Barking Gecko Fact File
The barking gecko is also known as the thick-tailed gecko owing to their tail which is thick at the base before coming to a tip at the end. This tail is short usually less than half the total body length. This tail is colored blackish with five or six white bands along its length.
Barking geckoes have the ability to lose their tail if threatened and then grow a new tail. You can tell if the tail has been regenerated as it will be smooth and have one color along its length without the white bands.
Some color variations have been observed in the wild and in captive collections such as pale individuals or animals which are yellow and white instead of purple.
They have short legs ending with toes that each have a claw.
Their body features a large head. Along the body they are purplish brown or pinkish and this is patterned with small yellow or whitish spots and black dots. A range of raised tubercles can be found along the body and tail. The underside of their body is white.
An average barking gecko will measure up to 12cm (4.7in) long and weigh 20-25g (0.7-0.88oz).
The barking gecko is a carnivore which feeds mainly on a range of small invertebrates. They may also eat other lizards which are smaller than them.
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Australia is the native home of the barking gecko. Here they are found in the south of the country avoiding the arid and tropical areas in the North. Their range covers every mainland state and territory.
Their wide range means they cover many habitats including sclerophyll forests, coastal heath lands, grasslands, shrubland, rocky hills and arid scrublands.
They make their home on the ground and during the day they will seek shelter under rocks, loose bark and logs. Multiple geckoes may rest together in the same resting spot during the day.
Breeding occurs in the wild between September and March though this is variable across their range.
During a breeding season the female deposits between one and five clutches of eggs. Each clutch typically includes two eggs. These eggs have a hard shell. The eggs are laid after a 30 day gestation period and take a further 60 day incubation period to hatch.
While the female is pregnant the eggs can be seen through her stomach.
It will take 18 months for the juveniles to reach adulthood.
They are nocturnal emerging at night to find food.
Their name comes from the loud, wheezing type bark that they will make when threatened by predators.
Another part of their threat display is to arch the body and wave their tail slowly while opening the mouth. They will also perform short forward jumps.
If they cannot get rid of the predator they will drop their tail and then grow a new one later.
Every few weeks they will shed their own skin.
Predators and Threats
While their wide range means they have a large population the barking gecko is threatened in local areas by habitat loss and land clearance. They have shown a small tolerance to land clearance as long as some cover remains.
The barking gecko is also known as the thick-tailed gecko.
In some areas this species is kept as a pet.
Barking geckoes have had their scientific classification changed over 20 times since science first recorded them in 1823.
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By Will Brown – Barking Gecko, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71399047
By Tnarg 12345 at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3456682
Smith, J., 2016. Wildlife Of Greater Adelaide. Stepney, S.A.: Axiom Publishers.
Brown, D., 2012. A Guide To– Australian Geckos & Pygopods In Captivity. Burleigh, Qld: Reptile.
Swanson, S. and Parish, S., 2011. Field Guide To Australian Reptiles. 2nd ed. New South Wales: Pascal Press.
Shea, G. 2017. Underwoodisaurus milii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T199637A83326681. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T199637A83326681.en. Downloaded on 03 November 2020.
Museums Victoria Sciences Staff (2017) Underwoodisaurus milii Thick-tailed Gecko in Museums Victoria Collections https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/species/8382. Accessed 03 November 2020
Ozanimals.com. 2020. Barking Gecko (Underwoodisaurus Milii). [online] Available at: <https://www.ozanimals.com/Reptile/Barking-Gecko/Underwoodisaurus/milii.html> [Accessed 3 November 2020].
Wildlifelandtrust.org.au. 2020. Barking Gecko. [online] Available at: <https://www.wildlifelandtrust.org.au/index.php/resources/wildlife-profiles/30-barking-gecko> [Accessed 3 November 2020].
Reptiles Magazine. 2020. Australian Barking Gecko Care Sheet – Reptiles Magazine. [online] Available at: <https://www.reptilesmagazine.com/australian-barking-gecko-care-sheet/> [Accessed 3 November 2020].
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