Wildlife in Your Backyard: Attracting Geckos

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A House Gecko with a spider

A House Gecko with a spider

House Geckos are common throughout the world in tropical and subtropical areas, having been brought into many areas by ship. These voracious little lizards start hunting insects two weeks after hatching, and can eat an astonishing amount of spiders, beetles, cockroaches, and other nuisance insects. By attracting House Geckos to your yard, you will be able to enjoy their nighttime activities and reap the benefits of their presence.

House Geckos like warm temperatures, and rarely venture outside unless the nighttime temperature is seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit. Their toe pads are miracles of nanotechnology (notice that the lizard in the picture is hanging on to a vertical stone wall) and can cling to almost any surface except Teflon ®. These lizards also do not like bright light, and will not venture into brightly lit places.

To make your environment hospitable for House Geckos, give them plenty of hiding places to escape from dogs, cat, raccoons, possums and other lizard-hunting animals, and places such as stone walls warmed by the sun, where they can bask and soak up warmth during the day. Make sure that they have access to fresh water (this can be as simple as watering your lawn regularly). And most importantly, you must adopt organic lawn maintenance methods to attract House Geckos. Insecticides and pesticides not only kill off their food sources, but if the insects they eat have been exposed to pesticides or insecticides, the poor House Gecko will eat the poison along with the insect! In the same way, non-organic fertilizers may contain substances toxic to these beneficial animals, which they will ingest when drinking water droplets, and die.

Try not to handle House Geckos if possible. If you must move a House Gecko, try to shoo it into a darkened cardboard box, where it will remain calm, and let it go in your desired area. These lizards lose their tails when frightened; if they lose it, leave it near the gecko where they can eat it. If you want House Geckos to live inside with you, make sure to give them a few large potted plants to climb in, a source of water, and hiding places, and be prepared for the occasional one to fall off the ceiling and into bed with you! With these few adaptations, you will enjoy a happy, spider-free existence and have hours of night-time entertainment as well!

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