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Geckos In Florida

There are 17 different species of gecko found in Florida. Out of these 17 species, 16 of them are invasive, with only one type of gecko being native to Florida.

These geckos can be found in a wide variety of habitats, from human developments and housing to forests and areas surrounding beaches. They all tend to eat an insect-based diet, however, the insects they eat vary, and many geckos feed on other small critters and/or fruits in addition to their bugs.

The needs and habits of the geckos found in Florida differ from species to species, some enjoying honey, some making squeaking noises, some with unique physical abilities. If you happen to keep geckos or are interested in starting, you should know that some of the geckos you can find in this list can be bought as pets!

However, it is not recommended to keep wild-caught animals as pets or release pets into the wild, for the protection of the wildlife and environment. Be sure to do plenty of research on your animals and the laws where you live before purchasing to help prevent unforeseen problems.

Geckos in Florida

1. Florida Reef Gecko

Florida Reef Gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) on some concrete in Key Largo, Florida, USA
Florida Reef Gecko (Sphaerodactylus notatus) on some concrete in Key Largo, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Sphaerodactylidae
  • Scientific Name: Sphaerodactylus notatus
  • Adult Size: 2 to 2.5 inches long

The Florida Reef gecko is the only gecko species native to Florida. These small brown geckos are born with dark spots that fade as they mature, with females of this species having three broad dark stripes down their heads and laying single eggs several times throughout a season.

These reptiles can be hard to spot in the wild, as they spend much of their time taking cover in holes and under debris for safety. Reef geckos are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk. When they are active, they can be found feeding on tiny spiders and insects, as well as maneuvering from shelter to shelter.

2. Yellow-Headed Gecko

Yellow-headed Gecko (Gonatodes albogularis) on a treetrunk in Limon, Costa Rica
A Yellow-headed Gecko (Gonatodes albogularis) on a treetrunk in Limon, Costa Rica . – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Sphaerodactylidae
  • Scientific Name: Gonatodes albogularis
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3.5 inches long
  • Average Price Range: $25 to $75+

The Yellow-Headed Gecko is native to the West Indies and Cuba. This reptile has now become invasive in Florida and the Keys. These geckos are born with brown or gray coloring, with only the males’ colors changing as they mature. In adulthood, male Yellow-Headed Geckos get their infamous yellow head coloring, as well as a dark blue/black body with a white-tipped tail.

A diurnal species, active on and close to the ground, Yellow-Headed Geckos seek safety in small holes and crevices, as well as tree trunks and branches low to the ground. Their diet consists of insects and spiders, with females laying eggs individually several times a year. Differing from other geckos, which are known for their vocalization, Yellow-Headed Geckos do not use or make vocal cues.

3. Gold Dust Day Gecko

Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) clinging onto a branch in Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
A Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) clinging onto a branch in Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Phelsuma laticauda
  • Other Names: Broad-Tailed Day Gecko
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches long
  • Lifespan: 10+ years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $200

Gold Dust Day Geckos are known for their bright green skin speckled with golden spots along their head and upper body, as well as their blue feet. These vibrant geckos are native to Madagascar, but can also be found in Florida, where they are invasive.

Gold Dust Day Geckos tend to make their homes in trees or human houses. They are active during the day, unlike many gecko species, and feed on small insects, pollen, nectar, and occasionally smaller lizards or juices from over-ripe fruit. Females typically lay their eggs in pairs found on plants or in crevices.

The Gold Dust Day Gecko cannot swim, however, their hydrophobic skin combined with the quick maneuvering of their tails and bodies allows them the unique ability to run on water. This works because the geckos create air pockets with their feet as they slap the water, providing both buoyancies to keep them above the water, and a vertical force allowing them to propel forward.

4. Madagascar Day Gecko

Madagascar Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis) on a wooden bark surface in Taomasina, Madagascar
A Madagascar Day Gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis) on a wooden bark surface in Taomasina, Madagascar. – Source

Native to Madagascar, the Madagascar Day Gecko is invasive in South Florida and the Keys. These geckos are bright green and sport red or orange spots along their bodies.

Madagascar Day Geckos are larger geckos, reaching around 10 inches in length, and they feed on arthropods such as crabs, insects, spiders, and scorpions, but will also eat sweet fruits and honey on occasion.

Madagascar Day Geckos are arboreal, inhabiting trees in tropical areas and rain forests. Active during the day, these geckos enjoy sunbathing and resting on tree trunks and branches, as well as other vertical surfaces.

Females of this species will lay clutches of two eggs several times during their laying season from January to July.

