“How many Geckos are there in New Mexico?”
You might be surprised to know that of all the geckos found in the US, only a few are 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 3 different kinds of geckos in New Mexico.
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#1. Western Banded Gecko
- Coleonyx variegatus
- 2 to 3 inches long.
- The eyelids are movable, and the pupils are vertical.
- Coloring is pink to pale yellow with brown bands on the back and tail. The belly is white to off-white.
- When handled or disturbed, this species makes a small squeaking noise.
Western Banded Geckos in New Mexico have adapted to an arid climate.
By being nocturnal and spending much of their time underground, they can withstand their habitat’s lack of rain and intense heat.
You’re likely to find Western Banded Geckos around rocks or debris, which they use for cover when they are above ground. They eat insects and spiders.
Like many of their relatives, Western Banded Geckos are excellent at climbing and can scale vertical rocks and walls!
There are four subspecies of the Western Banded Gecko in New Mexico. They are all so similar in coloring and pattern that it would be hard to tell them apart by appearance. The four subspecies are:
Desert Banded Gecko (C.v. variegatus)
Tuscon Banded Gecko (C.v. bogerti)
San Diego Banded Gecko (C.v. abbotti)
Utah Banded Gecko (C.v. utahensis)
#2. Texas Banded Gecko
- Coleonyx brevis
- 1.5 to 2.5 inches long.
- Coloring is yellowish-tan with dark, wide bands crossing the body and tail.
- The scales are granular, giving the surface of the skin a sandpaper-like appearance.
Texas Banded Geckos are common in desert grassland and open woodland with plenty of rocks. You’re likely to find them near hillsides and canyons and even on roadways at night. Though they are good climbers, this species is mostly terrestrial and climbs rocks only to find shelter.
Compared to the size of its body, the female Texas Banded Gecko lays enormous eggs! They are often much wider than the gecko’s body. As you can imagine, the clutch size is tiny; usually, only one or two eggs!
Despite the small reproductive numbers of this species, they are abundant in their range.
#3. 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 the US is NOT native! The Mediterranean House Gecko was introduced to New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico, they are so well-recognized they belong on any list of geckos in our area.
Do you need additional help identifying geckos?
Try this field guide!
Which of these geckos have you seen in New Mexico?
Leave a comment below!