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Category Archives: Geckos

Geckos outside of Bangkok

Several other Gecko species can be found in Thailand outside of Bangkok. They include:

Intermediate Bow-fingered Gecko
Intermediate Bow-fingered Gecko Cyrtodactylus intermedius

Doi Suthep Bent-toed Gecko
Doi Suthep Bent-toed Gecko Cyrtodactylus doisuthep

Flying Gecko
Flying Gecko Ptychozoon lionotum

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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Flat-tailed House Gecko

Hemidactylus platyurus

Flat-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus

Flat-tailed House Gecko found in house in Phra Khanong

Flat-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus on wall

Flat-tailed House Gecko active at night in Pathum Thani Province

Flattail House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus

Flat-tailed House Gecko found on same wall in Pathum Thani Province

Flat-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus foot lamellae

Foot shot of Flat-tailed House Gecko, showing lamellae

Flat-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus tail

Tail shot of Flat-tailed House gecko

Frilly House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus head shot

Head shot of another Flat-tailed House Gecko found in house in Phra Khanong

Flat-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus underbelly

Underbelly of same Flat-tailed House Gecko

Flattail House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus

Flat-tailed House Gecko found on tree in Chiang Mai Province

Juvenile Frilly House Gecko Hemidactylus platyurus

Juvenile Flat-tailed House Gecko found behind board in Ko Samet

Flat-tailed House Geckos Hemidactylus platyurus chasing moth

Flat-tailed House Geckos converging on moth in Vientiane, Laos

English name: Flat-tailed House Gecko
Scientific name: Hemidactylus platyurus
Thai name: Ching-chok Hang Ban

Description: To 14 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 6.9 cm.  An average-to-robust gecko of average length. A noticeable fringe of skin runs along the side of the body. Body coloration is variable, but is most often light grey with dark grey or brown markings. They appear much paler and relatively patternless at night. Both dark and light lines pass through the eye in marked individuals. The tail is very broad and flat, leading to the common name. Tail can be banded, especially in juveniles, and sometimes has a faint rusty fringe. Toes have the characteristic lamellae of house geckos on the underside. Underbelly is usually yellowish.

Similar Species: Spiny-tailed House Gecko has rounder tail with spines and lacks a yellowish underside.
Stump-toed Gecko has a rounder tail and broader toes.

Habitat: Naturally found in forests, but is extremely common in human habitations. Can be found in hotels, restaurants, houses, construction sites, empty lots, rest stops, and resorts. Is usually the most common gecko species on the inside of buildings. Is rarely found under ground cover at night, preferring to hide in trees, behind walls and in roofs. Usually active at night, but will often be seen hunting during the day when indoors. At night they can most easily be found near artificial lighting, where they hunt the insects attracted to the lights.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect and spider populations. Provides food for snakes and Tokay Geckos.

Danger to humans: Poses no danger to humans at all.

Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: Like all house geckos, the Flat-tailed House Gecko has distinctive lamellae. These “lamellae” are thin plates of skin that line up on the underside of the gecko’s toes. The lamellae are covered with incredibly tiny hairs, providing the surface area that allows geckos to cling to vertical surfaces, even ones as smooth as painted walls or glass.

References:
Wikipedia: Flat-tailed House Gecko
Ecology Asia: Flat-tailed Gecko
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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Sri Lankan House Gecko

Hemidactylus parvimaculatus

Sri Lankan House Gecko (Hemidactylus parvimaculatus)

Sri Lankan House Gecko found under concrete in Sathon

Sri Lankan House Gecko Hemidactylus parvimaculatus adult

Sri Lankan House Gecko found under concrete in Phra Khanong

Sri Lankan House Gecko Hemidactylus parvimaculatus head shot

Head shot of Sri Lankan House Gecko

Sri Lankan House Gecko Hemidactylus parvimaculatus tail shot

Tail shot of Sri Lankan House Gecko

Sri Lankan House Gecko Hemidactylus parvimaculatus juvenile

Juvenile Sri Lankan House Gecko found under concrete in Phra Khanong

Sri Lankan House Gecko (Hemidactylus parvimaculatus)

