The Fabulous Tokay Gecko

With its striking colouration and vocal nature the Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) is certainly a character that would be a great addition to any reptile collection. While some parts of the world believe them to be a bringer of luck, good fortune and fertility, keepers of this spectacular reptile would describe them as a gecko with attitude!

The Tokay gecko is one of the world’s largest species of gecko reaching on average 40cm in length. Commonly found throughout Southeast Asia, India, china and even Northern Australia, this gecko can live on average of between 10-15 years if cared for correctly in captivity. Although not recommended as an animal that can be taken out and handled, its reputation for being feisty should be overlooked by its beauty and comical call.

These arboreal geckos require a large vivarium with an air temperature of around 80oF. A basking spot during the day should provide an area of increased warmth between 85-88oF directly under the heat source. Spraying them daily will maintain the humidity inside the enclosure, although humidity levels are not exact for these hardy creatures and can range between 50-80 percent. A 5% UVB bulb should also be used for 12 hours of the day to ensure the full absorption of calcium.

Tokays enjoy a varied diet consisting of crickets, cockroaches and locusts with the occasional serving of waxworms and mealworms. They can also be given shop bought prepared foods such as “repashy” and adults will devour the odd pinky mouse. Foods should be dusted regularly with a good quality calcium/mineral supplement.

Tokays have an amazing ability (other than to bite) to escape from predators. They can cast off their tail which will then continue to move and squirm around for several minutes, giving the gecko chance to make a quick exit and leaving the would-be hunter short of a meal! The gecko will then regenerate its tail, although it will never be quite the same as the old one.

They are solitary animals in the wild although in captivity a pair can be housed together providing there is adequate space. Differences between males and females become more obvious as they mature, males are generally larger, more brightly coloured and will show the swellings of the two hemipenes at the base of the tail. Once mature breeding will commence and it’s at his this point the Tokay shows what it’s all about! The male will call loudly to attract the female, sounds vary between “to-kay” to “gekk-gekk” but whatever you hear it’s bound to make you smile. The actually courtship can be rough and is often confused with aggression but let nature take its course and about a month later the female will lay two hard shelled, oval shaped eggs and this will repeat every monthly through the breeding season.

So in conclusion, if you are looking for an attractive, unusual and not your run-of-the-mill reptile, that is easy to care for and doesn’t require too much in the way of human interaction – take a look at the Tokay!

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