5. Tokay Gecko

Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) against a green-gray wall somewhere in Miami Springs, Florida, USA
A Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) against a green-gray wall somewhere in Miami Springs, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Gekko gecko
  • Adult Size: 8 to 16 inches long
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $40 to $200

The Tokay gecko has blue-gray skin paired with orange and blue spots and is one of the largest species of gecko in the world.

Females of this species range from 8-12 inches in length and males range from 13-16 inches in length. In addition to being smaller than males, females of this species are more muted in color.

Native to Southeast Asia and invasive to Florida, these geckos live in tropical rainforests, natural cracks, and crevices, as well as human areas with plenty of hiding places.

The Tokay gecko is a nocturnal hunter with a diet that includes insects, spiders, and sometimes small rodents and snakes. Female geckos will lay their hard-shelled eggs in pairs in a location that they have deemed safe.

6. Golden Gecko

Golden Gecko (Gekko badenii) on the walls of a terrarium taken by Heroinabspeutzer
A Golden Gecko (Gekko badenii) on the walls of a terrarium taken by Heroinabspeutzer. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Gekko badenii
  • Other Names: Baden’s Pacific Gecko, Ba Den Golden Gecko
  • Adult Size: 7 to 8 inches long
  • Lifespan: 8+ years
  • Average Price Range: $40 to $150

Native to Vietnam, the Golden Gecko is invasive to Florida and only found in Hollywood, Florida, where escaped pets have established a wild population. These geckos are light gray or greenish-brown with golden tints on the back, with golden eyes as well.

Golden Geckos are a nocturnal species, meaning they’re active at night. When these reptiles come out, they feed on insects as well as sweet fruits and honey.

This species is also arboreal, meaning they tend to inhabit trees and other tall vertical surfaces. Females Golden Geckos lay eggs one to two at a time, the eggs being sticky to stay put where they are laid.

7. Mourning Gecko

Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on a leaf near Lokahi Park, Hilo, Hawaii, USA
A Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on a leaf near Lokahi Park, Hilo, Hawaii, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Proficient
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Lepidodactylus lugubris
  • Other Names: Common Smooth-Scaled Gecko
  • Adult Size: 3 to 4 inches long
  • Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $15 to $30

The Mourning Gecko is a small brown or tan gecko native to tropical Asia, introduced to Florida. In Florida, like most species of gecko found there, these reptiles are invasive.

Mourning Geckos are omnivorous, feeding on fruit, nectar, fruit flies, and other small insects.

They are cathemeral, active during the night and day in an unpredictable way. They tend to be found in bushes, on trees, and other areas near artificial light.

The species is not entirely female, but this is a gecko species that reproduce via parthenogenesis, where the mothers lay and hatch eggs, without male involvement, producing offspring nearly identical genetically to the mother. Eggs belonging to this species have been found to be tolerant of saltwater, meaning that their eggs could likely survive drifting reasonable distances if washed out to sea.

8. Flat-Tailed Gecko

Flat-tailed House Gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus) on a white wall near West Boynton Park and Recreation Center, Lake Worth, Florida, USA
A Flat-tailed House Gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus) on a white wall near West Boynton Park and Recreation Center, Lake Worth, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus platyurus
  • Other Names: Asian Flat-Tailed House Gecko, Frilled House Gecko
  • Adult Size: 3.5 inches long

The Asian Flat-Tailed Gecko is native to Nepal, Eastern India, and Southeast Asia, and can be found throughout the Florida peninsula where it is invasive. These geckos can be identified by their changing-colored skin, a patternless cream color at night, and a tan color with dark bar patterns during the day, as well as their flat serrated tail and slightly webbed toes.

Asian Flat-Tailed Geckos are active at night and feed on insects. In Florida, they have been found to mostly inhabit human businesses, warehouses, and dwellings, where they prefer to keep to themselves. Males of this species make clicking noises and squeak when captured or in danger.

9. Tropical House Gecko

Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia) on a white corner on Weedon Island Preserve, Florida, USA
A Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia) on a white corner on Weedon Island Preserve, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus mabouia
  • Other Names: Cosmopolitan House Gecko, Amerafrican House gecko
  • Adult Size: 5 inches long
  • Lifespan: 5+ years

The Tropical House Gecko is a pale gray/tan color with a dark banded pattern, switching between darker and lighter shades to better blend in with their surroundings. These geckos can be found in Africa, where they are native, as well as in the Florida peninsula and the Keys, where they are considered invasive.

