The “Many” Tokay Gecko Tails

Posted on: August 14th, 2013 by JE

Tokay geckos are beautiful lizard from the gecko family. They have grayish-purple skin with spots ranging from bright orange to red. They are widely distributed throughout Asia. Countries like China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines have high concentration of this population.

Tokay geckos are unique creatures and have several wonderful characteristics and traits. For instance, male Tokay geckos are the only known specie of geckos that can vocalize. The males would often make the booming call similar to “tok—kay, tok—kay”, to which their names believed to have originated. Tokay geckos can also walk and run around to almost every surface, smooth and rough, wet and dry alike. This include vertical surface such as walls, as well as ceilings.

But what is more fascinating about Tokay geckos is their tail. Tokay geckos can drop and regrow their tail several times as the need may arise. Aside from this, they also use it for other several purposes. This article will try to discuss how Tokay geckos use their tail to survive and to go about their day to day living.

A Tokay gecko’s tail has several purposes. They use it to store food in the form of fats. These stored fats are used by their body during the times of famine and drought or when there is a scarcity in food. Tokay geckos also use their tail as a defense mechanism. If a predator, by chance, gets hold of their tail, the Tokay gecko can instinctively drop its tail to escape, or when a predator is at a distance, they can drop their tail and serve as a diversion to prevent an impending death that can befall them in the hands of their predators. After the tail is detached, it wriggles to distract the predator and give the Tokay gecko time to escape.  

Aside from the reasons or situations stated above, there are other possible reasons why a Tokay gecko would voluntarily drop its tail. This would include, stress, illness, or when they feel threatened.

What happens when a Tokay gecko drop its tail?

When a Tokay gecko drops its tail, the connective tissues found at the base of their tail will break from one another. The tail will then fall. And to prevent the excessive loss of blood, the blood vessels will instantly constrict to close the severed veins.

If it shall happen to your Tokay gecko, you need to separate it from the rest of the group (that if you have a female). Losing their tail is very stressful and painful. They are also susceptible to infection because of the open wound left from the dropping of the tail. It is important to relocate your injured gecko in a small but clean enclosure. If you have a male gecko and you’re using a natural or pelleted substrate, it is advisable to still relocate your gecko or change the substrate. The debris in their regular enclosure can get into the wound and cause an infection. To avoid this, you can use kitchen towels or papers for a substrate. You can use betadine or an Iodine solution or antibacterial ointments to disinfect or clean the wound. Don’t wash it with soap and water as it can further stress your gecko or disturb the wound. The tail would normally regrow after six weeks.

Also, it is important to feed your Tokay gecko with healthy diet. Remember, they use their tail to store food, when they lose their tail, they also lose these reserve food, and they need it to regrow their tail. They’ll be requiring higher loads of protein to sustain their nutritional needs while they are recovering.

While they can regrow their tail, the tail that grows back will look very different from the original tail. The new tail will look shorter, fatter and may have different coloring.

As what you have learned earlier, it is very stressful and painful for a Tokay gecko to lose their tail. Preventing your gecko from losing its tail will help improve their health.

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