Uroplatus sikorae

Least Concern

Least Concern

6 to 8 in (15-20 cm) from nose to base of tail

5-10 years


Insects, arachnids, snails, slugs


Habitat Loss


Like most geckos, leaf-tailed geckos do not have eyelids. Instead, they use their tongue to keep their eyes clean.

These geckos can walk up vertical surfaces, thanks to millions of microscopic “hairs” on their toe pads called setae. They also have small claws that help them cling to branches, even upside down on the underside of a branch.

They have some of the most perfect camouflage of all reptile species, and can mimic lichen, moss, bark, and leaves.

Mossy leaf-tailed geckos have incredible night vision. They can see about 350 times better than humans in total darkness and can see colors at night.


Now you DON’T see me! Mossy leaf-tailed geckos are perfectly camouflaged to blend into their environment. Their name refers to the moss-like textures, patterns, and colors of their skin, as well as a tail that is flattened and, in fact, shaped like a leaf. These lizards are typically shades of green, tan, brown, and gray, and when they lay flat against a branch, they look just like they are part of the moss or lichen. To complete the illusion, these geckos have fringed flaps of skin along their body, limbs, and lower jaw that conceal their outline and make them practically invisible. They even have some ability to change their skin colors to match what they’re sitting on!



Well adapted to arboreal life, mossy leaf-tailed geckos rely on their camouflage as they dwell among the trees. They spend most of the daylight hours being inconspicuous, resting head down on branches and tree trunks. At night, they venture from their resting spot and go off in search of prey. They are active hunters, relying on the shadows and darkness to remain unnoticed as they approach their target. They then snatch it up in their jaws and use their tongue to help swallow it.

©Marius Berger

Like other geckos, they have large eyes without eyelids. They keep them clean and moist by licking them with their tongue. As with many creatures of the night, their pupils are elliptical, allowing them to expand wider and let in more light even when it’s dark.

Leaf-tailed geckos are usually quiet. However, if they feel threatened, they can make a screaming, shrieking sound that is quite unnerving!

Habitat Use

Mossy leaf-tailed geckos inhabit mid-elevation rainforest and are most active in the forest understory. They can tolerate some degree of habitat degradation, but they rely on trees and cannot survive in deforested areas.

©Nick Block

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Leaf-tailed geckos are typically solitary and come together only to mate, usually during the rainy season. The female lays two to four spherical eggs under leaves on the forest floor or hidden within plants to protect them. The eggs take about 90 days to hatch. The hatchlings are fully formed when they come out of the egg, and they are on their own to start hunting food.

Conservation and Threats

Mossy leaf-tailed geckos are endemic to Madagascar. Habitat destruction and deforestation are their primary threats, as well as collection for illegal wildlife trade. They are currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species, but their populations are decreasing, and they are being captured and sold at alarming rates for the international pet trade. As a result, mossy leaf-tailed geckos are listed by CITES as an Appendix 2 protected animal.