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Common House Gecko Fact File

Hemidactylus frenatus

Credit: Public Domain

Weight

Insufficient

Data

Length

12-15cm

(4.745-6in)

Lifespan

Wild 5 years

Captive 5 years

Diet

Carnivore

Insects, Lizards

Conservation Status

IUCN

Least Concern

The common house gecko has become the world's most widespread lizard through introductions to a number of countries primarily through stowing away in cargo which is being transported.

These animals are carnivores and will feed on insects and smaller lizards.

Females are able to store sperm for up to 12 months and use this to produce eggs throughout the year. These are laid in clutches of two at a time.

No major threats to this species are recognized. Instead they are continuing to expand their population and range by stowing away in cargo.

Read on to learn more about these remarkable reptiles.

Appearance

What does the common house gecko look like?

The common house gecko is covered by a coating of grey and brown scales. The underside is white. In some individuals a dark stripe is present behind the eye. Their coloration is highly variable and helps to provide camouflage with their habitat.

Small, adhesive pads are present on each toe which is used to cling on to smooth surfaces and can even move vertically. A short claw is present on each of their digits.

At the end of the body is a slightly flattened tail. Running down either side of this is a row of small spikes. This is typically the same length as their body.

Their eye features a vertical pupil.

An average common house gecko will measure 12-15cm (4.75-6in) long. Males tend to be slightly larger than females.

Diet

What does the common house gecko eat?


The common house gecko is a carnivore. These animals primarily feed on a range of invertebrates but may also consume smaller geckoes.

These animals will often be seen near lights where they will seek out the insects that these attract.

Common House Gecko

Credit: Public Domain

Range

Where can you find the common house gecko?

Asia is the native home of the common house gecko. Here they can be naturally found in Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Myanmar; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Singapore; Sri Lanka; Thailand and Viet Nam.

These animals have been introduced to a number of countries and islands globally. Globally they are now found in North America, South America, Africa and Australia.

Countries where they have been introduced include – American Samoa; Australia; Belize; British Indian Ocean Territory; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; Guatemala; Honduras; Kenya; Kiribati; Madagascar; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mexico; Federated States of Micronesia; Nauru; Nepal; New Caledonia; Nicaragua; Niue; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Panama; Réunion; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Samoa; Seychelles; Solomon Islands; Somalia; Taiwan, Province of China; Togo; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Wallis and Futuna.

Common house geckoes now have the broadest distribution of any lizard on Earth.

Habitat

What kind of environment does the common house gecko live in?

These animals make their home in forests, savanna, rocky areas and deserts. They will seek shelter under rocks, rotting logs and on trees. Some populations have persisted in coconut plantations where they will live on the trees.

They have proven highly adaptable and are often seen in urban areas living within buildings.

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Reproduction

How does the common house gecko produce its young?

In tropical reasons they can breed year round but in cooler regions they will not breed during winter.

Females will produce two eggs each year. Their egg are round and have a hard-shell to help prevent moisture loss. These incubate for 45-70 days. In warmer areas incubation can be shorter.

It is possible to see the eggs developing through the females body wall.

After mating the female may retain sperm for up to 12 months which allows them to continue producing eggs. This has been keen to their spread around the globe as only one female is needed to establish a population.

Sexual maturity is achieved by one year old.

Behavior

What does the common house gecko do with its day?

These animals will produce a screech when threatened. Their most distinctive vocalization is a 'chuck, chuck, chuck,' call.

Common house geckoes are active by both day and night.

Adults are highly protective of prime feeding spots near lights.

Common House Gecko

Credit: Public Domain

Predators and Threats

What is impacting the survival of the common house gecko?

A large range of predators hunt for common house geckoes including cats, birds of prey, invertebrates such as spiders and mantis, lizards and snakes.

If captured a common house gecko can practice autonomy. This means that they drop off their own tail. The tail continues to wiggle and will distract the predator while the gecko escapes. Their tail may regenerate following this.

Populations of the common house gecko are considered common with their range which has been significantly expanded by their introduction to a number of additional countries.

They have been able to spread as they are difficult to detect in shipping containers which they will crawl in to or they may be carried in cargo.

No major threats to this species are recognized.

Quick facts

These animals may also be known as the Asian house gecko or the spiny-tailed gecko.

They are known as the "chichak" in parts of their range. This is an onomatopoeic description of their call.

Common House Gecko

Credit: Basile Morin, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Arrigo, E., 2021. Asian house geckos: to love them or hate them? – Australian Geographic. [online] Australian Geographic. Available at: <https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2018/04/asian-house-geckos-to-love-them-or-hate-them/> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Invasive.org. 2021. common house gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus Squamata: Gekkonidae. [online] Available at: <https://www.invasive.org/browse/subinfo.cfm?sub=20454> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Ota, H. & Whitaker, A.H. 2010. Hemidactylus frenatusThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T176130A7184890. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T176130A7184890.en. Downloaded on 23 October 2021.

Baker, N., 2021. Spiny-tailed Gecko – Hemidactylus frenatus. [online] Ecologyasia.com. Available at: <https://www.ecologyasia.com/verts/lizards/spiny-tailed_house_gecko.htm> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Wildherps.com. 2021. Wild Herps – Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus). [online] Available at: <http://www.wildherps.com/species/H.frenatus.html> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Qm.qld.gov.au. 2021. Asian House Gecko – Queensland Museum. [online] Available at: <https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Explore/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Reptiles/Geckos/Asian+House+Gecko> [Accessed 23 October 2021].

Wu, K. 2017. "Hemidactylus frenatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed October 22, 2021 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Hemidactylus_frenatus/

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