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GEKKO GECKO / TOKAY GECKO TAXIDERMY

Embedded in clear epoxy resin

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PHYLIUM CHORDATA CLASS REPTILIA

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KINGDOM : Animalia

PHYLUM : Chordata

SUBPHYLUM : Vertebrata

CLASS : Reptilia

ORDER : Squamata

SUBORDER : Sauria

INFRAORDER : Gekkota

FAMILY : Gekkonidae

GENUS : Gekko

SPECIES : Gekko gecko

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Spiders around the home & yard (PDF)

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GEKKO GECKO / TOKAY GECKO

The tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) is a nocturnal arboreal gecko in the genus Gekko, the true geckos. It is native to Asia and some Pacific Islands.

This species occurs in northeast India, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, throughout Southeast Asia, including the Philippines and Indonesia, and to western New Guinea in Melanesia. Its native habitat is rainforest, where it lives on trees and cliffs, and it also frequently adapts to rural human habitations, roaming walls and ceilings at night in search of insect prey. It is an invasive species in the Florida Keys. Increasing urbanization is reducing its range.

The Tokay is a large gecko, reaching up to 35 cm in length. It is cylindrical but somewhat flattened in body shape. The eyes have vertical pupils. The skin is soft to the touch and is generally gray with red speckles, but the animal can change the color of its skin to blend into the environment. The species is sexually dimorphic, the males being more brightly colored.

The male is territorial, attacking other Tokays and other intruders. The female lays clutches of one or two hard-shelled eggs and guards them until they hatch. The Tokay feeds on insects and small vertebrates. It has strong jaws with which it bites through the exoskeletons of rainforest insects. It is a strong climber with foot pads that can support the entire weight of the body on a vertical surface for a long period of time. Compared to other gecko species, the Tokay has a robust build, with a semi-prehensile tail, a large head and muscular jaws. Though common in the pet trade, the strong bite of the Tokay makes it ill-suited for inexperienced keepers.

Their mating call, a loud croak, is variously described as sounding like token, gekk-gekk or poo-kay from which both the common and the scientific name (deriving from onomatopoeic names in Malay, Sundanese, Tagalog, Thai, or Javanese), as well as the family name Gekkonidae and the generic term gecko come. The call is similar to the call made by Gekko smithii, the large forest gecko.

The gecko's call is also responsible for a slang name given to it by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War: the fuck-you lizard.

Tokay geckos are culturally significant in many East Asian countries. Regional folklore has attributed supernatural powers to the gecko. In Southeast Asia it is a symbol of good luck and fertility. It is believed to be descended from dragons.

This species is poached for the medicinal trades in parts of Asia. The Tokay gecko is an ingredient in Traditional Chinese medicine known as Ge Jie . It is believed to nourish the kidneys and lungs, beliefs that are not substantiated by medical science. The animal remains highly sought after in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of Asia with Chinese communities, to the point where unscrupulous merchants have taken to disfiguring monitor lizards with prosthetics to pass them off as colossal Tokay gecko specimens.

This is an introduced species in some areas outside its native range. It is established in Florida in the United States, Martinique, the islands of Belize, and possibly Hawaii.

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