types of gecko

15 Types of Geckos: Species, Facts and Photos

Geckos are a diverse group of reptiles with unique characteristics, distinct habitats, intriguing behaviors, and varied diets. This article explores the different types of geckos and presents various facts about their features, behaviors, and habitats. Read on to learn more.

Gecko Classification

Geckos are lizards belonging to the family Gekkonidae and are under the order Squamata. With over 1,000 species worldwide, they show diversity in size, color, and habitat. 

They have unique features, such as adhesive toe pads that allow them to walk up walls and across ceilings2. Some species are parthenogenetic, which means females can reproduce without a male. 

They live in various climates but prefer tropical and subtropical regions. Moreover, they are adaptable and resilient creatures, and their family tree branches into subfamilies with different genera and diverse species.

Many people also keep pet geckos, such as leopard and frog-eyed geckos. However, some gecko species are in danger due to habitat loss and fragmentation. For example, the IUCN has classified 85 as vulnerable, 74 as endangered, 61 as critically endangered, one as extinct in the wild, and three as extinct.

Related Read: Gecko Facts.

15 Types of Gecko Species

1. Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)

The Leopard Gecko is native to the arid landscapes of Asia and well adapted to desert climes and rocky terrains. Leopard Geckos primarily hunt at night, feeding on beetles, spiders, centipedes, and the occasional scorpion. 

Despite their diet, they are docile, which has made them popular pets. Moreover, the Leopard Gecko's tail is a unique defense mechanism that allows them to detach their tail if a predator threatens. 

Additionally, the tail serves as a storage unit for fat and nutrients, which helps the gecko survive during scarce times.

2. Crested Gecko (Correlophus ciliatus)

Crested Gecko
Photo by Florence Ivy on Flickr licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Crested Gecko is native to the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia. A fully grown adult measures 7-9 inches and is calm and docile. These nocturnal reptiles use their semi-prehensile tail to navigate and maintain balance. 

They have distinctive hair-like protrusions above their eyes that resemble eyelashes. Their skin can showcase various colors and patterns, making them a popular choice among reptile enthusiasts. 

A crested gecko's diet includes grasshoppers, ants, spiders, crickets, worms, and the occasional fruit. Unlike other gecko species, they do not have adhesive toe pads. 

Crested Geckos use a combination of chirps, squeaks, and subtle body language to communicate. They can also change colors and patterns based on mood, health, or environmental factors.

3. Gargoyle Gecko (Rhacodactylus auriculatus)

Gargoyle Gecko
Photo by Generish on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Gargoyle Gecko is native to the southern region of New Caledonia, a tropical paradise in the South Pacific. This gecko species has unique horn-like projections on its head, and its appearance resembles the gargoyles that adorn Gothic architecture. 

Likewise, its vibrant coloration can range from fiery reds and oranges to calming whites and blues, which allow it to blend into its forest surroundings.

The Gargoyle Gecko is a crepuscular species most active during dawn and dusk. It takes cover in tree crevices or under leaves during the day to protect itself from predators. As an omnivore, it feeds on insects, fruits, and small lizards. 

Its defense mechanism is to shed its tail, which distracts predators due to its continued twitching, allowing the gecko to escape. Gargoyle Geckos can regrow their tails, ready to use this mechanism again if required.

4. Madagascar Ground Gecko (Paroedura pictus)

Madagascar Ground Gecko
Photo by Bernard DUPONT on Flickr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Madagascar Ground Gecko is a small reptile species found in the diverse ecosystems of Madagascar. It has a unique color scheme that allows it to blend seamlessly into its natural surroundings. It typically measures only 4-6 inches long. 

The gecko is nocturnal and primarily feeds on small invertebrates. While it lacks adhesive toe pads, it retains mobility on the ground. 

This type of gecko defends itself through autotomy, which allows it to drop its tail to distract predators and escape. During the day, it hides in burrows or under rocks, only emerging at night to hunt for food.

5. Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko)

Tokay Gecko
Photo by Rushen on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The next type of gecko inhabits the rainforests of Asia and the Pacific Islands. Tokay Geckos have a bluish or grayish hue with vibrant red or light yellow spots and can grow up to 15 inches long. 

Their large and radiant eyes are an adaptation to their nocturnal lifestyle, and their skin features small granular scales.

These versatile creatures are equally comfortable in the wild and human settlements, where they hunt the insects that hover around artificial lights. 

They feed primarily on insects but also eat small mammals, birds, and other reptiles. The Tokay Gecko's unique "To-kay, To-kay" call echoes through the night.

6. Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda)

Gold Dust Day Gecko
Photo by Max Lewis on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Gold Dust Day Gecko is a reptile native to Madagascar and the Comoros. It has also become established in the Hawaiian Islands. 

Its emerald color with gold spots makes it stand out and serves as a camouflage in its natural habitat. Despite its 4 to 5 inches in size, it is agile and active, living in trees and feeding on insects, invertebrates, fruits, and nectar. 

The Gold Dust Day Gecko has diverse communication skills, including chirping and body language.

7. Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus)

Mediterranean House Gecko
Photo by Konstantinos Kalaentzis on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Mediterranean House Gecko is a small reptile that has gained widespread distribution outside its native territory in Southern Europe, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East. They have adapted to human settlements, including residential areas. 

Their light skin can change color to blend in with their surroundings, and their bodies are covered in small bumps. Likewise, their unique toe pads allow them to climb walls and ceilings, making them efficient hunters. 