Being nocturnal, these reptiles are active at night, feeding on insects, centipedes, spiders, scorpions, and other sizeable prey. Tropical House Geckos typically prefer roommates, making their homes in human buildings and dwellings. Females will lay clutches of two eggs up to seven times a year.

10. Common House Gecko

Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) against a wall near Cuban Memorial Boulevard Park, Miami, Florida, USA
A Common House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) against a wall near Cuban Memorial Boulevard Park, Miami, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus frenatus
  • Other Names: Pacific House Gecko, Asian House Gecko, Wall Gecko, House Lizard, Moon Lizard
  • Adult Size: 3 to 6 inches long
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $20

The Common House Gecko is a gray or light brown colored lizard native to Southeast Asia. They have white undersides and live in warm, humid, tropical areas.

These geckos have also found their way to Florida, where they are invasive and pose a threat to other similar-sized lizards that feed on the same insects.

These nocturnal climbers hunt at night, preying on insects and occasionally juveniles of other gecko and skink species. They have also been observed eating nectar and other sugar-based products.

The females of this species lay pairs of hard-shelled eggs, unlike many other gecko species that lay soft-shelled eggs.

11. Bibron’s Sand Gecko

Bibron's Sand Gecko (Chondrodactylus bibronii) on a treetrunk near Gamkaskloof (Die Hel) Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa
A Bibron’s Sand Gecko (Chondrodactylus bibronii) on a treetrunk near Gamkaskloof (Die Hel) Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Chondrodactylus bibronii
  • Other Names: Bibron’s Thick-Toed Gecko, Bibron’s Gecko
  • Adult Size: 6 to 9 inches long
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $70 to $300

The Bibron Sand Gecko is native to South Africa and is now found in Florida, where it is invasive. In Florida, the only places you will find this reptile are Bradenton and Manatee County.

Females of this species will lay two clutches of eggs a year, with both cutches containing two eggs.

Bibron’s Sand Geckos can be difficult to spot as they tend to spend all day hiding in crevices between rocks and bark, and are an olive/brown color with dark bands along the body assisting them with staying concealed. These geckos are nocturnal insect eaters, meaning they hunt and eat at night.

 12. Cuban Ashy Gecko

Cuban Ashy Gecko (Sphaerodactylus elegans) on a wall at Guanahacabibes National Park and Biosphere Reserve, Peninsula de Guanahacabibes, Cuba
A Cuban Ashy Gecko (Sphaerodactylus elegans) on a wall at Guanahacabibes National Park and Biosphere Reserve, Peninsula de Guanahacabibes, Cuba. – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Sphaerodactylidae
  • Scientific Name: Sphaerodactylus elegans
  • Other Names: Ashy Gecko
  • Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches long
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $35+

The Ashy Gecko is a small rusty/gray-brown gecko with both dark and light spots across its body. Like many other geckos, the shade of their skin can be paler at night.

Native to Cuba, they can also be found in the Keys and Florida, where they are invasive.

Ashy Geckos are arboreal, climbing lizards. They spend much of their time in trees, buildings, and vacant lots.

Active during the day and during the night, this gecko preys on small insects, spiders, and flies. Females of this species will lay single eggs in safe, hidden areas, such as under loose bark.

 13. Mediterranean House Gecko

Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) on a rocky wall near Oak Tree Nature Preserve, Florida, USA
A Mediterranean House Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) on a rocky wall near Oak Tree Nature Preserve, Florida, USA – Source
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus turcicus
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4 to 5 inches long
  • Lifespan: 9 years
  • Average Price Range: $5 to $20

Introduced to Florida by imported plants carrying eggs, the Mediterranean House Gecko is native to Southern Europe and Northern Africa. This species camouflages or disguises, itself by utilizing two contrasting color phases- a pale phase and a dark phase.

The pale phase consists of light pink, pale yellow, or white coloring with brown or gray blotches. The dark phase is gray or brown in color with the previous blotches now obscured.

Mediterranean House Geckos are active at night and dwell in urban areas, feeding on insects attracted to the light fixtures. These reptiles can be found on ceilings, walls, and windows indoors, and outdoors they can be found in crevices in rock piles and trees.

Females lay several clutches of two eggs throughout the summer months under bark, dirt, and in hidden openings.

14. Moorish Wall Gecko

Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica) on a rock wall in Montpellier, France
A Moorish Gecko (Tarentola mauritanica) on a rock wall in Montpellier, France. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Phyllodactylidae
  • Scientific Name: Tarentola mauritanica
  • Other Names: Common Wall Gecko, Crocodile Gecko, Maurita Naca Gecko
  • Adult Size: 4.5 to 6 inches long
  • Lifespan: 15 years
  • Average Price Range: $25 to $50

The Moorish Wall Gecko is a sandy-gray color with a white underbelly. At night, their skin changes to a paler shade.

