Tokay Gecko – The Ultimate Guide

Tokay Gecko

Geckos are fantastic pets for all ages. However, some breeds are more challenging to care for than others. Tokay geckos, for example, are relatively wilder than other breeds. Do not be discouraged if you are looking to get one! With the right amount of preparation, you can have fun keeping them in your home.

Although they are feisty and have a massive possibility of biting, they can be great for display. Just be sure not to handle them unnecessarily to avoid being bitten. Furthermore, this breed has a rich cultural history in South East Asia. Some cultures believe that tokay geckos came from a line of dragons and that they can bring good luck.

In the beginning, most tokay gecko pets available in the market were captured from the wild. As of writing, however, captive-bred geckos are becoming more and more common in the market. These captive-bred geckos are relatively more docile than their wild counterparts. 

The tokay gecko is perfect if you believe you are ready for a more challenging pet. They look great, and they will help you learn a lot more about the fun life of gecko keeping. 


The bodies of tokay geckos are robust and cylindrical, and their heads are separated from their necks. They have strong, clearly defined limbs and spots all over their body.

There are two colors of tokay geckos which are red-spotted and black-spotted. These patches that cover the red-spotted tokay gecko’s blue or grey body range in color from pale yellow to red. Their color is crucial for camouflage, and they can change their skin tone to fit in more effectively with their surroundings.

Because of skin folds, these geckos can’t cast a shadow when lying on a tree. The boundaries between their body and the tree are obscured by the folds when they fully unfold.

The tokay gecko can throw off its tail in defense, severing it in numerous places. The gecko had time to flee while the cast-off section of the tail continued to shake fiercely for many minutes. The gecko’s tail grows back in about three weeks, albeit it usually does not get as long as the original.

Geckos are renowned for having an exceptional grip and for being able to stick to objects. A tokay gecko’s grip strength is outstanding and can withstand up to 450 pounds. They use setae, tiny filaments that increase surface area and make chemical connections, to cling to vertical and overhanging surfaces. The lizards can only use one toe at a time to stick onto a vertical surface.

Additionally, they move extremely quickly and have a powerful bite that can cause bleeding. As with other reptiles, it is advised to avoid tugging or pulling while being bitten by a tokay gecko because doing so will make the animal’s grasp tighter. Place all four limbs on a level surface close to a potential “retreat” instead, and wait for the animal to release them.

The tokay gecko has discernible ear openings on either side of its skull. The median eye, also known as the parietal eye, is a tiny, primitive “third eye” connected to the pineal gland. Other geckos lack this trait but diurnal members of the two reptile orders. Squamata has that trait, and Rynchocephelia has it too. Since it doesn’t take pictures but is incredibly sensitive to light, researchers think it may assist control activity under various lighting situations.

The other two eyes of the gecko are huge, pronounced, and feature brownish-colored vertically split pupils. These two eyes’ eyelids are translucent and fused.

It breathes and smells through its nose. The gecko can perceive smells because of a vast number of sensory cells on a membrane inside its nose. To taste the air, they also utilize their tongues to transport fragrance molecules to Jacobson’s organ, a patch of sensory cells.

This breed is one of the giant geckos still living in the tokay. Males average 13 to 16 inches (35 to 40 cm) in height, while girls measure 8 to 12 inches (20-30 centimeters). In addition to being smaller than males, females also have duller colors.

Habitat (where from in the wild, temperatures, conditions, etc.)

There are tokay geckos all across Southeast and East Asia. The distribution of the two varieties of tokay geckos, red-spotted and black-spotted, varies within this region. Meanwhile, Northern Vietnam and mainland China, notably the Guanxi, Guangdong, and Southern Yunnan Provinces, are where black-spotted tokay geckos are most likely to be found.

Southeast Asia is where red-spotted tokays are most common; they are natural populations in Bangladesh and Indonesia. There are also groups in Nepal and the Philippines. Some of them reside in Thailand. Meanwhile, there are also tokay geckos in the Indo-Australian Archipelago.

These geckos can also be found outside of Asia. However, these populations only emerged due to the pet trade or unintentional cargo exports. Florida and Hawaii are home to numerous tokay geckos in the United States. The tokay geckos, which are regarded as a pest species, can also be found in Belize, Martinique, and the Lesser Antilles. They were discovered in Madagascar and were shipped for medical use to North America, Singapore, Malaysia, and Europe.

Geckos from Tokay are arboreal. They inhabit a range of microhabitats in artificial surroundings, tropical rainforests, and rock crevices. While red-spotted tokay geckos are more likely to be found in lowland or submontane rainforests, black-spotted tokay geckos are more likely to be found in rocky habitats.

In certain places, geckos and people interact in a mutualistic way. A gecko may take refuge in the walls and ceilings of a house and feed on unwanted insects and other prey.

What they eat

Tokay geckos feed on invertebrates like moths and locusts. They also consume beetles and cockroaches, as well as grasshoppers and crickets. They eat termites, but mosquitoes and some spiders are their primary prey. They could also eradicate mice, snakes, and tiny rats. Tokay geckos are solitary, nocturnal predators and keep a foraging area. However, they are more likely to sit and wait for prey than to forage actively.

Tokay geckos are frequently used to manage insects considered pests since they are big, can eat a lot of prey, and flourish in artificial habitats.

In captivity, you can feed them with crickets, mealworms, cockroaches, and other convenient insects. 

How long do they live

Although tokay geckos are becoming increasingly popular pets nowadays, there is not a lot of gathered data about how long they can live in the wild. However, estimates suggest that wild tokay geckos can live up to 10 years

In captivity, when given required care for tokay geckos can live up to about 15-20 years. They are long-term pets, but you would have to put in the work.

Type of enclosure

Since tokay geckos are native to a warm, humid climate, they need more warmth to survive in the UK. Unlike other reptiles, they might become anxious if their basking region’s temperature rises beyond 80 f (27 c). We advise a tall glass enclosure with front and top ventilation to minimize overheating and guarantee appropriate airflow.

We know that a temperature gradient will be achieved from one side of the enclosure to the other as long as the room it is housed in is chilly since the section does not store much heat.

Tokay geckos spend much of their time off the ground because they like climbing. It would be best if you securely fixed many hardwood decorations to allow different paths up and down the enclosure to help with this.

It is essential to have enough huge leaves and plants (real or fake) to gather water when the enclosure is sprayed since tokay geckos acquire much hydration from dew on leaves and flowers.


They have a 4-6 month breeding season. Males utilize a call that one can hear from a few meters away to entice females. The name of this gecko is derived from a loud “to-kay” sound made repeatedly in a crescendo.

Tokay geckos exude a liquid from the femoral pores on the tops of their hind legs during the mating season. This fluid is believed to facilitate copulation or attract a partner. Males and females typically mate, with the males grabbing the ladies in their mouths.

Monthly mating allows females to deposit eggs continuously throughout the breeding season. When the female locates a place to lay her eggs, she fastens the hard-shelled eggs to a sturdy foundation, where both parents watch over them until they hatch. The oval-shaped eggs are between three and forty-five millimeters long.

Hatchlings measure 5-7 cm (2.5-7.5 inches) in length. They consume their skin’s outer layer after hatching. After roughly a year, they attain sexual maturity. Like their parents, hatchlings are aggressive and willing to bite.

Final Thoughts

Tokay geckos might not be the most popular pet breed out there. They can be very challenging to keep, but they are very worthwhile. They look fantastic, and you also get to learn a lot while taking care of them.

If you are planning to start gecko keeping or want to add an excellent breed to your collection, consider the tokay gecko. They are challenging, yet, they can bring the best out of you.

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