Tropical house gecko

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Tropical house gecko
Hemidactylus mabouia in Coulibistrie, Dominica a03.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Gekkonidae
Genus: Hemidactylus
H. mabouia
Binomial name
Hemidactylus mabouia
Close up of a tropical house gecko in Florida. Tropicalhousegecko.jpg
Close up of a tropical house gecko in Florida.

The tropical house gecko, Afro-American house gecko or cosmopolitan house gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia) is a species of house gecko native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is also currently found in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, where it has been inadvertently introduced by humans. [3] [4]



This species can attain a maximum length, from snout to vent, of 12.7 cm (5 in). Being nocturnal, it has very large eyes which are useful in spotting prey in low light conditions. It can change color (slowly) from light brown to a darker brown to better match its surroundings.


Its diet is varied, and includes animals such as isopods, centipedes, [5] spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, beetles, [5] moths, flies, mosquitoes, [6] anoles and other geckos with the most important element being Orthoptera species.


As with many gecko species, it has the ability to vocalize. Its vocalizations range from quiet peeps to rapid short squeaking sounds. They may be heard most easily on a quiet night when they are sitting near an open window.


The tropical house gecko can be found predominantly in urban locations.


Tropical house geckos are mainly nocturnal and are voracious hunters of nocturnal flying and crawling insects. They have learned to wait near outside wall-mounted lighting fixtures so as to catch the insects that are drawn to the light.

Human impact

In some Caribbean cultures it is considered good luck to have a tropical house gecko residing in one's home, and certainly they do eat a lot of household insect pests. However, the feces of the tropical house gecko are approximately 5 mm (0.20 in) long, 2 mm (0.079 in) wide, and dark brown (almost black) in color. The gecko will usually confine its feces to one area of a home, but if that area happens to be a pale-colored carpet, drapes, or any other easily stained surface, the stains are not easily removed, and the droppings have to be physically scooped up as well. [7]

Despite being harmless, the common house gecko or 'woodslave' is considered by some in Trinidad & Tobago to be a bad omen and to have a poisonous touch. This is an old superstition and, in actuality, the house gecko is harmless and very useful due to hunting spiders and cockroaches.

Related Research Articles

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<i>Hemidactylus</i> Genus of common geckos

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Leschenaults leaf-toed gecko Species of lizard

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Hemidactylus karenorum, commonly known as the Burmese leaf gecko, the Burmese leaf-toed gecko, or the Burmese spotted gecko, is a species of gecko, a lizard in the family Gekkonidae. The species is endemic to Southeast Asia.

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Common house gecko Species of reptile

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Dubious dtella Species of lizard

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<i>Lucasium steindachneri</i> Species of lizard

Lucasium steindachneri, commonly called the box-patterned gecko or Steindachner's gecko, is a species of nocturnal, medium-sized lizard in the family Diplodactylidae. The species has a pale strip with three patches of brown along its back. This gecko is terrestrial and only found in arid and semi-arid areas of continental Australia.

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Saltuarius salebrosus, also known as the rough-throated leaf-tailed gecko or Central Queensland leaf-tailed gecko, is a gecko found in Australia. It is endemic to dry areas in mid-eastern and south-central Queensland.

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  1. Howell, K.; Msuya, C.A.; Ngalason, W.; Luiselli, L.; Chirio, L.; Wagner, P.; Niagate, B.; LeBreton, M.; Bauer, A.M. (2021). "Hemidactylus mabouia". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species . 2021: e.T196915A2477783. doi: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T196915A2477783.en . Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  2. The Reptile Database.
  3. Carlos Cesar Martinez Rivera; et al. (2003). "Tropical house gecko" (PDF). Caribbean Journal of Science. University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez. 39 (3): 321–326. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  4. Anjos, L. A.; Almeida, W. O.; Vasconcellos, A.; Freire, E. M. X.; Rocha, C. F. D. (Aug 2008). "Pentastomids infecting an invader lizard, Hemidactylus mabouia (Gekkonidae) in northeastern Brazil". Brazilian Journal of Biology. São Carlos. 68 (3): 611–615. doi: 10.1590/S1519-69842008000300019 . ISSN   1519-6984. PMID   18833483.
  5. 1 2 Lennox, Bryan. "Hemidactylus mabouia (House gecko)". Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  6. "Hemidactylus mabouia (African House Gecko)" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  7. "House geckos". Retrieved 29 March 2022.

Further reading