What are Tokay Geckos like – 13 questions answered

Tokay Gecko

Tokay Geckos are the second-largest geckos on the planet and they can reach up to 15 inches in length, including their tail. They’re incredibly beautiful and interesting to observe, but they can be a bit difficult to tame. They have their own rules and will not avoid attacking if they feel threatened.

Despite being a bit difficult for novice reptile owners, they are very popular all over the world. One of the reasons is because they’re quite easy to maintain. It’s best to get a Tokay that’s been bred in captivity over a wild-caught one as they can be very aggressive.

Is a Tokay Gecko a reptile?

Tokay Gecko
Source: PumpkinSky

Scientifically known as Gekko gecko, these geckos are indeed reptiles and they belong to the genus Gekko. These crepuscular and arboreal geckos are native to Asia and a few Pacific Islands, and they get their name because of the sound they make. If you listen carefully, they make a clicking sound that is similar to “To-Kay”.

Their vocal nature is also the reason why you should think very twice before placing their enclosure in your bedroom. You might not be able to sleep much because of all the noise they will make during the night as Tokay Geckos become nocturnal reptiles in captivity.

Are Tokay Geckos good pets?

Tokay Geckos are well known to be quite feisty and ready to attack at any minute. This is because they have not been domesticated for long and many of them are wild-caught. You can easily tell if they come from the wilderness by their scars and extremely aggressive behavior.

If you’re a new reptile owner, you should definitely look for a more docile gecko. The Leopard Gecko and its distant cousin the Fat-Tailed African Gecko are extremely popular choices for beginners. A Tokay needs to be handled with caution even if it was bred in captivity. A good handler will be able to make it very friendly with time.

The main reason why these geckos are so popular is that they’re very active and interesting to observe. More than that, they’re incredibly beautiful. And captive-bred Tokays come in a very wide range of morphs that are absolutely breathtaking.

Are Tokay Geckos dangerous or aggressive?

These geckos are some of the most territorial geckos and they can quickly become very aggressive. With lots of patience and experience, a good handler will be able to calm the gecko down and make it friendly. But it requires a lot of work and time to build trust. If the gecko never saw you again, it might try its best to protect its territory and get rid of you.

This makes them unsuitable for first-time owners and a very bad idea for kids. If your child is interested in getting a gecko you should get informed and begin with a very docile one. This is because Tokay Geckos have a strong bite and can cause a serious injury to a child’s fingers. It’s best to get a gecko only if you’re experienced and ready to start a long taming process.

Tokay Geckos should also be your last choice if you have very small children in the house. These geckos are smart, big, and strong. You never know when they might escape and start roaming the house. And since they’re nocturnal, they might even sneak into the small child’s room at night. While it has no intention of attacking your kid, if he sees the gecko and panics the Tokay might feel threatened and bite.

Are Tokay Geckos endangered?

Overall, these geckos are quite popular and can be purchased from almost anywhere in the world. More than that, they’re actually considered very common in Cambodia and Thailand. Since humans started to tear down their natural habitat and build homes, you can find Tokays on lamp posts and crawling on houses. Some even make their way inside homes while chasing prey or looking for food.

On the other hand, the Chinese are known to use wild animals for all sorts of medicine. This lead to the over-harvesting of Tokay Geckos in the area and now the Chinese Red Data Book considers them an endangered species. You might not be able to travel to China and get a Tokay Gecko as a pet anytime soon. There are still lots of people that catch them illegally, which harms their chance of getting off the endangered species list.

Are Tokay Geckos nocturnal?

In their natural habitat, Tokay Geckos are crepuscular creatures. This means that they are active at dusk and dawn. They will also be active during a full moon or on very cloudy days. This gives them enough time to catch some of the UV light they need and hunt at night. Tokay Geckos will never be active during the day as they don’t feel safe roaming around.

On the other hand, in captivity, they become completely nocturnal. This means that they will only be active during the night and sleep during the day. The reason is that you don’t provide a stable 24h cycle and the lights are either on or off. And since they have to choose, they would rather only be active during the night. During the day they will sleep in a head-down position in their burrow or other hidden places.

Are Tokay Geckos venomous?

Some misinformed people might consider the Tokay Gecko venomous but that’s completely false. While their bite can be quite painful and can cause serious damage to children, it’s not actually poisonous. It’s still a good idea to avoid them as much as possible since they’re widely known to be very territorial and aggressive. You never know when you can end up with an angry Tokay charging at you out of nowhere.

