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Index Tokay Geckos

Tokay Geckos

General Info

Tokay Geckos, which are native to southeastern Asia, are considered the most common of all geckos (except, of course, for the famous Geico Gecko). Their color varies from pale gray with bluish spots to dark gray with reddish spots. Many also have blue or green tints, with gray spots. They can reach up to 12" long, and are voracious insectivores.

These fascinating lizards are reputed to have sticky pads on their feet which allow them to scale even sheer glass walls. In actual fact, their toe pads are composed of tiny, microscopic filaments which find equally tiny imperfections in any surface--even glass.

Despite their colorful appearance, they are the least lovable of all geckos, possessing a nasty temperament that has earned them the hilarious but well-earned nickname of "The F_ck You Lizard." They will cheerfully bite the hand that cleans their tank or feeds them, for no better reason than it's close enough for then to nip. And while their bite is generally not that painful, they will hang on until it suits them to let go. Bites that become infected can stay irritated for several days.

While tokays can often become accustomed to human handling, they will probably always take a token bite of the offending hand, even if they settle down immediately afterwards. Be patient with your tokay. Remember--to it, you are a slathering monster with an equally voracious appetite. If it feels the need to bite, often it's only in perceived self-defense.

Tokays are egg-layers, and will attach 2 or 3 sticky eggs to rocky crevices, eaves of a house, or any other available surface several times a year. The young incubate for 2 - 6 months, depending on the ambient climate, and are 2 - 3" long at hatching.

Vocalization

Tokays are so-named because of their distinctive, rather booming "TO-kay! TO-kay!" bark. They also emit a raspy trilling sound. If they are hungry, they may emit a sound somewhere between the trill and the bark. It is believed that the bark signals mating interest, while the trilling is an angry sound, but this has not been scientifically confirmed to my knowledge.

Captive Environment

Tokays are nocturnal, and tend to hide in any available foliage during the day. Like a rude child, they are more often heard than seen. A woodland setting (orchid bark from a nursery makes an excellent substrate) planted with small potted plants or leafy silk branches, provides ample hiding places and helps keep up the humidity. A proper tank should be at least 40 gallons, or (for the popular new hanging web cages) at least 3' high and 1' wide to allow enough room for the gecko to grow.

Tokays require a temperature range of 75 - 90º during the day, and 70 - 80º at night. Being largely nocturnal, they are not as dependent on a UVB-producing lamp as many other reptiles. A "cool" (fluorescent) UVA/UVB bulb should be used, rather than a heat-emitting UVA/UVB bulb...unless the enclosure is extremely large, in which case the extra heat will be necessary.

Captive Diet

Tokays eat primarily insects. In fact, in the wild, they deliberately live near human habitation to take advantage of increased insect populations. Many Asian communities encourage the proliferation of these hungry lizards--and live in extremely bug-free homes. Tokays should be fed a variety of gut-loaded crickets and superworms, moths, roaches, and Zoophobas.

Water

Like many lizards, tokays generally will not drink out of a bowl of water. If you don't have the time to spray their tank with water every evening, set up a series of vines and an overhead dripper. They will drink moisture off the leaves as it drips down the tank.

Sources

Orange spotted blue Tokay Gecko grinning at the camera Orange-spotted brown Tokay Gecko clinging to wood perch Orange-spotted blue Tokay Gecko clinging to stucco wall Orange-spotted blue Tokay Gecko sitting on fresh sphagnum moss Orange and blue spotted green Tokay Gecko hissing at the camera
Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko