Like other fan-footed geckos, Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko (Ptyodactylus ragazzi) is most notable for its expanded, flared toe tips, which have a fan-like arrangement of scales (3) (4). Geckos are outstanding climbers, and the bottom of each toe has specialised scales, known as ‘scansors’, made up of thousands of branched, hair-like projections, or ‘setae’. The combined surface area of these structures enables the gecko to cling to almost any surface (3) (5).
Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko has a grey body with patches of brown on the back. However, the colour and patterning of this species differs between males and females. Usually, the male Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is larger and stockier than the female, but the female has more pronounced patterning than the male (6). In some parts of its range, Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is reported to have a more creamy-orange body with large grey blotches, grey spots on the head, and a creamy-orange tail (7).
Like other geckos, Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko has soft skin, small scales, a relatively flattened body and a large head (3) (5) with a wide snout (6). The eyes lack eyelids, and instead are covered by a transparent ‘spectacle’. Geckos cannot blink, and instead have to lick their eyes to keep them clean and moist (3) (5) (8).
Many geckos use calls to communicate with each other (3) (5). As in related Ptyodactylus species, male Ragazzi’s fan-footed geckos may be particularly vocal (3).
- Ptyodactylus hasselquistii ragazzii, Ptyodactylus hasselquistii togoensis, Ptyodactylus hasselquistii var. ragazzii, Ptyodactylus hasselquistii var. togensis.
- Total length: up to 20 cm (2)
- Snout-vent length: 9.6 cm (2)
Ragazzi's fan-footed gecko biology
Little specific information is available on the biology of Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko. However, like many other geckos it is an excellent climber, and as it is able to leap and climb so well it is not often sighted on the ground (2). This species is likely to be active at night (5) (7) and to feed on insects and other small invertebrates (5) (9).
Although Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is reported to show territorial behaviour (6), other species of Ptyodactylus often live in groups (3) and lay their eggs at communal sites (3) (5). Two eggs are usually laid at a time (3) (5), either in gaps in the rock or under rocky overhangs (3).
Ragazzi's fan-footed gecko range
Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is widespread across northern parts of Africa, from Algeria, Libya and Egypt in the north, to Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia in the south. Its range extends west as far as Mauritania (1).
Species with a similar range
Ragazzi's fan-footed gecko habitat
Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is reported to live on rocks or in rocky crevices in savanna. It may also inhabit buildings (2) (4).
Species found in a similar habitat
Ragazzi's fan-footed gecko status
Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko has yet to be classified by the IUCN.
Ragazzi's fan-footed gecko threats
Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is not currently known to be facing any major threats. In areas where the climate and habitat are suitable for this species, its populations may reach quite high numbers (6).
Although its global conservation status has not yet been assessed, Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko has been classified as Least Concern (LC) in the Mediterranean region according to IUCN Red List criteria (10).
There are not known to be any specific conservation measures currently in place for this small reptile, but in Egypt Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko is reported to occur in the Elba Protected Area, which holds a number of species that are not found in other parts of Egypt (11).
Find out more
Find out more about Ragazzi’s fan-footed gecko and other reptiles:
More information on reptile conservation:
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- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
- Describes an animal, a pair of animals or a colony that occupies and defends an area.
The Reptile Database (June, 2012)
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Hellyer, P. and Aspinall, S. (2005) The Emirates: A Natural History. Trident Press Limited, London.
Bauer, A.M., Tchibozo, S., Pauwels, O.S.G. and Lenglet, G. (2006) A review of the gekkotan lizards of Bénin, with the description of a new species of Hemidactylus (Squamata: Gekkonidae). Zootaxa, 1242: 1-20.
Halliday, T. and Adler, K. (2002) The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Baha El Din, S. (2006) A Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Egypt. American University in Cairo Press, Cairo.
de la Riva, I. and Padial, J.M. (2008) First record of the genus Ptyodactylus GOLDFUSS, 1820 (Sauria: Gekkonidae) for Mauritania (West Africa). Salamandra, 44(1): 51-53.
Bellairs, A.A. and Attridge, J. (1975) Reptiles. Hutchinson University Library, London.
Zug, G.R., Vitt, L.J. and Caldwell, J.P. (2001) Herpetology: An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Second Edition. Academic Press, San Diego, California.
Cox, N., Chanson, J. and Stuart, S. (2006) The Status and Distribution of Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mediterranean Basin. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. Available at:
Gabel Elba Protected Area - Red Sea Parks Development Association (March, 2011)