12 Different Types of Geckos

Different Types of Geckos
Photo by Valkyrie Pierce

Geckos are small lizards in the suborder Gekkota. There are about 1500 species of geckos, and in this article, we will be examining some of the different types of geckos.

Although geckos are wild creatures commonly found in tropical, mountainous, and even desert landscapes, they can be found in warm climates worldwide and on every continent except Antarctica.

They can also be found in captivity and as pets in some households.

Some species of this creature are very friendly and have beautiful color and pattern combinations.

Because of the adhesive pads on their toes, these creatures can scurry along slick surfaces, glass windows, or across ceilings.

This is possible because their toes are lined with nanoscale hairs, known as “setae.”

Most geckos’ species are nocturnal, particularly well-adapted to hunting in the dark.

They have excellent night vision, and their eyes are 350 times more sensitive to light than human eyes.

Geckos detach their tails easily as a defense mechanism in response to predation.

When a gecko is grabbed, the tail drops off and continues to twitch and thrash about, providing an excellent distraction that might allow the gecko to escape from a hungry predator.

Geckos also drop their tails in response to stress, infection, or if the tail is grabbed.

This dropped tail can regrow, but the new tail will likely be shorter, blunter, and colored differently than the original tail. 

When it comes to communication, geckos can vocalize, unlike most lizards. They make clicks, chirps, barks, and other sounds to communicate with fellow geckos. 

These are just some attributes of a gecko. Read on as we explore the different types of geckos.

1. Tokay Gecko

The Tokay gecko is considered a classic gecko species because of its charming appearance and funny scientific name-GekkoGekko.

Tokay geckos are native to Asia and are just one example of the different types of geckos. They can be found throughout the rainforests of Southeast and East Asia, where they spend most of their time climbing trees and cliffs.

People in these regions also call them token, gekk-gekk, tuck-too, or poo-kay, inspired by their noisy call and disposition.  

They have a vibrant, colorful appearance that looks appealing and endears them to herpetology lovers.

They come in different colors, from light blue to green or gray, and feature gorgeous orange, red or yellow spots on their body. Their size ranges from 10 to 12 inches, and they have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years.

Physically, these creatures have teardrop-shaped heads, wide toe pads, and thick tails. Facially, when their mouths are closed, they look like they have big white teeth, like a human’s. 

The saying,” not all that glitters is gold,” can be seen playing in the life of the Tokay gecko. The Tokay gecko masks an aggressive disposition with its gorgeous colors and pretty looks. They are territorial and are known to attack first before questions. 

When kept as a pet, they can bite you and make a mad dash to escape. Note here that they are quite the fast runner.

They can run up walls to hide behind dressers or appliances. Tokay gecko has a fiery and nippy temperament. Their territorial nature means they fight all the time. 

Keeping more than one together can lead to the occasional spar where they injure themselves. If it’s two males, they can fight to the death. 

Nevertheless, once they become used to their environment in captivity, they can warm up to their owners. Their diet consists of leafy greens, fruit, and insects.

2. Leopard Gecko

Among the different types of geckos, the leopard gecko is one of the most popular. The Leopard gecko is known scientifically as Eublepharis macularius.

With their permanently curved mouths that give them cartoon-like smiles, the Leopard geckos always look happy and have a friendly disposition. When kept as pets, they can be pleasant and easily handled. 

Leopard geckos have a lifespan of 15-25 years and a small body that can grow 7 -10 inches. They also have finely rounded heads with blunt snouts and large, round tails banded with black spots. 

Just as the name suggests, the leopard gecko gets its name from the distinctive dark spots on its yellow-orange body like a leopard. Nevertheless, they also come in morphs and colorations that vary from one gecko to another.

These geckos are from the Middle East and can be found in the desert of Afghanistan to the rocky areas of India, Nepal, and Iran. In the wild, these geckos spend their time hidden in shady areas during the day and come out to hunt for food at night. 

Because they are nocturnal, they do not require special lighting when kept as pets. They also sleep more during the day and are far more active at night. Their diet mainly consists of gut-loaded crickets, calcium powder, and some mealworms, wax worms, and other insects.

