“How many Geckos are there in Texas?”
You might be surprised to know that of all the geckos found in Texas, 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 4 different kinds of geckos in Texas.
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#1. 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.
#2. 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 Texas is NOT native! The Mediterranean House Gecko was introduced to Texas 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 Texas 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 Texas, they are so well-recognized they belong on any list of geckos in our area.
#3. Reticulate Banded Gecko
- Coleonyx reticulatus
- 5.5 to 6.75 inches long.
- Coloring is light brown with darker streaks and spots that form a reticulate, or fishnet, pattern.
- The eyes are dark, with immobile eyelids.
Reticulate Banded Geckos are found ONLY in Texas.
It can be easy to confuse them with Texas Banded Geckos because of their similar appearance and location. Still, Reticulate Banded Geckos are larger in size and have a much smaller range.
They will eat nearly any arthropod they can catch, including insects, spiders, and even scorpions. So they definitely aren’t a picky dinner guest!
Like many other gecko species, Reticulate Banded Geckos are vocal and will squeak if they are disturbed or handled.
#4. Rough-Tailed Gecko
- Cyrtopodion scabrum
- 3 to 4.5 inches long.
- Coloring is sandy brown, with dark brown spots that form a striped pattern. The belly is white.
- The tail has dark brown crossbands and is covered in large, keeled scales.
The Rough-Tailed Gecko is a non-native species found only in Galveston, Texas. In fact, it only lives in the buildings immediately surrounding the Galveston commercial shipping docks.
It was introduced to the area as a “hitchhiker” on produce ships and liked the area so much it now has a permanent range there! Its natural range is the western Mediterranean, from Sudan to northwestern India.
Do you need additional help identifying geckos?
Try this field guide!
Which of these geckos have you seen in Texas?
Leave a comment below!