature. To do this, first of all, you will need a vertical terrarium in which it will be possible to place vines and branches so that the banana-eater can climb them, which he will enthusiastically do.
It is also required to place greens inside the terrarium - the lizard will begin to hide in it, it loves to disguise itself in the grass or small bushes, and sit there in ambush. Plants can be both living and artificial. Tropical land, coconut crumbs or other substrates are used as soil: banana-eaters are not so demanding for it, the main thing is that it is water-absorbing.
It is necessary to maintain high temperature and humidity in the terrarium, corresponding to the rain forest. Heating is most often carried out by an incandescent lamp, at the heating point the night temperature is 26 ° C, daytime 30 ° C or slightly higher. Accordingly, the temperature should be 3-4 degrees lower in the rest of the terrarium.
It is best to place a snag under the heat source, on which the lizard can bask, and larger so that she herself can choose the distance from the lamp. Humidity should be kept at 65%, higher at night; the terrarium needs to be sprayed twice a day, and a drinker should be placed inside, although banana eaters often prefer to lick drops of water from the walls.
What does a bananoe eat?
Photo: Ciliated Banana-Eater
In nature, this lizard is omnivorous; its diet includes both plant food and animal food, usually the ratio is close to equal, with a slight advantage of the plant. It is desirable to maintain the same ratio when keeping this animal in the house, while remembering that its jaw does not allow large pieces to be eaten, and its teeth are poorly adapted for biting.
From living creatures you can give banana-eaters:
- crickets - two-spotted and banana;
- flour worm;
These insects must enter the terrarium alive, then the hunting instinct will awaken at the lizard, and the best time for hunting comes at sunset. But you should select medium-sized prey, it should not be greater than the distance between the eyes of the banana-eater so that he can swallow the prey.
Feeding by insects is usually carried out once a week, another twice the adult lizard needs to be fed with plant foods. The easiest way to give her artificial food: it has all the necessary vitamins, so you can not worry about balance. But instead, you can feed her fruit.
It can be:
It is important to give not just one fruit, but several different ones, and not whole, but in the form of mashed potatoes. You can not feed a banana-eater citrus. Multivitamins and calcium should be added to the puree. Young lizards need a slightly different approach: they are fed more often, usually every two days, and at first even every day. After they begin to feed on insects, at a time of rapid growth, they should be given mainly to them - a growing banana-eater needs protein food.
Interesting fact: In the terrarium, you can contain several banana-eaters at once, but the male in it should be only one, otherwise you can’t avoid fights for the territory.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Gecko Bananed
In nature, banana eaters activate at dusk and hunt all night long, and rest for days. They have a similar way of life in captivity, although they may undergo small changes: many owners of these lizards note that over time they begin an active life early in the evening, and by the end of the night they already sleep.
But still, in order to observe such a pet, it is desirable to have night lighting in the terrarium, which is best muted and imitates moonlight, so as not to disturb it. It’s also worthwhile to choose lighting so that it does not increase the temperature in the terrarium, otherwise it will be more difficult to control, and every degree is important.
At first, a banana-eater may seem very lazy and slow, for many hours it can simply remain on the snag almost immovable. But such an impression is deceptive, and if you open a terrarium, you can quickly see for yourself: the lizard will probably immediately try to sneak out of it. She escapes so quickly and deftly that, having not prepared in advance, she will not be able to catch her. And even with the preparation, the escape can still be successful: the skill to catch it develops only with training. She knows how to banana-eater and hide, so finding it later in the apartment will also be difficult.
He demonstrates dexterity and hunting. First, he usually looks closely at the prey - he can do this until half an hour after it is launched into the terrarium. After choosing the right moment, he makes such a swift throw that it is difficult to notice its beginning, and quickly swallows the prey. Then the hunt is repeated, and so it can continue from the evening of feeding until the morning.
They differ in character, but for the most part they start to behave calmly after they get used to a new place and stop trying to escape. They can be fed directly with fruit purees, in the evenings and nights they can be let out of the terrarium and played, at other times it is not recommended to do this, and they are sluggish themselves.
It’s easy to look after this lizard, it has a loving character (there are exceptions, but they are quite rare), and it can be suitable for those who:
- likes to keep reptiles in the house;
- ready for the fact that the pet will not feel any affection for him;
- Doesn’t want to pay much attention to the pet;
- prefers to watch the animal, rather than stroking it or holding it in its hands;
- ready to provide him with a good terrarium - it can not be kept in cramped and inappropriate conditions.
