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Bavayia | Eurydactylodes Agricolae | Phyllurus Platurus | Rhacodactylus Auriculatus | Rhacodactylus Ciliatus

     
  Bavayia

Bavayia robusta
The number of Bavayia in captivity is relatively low today. Most species of Bavayia are unobtainable, besides B. montana, B. geitaina, B. cyclura, B. robusta, and B. sp (referred to by some, B. sauvagii). The species above are still relatively hard to obtain. The most common of those five to get are B. cyclura and B. robusta. All the Bavayia available today can be kept identically so this is a care sheet aimed at Bavayia in general.

Distribution: Bavayia are found on New Caledonia and Loyalty Islands usually found on small shrubs, termite mounds, leaf litter, and in decaying wood.

Description: The genus of Bavayia consists of 12 species: B. crassicollis, B. cyclura, B. madjo, B. exsuccida, B. geitaina, B. purcell, B.montana, B. ornata, B. robusta, B. sauvagii, B. validiclavis and B. septuiclavis. Although recent research has sparked a lot of excitement in this genus, it could be expected as many as 40 new species be added to the genus Bavayia. All species share the same basic coloration, but have a slight differences in pattern and size. The largest members of this Genus are B. crassicollis (17cm.), B. madjo (16cm.), B. robusta (16cm.), and B. montana (15cm.). The smallest members are B. exsuccida (9cm.), B. pulchella (9cm.), and B. validiclavis (9cm.). The coloration found on Bavayia differentiates from shades of brown, yellow, orange, green, black, and cream. The bodies and limbs are thick with some species more flattened and others more rounded. The tails are round and long and are semi-prehensile. This species will drop there tails and regenerated tails are shorty and not as pretty as the original. The feet are equipped with well developed lamellae, allowing Bavayia to climb up any surface very quickly. Bavayia's physical structure allows them run through leaf litter in their natural habitat.

Temperatue/Humidity: Like other New Caledonian geckos these geckos need to be kept at cooler temperatures with high humidity. No heat source is needed, however I use UV lights on timers placed on top of the screen lid to create a day/night cycle. The temperature during the day is 76-81F. At night, the temperature drops down in the low 70's to the high 60's. To stimulate a winter "cooling" period, I reduce the day light hours to 12 hours, as well as reducing feeding, and misting for 2-3 months. This seems to be enough to stop breeding and give the geckos a chance to rest. Creating high humidity, with adequate ventilation is fairly easy. On the sides of the cage are ventilation holes and a screened top. These simple features will allow enough air flow for misting the cage one to three times a day of moderately misting the cage. The cage should be allowed to dry out before the next misting. Not letting the cage dry out will allow molds, mushrooms, and fungus to grow then serious health issues may arise so play around with your misting schedule and see what works best for you.

Bavayia geitana
Feeding: I feed my Bavayia very similarly to the Rhacodactylus and Eurydactalodes. Bavayia in nature are opportunistic feeders so they will basically anything you put in there. I feed mine every other day alternating between CGD, Clarks Diet, Crickets, and occasionally roaches. They seem to be more insectivorous so crickets should make up the better part of their diet. I dust all crickets/roaches in a 50/50 mix of Miner-all Calcium powder and Rep-Cal Herptivite. I feed my adults ¼ inch crickets while babies get fed 1 week old crickets. Bavayia are aggressive eaters so make sure to feed enough that everyone gets fed well. It is also very important females get fed well as breeding is very hard on them. The geckos will tell you when you are not supplementing well enough as their tails will kink up, but if you just step up your supplementing their tails will straighten back out.

