Thursday, May 4, 2017

Geckos: Common and Special

The common house gecko is all over the place here in the Philippines.  They are great for pest control. This gecko is out and about all day and all night scaling the walls, clicking its tongue, and scrounging for insects to eat.

He's just waiting for his meal to show up

However sometimes they can be quite the problem. Especially when they crawl into places and die. You won't know what's happened until you encounter a putrid smell or see a long train of ants.  Once there were ants all over the rice cooker and when it was taken apart there were four dead lizards who had managed to sneak inside where all the wires are.  The heat undoubtedly cooked them all to death.

They also tend to get squished in the door jamb especially on windy days when the door is blown shut suddenly.  But you won't notice until the smell or the ants come.

This one died in the refrigerator

Smushed in the door

Another lizard smushed in the door jamb 
Aside from getting squished in doors and dying in hard to reach places the gecko also leaves its droppings all over the place on both the walls and the floor.  It is possible, as a gecko scurries across the ceiling, a dropping could fall fresh from the source and into your coffee.

Along with the smaller geckos there is also the large Tokay Gecko.  

Loud and fierce

The tokay gecko is a bit more special and rarer sight because he only comes out at night. The call of the tokay gecko is a loud and unmistakable croak. They will make a home in your rafters or in the trees. While they look and sound fierce tokay geckos are mostly harmless and also eat insects. However, the droppings they leave behind are much larger than the other geckos.

An unfortunate collateral victim in the war against mice

Tokay geckos will hide in your walls

The tokay gecko remains in high demand throughout Asia as a miracle cure for cancer, AIDS, impotence, and other ailments.  Such claims are unfounded but persistent. The perception of the tokay gecko as a miracle cure puts them in danger as a species and also puts the patient's health at risk for consuming them.
The Philippines' government in July also warned that using geckos to treat AIDS and impotence may put patients at risk. 
The geckos, popular as pets in Asia, have long been used as traditional medicine for illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, skin disease and cancer, the report said. Their carcasses are dried up and ground into powder for consumption. In some parts of Asia, Tokay wine or whisky is consumed to boost energy. 

If you don't want these lizards in your home it is easy to capture and release them elsewhere. There is no need to exterminate the geckos. Or eat them. Or sell or use them as medicine. They are your friends. Just make sure to clean up their droppings and watch out for their rotting corpses.

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