ClimateWatch

An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. 93 Asian House Gecko photo by Oliver Bradshaw
  2. Geckos_mating_by_user_bill_bell Mating by ClimateWatcher Bill Bell

Asian House Gecko

Hemidactylus frenatus

Appearance

  • Colour: a fawn to grey body with some mottling. It can change its colour from paler at night to darker during the day.
  • Its tail can have a slightly flattened appearance and has small spines arranged in bands.
  • It has bulging eyes with no eyelids.
  • Size: about 10 cm including its tail (body about 6 cm).

Behaviour

  • Call: a distinctive clicking: "chuck, chuck, chuck..."
  • Diet: any insect small enough for it to capture and swallow, including moths and wasps.
  • Movement: largely nocturnal, it comes out at night to feed on insects attracted to lights. It is an agile lizard, and is often seen running along the walls of buildings.
  • Breeding: all year round in tropical regions, and during summer in the cooler, southern regions of its range. After mating, the female lays two round, hard-shelled eggs that are resistant to moisture loss. They are either glued to a firm sheltered surface or deposited in a crack or wall cavity.  

What to Observe

  • Presence
  • Courting/mating
  • Calling (can be recorded in the Notes box) ( *c((canf
  • Presence of juveniles

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect lizards, including geckos, to start mating and laying eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. The Asian House Gecko is an invasive species that may be spreading further south into Australia and this may well be aided by climate change increasing temperatures.

When To Look

  • Throughout the year in North Queensland and other tropical regions
  • From late spring through summer in the Brisbane region

Asian House Gecko Occurrence Map ALA

Where To Look

  • In coastal towns and cities of northern Australia, from Coffs Harbour in New South Wales to far north Queensland and into the Northern Territory. It has also been heard in Bulahdelah (south of Coffs Harbour on the lower north coast of NSW), however it is not known whether it survived there past summer.
  • In urban areas on buildings including homes, shops and factories. It is rarely seen in the wild (such as bushland reserves).
  • On and in buildings, especially around the outside walls and windows of houses where insects are attracted to lights.

References

Cogger H 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, Australia.

Ehmann H 1992. Encyclopedia of Australian Animals: Reptiles. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.

Wilson S & Swan G 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.

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  1. What Else?

    Another gecko: some won't have spines on their tails but all will have a softer and less frequent call.

  1. Did You Know?

    It is native to south-east Asia and the Indo-Pacific but has been in Australia since at least the 1960s, first appearing in Darwin.

    It is widely regarded as the most invasive reptile species in the world and has replaced native gecko species in Darwin and Townsville. It now has the widest range of any lizard in the world!

    Its fingers and toes are flattened to form pads so it can move easily over smooth vertical surfaces and even upside-down across ceilings!