Northern Mariana Islands Territorial Reptile
Four-clawed Gecko (common name)
Gehyra mutilata (scientific name)
The four-clawed gecko, an adaptable, wide-ranging lizard, is probably native to Southeast Asia, though it’s now common on many islands across the South Pacific and even exists in parts of Mexico. Its hard-shelled eggs, usually concealed in small crevices, probably adapt it to spreading to new locations either by being accidentally loaded on boats or by floating from one place to another on logs or even alone. These geckos can live almost anywhere that has warm temperatures, an adequate food supply, and a few good places to hide.
ALSO KNOWN AS
Butiki, Pacific gecko, stump-toed gecko, sugar lizard, tender-skinned house gecko.
A four-clawed gecko has a relatively rounded body. Its pointed tail, very slightly scalloped along the edges, is about the same length as its body and has a single row of larger scales on the underside. Its head is longer than it is wide, and its nose is pointed. This gecko has speckles, both dark and light, on its head and body, and thin, subtle stripes ringing its tail. Spots are more pronounced on young geckos and fade with age.
A four-clawed gecko can change color so that its rather translucent skin is brown to gray during the day, but nearly white at night. Its belly is nearly white, and stays the same color throughout the day. A four-claw’s legs are a little long for a gecko’s, and its feet are its most distinctive feature. This gecko has five toes per foot, slightly webbed at their bases; four toes are far larger and have visible claws. The gecko’s fifth toe, the one closest to its body, is far smaller and has no claw. It also has pairs of scales on the undersides of its toes.
About 10 years
This species can live in a range of habitats from forests to beaches to urban apartments.
Range: Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, South Pacific islands, Western Mexico.
Conservation Status: Not evaluated
Four-clawed geckos are expert climbers. They often live in trees, hunting for insects, their main source of food. Nocturnal by nature, in the daytime they tend to hide in cracks or under broad leaves. Females usually lay their eggs two at a time from May through August, perhaps up to five times per year. Eggs are tiny but vary in size from 0.28 x 0.41 inch (7.1 x 10.5 mm) to 0.33 x 0.44 inch (8.5 x 11.2 mm). Unlike other geckos, the four-clawed occasionally lays three eggs at once. The eggs have hard shells and stick firmly to the surface on which they’re laid, most commonly under dead tree bark but potentially in any crack or crevice. Females often nest in the same places year after year. Eggs incubate for 54 to 60 days. Hatchlings are tiny but immediately independent.
Insects and isopods.
Breeding interval: Annual
Hatching period: July–October
Average nest size: 2–3 eggs
Size at birth: Under 2 in (17–23 mm)
Click to enlarge an image
Raw Data Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Author: World Trade Press