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Geckos In Arizona

There are 2 different species and 3 subspecies of gecko in Arizona. They all are distributed in different areas of the state so finding one of these geckos is pretty common.

Geckos are nocturnal lizards so they are more commonly seen at night. The banded geckos found in Arizona are terrestrial, unlike the Meditteranean gecko which has sticky toe pads so they are more likely to be found on the sides of trees or buildings.

Geckos are one of the most common lizards kept as pets because they are usually easy to tame and very docile. These lizards are great for beginners because they are easy to care for and have a relatively calm nature. Geckos are usually very sweet but prefer not to be handled often as it stresses them out.

Learning about the Geckos you can find in Arizona can help you identify them and care for them correctly. Geckos are common in urban areas so maybe you’ll find one in your backyard.

Table of Contents

  1. Geckos in Arizona
    1. Mediterranean Gecko
    2. Western Banded Gecko
    3. Utah Banded Gecko
    4. Tucson Banded Gecko
    5. Desert Banded Gecko
  2. FAQ
  3. Wrapping Up

Geckos In Arizona

1. Mediterranean Gecko

Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) on sand at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Tucson, Arizona, USA
A Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) on sand at Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Tucson, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus turcicus
  • Other Names: Mediterranean house gecko
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 to 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 to $25

The Mediterranean gecko is an introduced species originally come from Meditteranean and West Asia. They are currently found all over urban areas in Arizona. They are the most common species of gecko in the state, and it’s very likely you’ll see one hanging around backyards or on window screens.

This species is nocturnal, so they are most commonly seen at night perched on walls near light sources waiting to prey on passing insects. They have a diet consisting of many different types of small insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.

Unlike other lizards, these geckos can make noises to ward off predators or assert dominance over territory.

This species of gecko typically has light gray or pinkish white skin with small bits of darker mottling. They have very large eyes with vertical pupils and no eyelids.

These geckos have sticky toe pads, so they are most often seen on the sides of houses or other buildings. This species can be distinguished from other geckos in overlapping areas by its bumpy warty skin.

2. Western Banded Gecko

Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) being held up on a stick at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, USA
A Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) being held up on a stick at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Family: Eublepharidae
  • Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $60

The Western banded Gecko is commonly found in the southern portions of Arizona. They can be found in various habitats like sagebrush deserts, open grasslands, canyons, and hillsides and have also been found in densely populated urban areas.

Like most geckos, this species is nocturnal, so it’s more likely you’ll see them at night. They prefer to avoid the heat during the day, so they tend to hide under rocks, vegetation, and other natural debris.

These geckos are typically pink and light yellow with brown crossbands that get darker as they age. Unlike most geckos, they have prominent eyes and moveable eyelids.

This species tail stores food and water that it uses during the winter when food is scarce. They can lose their tail if needed to escape a predator, but it takes most of the gecko’s energy to grow it back. If the tail is lost before winter, the gecko is unlikely to survive. 

Western banded geckos have a diet consisting of small insects, spiders, and small invertebrates. They can frequently be found in rodent burrows waiting for passing prey. These geckos are great at keeping the scorpion population down in urban areas by eating baby scorpions. 

3. Utah Banded Gecko

Utah Banded Gecko ( Coleonyx variegatus utahensis) on a rocky road near Mojave National Preserve, Arizona, USA
A Utah Banded Gecko ( Coleonyx variegatus utahensis) on a rocky road near Mojave National Preserve, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Family: Eublepharidae
  • Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus utahensis
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $60

Utah banded geckos are only found in the northwest portions of Arizona. They prefer to live in habitats like grasslands, sagebrush deserts, canyons, hillsides, and some urban areas.

Like most geckos, this subspecies is nocturnal so it’s unlikely to find them during the day as they like to stay hidden. Banded geckos are the only geckos that have moveable eyelids and lack sticky toepads.

You can distinguish banded geckos from others in Arizona by their lack of toepads and the dark crossbands on their body. These geckos look similar to other subspecies of Western banded geckos. They have pink and light yellow sometimes light green skin with brown crossbands from neck to tip of the tail.

