24 Types of Geckos Found in the United States! (ID Guide)
“How many geckos are there in the United States?”
You might be surprised to know that of all the geckos found in the United States, 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 24 different kinds of geckos in the United States.
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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 the United States 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 the United States. 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 United States is NOT native! The Mediterranean House Gecko was introduced to the United States 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 the United States 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 the United States, they are so well-recognized they belong on any list of geckos in our area.
#4 – #6. Bi-Coastal Geckos
These three non-native Geckos in the United States 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!
#4. 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.
#5. 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.
#6. 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.
#7. 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.
#8. 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.
#9. Barefoot Gecko
- Coleonyx switaki
- 2 to 3.5 inches long.
- Coloring is pale beige to reddish-brown, with brown spots.
- This species also has lighter spots that form crossbands on the back.
Barefoot Geckos in the United States prefer flatlands and canyons with plenty of rock outcrops and boulders.
They are nocturnal and prone to hiding in deep crevices, so you are fortunate if you find one in the wild!
Like many other species, Barefoot Geckos squeak if they are disturbed or handled. However, they also have a unique display habit if they feel threatened. They will walk away from a potential predator with their tail curled up and waving in the air.
This may make them look larger or more dangerous, and therefore less appetizing!
#10. Leaf-Toed Gecko
- Phyllodactylus xanti
- 1.5 to 2.5 inches long.
- As its name suggests, the splayed toes of this species resemble a tropical leaf.
- Coloring is pink, brown, or gray, with dark brown spots and a pale, whitish belly.
The Leaf-Toed Gecko is only found in rocky terrain in far southern California. You might spot them near streams or rivers, but they have been known to live far from water as well. Leaf-Toed Geckos eat insects and spiders.
There are two subspecies, but only one in the U.S.: the Peninsular Lead-Toed Gecko, P.x. nocticolus. This is the larger of the two subspecies.
Like many other gecko species, Leaf-Toed Geckos are vocal when disturbed and will squeak if handled.
#11. Sri Lankan House Gecko
- Hemidactylus parvimaculatus
- 4 to 4.5 inches long.
- Coloring is brown with rows of small, irregular, darker brown spots
- Small bumps called tubercles are arranged in rows that run down the back.
The Sri Lankan House Gecko is an introduced species found ONLY in the Audubon Park area of New Orleans. It was most likely transported on a shipping container into the Port of New Orleans and established a permanent population.
Sri Lankan House Geckos have a unique voice! Their call is a throaty “chuk-chuk-chuk” sound. Their natural range is southern India, Sri Lanka, and islands in the Indian Ocean.
#12. 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!
#13. 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.
#14. 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.
#15. 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.
#16. 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.
#17. 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.
#18. 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.
#19. 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!
#20. 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.
#21. 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 the United States! Coloring is bluish-gray with red-orange spots.
#22. 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.
#23. Gold Dust Day Gecko
- Phelsuma laticauda
In the U.S., 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!
#24. 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 the United States?
Leave a comment below!