Don't you love that cute gecko from the Geico commercials? That lovely, bright green specimen is the Green Day Gecko, a resident of Madagascar. The sort of gecko we have at PITV is the nocturnal variety and not quite so brilliant colored.
But, bless its heart, look at the job it does for us! Last night, husband and I spotted this House Gecko nabbing that dread beast, the cockroach (aka palmetto bug) right there on our front porch. Now before you go thinking we are just really nasty people, having a giant cockroach (or two) so close to our home, please understand that it is impossible to live in Florida without encountering these disgusting vermin.
Go, go, Gecko! Now, I know, this gecko, one of the Hemidactylus species, is not a native of Florida, and it is abhorred by many people, as it is prone to infest houses and porches, unlike most lizards. Some believe that the 17 or so non-native geckos that call Florida home are displacing our native lizards as well, but I'm not really here to debate that today. Noxious invader or not, there is no getting rid of them at this point, and I think they surely must be helping with pest control, as you can see by this photo.
The nocturnal geckos look like very different creatures by day. The transparent, pink-hued skin is more opaque and patterned in daylight, and the eye pupils are narrow slits. I am basing this information on book knowledge, though, as I've never in all my days spied one of these beauties in daylight. I've only ever witnessed them at night, and always on a window or a wall of the house.
What is the difference between a gecko and an anole?
There is much confusion over the gecko and anole species.
America's brilliant native green anole is oft called a gecko in error,
probably due to its likeness to the more exotic green day geckos.
Most Floridians are very familiar with anoles, as they are diurnal, or active during the day, and very common here. Even though their body types are very similar, the gecko family differs in that they have fixed eyelids (like a snake), sticky, specialized toepads, and an audible vocalization (clicks or chirps). I'm not trying to be scientific here or anything, but I've also noticed the anole has smoother, scaly skin, while the gecko has bumpier, soft skin, kind of like a plucked chicken. Also, I've observed that the gecko moves in more of a snakelike, slithery manner than the anole.
Here a house gecko adheres easily to a glass window on my back porch.
This feat is made possible by specialized toe-pads.
This specimen is in molt, as you can see by its shedding patches of skin.