Juvenile Sri Lankan House Gecko found under trash in Lumpani

Sri Lankan House Gecko (Hemidactylus parvimaculatus) showing lamellae

Foot shot of Sri Lankan House Gecko found under concrete in Lumpani, showing lamellae

English name: Sri Lankan House Gecko
Scientific name: Hemidactylus parvimaculatus
Thai name: no Thai name

Description: To 13 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 6.5 cm. A gecko of average length and girth. Body is light grey to tan with dark blotches forming three rows down the back. The head has light and dark lines passing through the eye and mottled dark markings on top. Many tubercles can be seen on the body. Tail has rings of small spines. Individuals that have lost and regrown their tails may have most or all of the spines missing. Toes have the characteristic lamellae of house geckos on the underside. Underbelly is pinkish-cream.

Similar Species: Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko has less regular dark markings and longer, more slender toes that lack the lamellae on the undersides.
Spiny-tailed House Gecko lacks the regular dark markings on back.
Flat-tailed House Gecko has flatter tail with no spines and lacks the dark markings.
Stump-toed Gecko lacks the spines on its tail and has softer skin and broader toes.

Habitat: In its native range it is found in open forest, but in Thailand it is only known from urban areas in Bangkok. I have found it in empty lots, construction sites, and parks, where it is usually found under cover (especially concrete) in areas with bare ground.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect and spider populations. Provides food for snakes and Tokay Geckos. As an introduced species, it is likely competing with other small gecko species for food and space.

Danger to humans: Poses no danger to humans at all.

Conservation status and threats: The Sri Lankan House Gecko is native to Sri Lanka and southern India. The population in Bangkok is introduced and appears to be thriving.

Interesting facts: The Bangkok population of the Sri Lankan House Gecko was discovered by the author in 2010. It was previously unknown in southeast Asia. Continuing surveys found it to be well-established in at least three districts of Bangkok, possibly emanating from the Khlong Toei sea port. It is hypothesized that the gecko may have arrived in the sea port on shipments from the Sri Lanka area and then began reproducing and spreading in Bangkok. It is also possible that it came as a stowaway with refugees from Sri Lanka, many of whom have come to Bangkok seeking asylum from the civil war that was fought there for over 25 years. Healthy populations of Sri Lankan House Geckos have been found in six locations, suggesting that it is well-established in the city. The gecko was likely not discovered until now due to its secretive nature – it is found under heavy cover such as large pieces of concrete, and has not been seen hunting prominently in exposed areas at night like local house geckos.

The Sri Lankan House Gecko is closely related to Brook’s House Gecko (Hemidactylus brookii), which has a wide distribution in Asia and Africa. These geckos were only recently determined by scientists to be different species in 2010.

References:
Geographic Distribution: Hemidactylus parvimaculatus (Sri Lankan House Gecko), in Herpetological Review
South Asia supports a major endemic radiation of Hemidactylus geckos
Morphological variation and taxonomy of Hemidactylus brookii, Hemidactylus angulatus, and similar taxa
Hong Kong University: Hemidactylus brookii
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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Spiny-tailed House Gecko

Hemidactylus frenatus

Spiny-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus

Spiny-tailed House Gecko found on building in Sukhothai Province

Spiny-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus

Spiny-tailed House Gecko found in building in Bang Na

Common House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus

Spiny-tailed Gecko found active at night in Khlong Toei

Spinytail House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus

Spiny-tailed House Gecko found active at night in Khlang Tan Nuea

Spiny-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus head shot

Head shot of Spiny-tailed House Gecko found under log in Rangsit

Common House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus head shot

Head shot of Spiny-tailed House Gecko found active at night in Khlong Toei

Spiny-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus foot lamellae

Foot shot of same gecko, showing lamellae

Juvenile Spiny-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus

Juvenile Spiny-tailed House Gecko found in hotel in Payao Province

Spinytail House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus lost tail

Spiny-tailed House Gecko with dropped tail found in tree in Suan Luang

Spiny-tailed House Gecko Hemidactylus frenatus in tree

Spiny-tailed House Gecko active on tree at night in Bangkapi

English name: Spiny-tailed House Gecko (aka “Common House Gecko” or “Asian House Gecko”)
Scientific name: Hemidactylus frenatus
Thai name: Ching-chok Hang Nam

