Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Creature Feature: Tokay Gecko.

Geckos are already pretty darn weird. They are the only lizards that make any sort of noise besides hissing. They can walk on walls thanks to special pads on their feet. They have eyes that stare into your soul as they tell you how to save money on car insurance. (In that case, it's usually in a good way.)

The only way to make them weirder? Give them chicken pox:

No PhotoShopping required.

The Tokay gecko's scientific name is Gekko gecko. That's right, this colorful little fellow is what gave all geckos their scientific and common names; it has all their superpowers and then some. Strangely, this one's probably the last lizard people picture when they hear the word 'gecko,' even though it looks pretty trippy for a lizard. Yes, that is their natural coloration; several morphs have nonetheless been developed in captivity.

Tokay geckos are native to many parts of Asia, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. The lore around them varies depending on whom you ask, but some places realize that these geckos eat far more dangerous invertebrates such as centipedes and scorpions. More recently, they have also taken up residence in Texas, Hawaii, Belize and Florida as an invasive species. (Given all the reptile issues that Florida has, I STILL wonder why they host a GIANT REPTILE SHOW there every year. No offense, I LOVE reptiles, but the whole python ban thing was basically Florida's problem.)

Geckos got their name from the sounds that the Tokay gecko makes. As I said earlier, geckos are the only sort of lizard that make any noise besides hissing; geckos make clicky little sounds like this:

They are also vicious little biters. Once they bite down on, say, your hand, they do not let go for up to an hour. Tokays have been dubbed the "pitbulls" of the reptile world for their nasty, nasty bites. Holding the gecko in cold water and putting a bit of vinegar on the gecko's nose are both valid methods of getting these nippy critters off.

Yeah, I wouldn't ask these guys for car insurance if I were you.

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