The 17 Types of GECKOS in Florida! (ID Guide)
“How many geckos are there in Florida?”
You might be surprised to know that of all the geckos found in Florida, only ONE is native. I know I was when I first started learning about geckos!
Including introduced species, there are 24 different geckos in the US! On this list, some similar species are grouped together.
Today, you’ll learn about 17 different kinds of geckos in Florida.
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#1. Mediterranean House Gecko
- Hemidactylus turcicus
- 1.5 to 2.5 inches long.
- The pupils are vertical, and the eyes are large and round with immovable eyelids.
- This species has two color phases for camouflage.
- Pale phase: the coloring is light pink to pale yellow or white, with brown or gray blotches.
- Dark phase: the coloring darkens to gray or brown, obscuring the blotches on the back.
You might be surprised to find out that the most abundant and widespread gecko in Florida is NOT native! The Mediterranean House Gecko was introduced to Florida via imported plants carrying their egg clutches. They are adaptable to so many environments that their population quickly outpaced any of our native geckos!
Mediterranean House Geckos are nocturnal, but this won’t stop you from being able to find them. They are considered an “urbanized” species, which means they are just as happy to live inside your house as they are in the wild!
They eat insects attracted to lights and are commonly found on walls, ceilings, and window screens in homes. Outside, look for them in rock crevices or cracked tree trunks.
In addition to being comfortable around humans, Mediterranean House Geckos in Florida are a vocal species.
The mating call of males is a series of clicks, and they frequently make a squeaking noise if threatened.
Even though Mediterranean House Geckos aren’t native to Florida, they are so well-recognized they belong on any list of geckos in our area.
#2 – #4. Bi-Coastal Geckos
These three non-native Geckos in Florida have all been introduced in Florida and California.
They arrived via agriculture and pet trade, and because they are so well adapted to their environment, they quickly spread throughout their range. They live in urban and suburban areas and are frequently found inside buildings. All three species eat insects, keeping the buildings they inhabit relatively pest-free!
#2. Moorish Wall Gecko
- Tarentola mauritanica
Moorish Wall Geckos are 4.5 to 6 inches long, with spiny skin. They are light yellowish-gray in color. Their native range is Mediterranean, Africa, and Europe.
#3. Ringed Wall Gecko
- Tarentola annularis
Ringed Wall Geckos are 7 to 8 inches long and are dark brown to sandy gray in color. They have splotchy, broken lines on their back in a darker brown color. Their natural range is Northern Africa.
#4. Indo-Pacific Gecko
- Hemidactylus garnotii
Indo-Pacific Geckos are 4 to 5.5 inches long. They are brownish-gray to dark brown with a lemon yellow belly. This species is parthenogenetic, meaning it is all-female, and its offspring are genetic clones of the mother. Its native range is southeast Asia, the East Indies, and the South Sea islands.
#5. Florida Reef Gecko
- Sphaerodactylus notatus
- 2 to 2.25 inches long.
- Coloring is brown with small dark spots that fade with age.
- Females have three broad stripes on the head that are dark with a lighter middle section.
The Florida Reef Gecko is a native species found ONLY in Southern Florida in the U.S.
Typically, they can be seen in pine forests, vacant lots, and buildings. Unfortunately, they tend to hide under debris and can be difficult to spot!
Florida Reef Geckos are also sometimes called Brown-speckled Sphaeros.
Introduced Geckos Found ONLY in Florida
I was surprised to find out there’s only ONE native Gecko species in all of Florida! This is hard to believe because so many recognizable geckos live here. But, all the other species are invasive and were introduced from other parts of the world.
Some originally hitched a ride on shipments of ornamental plants, and some were escaped pets. So, here are 12 species of Gecko that have been introduced in Florida and are now permanent residents!
#6. Ocellated Gecko
- Sphaerodactylus argus
Look for the Ocellated Gecko in Key West and on Stock Island. Its native range is the Caribbean islands.
Brown to olive with a reddish tail. White spots that look like eyes dot the neck and back.
#7. Ashy Gecko
- Sphaerodactylus elegans
The Ashy Gecko is found in South Florida and the Keys. Its native range is Cuba.
Reddish to gray-brown, with white or yellow spots. The snout of this species is flat and pointed.
#8. Bibron’s Sand Gecko
- Chondrodactylus bibronii
You will only find the Bibron’s Sand Gecko in two counties in Florida! Though it lives in Bradenton and Manatee counties, its native range is southern Africa.
This species is thick and stout with a large head. Coloring is olive to down with dark crossbands.
#9. Common House Gecko
- Hemidactylus frenatus
You can find the Common House Gecko in southern Florida. However, its native range is Southeast Asia.
Coloring is tan or gray, usually with dark stripes or spots. This species has light lines through the pupil.
#10. Tropical House Gecko
- Hemidactylus mabouia
Look for the Tropical House Gecko in the Florida peninsula and the Keys. Its native range is tropical Africa.
Coloring is uniform pale gray or light brown, with thin, dark crossbands.
#11. Asian Flat-Tailed House Gecko
- Hemidactylus platyurus
Though its native range is Nepal, eastern India, and Southeast Asia, the Asian Flat-Tailed Gecko has scattered populations throughout the Florida peninsula.
The tail of this species is flat and has a serrated edge, making it look similar to an arrowhead or handmade knife.
#12. Mourning Gecko
- Hemidactylus lugubris
The Mourning Gecko is found in southern Florida in the US. Its native range is the Pacific islands.
One of the few all-female gecko species; its young are genetic clones!
#13. Golden Gecko
- Gekko badenii
You will ONLY find the Golden Gecko in Hollywood, Florida! Escaped pets have established a wild population there. Its native range is Vietnam.
The coloring is light gray with a golden tint on the back. Eyes are gold with a thin, black, vertical pupil.
#14. Tokay Gecko
- Gekko gecko
Look for the beautiful Tokay Gecko in southern Florida. Its native range is Southeast Asia.
Up to 14 inches long – the largest Gecko in Florida! Coloring is bluish-gray with red-orange spots.
#15. Madagascan Day Gecko
- Phelsuma grandis
As its name suggests, this species’ native range is Madagascar. In the U.S., they live in South Florida and the Keys.
Coloring is bright green with orange or red spots. This species is one of few geckos with round pupils.
#16. Gold Dust Day Gecko
- Phelsuma laticauda
Gold Dust Day Geckos live in South Florida and the Keys. Their native range is Madagascar.
This species looks similar to the Madagascan Day Gecko with green skin and red and yellow spots, except that it has blue feet!
#17. Yellow-Headed Gecko
- Gonatodes albogularis
Its native range is Central and South America and the Caribbean, but the Yellow-Headed Gecko is also found in South Florida and the Keys.
Males have a yellow head, while females and young are uniformly brown or gray.
Do you need additional help identifying geckos?
Try this field guide!
Which of these geckos have you seen in Florida?
Leave a comment below!