The gecko is a small- to medium-sized lizard found in the Gekkonidae family. There are more than 2,000 known species of gecko, and many more that are likely undiscovered. Geckos are carnivorous animals whose diet usually consists of small insects. Although not normally thought of as a North American species, there are geckos that are native to Florida as well as species that have been introduced.
The reef gecko, Sphaerodactylus notatus, is the smallest native North American lizard. Commonly found in the Florida Keys, adult reef geckos measure about 2.5 inches long. This gecko's diet consists of small insects and spiders. The reef gecko is an egg-laying lizard, laying a single egg at a time. It is a nocturnal species, meaning that it is most active at night. It is brown and covered in small dark spots.
The Tokay gecko, Gekko gecko, is an introduced species of lizard in Florida. It is native to India, the Philippines and New Guinea. The Tokay gecko's name comes from the unusual vocalization it makes, which sounds like "to-kay." It is one of the largest species of gecko in the world, with adult males growing up to 14 inches long. Tokay geckos are arboreal, meaning they spend most of their time in trees and other high places. They are ravenous feeders and eat nearly anything small enough for them to overpower, including newborn mice.
Giant Day Gecko
The giant day gecko, Phelsuma madagascariensis grandis, is an introduced species in Florida. Now established as a species in the Florida Keys, the giant day gecko's native habitat is Madagascar. It is bright green with orange coloration on the head and back. It is a diurnal species, being most active during the day. Giant day geckos are arboreal and eat small insects and pollen. It is a large species; adult males may reach more than 11 inches in length.
The ashy gecko, Sphaerodactylus elegans elegans, is an introduced species that was first discovered in Florida in 1921. Native to Cuba, it is a small gecko measuring less than 3 inches long on average. The ashy gecko is active during the day and night. It is an arboreal species, and is a dark brown color with many lighter spots all over its body. Ashy geckos eat small insects, spiders and flies.
Keith Ray is a Virginia resident who has been writing since 2005. Ray writes about exotic pets and issues concerning farming for various websites. He is a full-time farmer and is pursuing a degree in public service.