Geckos are lizards native to warmer climates around the globe. Unlike other lizards, geckos produce a variety of different sounds, including a number of high-pitched calls that are similar to the vocalizations of dogs or ducks. The toe pads of these interesting lizards are covered with hairs, which assist many species of geckos to climb up smooth surfaces, including vertical panes of glass, and to walk upside down on ceilings. The principle threats to geckos wordwide are habitat destruction and predation by numerous flesh-eating creatures.
Companion animals such as domestic cats and dogs will kill geckos. Individual domestic cats will play with or hunt geckos they discover in or around the home. Geckos injured through puncture wounds from the teeth or claws of a cat will eventually die from their wounds or from infection. Many dogs will also attempt to play with, chase or hunt geckos, and although not as adept as cats in this regard, are capable of catching and killing a gecko.
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A large variety of predators will hunt and eat geckos. These predators include small, swift-footed meat eaters such as ferrets, weasels and stoats. Unlikely predators, such as hedgehogs and mice, will also feed on geckos, as will rats and possums. The majority of these carnivores hunt on the ground and are active during the hours of darkness, placing the larger geckos at risk. Even smaller tree-dwelling geckos are vulnerable if caught outside of the crevices in which they shelter. Birds such as owls will predate on geckos, as will reptiles such as snakes and monitors.
Large stretches of natural areas are cleared in many countries on an ongoing basis. Many wild areas are converted to agriculture land or designated for industrial or residential development. The relatively small pockets of wilderness that remain between these various results of human encroachment become fragmented, and gecko populations become isolated. Inbreeding frequently results within these small populations, which may also experience possible food shortages and loss of suitable shelter.
Many misconceptions exist regarding geckos. Although these harmless little lizards feed on insects and are beneficial to have in and around the house, many home owners try to destroy them. Some people still hold beliefs that geckos spit poison or leave a poison trail as they walk over surfaces. People will spray geckos in homes with pesticides, trap them, or crush them with various objects. Home owners often use mothballs to drive geckos out of crevices around the home. Geckos in Vietnam are hunted for traditional medicine.