The Tokay Gecko
Tokay, Asian tokay
Tokee, Tokeh (German).
Species: gecko gecko
The tokay gecko occurs in South and South-East Asia: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Southern China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines. It has been introduced to Florida and Hawaii (the Usa) and to the island of Martinica. The subspecies Gekko gecko azhari can be found in Bangladesh.
The tokay gecko lives in a variety of terrains: in the rainforests, in the open woodland, in thr low-hill terrains, scrubs and in villages and towns.
It is a nocturnal species.
It often uses tree hollows, stones, cracks in the buildings as hiding places.
The tokay gecko is a solitary lizard and keeps to its territory.
Males are about 30-35 cm long; in the captivity they grow slightly less. The upper part of the body is gray, blue, light olive or dark green with a lot of red-brown and white dots. Sometimes the dots make distinct stripes on the tail. The eyes are quite big and the eyelids are fused together. From time to time the lizard washes the eyes with its tongue. The pupils are vertical and they enlarge in the dark.
Males are considerably larger and more brightly coloured than females. Their tails are thicker at the base and their heads are wider.
Various brightly coloured morphs have been bred.
The tokay gecko is difficult to tame; it acts in an unfriendly way towards people.
It bites and holds on to its victim; it can be hard to release its jaws.
It is a diurnal lizard.
The tokay gecko doesn’t need a large enclosure. It is best to keep it alone: males tend to fight and you can put them together with females only during the mating season. The minimal size of the enclosure is 40 cm х 40 cm х 60 cm. The enclosure should be vertical, with branches and stones that can serve as hiding places. A part of the enclosure should be free. In order to maintain the humidity you can have plants inside. The geckoes don’t damage them. Pothos, orchids, tree-beards are a good choice.
One of the branches has to be under the heating lamp: it will be a basking point with the temperature of about 28 degrees. It is important that the distance between the gecko and the lamp is not less than 15 cm; otherwise the lizard can get burnt. An UV lamp is strongly desirable.
The geckoes seldom go down to the ground, so you can use coconut cuttings as substrate or just potting soil covered with moss. You don’t need a water bowl: the tokay gecko licks the water drops from the plants, so you will have to mist the enclosure daily.
The ambient temperature should be between 22-24°C at night and between 22 and 27°C at daytime; at the basking spot it should be around 28°C.
The air humidity has to be high, about 70%. The plants will help to maintain it, and also you will have to mist daily.
The gecko needs about 12 hours of light a day with UV lamps and filament lamps.
In the wild the tokay gecko eats insects, small spiders and other small lizards. Cannibalism occurs too.
In the captivity the main food for the gecko is crickets. Also you can feed it with cockroaches, flies, mealworms, grasshoppers or superworms.
In contrast with other lizards, the tokay gecko has a real voice! It makes chirping, clicking, peeping and quaking sounds.
This species is very peculiar, they act in a funny way and are interesting to watch.
They are easy to keep and to deed, they don’t require a large enclosure.
The gecko can drop its tail when handled roughly, so you have to touch it very carefully. Also they can get injured during the fights. In the course of mating the male can leave the female without the tail.
Their menu should contain live feed.
The lack of calcium and UV light at an early age can result in rachitis. The lizard’s limbs get twisted. The disease can be prevented by timely adding of calcium to the lizard’s menu and by UV light in the enclosure.
If the level of humidity in the enclosure is not high enough, the gecko can keep some shed skin and this can lead to serious health problems. Mostly the skin stays on the eyes and fingers. The molted skin has to be removed with the help of tweezers, but you have to wet it properly first. The prevention is to maintain the appropriate level of humidity in the enclosure.
The tokay gecko becomes sexually mature at the age of 2-3 years old.
It is an egg-laying species.
Straight after a male and a female are put together, they mate. The copulation normally occurs at night and lasts for 5-10 minutes. Approximately 35-45 days later the female lays 1-2 eggs which it glues in hiding places: tree hollows, holes in the substrate, enclosure’s walls. Sometimes the adult gecko eats the eggs, so it’s best to take them away together with the object they are glued to. The female can lay eggs again after 40 days. During the season the female normally lays eggs 3-4 times. The hatchlings come out after 95-115 days. They start eating once the yolk sac is dissolved.
Average life span is 8 -12 years.