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Scientific Name: Gekko gecko
Common Names: Tokay Gecko
Geographic Range: Southeast and East Asia
Life Span: Up to 10 Years
Conservation Status: No Special Status
Top 10 List
1. Tokay Geckos can be a brilliant blue with red spots.
Tokays are geckos that are cylindrical, squat, and have somewhat flat bodies with a larger head. Their pupils have the shape of a vertical slit, and there are remains of a rudimentary third eye on the top of their head. Their ears are visible as small holes on the sides of their head, and if you look through them you can actually see to the other side of their head!
Tokays have a soft granular skin that can range from a soft grey to a blue colour. They have several red, brown, and sometimes even black spots that can cover their entire body. They are also able to lighten or darken their skin colour in order to better blend in to their surroundings. Male Tokays tend to be larger and brighter than their female counterparts, but on average Tokay geckos grow to be around 14 inches (35 cm) long.
2. Tokay geckos live in a variety of habitats across Southeast and East Asia.
Tokay Geckos are found naturally throughout Southeast and East Asia. Due to being released because of their popularity in the pet trade they have also established themselves in areas such as Hawaii and Florida, and are considered pests in places such as Belize, Martinique, and the Lesser Antilles.
They are arboreal geckos that live in various habitats such as rainforests, rock crevices, and even man-made environments which of course include a variety of microhabitats. Due to their habit of living in man-made areas such as houses, some have developed mutualistic relationships with people. The Tokay Gecko will eat undesirable insects and other preys, and in turn the Tokay can take shelter within the house walls. Black-spotted Tokays are more often found in rocky areas, and red-spotted Tokays are more often found in lowland and submontane rainforests.
3. Tokay Geckos mainly eat invertebrates.
The main diet of the Tokay gecko is comprised of mainly invertebrates such as moths, locusts, grasshoppers, beetles, cockroaches, termites, crickets, mosquitos, and spiders. They may also occasionally consume small animals such as small rats, mice, and snakes. While Tokay Geckos are more likely to sit and wait for prey to go past them, they still do maintain a small foraging area of their own. As described earlier, Tokay Geckos are fairly large geckos, and can consume quite a large amount of food.
4. Tokay Geckos babies are even more aggressive than the adults.
Breeding season for the Tokay Gecko is around 4 to 6 months long. The male geckos will use their call to attract a female to mate with. The geckos will mate once per month, and the female will lay eggs about once a month during breeding season. Females will lay her eggs by attaching them to a solid foundation, and will usually guard her eggs until they have hatched, after which they are on their own. The eggs are oval in shape and can be anywhere from 3 to 45 mm long. These eggs will then hatch anywhere from 2 to 6 months later. When they hatch, the hatchling geckos are around 2 to 3 inches in length, and will mature after 1 year. The hatchlings are even more aggressive than the adults, due to the fact that they are so tiny.
5. Tokay Geckos can communicate using loud calls.
Tokay geckos communicate vocally, and very loudly. The sounds they make can often sound like “token”, “gekk-gekk” or “poo-kay” which have contributed to their common name, the Tokay Gecko, and even their scientific name “Gekko Gecko”. They will normally call during breeding season to find a mate, or they will hiss and croak as a warning if they have been frightened or disturbed.
6. Tokay Geckos are popular in the pet trade.
Despite the Tokays aggression they are still popular pets in the exotic pet trade, most likely due to their larger size and gorgeous colouration. Their bites are hard and fast and can cause a lot of pain to the person who was bitten. However, with a lot of time and effort they can be tamed down to be a bit more calm. They are described as intelligent by many keepers, therefor needing an enriching environment to live in while in captivity.
7. Tokay Geckos have two subspecies.
Tokay geckos have two subspecies that are recognized. The first subspecies is the Gekko Gecko Gecko which is found in Asia in the Northeastern India to Eastern India. The second subspecies is the Gecko Gekko Azhari which is found only in Bangladesh.
8. Tokay Geckoes are poached for various reasons.
In various parts of Asia Tokay Geckos are poached for medicinal trades. The Tokay Gecko is used as a traditional Chinese medicine known as Ge Jie. The Tokay is believed to nourish kidneys and lungs, however there is absolutely no scientific evidence proving this true, and it is very likely to be false. Due to the fact that they are sought after in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and others their population is declining because of the indiscriminate hunting. Some merchants will even disfigure other larger lizards such as monitors to look like giant Tokay geckos.
9. Tokay Geckos are nocturnal.
Tokays are nocturnal geckos, and spend their nights awake and looking for food. They are aggressive and territorial geckos, with the males being the most territorial. As solitary geckos, tokays will only come together for breeding season, in order to produce baby geckos.
10. Tokay Geckos can come in various morphs.
Tokay geckos are available in the pet trade with various cool morphs. These morphs are available in colours such as patternless, calico, powder blue, and more!
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