Steve from Queensland Museum’s Discovery Centre has been documenting the wildlife he finds around his home and garden during isolation. Here he shares the types of geckos he can find around his home and gives some tips for how you can spot them around your own home.
We are all spending plenty of time at home at the moment, so it seems like a perfect opportunity to find out just what else is living in our houses and gardens. Let’s start with geckos because they are easy to watch and they are always doing interesting things.
I have two different kinds of geckos around my house, introduced Asian House Geckos (Hemidactylus frenatus) and native Robust Velvet Geckos (Nebulifera robusta). Some houses also have native Dubious Dtellas (Gehyra dubia).
There were no Asian House Geckos around the house 20-years-ago. At first they were occasional visitors, then they increased exponentially to become abundant. For those unfamiliar with them, Asian House Geckos are the little lizards that grace the walls and ceilings of virtually every building in south-east Queensland. They can change from grey with dark streaks by day to a ghostly pale pinkish colour at night, and they have bands of small spines around their tails. They also advertise themselves with a loud and distinctive, chuck..chuck…chuck call, day and night.
Asian House Geckos have travelled as stowaways all around the world and are now the most widespread lizard. It has even been suggested that some ocean-going container ships could have permanent mobile populations of Asian House Geckos, forever travelling the world, picking up genetic diversity with incoming cargo and shedding colonists with outbound goods. They arrived in Queensland in the early 1980s among cargo.
Robust Velvet Geckos are larger, with a distinctive pattern of squarish ladder-like pale blotches on the back and a thick, fleshy tail. They are also much quieter so you rarely hear their squeaks unless there is an interaction such as mating or males fighting. In my house velvet geckos lurk behind furniture and hanging pictures, and patrol the outside walls at night. In the bushland setting they are mainly arboreal, showing a great preference for tree hollows as shelter sites. Recently they have become increasingly out-numbered around the house by the Asian House Geckos, which tend to dominate the best bug-catching spots under the lights.
Geckos are great entertainment around the house. Watch them stalking moths, slowly placing one foot before the other, wait with baited breath for the final lunch, then share the triumph or disappointment as the lizard seizes or misses its mark.
What sorts of geckos are on your house? Have you ever seen them feeding, fighting or mating? Are they becoming more numerous?