Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Night Visitors: Tokay Geckos

That's Tokay, not Takei - but they DO sound much alike. You Trekkies out there will get that one.

Yesterday a reader left a comment on the My Night At Hat Nang Ram post from a couple of years ago.  In it they identified the welcoming committee that was waiting for me on the ceiling above my bed: a Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko), with the "tok" pronounced like the word tuck. The specimen that greeted me was well over eight inches (21cm) long, and they can grow twice that size, I'm told.

Those of you in the United States are probably better acquainted with the spokesgecko for an insurance company with an impressive advertising budget, but many I've encountered in Thailand haven't been quite so cute, such as the one above, which is capable of a bit of a bite.

The one below was minding its own business in a cave outside of Udonthani when I hit it with my flash, although it didn't flinch at the time.  I did, shortly thereafter, when it ran up my arm as I tried to pet it. My friend was highly amused, for some perverse reason... go figure!

In a cave near Udonthani

More often than not the geckos you'd be likely to come in contact with in the tropics are of the common, benign, insect eating variety seen below . They're nocturnal, and while they may look odd they're going to run away if you get close enough to prove to be any kind of threat, and remember that they eat bugs, not people.

The most common nocturnal gecko - this one in Chiang Mai

There was a juvenile version of the creature above in the kitchen of my condo in Hawaii last visit, and although I carefully caught him and put him out onto the lanai/balcony the stubborn little guy was back inside in the same spot a few hours later.  If they bother you, try to look at it like the Hawaiians do: they're good luck to have in your house, despite the poppy seed sized droppings they tend to leave behind.

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