Different Types of Geckos

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Different Types of Geckos
Leopard geckos make popular pets. (leopard gecko image by Ivan Polushkin from Fotolia.com)

More than 1,100 species of geckos roam the world, living in a variety of habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to rocky deserts. Some geckos are nocturnal hunters, while others thrive during daylight hours. Some have subtle markings while others have brilliant colouration and bold patterns. Many common species of geckos make popular pets.

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Bibron's Gecko

Bibron's gecko (Pachydactylus birbonis) originates in the Karoo desert of South Africa, where it lives among the rocky outcroppings. A medium-sized gecko, Biron's gecko grows to a length of 6 to 8 inches. It has a beaded pattern comprised of black stripes and white dots over its body, with a light brown or white underbelly. It is nocturnal and spends the daylight hours hiding between rocks or pieces of bark.

Gold Dust Day Gecko

Native to northern Madagascar, gold dust day geckos (Phelsuma laticauda) are also established on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu, Hawaii and Maui, after eight of the lizards were released on the islands in 1974 by a student at the University of Hawaii. Gold dust day geckos grow to be approximately 4 to 5 inches long. They range in colour from bright green to yellow-green, with yellow speckles on their back behind the head, from which the name "Gold Dust" is derived. Their eyelids are rimmed in blue, and the upper face is striped with two or three red lines.

Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos (Eublepharis macularius) are native to the rocky desert regions in the Middle East, including Pakistan, southeast Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. They are white or pale yellow in colour with dramatic dark spots or splotches, much like the spots of a leopard; thus the name. Notable for these markings, those in captivity are bred to emphasise their features. Adult leopard geckos grow to be 6 to 9 inches long. They are a nocturnal species and prefer dim lighting conditions.

Mourning Geckos

Mourning geckos (Lepidodactylus lugubris) are found on all of the large Hawaiian islands, as well as Sri Lanka, tropical Asia, Mexico and Central America. Mourning geckos are a small species of gecko, with adults reaching lengths of only 2-3/4 to 3-3/4 inches. They are a pale cream colour with variegated dark brown and beige patterns of zigzag lines. Their underside is beige and speckled brown. Mourning geckos are a very adaptable species and do well in a variety of habitats. Although considered nocturnal, they are often active during the daytime.

Fan-fingered Gecko

Fan-fingered geckos (Ptyodactylus hasselquitstil), sometimes referred to as "fan-foot" geckos, are native to the rocky deserts and uplands of North Africa, Iraq and Iran. Their huge toes enable them to climb smooth vertical surfaces and to manoeuvre over rocks or sand with ease. The toe pads are adhesive, sticking to almost any surface. Adult fan-fingered geckos grow to be approximately 6 inches in length. They are light brown and golden in colour, with rough-textured skin.

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