Description: To 14 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 6.7 cm.  A gecko of average length and girth. Body is usually grey to brown, sometimes with dark markings. At night they can appear a very pale, almost white color. The head has a light line that originates at the nose and passes through the eye, most prominent in darker individuals. Tail has rings of small spines (longest on the sides) which give it its common name. Individuals that have lost and regrown their tails may have most or all of the spines missing. Toes have the characteristic lamellae of house geckos on the underside. Underbelly is cream.

Similar Species: Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko has tubercles on the sides, and longer, more slender toes that lack the lamellae on the undersides.
Sri Lankan House Gecko has more regular dark markings on back.
Flat-tailed House Gecko has flatter tail with no spines and often has a yellowish underside.
Stump-toed Gecko lacks the spines on its tail and has softer skin and broader toes.

Habitat: Naturally found in a wide range of habitats from savanna to rainforest, but now is primarily known by its association with humans. Is common around hotels, houses, in empty lots, rest stops, and resorts. Can be found in hollow trees and bark and under boards and other cover during the day, and is active on trees and walls at night. At night they can most easily be found near artificial lighting, where they hunt the insects attracted to the lights.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect and spider populations. Provides food for snakes and Tokay Geckos.

Danger to humans: Poses no danger to humans at all.

Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. No known conservation threats. Its affinity to human habitations has caused it to be introduced to many sites across the world.

Interesting facts: Geckos, like most species of lizards, have the ability to lose their tail when threatened.  In some species the tail does not need to be bit or pulled off, but will actually just drop off with minor provocation.  Over time the tail will grow back, often with different texture and markings than the original tail.  Causing a lizard to lose its tail puts it at a disadvantage because it takes energy to regrow the new tail, and it lacks that defense mechanism against predators until the tail is regrown.  Avoid grabbing geckos, skinks, and other lizard species with sensitive tails to help ensure that their chances for survival stay as high as possible.

The Spiny-tailed House Gecko is one of the most familiar gecko species across the world. It is native to southeast Asia, but will often hide in luggage, shipping containers, and in lumber and botanical shipments, causing it to end up across the world. Outside of Southeast Asia I have found the geckos in India, Singapore, the Philippines, Hawaii, Mexico, and Belize, and they are also known from South America, the southeastern United States, Africa, New Guinea and Australia. As long as they stick close to human habitations these introductions are not an issue, but if they move into native environments then there are worries that the geckos could disrupt insect populations as well as outcompete native lizard species.

References:
IUCN Red List: Hemidactylus frenatus
Wikipedia: Common House Gecko
Hong Kong University: Hemidactylus frenatus
Ecology Asia: Spiny-tailed Gecko
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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Tokay Gecko

Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko found behind board in Chiang Rai Province

Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko on guesthouse at night in Chiang Mai Province

Tokay Gecko Gecko gekko

Tokay Gecko found underneath guesthouse at night in Chiang Mai Province

Head shot of Tokay Gecko

Head shot of Tokay gecko, showing teeth

Tokay Gecko Gecko gekko

Tokay Gecko on tree at night in Chiang Mai Province

Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko found active on rainy night in Suan Luang

Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko found hiding in tree hole in Suan Luang

Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko found out during day in Chatachuk

Juvenile Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Juvenile Tokay Gecko found active at night in Bangkapi

Juvenile Tokay Gecko Gekko gecko

Juvenile Tokay Gecko found active on hotel at night in Chiang Rai Province

English name: Tokay Gecko
Scientific name: Gekko gecko
Thai name: Tuk-kae Ban

Description: To 40 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 18.5 cm.  A huge gecko with a robust body. Grey to bluish-grey with bright red or orange spots. Most individuals also have pale to light blue spots, which sometimes can join together to form bands. Scales are granular, giving the skin a rough appearance, and tubercles form lines going down the body. Head is very broad and powerful. Tail is banded light and dark, vividly so in juveniles but fading in adults.