While they are not venomous, they can carry various types of bacteria that can cause some serious health problems, especially for those with exotic allergies. If you live in an area where there aren’t any exotic animals around, you might want to get tested before getting an exotic pet. And regardless of the type of gecko you get, make sure you remember to thoroughly wash your hands both before and after contact. And avoid kissing it at all costs.

Can Tokay Geckos be tamed?

Taming a Tokay Gecko completely depends on where you got it from. Wild Tokays are incredibly aggressive and you should avoid them at all costs if you’re a beginner. You will immediately notice if they’re wild-caught as they’re very frightened of their new environment and they’re full of scars. Their tail also most likely fell and looks a bit different than the rest of its body after regeneration.

But if you absolutely love Tokay Geckos and you want one, you should look for a captive-bred juvenile. They’re a thousand times easier to work with and you can form a good bond with them if you have lots of patience and determination. You should still avoid letting a child handle the docile Tokay Gecko as you never know what goes through the mind of an animal.

Can Tokay Geckos swim?

Some very small geckos are known to be able to skip on water, which is why some people might think they can swim as well. But geckos can’t swim and this also includes the Tokay Gecko. Don’t attempt to make them swim even in a doggy paddle. They are simply incapable of keeping their breath and submerging them underwater can kill them pretty fast. Keep them away from any type of water that is deeper than an inch. Iguanas are capable of swimming, not geckos.

Some geckos might love taking a bath in their water bowl, especially if it’s not enough humidity inside their enclosure. But this is very rare and some will even avoid drinking water from the bowl at all costs. They might even risk becoming dehydrated than drinking from a bowl, which is why it’s important to keep the right humidity and a few plants that can gather water drops inside their cage.

Can Tokay Geckos live with other lizards?

Don’t even think about getting a Tokay and keeping it with other lizards. Even if your Tokay Gecko seems alone, don’t ever get other types of lizards in the same enclosure. These geckos are very territorial and will start threatening the moment they notice a stranger in their cage. They will kill or get killed by the other reptile if you don’t intervene as they won’t allow any other reptile on their territory. Tokay Geckos don’t get along with other lizards and they need to be kept alone.

You might be able to find your Tokay a mate but you should always keep your eye on them for at least two weeks. Males should never be housed together and some females might accept one another. And when you’re looking for a mate, be careful as they might start a fight with the new Tokay as well. It might take some time to find the perfect match but never bring other lizards into the equation.

How many Tokay Geckos are in the world?

Finding out the number of Tokay Geckos in the world is almost impossible as some countries refuse to disclose this information and others protect them and don’t bother them at all, not even to estimate how many there are. But there are tens of millions of Tokay Geckos in the wilderness and a few million more in captivity all over the world. There’s a trade of around 2 Million Tokay Geckos a year on a global scale. They’re very common in some areas while being endangered in others (China).

The Tokay Gecko population is threatened by excessive trade as they don’t give these geckos enough time to reproduce again. Countries like China use them heavily for medicine, while others want them for their beautiful appearance as pets. The destroying of their natural habitat is another factor of why their numbers are going down. They need tropical forests to live long lives.

How does a Tokay Gecko usually see?

Since they are generally nocturnal creatures, Tokay Geckos have no need to distinguish colors and they can only see in black and white. Their two eyes are quite large, prominent, and their brown pupils are vertically slit. Their pupils become very large at night and enable them with clear vision. On the other hand, they contract as much as possible until they become a thin slit with various pinholes during the day.

Where are Tokay Geckos from?

Tokay Geckos are one of the largest gecko species on the planet that is still alive and thriving in some countries. They can be fond in their natural habitat all over south and south-east Asia. And because of rainforest deforestation, they learned to live alongside humans and they’re great at eliminating unwanted insect pests around the house. These geckos can also be found in some of the Pacific Islands. Some of the countries they’re found in are Nepal, India. Bhutan, Bangladesh, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and around western New Guinea.

These geckos have also been introduced to other areas across the globe. This includes Florida (U.S.A), Martinique, the islands of Belize, and Hawaii. They are now established in these areas and they play a big part in getting rid of the unwanted insects. It’s also unknown if the Tokay Gecko is also native to Taiwan as well as the sightings have been very uncommon.

Why do Tokay Geckos bark?

Tokay Geckos are territorial and when they see a stranger in their enclosure, they will often open their mouth in a defensive posture and “bark”. This always happens when the gecko feels threatened or alarmed. It tries to warn you that it can bite you and it won’t think twice before jumping at you. They might also start getting very vocal when they’re attracting females or when they’re trying to get rid of an intruder without a fight.