Tokay geckos are commonly offered as pets - but their fierce bite makes them a potentially painful companion. Most captive tokays have been wild caught.
Several subspecies exist across the species' range, including the type specimen Gekko gecko gecko, but naming and taxonomic status of subspecies is in dispute.
20+ years in captivity.
Males are 30-40cm in length, females are 20-28cm. Weight 150-300g.
A robust colourful gecko with grey/blue body and red/orange spots. Their red tongue and black throat is displayed during their aggressive gape display. Males have noticeable rows of pre-anal pores around which there is often a visible yellowish waxy substance.
Northeastern India and Bangladesh through southern China and Southeast Asia to Indonesia. They have been introduced to Martinique, Hawaii and Florida via the pet trade.
Tokay geckos are an arboreal species, mainly from rain forests, but in many parts of their range they are common in houses.
In the wild tokays feed on a range of insects including cockroaches and crickets. They will also feed on smaller geckos, and smaller vertebrates.
Wary of people in the wild, but famously aggressive when cornered. They climb with great dexterity - even large specimens easily taking walls in their stride. Males are territorial.
Two eggs are laid by the female, who sticks them to upright surfaces. Young take up to 200 days to hatch, and receive no parental care.
Though still quite abundant in most parts of their range, their use in Chinese medicine has caused local declines in south China, Vietnam and Thailand. They are not listed by the IUCN Red List 2000.
A loud tokay call gives this gecko its name, it also makes a variety of other calls which sound like gah, eck and a small dog's bark.
One of the largest living geckos, but perhaps not quite the largest, that distinction belonging to the New Caledonian Gecko.
The tokay was the first gecko to be scientifically named by Linnaeus in 1758.
Best place to see
Small sub-urban backpackers' hostels in south East Asia offer gecko-fans their best chance to see a tokay, listen out for their distinctive call after sunset.
Palm gecko, Gekko vittatus