These geckos are native to the coastal Mediterranean region of Europe and Africa. They can also be found in Florida, where this invasive reptile has established wild populations.

Moorish Wall Geckos can be found on stone walls, boulders, and woodpiles around the Mediterranean region, but are mostly confined to the walls of buildings in the United States. These lizards often feed on insects at night, with males defending the territory, sometimes utilizing squeaking calls.

Eggs laid by the Moorish Wall Gecko are typically in clutches of two.

15. Indo-Pacific House Gecko

Indo-Pacific House Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii) on a leaf near Gainesville Raceway, Florida, USA
An Indo-Pacific House Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii) on a leaf near Gainesville Raceway, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus garnotii
  • Other Names: Garnot’s House Gecko, Fox Gecko
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 5.5 inches long

Indo-Pacific Geckos are gray/brown lizards with both light and dark-colored markings, a yellow-orange belly, and a flattened tail with spike-like scales. However, as day turns to night, their skin fades from that gray/brown color to a pale, semi-translucent shade.

This species is native to Southeast Asia but has established populations in Florida, where they are invasive. These geckos prefer residing in forested areas and valleys, unlike other gecko species that typically prefer to live in or around human dwellings.

They tend to occupy the areas under leaves, in loose tree bark, and other nooks and crannies they can find. Like other gecko species, the Indo-Pacific Gecko is a nocturnal climber that hunts for insects at night.

Most Indo-Pacific Geckos are female, so they reproduce using parthenogenesis- meaning that they lay eggs that develop directly into embryos, and that offspring is nearly genetic clones of the mother. Though these lizards can easily reproduce, Cuban Treefrogs preying on their young have caused a reduction in the size of some Indo-Pacific Gecko populations.

16. Ringed Wall Gecko

Ringed Wall Gecko (Tarentola annularis) on a yellow brick wall near Caloosahatchee River, Lee County, Florida
A Ringed Wall Gecko (Tarentola annularis) on a yellow brick wall near Caloosahatchee River, Lee County, Florida. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Phyllodactylidae
  • Scientific Name: Tarentola annularis
  • Other Names: White Spotted Wall Gecko
  • Adult Size: 7 to 8 inches long
  • Lifespan: 8 years
  • Average Price Range: $15+

The Ringed Wall Gecko is a tan-colored lizard with four distinctive white dots on its shoulders and a white belly to match. This gecko is native to Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa but can also be found in Florida. Ringed Wall Geckos are invasive in Florida and are typically confined to the walls of buildings.

Ringed Wall Geckos are a nocturnal species, active at night, often preying on insects and smaller lizards. These geckos sometimes squeak, especially when grabbed.

They have also been known to bite when grabbed. There is not much known about this species population in the United States, but in Africa females typically lay clutches of two eggs.

17. Ocellated Gecko

Ocellated Gecko (Sphaerodactylus argus) on a red and yellow-veined leaf in Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida, USA
A Ocellated Gecko (Sphaerodactylus argus) on a red and yellow-veined leaf in Florida Keys, Monroe County, Florida, USA. – Source
  • Family: Sphaerodactylidae
  • Scientific Name: Sphaerodactylus argus
  • Other Names: Common Ocellated Gecko
  • Adult Size: 2 to 2.5 inches long
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years

The Ocellated Gecko is a small brown lizard with tiny white spots all over its body. This species is native to Cuba and Jamaica but is an invasive species in the Lower Florida Keys.

Ocellated Geckos have been known to inhabit fallen leaf litter and debris around buildings and in vacant lots. These lizards feed on insects as well as other arthropods and tend to lay eggs one at a time, based on their behavior observed in Cuba.

Little is known about this species in Florida due to them being so rare.

Wrapping up

There are several different types of geckos to be found and learned about in Florida. If you are interested in geckos as pets, if you live in Florida, are planning a trip there, or just want to learn about reptiles, there are some fascinating species on this list for you to look into!

The abundance of invasive gecko species in Florida highlights the importance of not releasing pets into the wild, as many invasive populations start this way. Geckos can make great pets but should be rehomed rather than let go if you can no longer care for them.

Next time you are in Florida, or if you happen to live there, keep an eye out to see if you can find or even identify any geckos! You now know where to look and about their habits, so have fun and happy herping!

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