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This has to be the most delicate time for a Fat Tail. Once you get them to eat on their own, you are pretty much home free. Hatchlings are easily stressed out, so for the first month of its life, don't handle them.

First, lets talk about your setup. Each hatchling needs to have it's own enclosure. Putting them together might cause them to be stressed and hurt their chances of survival. Some people have plastic shoeboxes set up for their hatchlings. This is the best setup to minimize stressing out the gecko because they can't see anything but the walls around them. A healthy hatchling feels safe in its surroundings. If they can see you walking around the room, it could freak them out.

Now, I am someone who likes to look at my geckos, so I have 2&1/2 gallon sized vivariums for each of my hatchlings. I place a lizard mat down on the floor and cover it with a paper towel. This is to make sure that the young gecko's digestive system doesn't get blocked with substrate and possibly killing the hatchling. Also, the paper towel minimizes clean up chores. I also have a UTH (Under the Tank Heater) on one end of the vivarium. I supply the gecko with a small hide box (on the cool side of the vivarium), an upside down 1 gallon milk jug cap (the push on kind for drinking water), and a few smooth rocks (on the warm side of the vivarium) to hang out on. The milk cap is small enough to make sure that the gecko doesn't fall in the water supply and drown. I mist the enclosure down daily to keep the humidity level up. This will help them through their first sheds.

When a hatchling is born, they will not start eating until after their first shed. It can be 3 - 7 days after they hatch before this happens. In the meantime, keep the enclosure at a temp of 85 - 90 degrees F, mist down the enclosure daily, and keep the water in the milk cap fresh. Once they shed, begin offering 1 or 2 small vitamin dipped crickets in the evening. "Small" meaning no bigger than the length and half the width of the hatchling's head. Check the enclosure in the morning to see if the crickets are gone. If they are, then offer 2 - 3 crickets that next evening. As long as they eat them, offer more crickets each night until you start seeing crickets in the morning. Don't worry if they don't eat the same night when they shed. It could take them a day or two to get hungry.

Once they start eating, you are pretty much out of the "Danger Zone". When two months have passed, you can consider the fat tail a juvenile and care for them as described in the next section.

Juveniles and Adults are a lot easier to care for. They can live up to 25 years if you follow these simple steps. The setup is like the one I listed above with only a few differences. Your vivarium doesn't have to look pretty to be functional. I have my vivarium in a location where everyone can see it, so I place greenery and naturalistic stuff to make it look nice, but it isn't necessary.

The vivarium needs to be larger. I have a 35 gallon vivarium setup for my five females, a 10 gallon for my male. If I were to house all nine of my geckos together, I would need a 60 gallon or larger vivarium.

With a larger vivarium, you need enough UTH's to keep the enclosure at 85-90 degrees F on the warm side. I place down a lizard mat on the floor of the vivarium to keep the geckos from digging in the substrate and laying right on top of the UTH (this could burn them). I then lay down two inches of Bed-A-Beast or similar substrate. I have tried sand, Calcisand, and other dry substrates, but I have found that Bed-A-Beast keeps my geckos the happiest. I change out the substrate once every two months. For basic maintenance, just scoop up the gecko's droppings with a spoon and throw it away every two days. I supply them multiple hide boxes throughout the enclosure, some are dry and some have moist vermiculite (egg laying chamber) in them to allow the gecko a choice of where to hang out. I have rocks, fake plants, and a nice looking large water bowl (Keep the water nice, fresh, and free of waste). I mist down the enclosure once or twice a week to keep the humidity up, so they will be able to shed properly.

I feed my fat tails everyday crickets that have been feeding on vitamin enriched cricket food. They eat about 6 - 7 large crickets each. They do not have to be fed that often, but I do it to keep them healthy during breeding season. Remember to have crickets that are no bigger than the length and half the width of the gecko's head. I use The Cricket Corral to store the crickets I feed my geckos. For those who don't want to touch crickets, this is the best thing to use. Once a week I feed them pinkies or mealworms. Some fat tails like pinkies and mealworms and others don't. Just remember that crickets need to be their main diet.

These are just the basics of what I do for my fat tails. If you have a specific question regarding something I didn't cover, please E-Mail me and I will get back to you.

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