The Mossy Prehensile Tail Gecko, commonly known as the chahoua, is native to New Caledonia. There are two locales, the Mainland and the Pine Isle. The Pine Isle is more colorful, while the Mainland is larger and slightly duller. The Chahoua is the second largest Rhacodactylus gecko, smaller than only Rhacodactylus leachianus. They are most infamous for their propensity to roll into a ball when they are threatened. This large, gentle gecko species makes a good pet for those with some previous reptile experience. While very hardy they are slightly less durable than their cousins the Crested Gecko and Gargoyle Gecko. They are also harder to breed than some of the other Rhacodactylus geckos. All in all, however, they are an interesting species which, while relatively easy in their care, is still a challenge for even experienced keepers.
Average Size: Variable, up to 10 inches.
Life Span: Well over 15 years if properly cared for.
Substrate: Paper towels or cage liners are by far the easiest substrate to use, though not very aesthetically pleasing. If males and females are housed together with the intent of breeding they will make finding the eggs much simpler, however. For a more pleasing set up cocofiber can be used as a substrate and planted nicely. Caution must be used if feeding insects on cocofiber however, as the geckos may ingest it when feeding. Reptile barks can also provide a nice substrate, though they carry the same risk of ingestion. NEVER use pine/ cedar chips intended for small mammals as they can make your gecko very, very ill.
Habitat: Chahouas love their vertical space. Bamboo poles, branches and vertically placed cork flats will make your geckos very happy. They are also especially fond of plants, such as Mother- in Law Plants, Pothos (which is extremely hardy) and anything else hardy enough to support their weight, both live and fake. The more hiding places that you give your gecko the less stressed it will be, and consequently healthier. Cork curls also make excellent hides and can be siliconed in place on the sides of the enclosure. In a more sterile enclosure egg crates can be used to provide many hiding places at relatively low cost and thrown away when soiled.
Grooming and Hygiene: Chahouas require very little actual grooming. Most important is to maintain adequate humidity to prevent retained sheds. In the case of a retained shed the gecko can be carefully soaked in warm water, or placed in a small plastic container (with holes punched) with damp paper towels for 30 minutes twice daily until the shed is removed. Always wash your hands before and after touching your gecko or habitat contents to help prevent Salmonella and other infectious diseases