Common House Gecko
Also known as:
Asian House Gecko, Spiny-tailed House Gecko, Chichak
Puri Kamandalu, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia—October 17, 1999
These little geckos abound in Bali and throughout southeast Asia. They're called "Chichak" locally for the sound of their calls. They would sometimes wake us up at night by calling right above our bed. Their color is quite variable, changing based on temperature and background. These two were both on stone gates at Puri Kamandalu at night.
Puri Kamandalu, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia—October 18, 1999
Like most geckos, they're mostly nocturnal, but they're also often seen during overcast days. This one was hanging out on a hotel wall during the day. Its tail has been regenerated and the second-generation one isn't spiny.
Puri Santrian, Sanur, Bali, Indonesia—October 27, 1999
Here are a couple more from a different part of Bali. The one on the tree is showing off some impressive camouflage. Its tail is curled around but is difficult to distinguish from the branch.
Chez Robert grounds, Antsiranana province, Madagascar—May 4, 2007
This is one of the two cosmopolitan species of Hemidactylus
geckos found in Madagascar along with much of the rest of the tropical world. The other is Hemidactylus mabouia
, which we had seen earlier in Maroantsetra.
This gecko had regenerated its tail, and had a number of red mites around its back legs, but otherwise seemed fat and happy.
Here is a list of all the reptiles and frogs I saw on this trip to Madagascar.
Anjajavy, Mahajanga province, Madagascar—May 7, 2007
I was setting up my camera to photograph this gecko at the base of a palm tree when a woman with a drink in her hand came stumbling my way trying to see what I was aiming at. She leaned way over between my tripod and the palm tree to get a good look, which of course scared the little gecko away, and I got no more photos. Oh well, not the most exciting species anyway.
Anjajavy, Mahajanga province, Madagascar—May 8, 2007
I found this small gecko sleeping in the broad leaves of a small palm along the edge of Anjajavy's garden pond.
East Point Nature Reserve, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia—November 10, 2009
Australia has many fine gecko species, such as this one
and this one
and this one
. You might think that a continent with so many fine geckos would not need this drab cosmopolitan invasive gecko. But you would be wrong.
Ive written up an account of this three-week trip to Australia here.
Gagudju Crocodile Lodge, Jabiru, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia—November 14, 2009
Most of the Hemidactylus frenatus
that have become established in Australia hang out on buildings. Heres one on the side of a wonderfully crocodile-shaped Holiday Inn.
Gagudju Lodge Cooinda, Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory, Australia—November 15, 2009
A few days later, I had begun to lose all interest in these omnipresent non-native drab geckos. When this one put in an appearance at the outdoor dining area of the Cooinda lodge, I couldnt be bothered to get out my real camera, so I took a macro shot from an inch or two away with a little bitty camera, resulting in that oh-so-desirable fish eye effect.
Evergreen Lodge grounds, Limon province, Costa Rica—August 8, 2010
I believe this is the least interesting herp in Costa Rica. However, it's a little bit fun to see it in more and more countries. And little baby ones are cute.
Hotel Campestre grounds, El Valle de Antón, Coclé province, Panama—January 27, 2016
Santubong Peninsula, Sarawak, Malaysia—January 31, 2017
Rancho Acosta, Álamos, Sonora, Mexico—August 25, 2017
As we packed up on our last morning in Rancho Acosta, this tiny gecko was revealed behind my bag. I chased it around on the floor for a while until I could get it to climb onto my hand. I've seen this species in seven countries so far, and counting.
(After the photo I released it outside of the room, which probably had a higher bug count than inside of the room.)
Kubah National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia—February 18, 2018
No matter how common and widespread and nondescript these geckos might be, I am always pleased to see them on my travels. At home in coastal California no geckos can be found, and any gecko is definitely better than no gecko. This one was on a curtain in my room.
Gunung Gading National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia—February 21, 2018
Mostly I see these geckos in or on buildings, or on trees or other plants. This one was thinking outside of the box, perched on a large boulde. Here it was competing with at least two other types of gecko: Spotted House Geckos
and Kendall's Rock Geckos
Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia—March 7, 2018
After a nighttime walk in the forest, I could always count on a few geckos on the fencing leading to my room.
Danum Valley Conservation Area, Sabah, Malaysia—March 8, 2018
And usually also a few on the walls of my room itself.
Pidurangala, Matale District, Central Province, Sri Lanka—August 4, 2019
Sri Lanka is country number eight in my worldwide search for Hemidactylus frenatus. It's amazing that I haven't photographed any of these in the USA yet.
Anuradhapura District, Central Province, Sri Lanka—August 4, 2019
This well-camouflaged individual was out in "plain sight" during the day, unusual for a nocturnal gecko.
Laggala-Pallegama, Matale District, Central Province, Sri Lanka—August 7, 2019
When I spotted this interestingly patterned gecko on a night hike in the highlands, I assumed it was some less ubiquitous type of gecko, perhaps a Cyrtodactylus species. But sadly my guide Udaya Chanaka ID'ed it as another H. frenatus, and gecko experts on iNaturalist agreed.
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