Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tokay Gecko

When you come to the Philippines even for a short visit you are likely to encounter the night time call of the Tokay Gecko. A croaking "Tukawh Tukawh, sounding like a cross between a frog and a wild turkey. It was several weeks after first hearing this haunting call that I actually saw on of these common lizards.

They are strikingly pretty with grayish bodies with bright red spots and bulging eyes. They grow to 30cm in length and have a reputation for being very aggressive. Many here consider them good luck and advise not to touch them or harm them. There is another very practical reason for staying a good distance from these Tokay Geckos. they have the reputation of being the pit bull of lizards. Unlike many reptiles they are aggressive and will often jump or bite someone attempting to handle them. They are not poisonous, but once they clamp on to your hand or finger you might wait one hour for it to let go. If you try to pry it off it just clamps down. supposedly dunking the attached Tokay in a pail of water will cause it to release it's grip.

Widely spread all over Asia they are one of the most common Geckos. The Latin name is Gekko Gecko, and locally they are called the Tukaw Gecko. They are normally nocturnal arboreal dwellers that eat almost anything. Their life span is 7-10 years. Being carnivores they hunt insects and small mice. Tokay Geckos have adapted well to city life, and often dwell in houses climbing the walls at night in search of food.

I can attest to this as we have a mating pair living under our entrance stairs. In fact last month they hatched babies and we saw at least two tiny geckos crawling around the stair case under the watchful eye of mother or father. Apparently they mate for life as we have had the same pair in residence for over a year, and they also seem to be protective parents. Oddly, or perhaps luckily, these particular Tokay Geckos seem to be mute. I have nor once heard either one croak, perhaps they are being polite or simply go outside to make noise.

A common sight in the country side, and more likely a common sound at night, the Tokay Gecko is an integral part of life in the Philippines


musings and everyday life said...

whenever you hear it 'croak', count how many times it does. if the number is odd, it means it will rain. if even, then it won't.

RHB said...

Thanks for the folklore! In my place if cows lay down it will rain...

grace said...

Ohhh goodness me! this really scares me! We had 1 @ home and they are freakingly annoying!