Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Here in Texas we have our share of nocturnal critters, but I think the nicest ones by far are these darling little geckos.
The baby gecko shown here is one I caught in a cup and took a picture of before I let him go outside. I think we must have had a new batch of babies a few weeks ago, because we kept finding little ones in corners and closets in the house.
These cute little lizards are common house geckos (Hemidactylus), which originated in tropical Asia but have now spread throughout the Southern United States and other parts of the world. The ones we get in north Texas are pale, practically transparent, with black-and-white striped tails. We didn't have these when I was growing up in California, but they live there now, too.
House geckos are small and fast, with sticky feet that help them walk up walls and across ceilings. In fact, the only known surface to which geckos cannot cling is Teflon! House geckos love to hang out both inside and outside of homes, especially near porch lights, where they can catch the insects they love to eat. Their nocturnal nature means they hide in little cracks during the day and come out to hunt at night with their keen eyes.
Because geckos eat roaches and other nasty insects, they are usually welcomed inside the home. In Hawaii, geckos are seen as good luck and are a big part of the local folklore.
Our house geckos in Texas are cute as can be, but unfortunately they don't like to be held. In fact, like many lizards, they often drop their tails when frightened so the predator (or little boy) becomes distracted by the still-wiggling tail and the rest of the gecko runs away. (I know this from experience.)
Here in Dallas, our geckos scurry by night around the front and back porches and sometimes hide by day in our mailbox.
As far as I'm concerned, they can stay and eat as many nasty bugs as they like.
Good evening, geckos!