Housing: Bavayia can be done elaborately or simplistically, as long as a few critical husbandry needs are met. I house my breeding pairs and trios in cages mearuring 12x12x16 (inches). Smaller cages seem to be better than too large of cages. Bavayia like to feel secure in their enclosures so make sure to have a fair number of hiding spots. I use things such as hollow bamboo, terra cotta dishes, cork bark, vines, drift wood, Ficus Trees, and Pothos vines. Given plenty of hideouts Bavayia will be more secure and chances of seeing them are higher. My most friendly animals are my geitaina while others like the robusta and cyclura seem to always be hiding. I have done a lot of testing with different substrates and find that paper towel, cypress mulch, peat moss, and coco fiber are all suitable though, paper towel and cypress mulch may pose problems with females laying eggs on them and eggs drying out. All the above substrates also seem to keep up the humidity well which is crucial in keeping Bavayia. Paper towel is the best substrate for juveniles as long as you watch humidity as it prevents impaction. Hatchlings and small juveniles do best in small 4 oz. and 6 oz. deli cups. As soon as girth increases on juveniles, which is around four-six months, they can be moved into larger cages, measuring 10" H x 6" D x 5" W. They can be kept in this size cage until they are placed in breeding groups. Larger species of Bavayia like robusta and montana should be in the deli cups as mentioned earlier, but may need to be moved into larger individual cages as they become sub-adults. I have raised some juvenile undescribed Bavayia and not had any problems though some Bavayia can be aggressive; watching for these signs can prevent death or loss of limbs. The only difference in keeping the animals single and in groups is that you will need to provide additional hide spots.

Breeding: Bavayia are not difficult to breed. Prior to breeding I cool my Bavayia just like with the Rhacodactylus. After a cool down period I raise temps back to normal and start feeding and misting as usual. Only breed animals that are nice and robust and relatively plump, as breeding take a lot out of the animals especially females. You will start to notice the geckos interacting with each other more as well as hear lots of chips, barks, and clicks. About a month or so after you introduce the male with the female you should be able to see eggs through her underbelly. Nest boxes can be a 6 oz. deli cup filled with coco fiber or peat moss. I have done a lot of testing with nest boxes and have not had much luck with them. My Bavayia robusta and cyclura always seem to lay under a flower pot I have in the cage, my Bavayia geitaina sometimes use their nest box, but sometimes lay in random spots around the terrarium. I have come to the conclusion it is best just to use peat moss/coco fiber substrate that way you don't have to worry about them laying in hidden places and not being able to get to the eggs in time. The less you disturb the enclosure the more production you will receive, this is why I recommend a natural substrate as you don‘t want to be searching the cage everyday as this will cause the geckos to stress and stop laying all-together. Usually females will lay 2 eggs about the size of a tic-tac, though sometimes older females or first time breeders will lay 1 egg or infertile eggs. Make sure when you find eggs to keep them facing the same position they were layed in as they might have been sittig there for a while and rolling them will cause them to drown in their own yolk. Some of my females lay up to 6 clutches a year but on average I get about 4-5 clutches.

Incubation: Incubating the eggs is simple, I incubate the eggs just like Rhacodactylus eggs. I use a small airtight gladware container that has about 2 inches of damp (not soaking) Perlite. The incubation period can vary between 50-90 days depending on the temperature. After the hatchling pips the egg, hatchlings will either poke their head out of the egg for a day or crawl right out of the egg. When removing them from the egg box and transferring them into their new cages I check to make sure their yolk sac isn't outside of their body. This isn't a all to common problem for me but has been reported with other breeders, if the hatchling has not absorbed his/her yolk just make sure to use a damp paper towel substrate in her own cage. The second most common problem is hatchling premature geckos, but with some special care they normally bounce back to normal within a few months. Most Bavayia sp. are female heavy so work is now being done to find ways to produce more males.

Conclusion: Bavayia are still quite rare in collections, but they are becoming more popular every year. While I don't think they will ever become as popular as Rhacodactylus due to their small and flighty nature, I do think they will gain popularity with keepers looking to expand their collection of New Caledonian geckos. Overall they are wonderful little geckos and very fun to watch and are fairly easy to keep.
 
 
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