Asian House Gecko J Maughn/Flickr

Asian House Gecko

Hemidactylus frenatus

Did You Know?

  • Its fingers and toes are flattened to form pads so it can move easily over smooth vertical surfaces and even upside-down across ceilings
  • Regarded as the most invasive reptile species in the world; it has replaced native gecko species in Darwin and Townsville
  • 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
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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

Body about 6 cm with tail 10 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.

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What to Observe

  • Presence

  • Courting/Mating

  • Calling (record in Additional Comments)

  • Presence of juveniles

Climate Adaptations

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.

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When and Where

When To Look

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

Where To Look

  • Northern Australia coastal towns and cities, from Coffs Harbour in NSW to far north Queensland and into the Northern Territory (also heard in Bulahdelah, NSW)
  • In urban areas on buildings including homes, shops and factories; especially around the outside walls and windows of houses where insects are attracted to lights
  • It is rarely seen in the wild (such as bushland reserves)
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What Else?

Similar Species

Some other geckos won't have spines on their tails but all will have a softer and less frequent call.