One unique attribute of this gecko is its moveable eyelids, which most types of gecko species lack. This means that, unlike other geckos, they do not have to lick their eyeballs to get rid of dust. They simply blink.

Another characteristic of Leopard geckos is that they are ground dwellers and do not climb. This is because the leopard gecko does not have ridged toe pads, which allow other geckos to climb trees or run up walls. As a result, you won’t find them climbing your enclosure walls. 

3. Gargoyle Gecko

The gargoyle gecko lives in subtropical regions of New Caledonia, like the crested species, and is among the different types of geckos. This specie is scientifically referred to as Rhacodactylus Auriculatus and spends more of its time near the ground in shrubs and low trees. 

Physically, this gecko looks like a gargoyle. It has a prominent triangular-shaped head and large bulbous eyes, which gives the gecko a menacing appearance. 

The gecko has splotchy skin with touches of gray, black, brown, and white. Subtle accents of orange, yellow, and red are possible, too. They are also known as knob-headed geckos and New Caledonian bumpy geckos. Gargoyle geckos are medium-sized, and their body measures between 7 and 9 inches with a lifespan of 15-20years.

They also possess wide toe pads and slim prehensile tails almost the same length as their bodies. These attributes, of course, mean that they love climbing. Hence, when kept as pets, they should be provided with branches, ground-level hides, and enough space to allow them room to explore. 

Unlike gargoyles, which look frightening, the Gargoyle geckos are gentle reptiles with shy and reserved personalities, which makes them easy to handle as pets.

4. Gold Dust Day Geckos

Gold dust day geckos have the scientific name Phelsuma laticauda. They are endemic to the rainforests of Northern Madagascar, where they run around all day long. This gecko derived its name from its appearance and behavior. 

The Gold dust day geckos are bright green with red and blue patterning drops running down their backs towards their tail. They are also flecked with a golden sheen that looks like they have been dusted in gold, giving them their gold dust name. 

The “day” in their name is because they are one of the few geckos active during the day.

These creatures have large eyes and blue eyelids. Their tails are almost the same length as their slender bodies and are thick at the base. They are smaller than most species, measuring 4.5-6 inches and having a lifespan of 10 years.

They also have more color variety, which translates to their curious personality.

When kept as pets, they move around a lot. Considering their dynamic nature during the day, they can entertain their owners as they run around their enclosure.

They are skittish and should not be handled as they drop their tail without much provocation to escape. Nevertheless, their mild temperament makes them good pets.

Diet consists primarily of insects and fruit nectar. They are pretty avid eaters and can become obese very quickly.

5. Crested Gecko

The Crested Gecko is not just one of the different types of geckos but is also considered among the most popular geckos today.

Scientifically known as Correlophus ciliatus, this gecko is called an eyelash gecko. Crested geckos can have a lifespan of 15-20 years and grow 6-10 inches.

They can be found in the forests of New Caledonia. They were once thought extinct but were discovered by scientists in 1994. Now, they have become famous through a captive breeding program in the United States and Europe. 

This specie gets its name from the fringed crest that starts at the top of its head, runs over its eyes, and extends down to cover a portion of the back, giving the gecko a spiky appearance. 

The eyelash-like crests give them a unique appearance that helps them to keep out dust and dirt from their eyes. Nevertheless, they also lick their eyeballs to clean them.

With triangular-shaped heads and large round eyes, the Crested Geckos come in a wide range of colors, from near-black to cream-white, reds, yellows, and the normal olive. Patterns include pinstripes, tiger stripes, and spots. 

Like most geckos, the crested geckos are nocturnal and arboreal. Their adhesive toes end in little claws, which help them to cling to surfaces. The tail is also semi-prehensile and ends in an adhesive pad.

All these make them excellent climbers, and they can be found climbing branches and leaves of rainforest trees in the wild. During the day, they hide between leaves to stay safe and sleep.

