Skip to Content

Geckos In Hawaii

There are 9 different species of geckos that can be found on the islands of Hawaii. If you live in Hawaii or plan to visit there one day, this article could help you learn to identify any geckos you may come across.

Geckos in Hawaii utilize a large range of habitats, from rock piles to treetops to human businesses and dwellings. This means that these reptiles are practically all over the state.

However, it is important to understand that some species found here are better seen with your eyes than touched by your hands.

Most of the species on this list can be kept as pets, though none of them are suited for beginners. If you are an experienced reptile keeper considering a new addition, prepare to be fascinated by the geckos of Hawaii.

Geckos In Hawaii

1. Stump-Toed Gecko

Common Four-clawed Gecko (Gehyra mutilata) near a small bug on a white wall close to Maluaka Beach, Hawaii, USA
A Common Four-clawed Gecko (Gehyra mutilata) near a small bug on a white wall close to Maluaka Beach, Hawaii, USA. – Source
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Gehyra mutilata
  • Other Names: Four-Clawed Gecko, Common Four-Clawed Gecko
  • Adult Size: 3.4 to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Unknown

Native to Southeast Asia, Stump-Toed Geckos thrive in woodlands, rocky areas, and buildings, as well as the beaches of Hawaii, where these geckos are invasive.

These nocturnal climbers are active at night when they hunt for isopods, termites, and other insects. Female geckos often lay their eggs in pairs in small cracks and crevices in human dwellings.

Stump-Toed Geckos are small lizards, usually 3.4 to 4.5 inches in length. They have delicate purplish or pinkish-gray skin with golden spots that fade away as they age.

This species uses its fragile skin as a jarring escape mechanism, tearing loose large pieces of skin to startle the predator and make its escape, although their ability to drop their tails has a similar advantage. Both the geckos’ skin and tail will heal and regrow.

2. Indo-Pacific Gecko

Indo-Pacific House Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii) on leaves and green painted wood near Pahole Natural Area Reserve, Waialua, Hawaii, USA
An Indo-Pacific House Gecko (Hemidactylus garnotii) on leaves and green painted wood near Pahole Natural Area Reserve, Waialua, Hawaii, USA. – Source
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemidactylus garnotii
  • Other Names: Garnot’s House Gecko, Fox Gecko
  • Adult Size: 3.75 to 5.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Unknown

Indo-Pacific Geckos are grayish-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 grayish brown color to a pale, semi-translucent shade. 

This species is native to Southeast Asia but has established populations in Hawaii, 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.

3. Common House Gecko

Asian House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) on a mossy rock in North Shore, Waialua, Hawaii, USA
An Asian House Gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) on a mossy rock in North Shore, Waialua, Hawaii, 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
  • 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 Hawaii, where they are invasive and pose a threat to other similar-sized geckos 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.

4. Indo-Pacific Tree Gecko

Indo-Pacific Slender Tree Gecko (Hemiphyllodactylus typus) on a rock near Mamala Bay, Hawaii, USA
An Indo-Pacific Slender Tree Gecko (Hemiphyllodactylus typus) on a rock near Mamala Bay, Hawaii, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Hemiphyllodactylus typus
  • Other Names: Indo-Pacific Slender Gecko, Common Dwarf Gecko
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $70

Indo-Pacific Tree Geckos are a small brownish-gray gecko species native to tropical Asia that can also be found in Hawaii, where they are invasive. These geckos prefer to live more solitary lives and can afford to do so since they are practically all female and reproduce via parthenogenesis- meaning they lay eggs that develop and hatch all on their own, creating offspring that are near genetic clones of the mother.

Like many other gecko species, the Indo-Pacific Tree Gecko is a nocturnal climber that hunts insects after dark. During the daytime, these geckos secure themselves in small hidden locations, such as in loose bark.

Their environmental preferences make them the least commonly seen gecko in Hawaii.

5. Mourning Gecko

Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on a leaf near Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, Hilo, Hawaii, USA
A Mourning Gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris) on a leaf near Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, 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
  • 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 Hawaii.

In Hawaii, like all 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 another 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.

6. Gold Dust Day Gecko

Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) climbing a wall near Kai Ala Drive, Kaanapali, Hawaii, USA
A Gold Dust Day Gecko (Phelsuma laticauda) climbing a wall near Kai Ala Drive, Kaanapali, Hawaii, USA. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Phelsuma laticauda
  • Other Names: Broad-Tailed Day Gecko
  • Adult Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • 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. These vibrant geckos are native to Madagascar and were introduced to Hawaii, where they are invasive, in 1974.

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. 

7. Orange-Spotted Day Gecko

Orange-spotted Day Gecko (Phelsuma guimbeaui) on a tree trunk somewhere near Black River Gorges National Park, Mauritius, East Africa
An Orange-spotted Day Gecko (Phelsuma guimbeaui) on a tree trunk somewhere near Black River Gorges National Park, Mauritius, East Africa. – Source
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Phelsuma guimbeaui
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7 inches
  • Lifespan: 7 to 10 years

Orange-Spotted Day Geckos are another colorful gecko with vivid green skin and orange spots, as well as a splash of blue on the back of their upper body. Juveniles have gray skin with white spots that change to their adult vibrant coloring as they age.

Native to Madagascar, these geckos are also found in Hawaii where they are invasive.

The Orange-Spotted Day Gecko is active during the day and has a diet consisting of pollen, nectar, insects, and smaller lizards and juices from over-ripe fruits on occasion.

Females of the species commonly lay their eggs in pairs in secure nooks or on plants. These geckos can be found on palm trees and other trees in suburban areas.

8. Giant Day Gecko

Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma grandis) on the trunk of a tree near Fort d'Ambre Reserve, Antsiranana Rural, Madagascar
A Giant Day Gecko (Phelsuma grandis) on the trunk of a tree near Fort d’Ambre Reserve, Antsiranana Rural, Madagascar. – Source
  • Experience Level: Proficient
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Phelsuma grandis
  • Other Names: Crimson Day Gecko, Madagascar Giant Day Gecko
  • Adult Size: 12 inches
  • Lifespan: 15 years (6 to 8 in captivity)
  • Average Price Range: $70

Giant Day Geckos are a large gecko species, reaching up to a foot long as adults, with a lively green color coupled with red markings found along their bodies.

Juveniles are brown-bodied with yellowish-green heads until they start growing into adulthood. These colorful geckos are native to Madagascar and invasive to Hawaii.

Giant Day Geckos are active during the day and mainly live in palm trees and canopies of treetops but can also be found climbing walls of buildings. This gecko’s diet consists of arthropods such as insects, spiders, scorpions, and crabs, with occasional fruit or honey.

Female geckos lay hard-shelled eggs, often one or two at a time.

9. Tokay Gecko

Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) on a white wall in Auman, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia
A Tokay Gecko (Gekko gecko) on a white wall in Auman, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia. – Source
  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Gekkonidae
  • Scientific Name: Gekko gecko
  • Other Names: Red-spotted Tokay
  • Adult Size: 8 to 16 inches
  • 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 to 12 inches in length and males range from 13 to 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 Hawaii, 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.

Wrapping Up

Hawaii is home to 9 species of gecko, found everywhere from treetops and rockpiles to beaches and human establishments. The tropical climate is ideal for the gecko species that reside there.

These species differ from one another in color, size, habitat, diet, reproduction, and defense mechanisms.

Out of the 9 different species of gecko found in Hawaii, 6 can potentially be kept as pets with the right amount of experience and research.

It is important to keep in mind however that all of Hawaii’s geckos are invasive species, so in the best interest of your animals and ecosystem, pets should not be released into the wild.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

Sharing is caring!