Pugnacious reptiles with “attitudes” have long been favored by herp enthusiasts. In the lizard world, perhaps none fits this description so well as the Tokay Gecko, Gekko gecko. It truly is the ultimate “big lizard in a small package”. Years ago, I liberated a group into a huge multi-species exhibit at the Bronx Zoo, mainly for my own interests. Although my fellow keepers were well-experienced in caring for venomous snakes, dangerous primates and the like, I was roundly criticized…no one wanted to chance accidentally grabbing one of these foot-long nocturnal terrors! But in the right hands (well, not literally “in hand”…most object strenuously!), Tokay Geckos make fascinating pets that may live into their 20’s. What’s more, they are beautifully-clad in an array of colors, and are not shy about exhibiting their behaviors, including reproduction.
This accomplished vocalist draws its common name from the loud cries of “tokay, tokay” given by the territorial males. Some years ago a pet store in Manhattan began renting them to customers as a form of “natural” roach control. However, their habit of vocalizing in the wee hours of the morning doomed the scheme to failure. Read More »