Mediterranean house gecko

Resilient creature that can thrive in human-dominated environments

Konstantinos Kalaentzis

A small, nocturnal reptile that has become a common sight in urban and suburban areas within warm and humid regions worldwide. Originally hailing from the Mediterranean area, including parts of Southern Europe, Northern Africa, and parts of the Middle East, this adaptable gecko has successfully established itself in many parts of the Americas, Southeast Asia, and other warm regions globally.

These geckos are known for their distinctive pale pink, tan, or whitish skin, which can change color to blend in with their surroundings. This coloration is particularly effective for a nocturnal lifestyle, allowing the gecko to remain inconspicuous during its active hours after dusk.

One of the most notable adaptations of the Mediterranean house gecko is its large, lidless eyes with vertical pupils, which provide excellent night vision. This is essential for spotting prey in the dark and avoiding nighttime predators. Their sticky toe pads are equipped with specialized scales called lamellae, which enable them to easily adhere to and climb various surfaces, including vertical walls and even glass ceilings.

Mediterranean house gecko feeds primarily on insects and other small invertebrates, which is beneficial in controlling pest populations. Its insectivorous habits and tolerance for human-altered habitats have facilitated its spread beyond its native range, often through accidental transport in cargo and shipments.

When threatened, Mediterranean house geckos can exhibit a fascinating defense mechanism. Their tails can detach when grabbed by a predator – a process known as autotomy – allowing the gecko to escape while the predator is distracted by the still-moving tail. Remarkably, the gecko can regenerate its tail over time, although the new one often differs in texture and coloration from the original.

These geckos are also among the few reptiles capable of producing sounds. They make chirping or clicking noises, serving various purposes, including social communication between individuals, territorial disputes, and warning signals to potential threats.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Albania
2008
Algeria
2008
Bosnia And Herz.
2008
Croatia
2008
Cuba
2008
Introduced
Cyprus
2008
Egypt
2008
France
2008
Introduced
Greece
2008
Israel
2008
Italy
2008
Lebanon
2008
Libya
2008
Malta
2008
Mexico
2008
Introduced
Montenegro
2008
Morocco
2008
Panama
2008
Introduced
Portugal
2008
Puerto Rico
2008
Introduced
Slovenia
2008
Spain
2008
Tunisia
2008
Turkey
2008
United States
2008
Introduced

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No