How to Identify Different Types of Geckos


There's so much more to geckos than the sprightly little fellow you see on billboards and television. With more than 1,500 types of these little lizards in the world, they come in a host of sizes and colors, though many are bright green with a cream belly. Geckos have long, thin tails, short, wide limbs and large eyes.

Identifying Features

Though geckos share similar features, you can distinguish between the common pet geckos by paying attention to some identifying characteristics. Aside from the popular bright green, other gecko colors include yellows, blues, pinks, oranges and greens -- and some change color, according to their environmental factors, such as temperature. Geckos may be spotted or have bands of colors, and their toes may have claws or sticky pads. The gecko's length is usually measured snout to vent, meaning from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail.

Types of Pet Geckos

The leopard gecko is a popular gecko for first-time gecko owners because he's easy to care for. His distinguishing characteristics include:

  • Reaches 7-to-10 inches, snout to vent
  • Weighs between 1.5 and 5 ounces
  • Clawed feet instead of pads
  • Eyelids 

As his name implies, the African fat-tailed gecko has a fat tail. Other identifying features are:

  • Light brown or tan coloring with darker stripes or bands
  • Narrow white stripe down his back
  • Up to 9 inches long
  • Eyelids 

The crested gecko has moved from obscurity to becoming a popular pet gecko because he's easy to handle, gentle and sturdy. His vital statistics are:

  • Approximately 4.5 inches long
  • Weighs around 1.25 ounces
  • Eyelashes
  • Stress causes him to lose his tail, which won't regenerate, resulting in a froglike appearance from the back. 

The gargoyle gecko sports beautiful marbled eyes that likely will catch your eye. His particulars include:

  • Approximately 4.5 inches long
  • Weighs up to 1.25 ounces
  • Heavier body and small toe pads make climbing challenging
  • Variety of colors including variations of browns and reds and white
  • Striped and reticulated patterns 

The mossy prehensile-tailed gecko has gold eyes. Other details about him include:

  • Reaching around 5.5 inches long
  • Weighs between 1.4 and 2.1 ounces
  • Mottled colors including browns, reds, greens

As his name implies, the giant New Caledonian gecko is a big fellow. He's easy to identify:

  • Reaches up to 13 inches long
  • Weighs up to a pound
  • Has a thick body, large head and short tail
  • Tail has a broad base and short, narrow end
  • Colors vary, but typically greenish-brownish hue with spots or checks of different colors.

The Tokay gecko is another big guy and can lighten or darken in response to his environment or potential threats. His features include:

  • Up to 14 inches long
  • Weighs approximately 11 ounces
  • Distinctive bluish gray body with brownish or bright red spots
  • Large, prominent eyes

The Madagascar ground gecko is much smaller and is colored to blend in with his environment. Identifying characteristics include:

  • Up to 5.5 inches long, including his tail
  • Earth tone colors such as tan and brown
  • Large copper or gold eyes

You can't overlook the giant day gecko, with his intense green body. Other features include:

  • Up to 12 inches long
  • Vibrant red markings on his back and head

Similarly eye-catching, the neon day gecko has a more slender figure than many other geckos. Other features include:

  • Reaches up to 3.75 inches long
  • Turquoise body and yellow head

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