Our friends the Common House Gecko

6 Sep 2015

It’s one of the first things that anybody will notice on arrival to Thailand, those tiny lizards that seem to be everywhere, in buildings, outside of buildings, ceilings, balconys, in the kitchen or wherever else they can get too. They are just pretty normal to have around.
At night especially if you are sat outside and you have a light above you, you will notice them all on the ceiling surrounding the light like moths (they eat the moths). These little gecko’s commonly know as the ‘common house gecko’ are completely harmless and will run off as soon as your back is turned if in a bathroom for example, or just hang out on the ceiling if they feel you are no threat. They are more scared of us than we are of them.

Our Phanganist reptile guru Stefan Pullitzy explains how they are able to stick on to these surfaces:
'Several Gecko Groups have developed highly specialized digital pads, scans under their fingers and toes. These consist of expanded, flattened surfaces bearing countless fine projections (called setae), each in turn branching into hundreds of bristles terminating in fine endplates. This provides provides grip on the finest minute irregularities, permitting the animal to move confidently even on the underside of smooth surfaces.' We all know geckos can do this and now we know how!

A lot of Koh Phangan’s residents have come to see their gecko’s as friends,
Kathy Schmidt says “ All I know is that I love my geckos, Kevin, Stuart and Dave. Oh and Stumpy the Tokay who lives behind the mirror in my bedroom and likes to greet me at 1am with a thunderous call!”
Amadei Marialuigia "I have a lot, I like them so much!"

Stefan Pullitzky also tells us about their tail:
'A Gecko can easily and promptly  shed it's tail in case of attack; this is done by the lizard contracting it's muscles to break a vertebra along a breakage plane, rather than by physical force of a predator pulling. Often the slightest touch to a stressed gecko's tail is enough to cause it to drop it's tail. The skin of the body also tears very easily, permitting escape even when held at the body'

Interesting little creatures these little geckos we see everyday!

Julia Martin tells us "They tend to lay their eggs in the most stupid places, like on top of a hot lamp or in the electric box" Maybe they use these sources as incubators?

These little geckos are good to have around as they eat spiders and other insects, so they act as a kind of pest control although the poor cute things are the prey of the much larger Tokay gecko.
Our little friends can live for up to five years and attain sexual maturity within one year! Because of the females rather translucent under belly it is sometimes possible to see the eggs within, they only lay one or two eggs, this is usually between April to August.

A Koh Phangan visitor, Courtney tells Phanganist, "I think they are really cute, just scares me how fast they go!! Found one sneaking under my mattress and went to look and it was gone!"
Well Courtney we hope you now feel a bit less scared of their super speed, they are just small and nervous!
Another visitor Rob says "Those little geckos are amazing until you try to catch one to let it out of your room. That's an hour of my life I will never get back.
I remember when I first got there I saw a wall with loads of them scurrying about on it. After a couple of weeks you get soooo used to them being there but that first time I saw them will always stick in my head for some reason".

Luckily for us these lovely little lizards are not endangoured as they have a good source of food, in the shape of small insects so we will still be seeing a lot of them around.
Enjoy your cute house guests! 

Photos courtesy of Kurt Lessert
Information from Stefan Pullitzky (Merel J. Cox, Peter Paul Van Dijk, Jarujin Nabhitabhata and Kumthorn Thirakhupt)