Similar Species: The large size and bright colors of the Tokay Gecko make it unmistakable in our area.

Habitat: Found in forests, parks, and near homes. Despite its large size it can be seen and heard throughout Bangkok. Is strictly arboreal, hiding in hollow trees and roofs during the day before becoming active on trees and walls at night.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect populations as well as the populations of smaller geckos. Will also eat rodents and small snakes. Provides food for large snakes.

Danger to humans: Is large and strong enough to inflict a nasty bite, and should not be handled. Cannot do any real damage other than skin lacerations.

Conservation status and threats: This species is often collected for the pet trade and for use in Chinese medicine, and as a result its numbers have dropped in some areas. However, it is widespread and adapts well to human habitation, so there are no known large-scale conservation issues. Is listed as Endangered in China.

The Tokay Gecko has been introduced to several locations in the Americas, including Florida and Belize. Its large size and aggressive nature have led to concerns that it may be threatening local lizard populations.

Interesting facts: The Tokay Gecko gets its name from the recognizable “TOHK – AY” sound it makes from late afternoon through the night. In several parts of the city I have been unable to find the geckos due to their secretiveness and the heights they prefer, but can still hear their calls.

The Tokay Gecko is one of the largest species of gecko in the world, and its size sets it apart from other local geckos in a number of ways. It is the only gecko species in Bangkok to take vertebrates as prey, including young rodents, small snakes, and smaller species of gecko. While other geckos have many predators, the Tokay only has to worry about the larger snakes. And though the smaller geckos move quite quickly, a large Tokay Gecko can be amusing with its hefty “waddle” as it makes its way across a wall or tree branch.

References:
Hong Kong University: Gekko gecko
National Zoo Fact Sheet: Tokay gecko
Wikipedia: Tokay Gecko
Ecology Asia: Tokay Gecko
Jail Warning to Save Philippine Geckos
Tokay Gecko established on South Water Caye, Belize
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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Stump-toed Gecko

Gehyra mutilata

Stump-toed Gecko Gehyra mutilata

Stump-toed Gecko found in abandoned building in Bangkapi

Four-clawed Gecko Gehyra mutilata

Stump-toed Gecko found on outdoor restroom in Khao Yai

Stump-toed Gecko Gehyra mutilata

Stump-toed Gecko found under board in Payao Province

Four-clawed Gecko Gehyra mutilata foot lamellae

Stump-toed Gecko foot shot showing lamellae

Stump-toed Gecko Gehyra mutilata head shot

Head shot of Stump-toed Gecko found under board in Phra Khanong

Stump-toed Gecko Gehyra mutilata underside

Underside of Stump-toed Gecko found in house in Phra Khanong

juvenile Stump-toed Gecko Gehyra mutilata

Juvenile Stump-toed Gecko found under board in Chatachuk

English name: Stump-toed Gecko (aka “Four-clawed Gecko”)
Scientific name: Gehyra mutilata
Thai name: Ching-chok-hin Si Chang

Description: To 12.5 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 6.4 cm.  A gecko of average length and girth with very soft skin. Skin appears nearly translucent and color can vary from pink to pinkish-grey to yellowish-tan. Younger individuals may have dark markings, but adults are usually patternless other than some small light dots. Some individuals have a pale line down the center of the back. The head often has a line of white or yellow dots coming back from the eye. The toes are short and wide with prominent lamellae. Only four of the toes are clawed, leading to one common name. Underbelly is translucent whitish-pink.