When kept as pets, provisions for a tall terrarium with many branches to climb should be made available. Their diet here consists primarily of fruits. They also feed on insects. Here, they can be fed mealworms, crickets, or waxworms as an occasional treat.

To reptile lovers, they make great pets because of their gentle nature and hardy demeanor. 

6. Chinese Cave Geckos

This reptile announces itself with its name already. They are native to the island of Hainan in China and reside in caves throughout lowland rainforests. Like most geckos, they are nocturnal and are only active at night. 

Known botanically as Goniurosaurus hainanensis, this specie is scarce and sought after. The demand for this specie is mainly connected to its exotic appearance. 

The Chinese cave gecko has a triangular-shaped head, bright red eyes, and dark-colored skin that blend in with their cave dwellings.

Their body is primarily purple, and spots of black cover the back. Some can be mostly black or dark brown. Yellow stripes wrap around their body and tail, creating a banding pattern.

These features give the gecko a beautiful, intimidating look, but it is not dangerous. They are shy, skittish, and anxious at first sight. They rarely bite too! For pet lovers, once they are trained, they will learn to stay calm, and handling becomes easy.

With a lifespan of 10 years, the gecko is on the small side at 8.5 inches. They like a cool atmosphere, and their diet mainly contains insects like the Leopard gecko. This is also among the different types of geckos.

At this point, note that if you aim to keep this gecko as a pet, you should be an experienced reptile keeper with lots of patience because it takes time for them to become comfortable with their new environment. 

7. African Fat-Tailed Gecko

Scientifically known as Hemitheconyx caudicinctus, the African Fat-Tailed Gecko is also among the different types of geckos.

As the name suggests, this gecko is endemic to Africa and has a signature bulbous tail about the same width as its head. The tail here stores fat for energy. 

The African Fat-Tailed Gecko is nocturnal and does most of its hunting for insects at night. They have a lifespan of 10-20 years with a relaxed and friendly personality.

This gecko species is considered a close cousin of the Leopard Gecko because they are almost identical in body shape and have fat tails, making identifying one confusing.

Nevertheless, they are different. For one, the African Fat-Tailed species are more minor than a Leopard Gecko, around eight inches. Also, an African Fat-Tailed gecko’s tails are fatter and function as fat storage. 

More so, unlike the leopard gecko, an African fat-tailed gecko gets stressed more easily.​

When keeping them as pets, do not keep the African Fat-Tails and Leopard gecko in the same tank. Leopards need drier conditions, and the docile African Fat-Tail is likely to be wounded or killed by the more assertive Leopard Gecko.

The African fat-tailed gecko is also available in several morphs and makes a great choice when kept as a pet. For one, they are slow-moving and can be easily handled. They do not need special lighting and are easy to house and feed.

8. Leachianus Gecko

Leachianus Gecko, with the botanical name- Rhacodactylus leachianus. It is one of the largest geckos among the different types of geckos. This gecko measures from 8 to 17 inches in length.

They are sometimes called the New Caledonian giant gecko because they are native to New Caledonia Islands in the South Pacific. These geckos are arboreal, i.e., they like to live on trees.

Considering that they are arboreal, the Leachianus gecko has a unique color that comes in various earthy shades to make it easy for them to blend into trees and other plants.

They are primarily mottled green and brown with black and white markings, which helps them hide from predators in their natural habitat.

This gecko has a thick body, loose skin, and a small, stumpy tail. The tail is not just short but also has a unique appearance.

The tails are separated into two segments: a short, thin section attached through a fold of skin to a broad base.  

The Leachianus gecko hardly ever drops their tails. Notwithstanding, these tails can detach and regenerate right back, but the regenerated tail always looks different from the original.

Another distinct attribute of this gecko is its unique voice. They produce a loud, growling noise. Since they are a nocturnal species, they stay up at night growling, squeaking, and yipping. 

They make a great choice as pets but caring for them can be a handful. A well-crafted terrarium with plenty of vertical space will have to be made available because Leachinaus geckos are climbers. 

