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Tokay – Giant Gekko in Southeast Asia

Tokay – Giant Gekko in Southeast Asia

The biggest Gekko in Southeast Asia is named Tokay

“Tokayyyy, Tokay …” – a loud and unexpected noise interrupts the steady chirping of the cicada and wakens up the from an exhausting and exciting day sleepy tourist. In the glow of the flashlight the source of the nocturnal disturbance can be located: there’s a kind of oversized lizard sitting or better sticking on the ceiling, which immediately hides behind the lamp. No need to panic!

The Tokay Gekko, named after the sound of its mating call is completely harmless to humans and at the same time even extremely useful. It belongs to the  family of the gekkos and therefor to the Reptilia class. Its Latin name is Gekko Gekko. The main difference between the Tokay Gekko and an ordinary Gekko is that the Tokay is much larger; it can be up to 40 cm long, with approximately equal body and tail length. Remarkably is also the coloring of its body: it has a gray-brown to blue-gray body with countless orange, red and blue spots, the color intensity depends on both light and temperature. Thanks to the “sticky pads” on its four feet the Tokay is able to climb vertical walls and even ceilings.

The Gekko is ranging all over Asia, but it is very common in Southeast Asia. Although its native habitat is warm and humid rainforest, the  reptile  has adapted to human habitations. In these areas it usually keeps hidden during the day. The gekko is a nocturnal animal. Its photosensitive eyes help it to find its prey much easier. If it feels under attack it opens it’s mouth wide to show the enemy his black frightening throat.

Like all other Gekkos the Tokay lives on insects such as mosquitoes or cockroaches. It can even eat a whole mouse. With its ability to cling to walls and ceilings, it is a very skilled hunter. As a predator of all kinds of insects the Tokay is a welcome houseguest, which can get 25 years old.

In Thailand the Tokay is actually not too welcome…- children are told that if they don’t behave well the big lizzard like reptile comes to eat their innards.  Further it is said that the Tokaygekko is responsible for financial difficulties, illnesses, bad luck and many other defeats.

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