Similar Species: Sri Lankan House Gecko has spines on tail and more regular dark markings on back.
Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko has tubercles on the sides, and longer, more slender toes that lack the lamellae on the undersides.
Flat-tailed House Gecko has flatter tail and often has a yellowish underside.
Spiny-tailed House Gecko has spines on its tail and lacks the light dots behind the eye.

Habitat: Naturally found in forests, but has adapted well to human encroachment and can be found in parks, empty lots, and around houses. Can be found in hollow trees and under boards and other cover during the day, and is active on trees and walls at night.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect populations. Has also been known to eat fruit juice and nectar. Provides food for snakes and Tokay Geckos.

Danger to humans: Poses no danger to humans at all.

Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. No known conservation threats.

The Stump-toed Gecko is an invasive species in several areas, including Hawaii and Mexico.

Interesting facts: The Stump-toed Gecko has extremely delicate skin that can easily be rubbed off. It should not be handled if possible. In general, it is much healthier for reptiles if you merely observe and photograph them, rather than capturing them, as they are susceptible to injury and stress when being handled.

References:
Hong Kong University: Gehyra mutilata
Ecology Asia: Four-clawed Gecko
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)
Herp Center Network: Lamellae

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko

Dixonius siamensis

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixonius siamensis

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found active at night in Kanchanaburi Province

Spotted Ground Gecko Dixoneus siamensis

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found at night in Chiang Mai Province

Spotted Ground Gecko Dixonius siamensis

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko with tail missing found in drain in Payao Province

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found under log in Kanchanaburi Province

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixonius siamensis

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found under log in Kanchanaburi Province

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixonius siamensis

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found under board in Kanchanaburi Province

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixoneus siamensis juvenile

Juvenile Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found at night in Chonburi Province

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixonius siamensis foot lamellae

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko foot shot showing toe pads

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixoneus siamensis head shot

Head shot of Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko

Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko Dixonius siamensis

Head shot of Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko found under log in Uthai Thani Province

English name: Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko (aka “Spotted Ground Gecko”)
Scientific name: Dixonius siamensis (Formerly Phyllodactylus siamensis)
Thai name: Ching-chok-din Lai Chu

Description: To 12 cm long. Snout to base of tail is up to 5.7 cm.  A slender-bodied, long-legged gecko. Small tubercles are on each side of the body. Varies in color from lavender-brown to brown to grey, with pale yellow dots and irregular dark markings on the sides. Some individuals are patternless. Head often has dark markings. Toes are slender and lack the characteristic lamellae of house geckos underneath, instead having paired toepads at the end. Underbelly is white to dull yellow.

Similar Species: Sri Lankan House Gecko has spines on tail, characteristic lamellae under toes, and more regular dark markings on back.
Stump-toed Gecko has short, wide toes with lamellae underneath, lacks tubercles on sides, and has much softer skin.

Habitat: Usually found in forest, though can be found in yards and gardens in less-developed urban areas. More ground-dwelling than the other geckos listed in this guide. Hunts out in the open at night, and found under all kinds of cover during the day.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Helps control insect, spider, and other arthropod populations. Provides food for snakes and some nocturnal birds.

Danger to humans: May bite when handled, but is not dangerous at all and not likely to even draw blood.

Conservation status and threats: Is common and widespread. No known conservation threats.

Interesting facts: While our other geckos are found above the ground in trees and buildings at night, the Siamese Leaf-toed Gecko will be found patrolling the forest floor for nocturnal arthropods. At times it may explore low tree trunks for food. Because of its more terrestrial habits, it lacks the lamellae (rows of narrow fleshy plates) under the toe pads that allow house geckos to cling to vertical surfaces. Instead, it has long narrow toes built for running. The “leaf-toed” part of the name comes from the paired toe pads on the end of each toe.

I know of no records of this gecko within or near Bangkok, but it is common in most of Thailand and some experts suspect that it can be found here as well.

References:
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
Michael Cota, personal communication
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
The Lizards of Thailand
Herp Center Network: Lamellae

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Geckos, Lizards

 

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