Beginner’s Corner: Learning and Understanding Different Tokay Gecko Behaviors

Posted on: September 6th, 2013 by JE

Tokay geckos react differently on different situations. This is often accompanied by gestures or body languages. Each gesture is indicative of what they feel and what they would do next. Getting to know these body languages will at least give you the idea what’s playing on their mind and react accordingly to the situation.

Red Flags

One of the most common experiences most Tokay gecko owners share, especially new owners, is that they get bitten by their pet. Tokay geckos are aggressive and very brave animals. However, they do not bite for no reason. Before a Tokay gecko bites, they first do some gestures as a warning. One of the mistakes of new gecko owners is that they fail to recognize these signs.

Common Signs that a Tokay Gecko Will Bite:

  • Gaping of the mouth
  • Hissing
  • Slow waving of tail

These actions mean that they are greatly threatened by your presence and that they would bite anytime you go nearer. If you see these signs when you’re trying to hold them or when you get near them (while feeding or cleaning the tank), you may want to pause for a while and slowly withdraw your hand. Any sudden movement may trigger your pet to bite.

Other Observable Body Languages in Tokay Geckos

Tail Wagging. Tokay geckos do wag their tails. They wave their tails when they are excited. This is seen in some geckos before feeding time or when they see an opposite sex and they want to breed.

Digging or Rubbing. If you see your Tokay gecko rubbing its behind (near the base of the tail) on a tank decoration or somewhere inside the tank, you need not be alarmed. He is simply marking his territory. Male geckos release oil like substance through their pre-anal pores to mark their territories. This scent tells other geckos that a male live near the area.

Scratching. Sometimes you would see your Tokay gecko scratching their body on rough surfaces. There are two possible reasons for this. It is possible that your Tokay gecko is nearing its shedding or it is infested with mites. If you observed that your Tokay gecko’s color is starting to dull, it is about to shed its skin. However, if the skin looks normal, but you notice that there are brown dusts like spots forming around the eyes and near the mouth area, it is possible that your gecko is infested with mites.

Eyeball Licking. Tokay geckos do not have eye lids; instead they have a clear plastic like that covers their eyes. When irritants get in to their eyes, they have no eye lids to clean them. They use their tongue to remove these irritants and keep their eyes moist.

Vocalization. One of the unique characteristics of Tokay geckos is their ability to vocalize. It is even said that they get their name from their vocalization. If you have a male Tokay gecko, most probably, you’ll hear them vocalize during breeding seasons. It is similar to “tok—kay, tok—kay".   

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