The Tokay Gecko (also known as the Gecko gecko) is one of the largest geckos in the world. These geckos are native to Asia and few Pacific islands. These also occur in northeast India, Bhutan, and Nepal, and throughout Southeast Asia. In the wild, it is mainly found in the rainforests and lives on trees. It can also adapt itself to the rural habitations and can sometimes be found on ceiling walls searching for prey. The Tokay Gecko is culturally significant in many parts of the world and has many things tied up with its existence. Let’s go on and have a deep insight into the Tokay gecko.
Structure & Appearance
The Tokay Gecko is a colorful lizard and is very large in size. The males are even larger than the females and reach up to 15 inches. They take up a flattened cylindrical body shape and their eyes have vertical pupils. They are more robust and have strong muscular jaws when compared to the other geckos. They are known for their colorful spots. In general, they are blue-gray color with orange spots. But these geckos can change their colors to suit themselves with the environment.
- Housing: Since these geckos are large in the tank, the minimum size of a suitable tank is 20 gallons. Just like other geckos, these geckos also like to hide and thus some hiding spots should be given to them like caves or cork bark. These geckos also like to climb so some sturdy branches can also be provided to allow it to climb. One important thing that should be considered is, the tank in which a tokay gecko is kept must have a lid for sure. These geckos differ from other geckos in terms of strength and thus might try to escape which might lead to a difficult situation. It is also advised to keep the gecko tank a bit far from the bedroom as they make noises which can be disturbing.
- Substrate: A substrate should be used such that it gives the gecko a feeling of the wild. Coconut husk based substrates can be used as they help in retaining the moisture content. Similarly, one could also use orchid bark.
- Temperature: Temperature in the tank should be maintained and kept between 70 to 90 degrees. The lower end of the temperature range must be maintained at the nights whereas the higher range is fine in the daytime.
- Humidity: Humidity must be maintained at around 60 to 70 percent and should not drop below 50 percent. A water bowl can be kept inside and a moisture-retaining substrate solves the purpose.
These geckos eat a lot of things including insects, grasshoppers, crickets, wax worms, cockroaches, etc. For those in captivity, they should be given food along with powdered vitamins and calcium. It depends on the geckos’ age and size, how much the gecko eats. For drinking, they generally drink from moisture droplets but a source of shallow water can be given so that they feel hydrated.
Behavioral Traits & Handling
These geckos are generally aggressive and similar to most geckos should not be kept with others as they engage in territorial battles and harm themselves. They have strong jaws and can inflict strong bites and are capable of piercing skin and cause blooding. Hence, these geckos are not suited for beginners or inexperienced keepers. The aggressiveness might reduce with time but again these aren’t good for handling. They are clever and will bite immediately if they feel threatened.
Tokay Gecko in danger
Recently, there has been a drop in the number of these geckos and they are seriously threatened, the obvious reason being rapid urbanization. But, there is massive trade going on for these geckos as there have been some unproven claims that these geckos help in the treatment of AIDS. Even, in countries like India, people are willing to spend more than a million to own these geckos. According to reports, the tokay gecko is not very well protected by the national laws and is not listed under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna which is administered by the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program).