You can distinguish Utah banded geckos from other subspecies of the Western banded gecko by their crossbands which are much larger and have less space between them. These bands get darker as they age. These bands also lack light centers unlike the other subspecies in Arizona.

Utah banded geckos are nocturnal terrestrial hunters so they eat what they can find crawling on the ground. Their diet is made up of small and large insects, spiders, small invertebrates, and baby scorpions! These geckos are more likely to be seen in the summer months since they hibernate in the winter.

4. Tucson Banded Gecko

Tucson Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus bogerti) climbing a rock near Tumamoc Hill, Arizona, USA
A Tucson Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus bogerti) climbing a rock near Tumamoc Hill, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner-Intermediate
  • Family: Eublepharidae
  • Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus bogerti
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $60

The Tucson banded gecko is predominantly found in the southeastern corner of Arizona. This subspecies prefers similar habitats to other geckos found in Arizona such as grasslands, hillsides, and canyons.

They can be distinguished from other species in the state by their geographical range. The only other subspecies found near the Tucson banded gecko is the Desert banded gecko.

Tucson banded geckos can be distinguished from Desert banded geckos by their more uniform crossbands. Tucson banded geckos tend to have thin but uniform crossbands all over their body.

These crossbands have a thin line of light brown in the center of the brown or dark brown band and have much more space between bands than other subspecies of Western banded geckos.

These geckos typically have pink, light yellow, or light green skin with brown crossbands going from their neck to the tip of their tail. Their head has light brown splotches interspersed. Like other banded geckos, they don’t have sticky toepads but they do have moveable eyelids which are not common in geckos.

Tucson banded geckos eat insects, spiders, baby scorpions, and small invertebrates they can find on the ground. They prefer to hide under natural debris found on the ground during the day and hunt for food at night.

Like other terrestrial geckos, the Tucson banded gecko prefers to hibernate in abandoned burrows and in mild winters can be found hibernating in rotting logs or under rocks.

5. Desert Banded Gecko

Desert Banded Gecko ( Coleonyx variegatus variegates) on bark in Tavapai County, Arizona, USA
A Desert Banded Gecko ( Coleonyx variegatus variegates) on bark in Tavapai County, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Family: Eublepharidae
  • Scientific Name: Coleonyx variegatus variegates
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $30 to $60

The Desert banded gecko is widely distributed across the western areas of Arizona. They prefer to live in hot dry desert habitats.

They are found in deserts, canyons, and urban areas. They can live in such hot places by hiding underground or under rocks during the day to escape the heat.

Like most geckos, they are nocturnal so they do their hunting at night. Unlike most geckos, the Desert banded geckos lack sticky toepads so they are terrestrial hunters. They eat whatever they can find crawling on the ground like insects, spiders, and invertebrates.

These geckos look similar to other subspecies of Western banded geckos but can be distinguished by their crossbands or lack of. The Desert banded geckos cross bands are more like spots they don’t have a distinct uniformed pattern like other banded geckos.

They generally have light pink, light yellow, or light green skin with brown crossbands that get darker as they age. Unlike other gecko species, banded geckos have moveable eyelids.

FAQ

Are geckos found In Arizona aggressive?

The Geckos found in Arizona are pretty docile and non-aggressive. Males only become aggressive if they are house with other males.

Is it safe to handle the geckos found in Arizona?

Geckos are safe to handle but should not be handled often or for long periods of time as this stresses them out.

Do the geckos In Arizona make good pets?

The species of gecko found in Arizona make great pets since they are easy to care for and are generally pretty calm.

Wrapping up

Even though there are only five different types of geckos in Arizona they can be found all over the state. Female geckos lay eggs as often as every two weeks so they are more abundant than you’d think.

They are found all over desert areas, grasslands, hillsides, canyons and are even common in densely populated urban areas.

Geckos are great beginner-friendly pets due to their docile nature and how they are very easy to care for. Though geckos are friendly they shouldn’t be handled often and two males shouldn’t be kept in the same area as this can make them aggressive.

Learning about geckos is great but being able to observe them can be lots of fun. Geckos are very common lizards that can be found near and even on buildings pretty often. If you find one make sure to do proper research on how to care for it and handle it before you decide to keep it as a pet.

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