Another native of the island of New Caledonia, chahouas can be kept in pretty much the same conditions as crested geckos with the exception of requiring a slightly larger enclosure, as these are slightly larger geckos than crested geckos. There are currently 2 main varieties of chahouas available, "Mainlands" and "Pine Islands". The Pine Island variety tends to grow somewhat larger than the Mainland variety. Both varieties are highly variable in color and pattern, but tend to be primarily colored in hues of green, brown, and grey. Some have been selectively bred to show enhanced red coloration, but for the most part, there are not the many "morphs" in chahouas that are seen in crested geckos. These geckos are usually referred to by their scientific name, but may also be referred to as "mossy geckos" or "prehensile tailed geckos". They have the most fully prehensile tail of all the Rhacodactylus, hence the common name. There is also some controversy as to the correct pronunciation of the scientific name for this gecko. Most often you hear a soft "ch" used as in "chewy". However, in most other scientific names, the "ch" is pronounced as a hard "k" sound such as "Chondrodactylus". Whatever you call them, these are a wonderful addition to a collection and are always in high demand.
Rhacodactylus chahoua are native to New Caledonia, a chain of remote islands found quite some distance from the East coast of Australia. This is a "subtropical" climate with temperatures moderated by the surrounding ocean waters as well as the trade winds. There are not large variations in seasonal temperatures. New Caledonia sometimes refers to itself as "the land of eternal spring". The cool season is from April to August, with the hottest period being from September to March. The majority of the rainfall occurs between January and March. These geckos have generally been found in forested areas on the islands. They are arboreal, spending most of their time off the ground in the lower shrubbery of the forest where they seek out a moist and cool crevice or cranny during the daylight hours. Like all the Rhacodactylus, they are nocturnal, emerging at night to feed and mate. They are not usually found in the upper canopy of the forest.
Coming from the same climate as crested geckoss, these geckos can be kept in much the same way. They generally do well at normal room temperatures, so additional heating or lighting is not required. The ambient temperatures in my gecko room generally range from 70º F - 80º F, with a nighttime drop in temperatures of about 5º. Winter temperatures tend to run slightly cooler. Being an arboreal species, vertical space is more important for this gecko than floor space. I provide a variety of branches and vines, as well as artificial foliage in the enclosure. I use a removable, washable shelf liner material for a substrate to encourage the female to lay eggs in a provided laying box which contains slightly moist peat moss. A naturalistic, planted tank would also work well and be very attractive, but locating eggs would become more difficult. I mist these geckos once a day in the summer time and sometimes twice a day during the drier winter months. I also keep a water dish constantly available, although I am more likely to see the geckos licking droplets after misting than to see them use the water dish. Like many of the native geckos of New Caledonia, these geckos eat a diet that includes both insects and plant materials. I feed Repashy crested gecko diet (CGD) 2 - 3 times a week as well as dusted insects a couple of times a week. Crickets and roaches are both eagerly accepted. In fact, I have found these geckos to be more aggressive insect eaters than most of my other Rhacodactylus geckos. Like crested geckos, males can be distinguished from females by a noticeable hemipenal bulge at the base of the tail. Males also show the presence of pre-anal pores which often allows accurate sex determination significantly before a bulge is visually apparent. The use of a lighted magnifying loupe makes it much easier to determine the presence of pores. Until one has extensive experience "loupe sexing" animals, it is fairly common to make mistakes. It is much easier to conclusively determine a male based on the presence of pores than it is to conclusively determine a female based on a lack of pores. The eggs have a much more calcified shell than crested gecko eggs. Eggs can be incubated much like crested gecko eggs. They are placed on moist Superhatch and incubated at room temperature (70 - 80ºF).