Asian House Gecko
Asian house gecko is now a common gecko in our homes.
You sure know them if you ever lived or stayed for long enough in northern Australia.
Their chuck-chuck-chuck call is so familiar, you can hear it inside houses, and it's loud enough that you can also hear it outside, in people's yards, in trees, everywhere.
They are cute and they are fun to watch as they chase insects on your balcony.
However, there is one thing - they don't belong here.
As their name says, they are not from Australia, and there are native house geckoes that they compete with about the niche.
As most introduced animals, they are doing a good job - it's the Asian species you see most often, not the native house geckos.
AppearanceAlso called Pacific or Common House Gecko, Hemidactylus frenatus is about 10cm long, and has a grey to pale pink body, with some mottled darker patterning on the upper side, and a paler underbelly.
It can change its colour to a certain extent, and tends to be darker during the day and paler during the night.
Unlike the native house gecko it has spines along the tail and lower back.
It also has claws on all of its toes while the native Dtella does not have any on the inner toes.
Behaviour and HabitatBut the most obvious difference is its chuck-chuck-chuck call, which is distinctively loud.
It is seen in and around buildings and homes, where it is chasing insects which is its main diet.
It also eats spiders and even other, small lizards, but it does go eating scraps too if you have an open bin or forget something on the kitchen table!
They live about five years.
Distribution in AustraliaAs the name says, the gecko is native to Asia, and has been accidentally introduced to tropical and subtropical areas of many other continents.
In Australia, it was first seen in Darwin in the 1960s, and then in far north Queensland in the 1970s and Brisbane in the 1980s. It has now also spread to New South Wales and Western Australia.
ImpactLike with most introduced species, it has been very adaptable - it is the most successful introduced reptile in Australia.
It is spreading south and also from urban (where it was most common for starters) to rural areas.
It is competing about food and habitat with the native house gecko, which it has already widely outcompeted from its habitat.
Being so successful and efficient predators, they are also known to kill baby huntsman spiders, thereby also affecting the populations of the natural predators of huntsmans, and the whole food chain.
Like always with introduced species, accidentally or not, they put the ecosystem out of balance. Like with many other introduced species including cane toads, getting rid of them is impossible.
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