They’re coming to take you away! They’re coming on the floor, through the trees, down the walls, and even through the air. What are they? They’re geckos! Geckos make up about 14% of all reptiles with somewhere around 1100 described species in 108 genera.
They’re amazingly diverse.
Not only do they come in a variety of colors, they come in a variety of varieties! Some are very large (Rhacodactylus leachianus) and some are very small (Jaragua Gecko). Some glide. Many walk on walls. Some are entirely terrestrial (no walls for them!). Some even bark or vocalize in one way or another. Some geckos lay eggs, but a few actually give live birth. Of the ones who lay eggs, some lay hard shelled eggs and others lay soft shelled eggs. So even within the diversity, there is more diversity!
Most reproduce sexually, but some reproduce via parthenogenesis (no fertilization required). Some have eyelids (leopard geckos), and some don’t (day geckos). Some are nocturnal. Others are diurnal (awake during the day). Some are easy to care for and others are very difficult. After all, how do you feed a tiny tiny gecko? You feed it with tiny tiny insects (and maybe some baby food depending on the gecko). Impressive!
With all these differences, is there anything they share? Well, the majority of female geckos are egg layers. The majority of male geckos are territorial. The majority of all geckos bite. Most geckos eat insects (some also eat nectar and such). In fact, they will usually eat whatever’s moving and fits in their mouths. This is why mixing species can be fatal!
With all these differences and similarities, it’s best to do some research before you buy. It’s also best to decide what sort of habitat you’re willing to maintain. Do you like plants? Do you mind making sure the humidity is high enough, baby food is available, and the plants are thriving? If you don’t, some species of gecko, like Day Geckos, are not for you!
Do you want a gecko that requires little taming? Do you want a gecko for your child? Do you want a gecko that requires less maintenance in case you have a busy schedule or your child loses interest for awhile? If you do, there are some species, like Leopard Geckos and Fat-Tail Geckos, who are for you! Crocodile geckos make excellent display pets. They’re low maintenance, eat small amounts, and require little but a desert setting. However, they don’t like to be handled.
The little details are important. That Tokay looks cool, but when it bites and won’t let go, will you want to keep it? Will you know how to make it let go? Read up! Educate yourself! Do the best job you can do! Your gecko will depend on you for its survival, and you must be up to the task!