rogerramjet_2003 Report This Comment
Date: October 25, 2009 10:00AM
Herp Care Collection
Last updated October 2, 2008
Native to SE Asia, these relatively large (12" geckos are pale gray with bluish spots when
they have been in the dark, darkening to dark gray with reddish spots in the
light. Like most geckos, tokays are oviparous insectivores.
Young are 2-3" at hatching. Eggs are laid in rocky crevices or under the
eaves of houses. The 2-3 eggs, laid several times a year, are sticky and adhere
to surfaces. In captivity, they may be laid on the glass sides of their
terraria. Incubation time for the eggs ranges from 2-6 months for the oviparous
Tokays have the specialized lamellae on the pads of their toes which enable them
to walk on vertical surfaces, including ceilings. Contrary to popular
misconception, these pads are not "sticky" but rather are composed of
tiny, microscopic filaments which find equally tiny imperfections in surface -
Like many lizards, tokays can darken or lighten their ground and spot colors to
better blend in with their background.
Despite the fact that they follow human habitation, finding human dwellings to
be great places to find prey, Tokays are the least lovable of the geckos. They
are known for their nasty temperament, cheerfully biting the hand that feeds,
cleans or otherwise comes into anything resembling close proximity to them.
Their bites are powerful--one might say they are the pit bulls of the gecko
world...they hang on and let go only when it suits them. Equipped as they are
with numerous sharp teeth, the bites can bleed profusely and, even barring
subsequent infection, are annoying for days. Note that while I am a strong
believer that almost any animal can be habituated to human contact, such contact
can be stressful for many species, and geckos as a whole are known for their
marked preference to be left alone.
A note on taming...
My tokay actually spent a great deal of his time out, exposed in his tank,
during the day. As time permitted, I started working with him to habituate him
to being touched and held. He was okay with the touching in the tank, looked
rather puzzled when held, and periodically felt compelled to reach around and
gnaw on my knuckles...
Some people report that their tokays have become rather tame. Be that as it may,
it should not be assumed that they will all become tame, so if you are looking
for a gecko you can handle without any problems, get a leopard or fat-tailed
gecko rather than a tokay.
Tokays are so named because of their distinctive "TO-kay! Tokay!"
rather booming bark. They also emit a trilling sound. I had one escape (thanks
to an iguana who dislodged the top of the tokay tank) who ended up in the closet
behind the tank. He started barking and trilling around 3 AM which enabled me to
locate him (on the wall behind the boxes of software on the top shelf, of
course) and place him back in his tank. If he is hungry and I am not fast enough
with the food, he will emit a sound somewhere between the trill and the
A note for Vietnam Vets
I occasionally get letters from vets who stumble around trying to figure out how
to nicely ask me if I know of a lizard called the "[four-letter word
denoting a normal biological activity]-you" lizard. While I am not sure how
tokays may have gotten that sobriquet, other than their attitude when bothered
by a large, hairy, heavily armed mammal dozens of times its size, this is,
indeed, that lizard.
Tokays can certainly be set up in a properly furnished terrarium...note,
however, that they may rarely be seen as they are strictly nocturnal. A woodland
setting (orchid bark from a nursery) planted with small potted plants or leafy
silk branches provide hiding places and help keep up the humidity. Tank should
be at least a 20 gal to allow enough room for the gecko to grow and to be able
to properly establish a temperature gradient (75-90/days, 70-80/nights). Being
nocturnal, they do not require a UVB-producing fluorescent. If a light bulb is
used for night time heating, a non-white light heat source must be used (such as
a nocturnal reptile bulb, ceramic heating element, etc.).
They should be fed daily (crickets [properly gut-loaded for at least 24 hours
before feeding out], Zoophobas or, for smaller tokays, mealworms [also
gut-loaded]). Larger tokays may take pink mice.
They generally will not drink out of a bowl of water, so one area of a tank wall
should be sprayed every day (evening) to furnish water for them to lap up.
Another way to boost humidity and provide water for lapping is to place some ice
cubes on top of the screened top over the plants...the meltwater drips on the
leaves for easy lapping.
Initial Veterinary Care
The majority of the tokays in pet stores are wild caught and, like all wild
caught imported reptiles, heavily stressed, usually dehydrated, often emaciated,
and always parasitized. Take a fresh fecal to a reptile veterinarian for a fecal
flotation to determine if the animal is infected with worms; if so, treatment is
required (generally, oral medication administered 2-3 times over a period of
2-3, or 4-6 weeks).
PrOpHeT Report This Comment
Date: October 26, 2009 11:53AM
Though the image is impressive, I am more fond of the ability to use sobriquet
Lexx Report This Comment
Date: October 26, 2009 01:11PM
According to what it says about their mean personalities, I don't think Tokay
geckos would do a very good job selling insurance.