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We’ve all seen them at some point. The big lizards that pop up and takes you by surprise if you haven’t seen them before! These big geckos are commonly known as Tokay geckos and are one of the largest geckos alive today. They get their name 'Tokay' gecko because of the sound they make 'too-kay' but we will get to that later.
They are quite distinctive fellows with grey/blue skin covered with several brownish red spots. This colouration of the Tokay is import to its lifestyle as it change can it, either lighten or darken, so as to be less noticeable to other animals. Some people think they look ugly whilst others find them very beautiful.
They watch you with their big eyes and in fact the Tokay has a ‘Third Eye’ (very relevant for life on Koh Phangan) or pineal body as it’s named which is believed to coordinate their activity with the light conditions.
A lot of Koh Phangans residents seem to enjoy having their Tokay Geckos around:
Christina Geijp says "This beauty (15cm) lives behind my clock, I feel like it is my house pet"
Christopher Thomas seems to have made friends with his, "Clarence , our full time 'in house' gecko and comedian, has been gracing our walls for some time now. He has a strict healthy diet of 'anything that moves and is smaller than him'.After work in the evenings, he enjoys watching YouTube videos, taunting our dogs, and producing tunes"
They can be very loud these geckos and people have many different ways of describing this sound (some too rude to mention). These calls are used for communication and to find members of the opposite sex, a bit like a gecko serenade although less tuneful. They also make a hissing or croaking noise as a means of defense when being attacked.
One very interesting thing we have learned about the Tokay gecko is that they have folds of skin that prevent it from casting a shadow whilst resting on a tree! How cool! This means they can relax and go unnoticed by predators. They open up this skin fold and it allows them to blend in with the tree bark.
This is Nina Fizgig's Tokay that she has named 'Elvis',
In certain parts of South East Asia gecko’s are regarded as a bringer of luck, good fortune and fertility. Yet we have also discovered that in other areas these gecko’s bring warnings. We read somewhere that in some parts of Thailand Tokay gecko’s are seen as the reincarnation of an older relative and if it makes a noise as you are going to leave the house then this is taken as a warning, some people will then change their plan for that day!?
So then, there's a few interesting facts about this creature that many of us live with or encounter on Koh Phangan, feel free to send us your Tokay pictures and any interesting information that YOU may have!