They are omnivorous. Their diet consists of insects, spiders, small vertebrates, fruit, nectar, and sap. They also have a lifespan of 20 years.

9. Flying Gecko

The Flying Gecko with the scientific moniker-Gekko Kuhli is also known as Kuhl’s Flying Gecko, Gliding Gecko, and Kuhl’s Parachute Gecko.

The gecko has a unique, skittish, and timid appearance. It has a lifespan of 5-8 years and a size of 4-8 inches.

It is called the flying gecko because it can glide from one tree to the next in a captivating way. They have webbed toes and a flat tail used to “fly.” They do this by pulling in their feet and flapping their tail.

Flying geckos are endemic to the jungles of Southeast Asia’s tropical rainforest, where they spend most of their time on treetops. 

This flying gecko has a mossy appearance with brown, black and tan colors, while its underbellies are usually lighter with a beige tone.

These varying shades of brown blend in with tree barking, keep them camouflaged and help them blend in with the environment, which allows them to avoid predators.

When kept as a pet, they do not usually display their flying attributes due to a lack of space. Hence, their terrarium should be provided ample space and decorated with dense branches and plants to make them feel at home. 

They are nocturnal, skittish, and timid. They are quick, hard to catch, and do not enjoy handling. Utmost care should be employed here because their skin is delicate and prone to injuries.

10. Frog-Eyed Gecko

With the scientific name Teratoscincus scincus, the Frog-eyed gecko gets its name from the unique appearance of its head.

The gecko’s head is relatively broad (compared to its size and build of 5-7 inches) and is noticeably round, unlike the triangular head spotted by most geckos.

The Frog-Eyed Gecko also has large, bulging eyes that many compare to a frog’s. The frog-eyed gecko is native to arid environments in Asia.

Some even live in the open desert. Most of the specimens kept as a pet today are wild-caught. This species is considered a rare commodity among the different types of geckos. 

As mentioned earlier, this gecko is a little on the small side, with 5-7 inches, the body is stout, and its tail is too. In terms of appearance, the frog-eyed gecko is muted.

Most of the body is yellow-brown. Black-brown stripes break up the solid color and provide some visual interest. 

The body is covered in scales. The presence of the scale is an adaptation technique in response to the natural environment. Here, the scales help the gecko absorb water, a scarce necessity.

The frog-eyed gecko does not possess the signature sticky toe pads that you see on many other types of geckos. Its toes feature comb-like scales and long, robust limbs adapted for moving through sandy environments.

This gecko has a lifespan of 12- 20 years. They are easy to keep as pets too. They only require a simple desert-style enclosure and a healthy diet of insects.

These geckos aren’t picky regarding their insect consumption, so provide healthy insect variety, and you are good to go.

11. Madagascar Ground Gecko

Another gecko to be explored here among the different types of geckos is the Madagascar gecko. Scientifically called Paroedura picta, other names for this gecko are Ocelot, Panther, and Ground gecko. 

Just as the name suggests, these geckos are native to the southern part of the island of Madagascar, located east of Africa in the Indian Ocean.

They are terrestrial, nocturnal geckos with large auburn eyes that match well with their brick-red body and brown, tan and white mottling.

Because they are terrestrial, keeping them as a pet does not require a tall tank for climbing. They are easy to care for and tolerate handling well too.

With a 6-10 years lifespan, these geckos are small, measure 4-6 inches, and have a docile personality. They are nocturnal, like most geckos, and their diet consists entirely of insects. 

12. The Common House Gecko

The Common House gecko has the botanical moniker- Hemidactylus frenatus. It is one of the most widespread geckos. 

They are native to Southeastern Asian countries like India, Malaysia, and Thailand but have extended far beyond their native range. Today, they can be found in different parts of the world.

The name of this gecko is linked to the fact that they often see climbing the walls of buildings in search of insects.

They are nocturnal and are usually found near artificial light sources at night. Here, they typically eat the insects that are drawn to this light. 

These small geckos are non-venomous to humans. They have a lifespan of 5 years, grow up to 4.5, and can be seen in urban areas living within buildings.

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