NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
Leachies require a lot of work to be able to get them to the point where they tolerate handling well. If you are not willing to put the work in, this animal may not be for you. Leachies are also notorious for being aggressive, especially when in their enclosure. If you are not prepared to work with an animal that may be aggressive, this is NOT the pet for you. Leachianus Henkeli are known to tolerate handling much better then Leachianus Leachianus, however there are exceptions to every rule.
Rhacodactylus Leachianus are the largest of the entire Rhac genus, and are currently the largest gecko in the world. Pure Rhacodactylus Leachianus have been documented to get as large as 17 inches total length, and up to 400 grams. Leachianus Henkeli get quite large as well, but not nearly as large. Most Leachianus Henkeli get to about 12 inches total length, however some locales can be smaller and only reach 10-11 inches total length. The longest living "Leachie" was documented at 30 years old!
The largest of the Leachies are found on Grand Terre (Mainland) all throughout the island in different locations. There are 8 other islands surrounding Grand Terre that house different, Isle specific Leachies. There are currently 13 different variations of Leachies in captivity right now. This number does not include crosses.
Currently estimated at 15-20 years; however there is speculation and some documentation that they can live longer.
Most Leachies are not very fond of insects, so Crested Gecko Diet is the perfect diet to feed them. You can always offer live prey once a week dusted with Calcium Plus ICB, however do not be alarmed if your Leachie does not show any interest. Feed your Leachie at least 3-4 times a week. Create a schedule where on night 1 food is offered, night 2 is skipped, night 3 the old food is replaced with the new food. DO NOT EVER feed your Leachie a diet consisting of baby food. Baby food is one of the leading causes of Metabolic Bone disease in the Rhacodactylus genus. Baby food is not a healthy or balanced diet for your animal.
Hatchling and Juvenile Leachies should be housed in small shoe-box style enclosures on paper towel with pieces of cork bark and a lot of foliage for cover. Leachies can be very finicky with housing, so be sure to adequately decorate the enclosure. A Leachie that feels safe is a happy Leachie and you should not have any problems with feeding. If your Leachie is not eating, it is very likely that your husbandry is incorrect and your Leachie does not feel safe. Keep your Leachie in the shoe-box style enclosure until it is 50 grams.
After that, you can upgrade your Leachie to something a little bit bigger. Do not go too big too fast though. Leachies stress very easily when being re-housed and having their tank re-arranged, too large of an enclosure can make them go off food.
DO NOT EVER HOUSE LEACHIES TOGETHER UNLESS FOR BREEDING PURPOSES.
Leachies are known for being very cannibalistic; do not risk housing animals together as fatalities or severely wounded animals are the results. I usually house adult Leachies individually in 18x18x24 size enclosures. If your Leachie is a pure Leachianus, a 24x24x24 size Exo-terra would be ideal as they get larger than the Henkeli.
Young Leachies can be very nervous and skittish. Slow. Movement and gentle handling will usually encourage them to calm down, and after some time they will usually become very calm and relaxed.
Leachies are known for being vocal. Whether it is a grunt, coo, bark, whistle, cluck or squeak, your Leachie is usually trying to tell you something. Once you get to know your animal, you will learn what each noise means. For instance, when my girls do not want to be handled anymore they will usually whistle and that cues me to place them back in their enclosure.
Males have well pronounced hemi penile bulges; before these bulges develop they will have 6-8 rows of pre-anal pores with black dimples in each of them. Females will also have a very “pouch” like vent area which can make sexing Leachies very difficult. The best way to sex a Leachie is to look for pores, and wait until they reach sexual maturity. Leachianus Henkeli can take up to 3 years to reach sexual maturity, and Leachianus Leachianus can take as long as 5 years to reach sexual maturity.
Leachies can develop MBD (Metabolic Bone Disease) if not properly supplemented with Calcium and Calcium D3. Not enough is usually the cause of MBD, if you notice the spine kinking, kinks in the tail, swollen limbs, under bites, appendages bending in ways they shouldn't be bending, and bent toes are all signs of MBD. Another leading cause of MBD in Rhacodactylus Geckos is people who insist on feeding baby food to their Geckos. Please, do not EVER feed your Geckos baby food. Baby food was not meant for Geckos, it was meant for human babies. Baby food is high in sugars and preservatives, and does not provide an appropriate nutritional balance for your Gecko. MBD can be stopped and even in some ways corrected depending on the age of the gecko and the extent of the damage.
These Geckos do not require any additional lighting because they are nocturnal. However, if you feel the need to use a UVB light, or if you are using a live planted enclosure it won’t hurt them, just ensure that the light doesn't produce too much heat. Also ensure that there is ambient room lighting in the room the Gecko is located in, in order to promote a proper photo-period.
Leachies should be kept on paper towel/blue shop towels until they are at least 50 grams, and be offered a moist hide that has a mixture of peat moss/coco-fibre. Leachies can be very clumsy hunters when they are young if you are offering live prey, so having a dirt substrate can be a risk of impaction. Once they are larger and in a final enclosure they can be switched over to a substrate like eco-earth/coco-fiber. The substrate should be kept damp, not soaking wet. Leachies can also develop a form of rot on their stomach if they spend all their time laying on soaking wet substrate, or if the humidity is too high. Be sure that you are able to maintain humidity, but also be sure that you have enough ventilation that allows a dry out period between misting. Substrates to avoid are; Sand of ANY sort, bark chunks, "jungle mix" as it has small and large bark chunks mixed in with coco-fiber that the Gecko can accidentally ingest. Also avoid any dirt like substrates that have fertilizers in them as fertilizer is toxic to Geckos.
Leachies can be kept at room temperatures as cool as 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night time and as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day time. However it is not recommended to keep them consistently at such high temperatures of 80, and such low temperatures of 65, in my experiences they are best kept at room temperature around 72-75. It is best not to exceed temperatures above 85 for extended periods of time because they will go into hyperthermic shock which can lead to death.
Leachies require moderate to high humidity, between 55-70%. If there are problems with humidity it will lead to difficulty in shedding, as well as respiratory infections. It is imperative that they shed completely, especially around the toes and tail tip so there is no build up of excess skin because this can be painful for them and even result in the loss of toes due to lack of blood flow. The best way to maintain proper humidity is to mist twice a day. Do one heavy misting at night time, as this is when they are the most active, and one lighter misting in the morning before heading off to work/school. It is important that the enclosure dries out during the day before the next misting. Too much humidity and moisture is can be just as harmful as not enough.