These geckos are nocturnal, hunting insects and spiders for their diet. The Mediterranean House Gecko also helps control pest populations in residential areas.

8. Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus)

Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko
Photo by Frank Vassen on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is a nocturnal species found in Madagascar's central and northern rainforests. It blends in with its environment through camouflage. The gecko looks like dead leaves with its body shape and coloration, and its tail mimics fallen foliage. 

By day, the gecko uses its exceptional camouflage to avoid predators. At the same time, at night, it becomes a silent predator, preying on small invertebrates and insects.

The horn-like projections above its eyes, which give the gecko its name, add to the illusion. Despite its name, the Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko is not harmful to humans. 

However, this type of gecko faces threats such as habitat destruction due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade. The gecko's unique appearance makes it a desirable target in the pet trade.

9. Fan-fingered gecko (Ptyodactylus hasselquistii)

Fan-fingered gecko
Photo by Brian Gratwicke on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Cropped from original).

The Fan-Fingered Gecko is a nocturnal creature found in the rocky landscapes of North Africa and the Middle East. Its unique fan-shaped digits allow it to climb rocky cliffs easily, and its earthy brown coloration provides effective camouflage against the stony background. 

The Fan-Fingered Gecko begins its foraging routine every night under the vast desert sky. Despite its small size, it is an adept hunter, preying on beetles, spiders, and moths. 

It emits a high-pitched sound to defend itself. Moreover, it can drop its tail to escape when threatened; afterward, it grows a new one.

10. Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus)

Common House Gecko
Photo by Basile Morin on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Common House Gecko is a nocturnal Southeast Asian reptile. These geckos have semi-transparent skin; their internal organs are visible through their skin. Their size ranges from 4 to 6 inches, with males slightly larger than females. 

These nocturnals communicate with chirps and clicks. They are also not picky eaters, feeding on insects, small invertebrates, their shed skin, and unfertilized eggs. They help balance the ecosystem by checking mosquitoes, spiders, and other unwanted bugs.

11. White-Lined Gecko (Gekko vittatus)

White-Lined Gecko
Photo by desertnaturalist on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The White-Lined Gecko is a distinctive species inhabiting the rainforests of Southeast Asia. It has a white stripe running along its body, which has earned it the nickname of Skunk Gecko. 

The gecko can change its color from light to dark, blending in with its surroundings and avoiding predators. With sticky toe pads, it can easily climb vertical terrains.

This solitary creature mainly feeds on insects like crickets and roaches. Occasionally, it may prey on small lizards. 

Likewise, the White-Lined Gecko emits a high-pitched squeak when threatened. During the breeding season, male geckos may become aggressive. 

12. African Fat-Tailed Gecko (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus)

The African Fat-Tailed Geckos are living in West Africa's savannas and scrublands. They have a thick tail that stores fat for times when food is scarce. 

Their skin also has a banded pattern of brown and tan that works as a perfect camouflage, making it almost invisible to predators. 

In addition, this gecko can drop its tail to escape danger and grow it back afterward. African fat-tail geckos mainly feed on crickets, mealworms, and waxworms.

13. Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris)

Mourning Gecko
Photo by Connor Long on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The Mourning Gecko originates from the Indo-Pacific region. It also emits a unique 'mourning' call, a series of soft, sorrowful chirps. This type of gecko can thrive in different parts of the world. 

These geckos are small, with an average size of around 4 inches, but they can live up to ten years in captivity with proper care. Their diet consists of sweet, juicy fruits, crunchy insects, and their shed skin!

It is most active at night when it hunts for food. Notably, the Mourning Gecko is parthenogenetic, which means that females can produce offspring without a male. 

14. New Caledonian Giant Gecko (Rhacodactylus leachianus)

 New Caledonian Giant Gecko
Photo by Lennart Hudel on Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC BY 4.0 (Cropped from original).

The New Caledonian Giant Gecko is the largest gecko species on the planet, with adults reaching up to 17 inches in length. These types of geckos have robust bodies and large heads, with unique granular skin covering them. 

Their color palette ranges from greens to browns, often decorated with patterns of varying shades, enabling them to blend into tree bark and foliage.

This type of gecko is a nocturnal predator that feeds on insects, fruits, and small mammals, occasionally indulging in cannibalism. 

They also communicate through growling, barking, and hissing, which are crucial, especially during the mating season.

15. Flying Gecko (Gekko kuhli)

The Flying Gecko is a unique species in Southeast Asia. It has flaps of skin along its body, tail, and webbed feet, which help control its speed and steer its flight. 

During the day, the gecko blends perfectly with tree trunks. Their exposure to UV led to the adaptation of pigmented internal organs1. At night, they become active and climb surfaces to hunt insects and tiny invertebrates.

Mating for this species is a low-key affair. Females lay their eggs in safe spots like tree bark crevices or beneath loose bark. 

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1

Griffing, A. H., Gamble, T., & Bauer, A. M. (2020). Distinct patterns of pigment development underlie convergent hyperpigmentation between nocturnal and diurnal geckos (Squamata: Gekkota). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 20(1).

2

Autumn, K., Sitti, M., Liang, Y. A., Peattie, A. M., Hansen, W. R., Sponberg, S., ... & Full, R. J. (2002). Evidence for van der Waals adhesion in geckos. Biological Sciences, 99(19), 12252-12256. 

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