Tokay geckos

Geckos make up a little more than a third of all lizard species. The second largest group among the lizard species documented to show behavioral parental care are geckos.

The Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) is a common species from south-east Asia. The species occurs naturally in forests but they are common in human modified landscapes. They are among the larger gecko species reaching up to 185 mm SVL (snout-vent-length). They feed predominantly on invertebrates but also small vertebrates. Tokay geckos are visual foragers predominantly relying on vision to hunt pray. They are nocturnal and possess excellent night vision, color vision similar to humans and are able to perceive UV. Males are territorial but both sexes show high levels of aggression. During the mating season, male geckos vocalize to defend their territory and attract females. Females lay an average of two eggs within the males’ territory which they attach to a vertical surfaces; one clutch of eggs is produced about every month.

Tokays show parental care behavior in captivity: they coil around their eggs, they defend their eggs and juveniles, they actively remove dead or unfertilized eggs, they assist/care for their offspring during hatching and they provide social assistance to their offspring long after hatching when juveniles reside within their parents’ home range After 3-6 months of incubation, juveniles hatch and stay with their parents until they reach sexual maturity. The aggressive display of the Tokay gecko includes mouth gaping and aggressive barks produced by all individuals.