If there are children, it is undesirable to start a banana-eater, or at least it is worth limiting contacts between them, since these lizards are small and very vulnerable: even if the child does not want to do harm, just squeeze a little harder or gently grab it to cripple it.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Lizard Banana-Eater
Males reach puberty by a year and a half, females six months later. But it’s better to wait some more time before starting to breed lizards. Distinguish between males and females by the genital bag - only the first have it. In nature, the breeding season of these lizards begins annually with the advent of spring and lasts until the summer. In captivity, you can adhere to the same terms, but not necessarily. For breeding, a female or a few are planted to the male, and after mating occurs, they should be planted again.
The fact is that males show aggression at this time, the female often has bite marks on her neck, and if you do not separate them in time, the male can bite her tail. The female should be placed in a terrarium with a thick layer of soil - in it she will bury eggs after 30-40 days of pregnancy. Most often one or two eggs, the temperature inside the terrarium will have to be maintained at about 27 ° C, and develop within 50-80 days. At this time, they can be left in the terrarium, but it is better to place them in an incubator.
If the eggs do not harden, then the female body lacks calcium. In this case, you should add more of this element to her diet and try again no earlier than 4 months later, when the problem has already been precisely resolved. Only hatched banana-eaters weigh only a few grams, at first they need to be given small larvae and insects, and by the fifth day you can add a little plant food. The temperature in the terrarium should be high, but young lizards cannot be overheated too, otherwise they will grow weak - 28 ° C will be enough.
Natural Enemies of Banana Eaters
Photo: What a banana-eater looks like
The ciliate gecko-bananoyed is a small lizard and almost defenseless against animals larger than itself, so the danger for it comes from almost all such predators. To a much lesser extent, they are threatened by those of them that are not able to climb trees, since the banana-eater spends most of their time on them, and can also be saved there.
Such enemies include, for example, snakes - most of them cannot hunt for lizards in trees. Far more dangerous birds of prey, like the Australian brown hawk. The only chance of a banana-eater is to hide from them in dense thickets, there are no other options to escape from formidable claws and beak.
These lizards help their very habitat to survive: dense rainforests are not very convenient for birds to search for prey, miniature size and color make banana eaters inconspicuous, and speed and dexterity give chances to escape even if the predator did notice.
Interesting fact: Once every 3-4 weeks, the lizard molts. At this time, she becomes lethargic, and her skin dims. In order for the molting to go well, it is imperative to increase the humidity to 70-80%, otherwise, after the completion of the pet, pieces of old skin may remain on the pet, and over time this sometimes leads to problems with fingers.
Experienced lizard owners can and is guaranteed to avoid trouble: for this, they put the lizard ready for molting for half an hour in a warm liquid, and then they remove old skin from it with tweezers. After the process is completed, she sometimes eats this skin.
Population and species status
Due to the fact that banana-eaters live in a natural environment in remote places and have a small range, they were even considered completely extinct for several decades, until in 1994 after a tropical storm it was discovered that these lizards continue to remain a living species.
After that, they began to actively study them, observation was established, and it turned out that there were three separate populations and, even if they were all small (as a result of which the species was classified as vulnerable), but stable, so that while maintaining the current situation, the species is not threatened extinction.
It is forbidden to catch banana-eaters due to their small numbers, but additional measures for their protection are not yet required. Much more than in nature, these lizards now live in captivity, because after the reopening they began to be actively bred as pets.
There are fewer threats to banana-eaters in orphanages, and they feel good in terrariums and reproduce effectively in them, so that over two decades of breeding, the number of these animals in captivity has become considerable. Now there is no need to catch lizards living in nature for breeding.
An interesting fact: 2-3 weeks after acquiring a pet, you should disturb as little as possible so that it becomes comfortable. At first, you should not take it in your hands at all, then you can start taking it for a while. A bananoe can bite, but it doesn’t hurt.
In nature, ciliated banana-eaters are found only in New Caledonia, but in captivity they are successfully bred, so if you wish, you can buy such a pet. Bananoe not very sociable, but also not aggressive, and lizard lovers will be interested to watch his life, you just need to provide him with suitable conditions.