The common house gecko. Love it or hate it, it has become part and parcel of suburban life.
So ubiquitous this invasive species has become that it has even earned fame – by selling car insurance.
How well do you know that beady guest that has imposed itself on you? Before you get a broom and run it out, let’s get a bit of understanding about the common house gecko.
Who knows, you just might end up falling in love with it.
The Common House Gecko – Friend, Foe, or a Freeloading Pest?
When it comes to the animals we live with (seen and unseen), it is important that we get to understand the role they play in the ecosystem. You’ll be surprised to find that some even play a helpful role around your house.
Is the common house gecko one of them? Is it a friend (helpful), foe (dangerous), or just a freeloading pest that does more harm than good?
Well, in order for you to make a decision on that one, let’s look at a few things you definitely have to know about this weird (or wonderful) creature.
1. What Is a Common House Gecko?
You’ve probably heard it many times, “Oh, it’s just a common house gecko.” But how much do you know about this common reptile? Is it venomous? Does it spread diseases? Well, let’s get acquainted with your guest, shall we?
The common house gecko, scientifically named Hemidactylus frenatus, may look like some sort of pet in your house.
Nevertheless, this species of reptile is actually an invasive one that originated from Southeast Asia.
It is thought that the species brought itself to the western world by hitching rides on ships that were going to and from Asia with goods for trade.
This uninvited guest is also known by many other aliases, some of which include Pacific House Gecko, Asian House Gecko, house lizard, or Moon Lizard. The common house gecko is not to be confused with its cousin the Mediterranean House Gecko, or Hemidactylus turcicus.
How Does the Common House Gecko Look Like?
Photo Credit: Encademic
So what does the common house gecko look like? I mean, if we are not to confuse it with its other cousins, a brief description would help, wouldn’t it?
- These small lizards can reach lengths of up to 3-6 inches and have an elongated snout.
- They also feature a tail that is elongated and tapers toward the end.
- Perhaps their most prominent feature is their near see-through skin.
- The skin color varies and can span the spectrum from grayish colors to pinkish colors. Sometimes it can even feature dark patches. The only consistent part of the skin is the underside that is usually a creamy-white color.
- Another interesting feature is their eyes. They have no eyelids (leading them to have to clean their eyes with their tongue) and have a vertical pupil. The combination gives them some kind of a creepy look.
As for being venomous, the common house gecko is actually as harmless as the flies it eats, or even more so.
Which brings us to another point about the common house gecko that many people don’t know about.
2. The Common House Gecko is Definitely Not a Freeloader
Many people look at the common house gecko as a freeloading pest, but is that really what it is?
In all fairness and honesty, uninvited it may be, but it definitely earns its keep in your house.
I’m sure one of the most common places you’ve seen one (or 2) is on a wall near the lights. And if you thought it was just admiring your outdoor design, you got it all wrong. The reason it stays near the lights is that it will be waiting for bugs that are attracted by the light.
- Being an insectivore, the gecko actually helps with pest control in your house.
- Having one or two in your house actually helps keep the bug population down.
- This means you don’t have to work so hard to deal with pests, saving you a bit of money in the process.
- If you have a moth or cockroach problem, gecko’s can help you deal with it if you don’t mind them being a part of your household.
Unfortunately, however, it’s not all roses with this home invader. It does have its cons as a house guest. For others, these cons outweigh the advantages that this little beady-eyed guest comes with.
3. Putting Up with The Gecko
As good as the common house gecko sounds on paper, when you decide to live with it, there are some things you’ll have to put up with.
- The first and most obvious is the gecko itself. While others may find it cute, others find it creepy and even frightening. And that makes it unwelcome in many homes.
- Other than its odd looks, this lizard also brings with it its bathroom manners – or lack thereof. Gecko droppings are usually the first tell-tale sign that you have company.
- The droppings are usually elongated, brownish, and often have a white tip.
- Besides being a bit unsightly, these droppings are a bane when they fall onto carpets, fabrics, or carpets. This is because they leave a stain that can be rather difficult to get rid of.
If you can’t live with its looks and messy habits, then you’re probably looking for ways to get rid of your unwelcomed house guest.
4. How to Get Rid of an Unwelcomed House Gecko
So you’re not comfortable with the beady-eyed reptile that always seems to be looking at you from its perch on the wall. Well, getting rid of it is actually easy.
- While there are no certified pesticides to get rid of them, pesticides do help in that they do reduce the food supply, thereby forcing the geckos to move out.
But this is not very effective so let me show you some effective ways of combating geckos in your home.
Keep Them Out
They say prevention is better than cure. That definitely applies to common house geckos as well. It is easier to prevent geckos from entering your home than it is to get them out. It applies especially if your home has a good supply of food and the right temperatures for them to thrive in.
- In order to keep geckos from entering your home, inspect your house and seal off all entry points.
- This can include the weather stripping around doors and windows, cracks and crevices around plumbing or electrical penetrations, and any other gap you can find in your structure.
- Using silicon caulks or expanding foam sealers eliminate any gap they may use for entry or harborage.
By gecko-proofing your home, you can be assured that you can have your house to yourself again.
Physically Evict Them
Physically taking any gecko you find in your house is probably the most humane way of getting rid of them. Remember, it’s non-toxic and therefore, harmless.
- Simply get a container and capture the gecko. If you are tempted to keep it as a pet, by all means, go ahead. Otherwise, take it outside and release it.
Capture and Eliminate
This one is definitely not for the faint-hearted and is only to be used as an extreme measure.
- Capturing these delicate reptiles involves the use of glue boards and sticky cards.
- Place them near lights, on windows, and any other places geckos like to pass.
- Be warned though, this method won’t kill them instantly neither does it facilitate releasing the gecko outside. If anything, the gecko will suffer a slow and painful death.
5. An Uncommon (Yet Lovable) Pet
Once you get past the creepy skin, the common house gecko actually makes for a good pet. Because of their insectivorous nature, many people have opted to accommodate them.
However, if you want to take the relationship a step further, it is advisable that you get an aquarium for them.
- Make sure to put sufficient bedding and small shrubs, branches, or poles for them to climb as a form of exercise and for play.
- If you choose to keep more than one, you’ll have to make sure you don’t mix two males as they are territorial by nature. Putting them in the same space will lead to some serious fights.
- However, the females mix easily, so it’s easy to keep a group of them together.
Although the house gecko may look like a simple creature, you’ll have to make sure you know as much about them as you can – particularly how to keep them as pets.
Other Interesting and Fun Facts about Geckos
Photo Credit: Discover Magazine
Geckos are too adorable to stop talking about them just yet, so let’s see some other cute and interesting facts about geckos!
- Geckos have such amazing toes, that they can stick to any possible surface, except dry Teflon.
- Most gecko species are nocturnal and are hundreds of times more sensitive to light than humans.
- In comparison to their lizard brethren, geckos can vocalize. In fact, they are able to communicate among them through chirps, clicks, some barking-like noises, and other sounds.
- The female of some gecko species can carry their pregnancy for months and even years before they lay their eggs.
- Like many species of lizards, geckos can also detach their tails and grow new ones if necessary.
- If you intend to keep the common house gecko as pet, you should know it can live a long and joyful life. If well cared for, a gecko can live up to 15-20 years.
- Some geckos are fierce competitors for chameleons. They can change their colors and looks to blend in their environments perfectly.
Now that You Know All About the Gecko…
There you have it, all you need to know about the common house gecko (well almost). So what will you do the next time you see one in your home? Hopefully, you’ll choose to live with it and let it take care of pest control. If not, please be kind and escort it outside. It is harmless, after all.