Inside South Africa, you’ll find an enormous diversity of geckos worldwide.
With 15 species found throughout the country, most people don’t even realize how many different types of geckos are in South Africa!
The following guide details all the different types of geckos in South Africa and some information about these reptiles.
1. Common Tropical House Gecko
There are many types of geckos in South Africa, but the most common is the tropical house gecko. It prefers to live around human dwellings, meaning your garden and windowsills are a prime spot.
This one is a nocturnal creature, so it’s shy but likes to hunt at nighttime. It will use camouflage to try and hide when they don’t want to be seen by humans.
2. Bibron’s Thick-toed Gecko
Some of the types of geckos in South Africa include Bibron’s thick-toed Gecko, Taylor’s shrew-gecko, and the house gecko. The Bibron’s thick-toed Gecko has toes that have no claw – giving it an ant eater-like appearance.
This type is usually found along the mountains. The bibron’s thick-toed Gecko typically feeds on insects, spiders, and nectar from flowering plants.
This species is threatened with extinction, and very little is known about its biology. They are nocturnal but occasionally venture out to feed or drink from a water source during twilight.
3. Pink Gecko
Southern Africa is home to some of the unique gecko species in the world. The Pink Gecko is a type of gecko in South Africa that has pink stripes across its body.
Most geckos live off insects and small invertebrates such as flies, but they can also hunt larger prey like rodents.
They are helpful as a pest control agent and an alternative food source for other animals. Finally, when not hunting for prey, these creatures will often climb high up into trees to catch insects at night.
4. Cape Dwarf Gecko
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less remarkable. This reptile can adapt to various habitats with various colors, patterns, and subspecies.
Since the Cape dwarf gecko is only found on the southernmost tip of the African continent, it’s often overlooked.
When looking for a pet gecko, be sure you’re informed about the care and feeding habits needed before making a purchase! And when buying live food, remember to research which species are appropriate for your particular gecko species.
The following list includes some recommended species: African swallowtail caterpillar, Black soldier fly, Golden orb spider.
5. Tropical House Gecko
One of the types of geckos in South Africa you’re likely to find living around homes and buildings is the Tropical House Gecko. This particular species can grow up to 8 inches long, though most individuals are smaller.
The characteristic black lines running down the sides of its body are striking and give it a rather skittish appearance.
House geckos use buildings for refuge and artificial lighting at night to keep warm when temperatures cool outside. They feed on spiders and insects within their natural habitat and will catch prey that they spot on vertical surfaces.
6. Striped Skink
These types of geckos in South Africa are the most common. It has a broad brown stripe that starts from its head to the tip of its tail. The skink can also have shades, from very light cream to almost black.
The body can grow up to ten inches, with an additional three inches for the tail. It’s easy to distinguish these geckos because they spend their time climbing up trees or resting on rocks or walls. They’re also good climbers and can often be high in tree branches.
The striped skink is usually active during the day, so you may see one while it hunts insects or searches for food. This Gecko prefers cooler climates, so it’s common to find them near rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.
7. Lygodactylus Bradfield
Lygodactylus Bradfield is fascinating types of geckos in South Africa that have evolved to live solely off the land, unlike most other lizards. These geckos are only found at the edges of coastal dunes, close to water sources where they can find food.
They have unique properties like nighttime sight and a shovel-like snout for digging through sand, allowing them to find prey. The Lygodactylus Bradfield feeds on scorpions and other smaller animals but mainly eats ants from ant hills.
8. Pachydactylus Punctatus
One of the most recognizable types of geckos in South Africa is the Pachydactylus punctatus. This type of gecko in South Africa is also known as the Cape Verde Giant Gecko. They are more common to be found at night when they go hunting for food.
At night, a person will likely find a gecko on some building or other flat surface out in the open. If a person finds one during the day, it will most likely be asleep and off on a tree branch.
9. Transvaal Gecko
The Transvaal gecko is found mostly in the highveld region, with a few small populations living along the Lesotho border.
This species grows only about 9cm long, so it does not have many distinguishing features. These types of geckos in South Africa typically have brown bodies and light markings on their belly.
The young, just starting to get adult coloration, will often look like this species. These geckos eat insects and even mice or other smaller mammals that they catch while out hunting at night.
10. Salt Marsh Gecko
You will find different types of geckos in South Africa. Perhaps the most well-known is the Salt Marsh Gecko, Cryptactites peringueyi.
They are generally nocturnal and stick to salt marshes and tidal creeks but may be found near woodlands during the day. These geckos use burrows or abandoned termite mounds, making them easier to find; they will stay near these structures until threatened.
11. Sandy Gecko
Most people know about the Tokay gecko, but many other types of geckos in South Africa, each having individual qualities.
For example, a Sandy gecko lives only on sandy soils and can be distinguished by its orange-brown coloring. These lizards will turn shades darker as they grow older, sometimes attaining black coloration as adults.
They live from one to three years before dying out. Their range is restricted to sparsely vegetated areas with low rainfall and dry soil. The females lay eggs during the summer months after hibernation (usually in November).
12. Afroedura Pandora
These types of geckos in South Africa were discovered first around 2009. It’s found only in an area north of Johannesburg and one other on the eastern coast. It’s not much bigger than a fingernail.
It has a brown body with a large dark patch on its head and lives among thorny acacia trees. Its skin can shed if caught by predators or handled too roughly by humans.
They come out at night to hunt spiders and scorpions on the ground. Afroedura pandora has also been known to climb up into trees to get prey that is higher up.
13. Drakensberg Flat Gecko
Not much is known about the diet and life history of the Drakensberg Flat Gecko (Afroedura nivaria). In most cases, these types of geckos in South Africa are found inside rock crevices. Females can lay up to seven eggs at a time, which take four months to hatch.
This Gecko’s only defensive tactic is to use their coloration as camouflage by matching themselves with their living rocks.
They also have toes with adhesive pads to help them climb up smooth surfaces like rock walls. The habitat range for this Gecko is not well-known, but they could be found from southern Namibia north into Lesotho.
14. Bibron’s Gecko
Geckos are nocturnal reptiles that measure about 13 cm in length. The Bibron’s Gecko is endemic to southern parts of the Western Cape, from Uitenhage southwards to Elgin and Mossel Bay.
Its carapace color ranges from dark brown to black with a scattering of white spots. It has a distinct white line that runs down its back and sides, stopping at the anterior end.
The eye sockets are deep red with a line running through them, while the iris is green or yellowish-green.
15. Pachydactylus Geitje
Pachydactylus gentle are types of geckos in South Africa, found only in that area. They are a small species with a tail reaching lengths up to 55 millimeters.
These creatures have an attractive coloration; they appear brown with spots or greenish brown with some patterns on their skin.
While they are not as diverse as other gecko types, they are still worth learning! If you come across one, remember that they are territorial lizards, so you should keep your distance. Another fun fact about these little guys is that they climb well!
Thanks for reading about the different types of geckos in South Africa. If you are planning a visit, it is a good idea to be prepared to see these little creatures in action!
Make sure to pack a pair of shoes and try not to let them sneak into your belongings if possible. If you’re feeling adventurous, take home one or two gecko eggs and see what you can hatch. Remember, any time is a good time for gecko hunting!