Last updated 28 July 2022: updated H. garnotti and added H. prashadi, H. sinaiticus and H. squamulatus.

A look at the

Subfamily GEKKO - Typical Geckos


Genus HEMIDACTYLUS - Half-Fingered/Half-Toed/House Geckos

A large genus (numbered at 65 species in the 90s, now totalling 90-110 depending on which accounts you believe) whose members all have well-developed toepads. They tend to be medium-sized geckos (about 6"), brown or pinkish in colour, with tubercular scales scattered amongst their granular scales. Some are great travellers and have established themselves thousands of miles from their place of origin thanks to man's transportation, especially H. turcicus. Although the genus is considered to have originated in the Old World, some of its members have now established colonies in the New World: Florida alone is home to colonies of H. frenatus, H. garnotii, H. mabouia and H. turcicus.

KKS give the following details for the genus: digits free or more or less webbed, dilated, inferiorly with two rows of lamellae. All digits with slender distal clawed joints angularly bent and raising from within the extremity of the dilated portion. Pupil vertical. Hemidactylus differ from other geckos by the fact that the outermost phalanges of the fingers and toes are not bound to the enlarged toe pads, but are free to rise angularly from within the toe pads. The undersurface of these enlarged pads is made up of rows of scansors which are usually divided into pairs. In most species, the males have preanal and/or femoral pores which often form an unbroken row. The tail seems to be frequently shed.

SHDA note that much revision of the genus needs to be done, as some species were based on very limited material.

A few of this species are regularly seen in the pet trade. H. turcicus is recommended as a hardy pet by Jerry Walls in a couple of his publications. Henkel and Schmidt state that the genus is distinguished by being particularly adaptable, for which reason many of the species have become “followers of civilisation”, and give details for H. frenatus, H. mabouia and H. turcicus. Mattison gives basic care details for H. turcicus and suggests that H. brookii and most other Hemidactylus species can be kept in the same way. Rogner covers H. brookii, H. flaviviridis, H. frenatus, H. garnotii, H. leschenaultii, H. maculatus and H. turcicus. While the colour schemes of most of these geckos will never become hugely popular, their hardiness and adaptability should recommend themselves, especially to first-time keepers of geckos.

In the guide below, where two common names are given, the first is often the one given by SHDA.

NB: throughout this page, SHDA refers to A Field Guide to the Reptiles of East Africa, Stephen Spawls, Kim Howell, Robert Drewes and James Ashe, and KKS to Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa, W Kästle, H H Schleich and K Kabisch. See Bibliography for further details.




H. aaronbaueri

H. agrius

H. albituberculatus

H. albopunctatus

H. alkiyumi

H. aporus

H. arnoldi

H. barbouri, Barbour's Gecko

H. barodanus

H. bavazzanoi, Somali Banded Gecko

H. bayonii

H. bouvieri

H. bowringi, Oriental Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. brookii, Brooks' Gecko

H. citernii

H. curlei

H. depressus

H. dracaenocolus

H. echinus, Hedgehog Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. fasciatus, Banded-Tail Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. flaviviridis

H. forbesii, Socotra Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. foudaii

H. frenatus, Chit-Chat

H. funaiolii, Archer's Post Gecko

H. garnotii, Indo-Pacific Gecko

H. giganteus, Gigantic Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. gracilis, Graceful Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. granchii, Granchii's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. granti, Grant's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. greefii

H. haitianus, Antillean House Gecko

H. homoeolepis, Arabian Leaf-Toed Gecko 

H. intestinalis, Nigerian Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. isolepis, Uniform-Scaled Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. jubensis, Mrioen Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. kamdemtohami

H. karenorum, Burmese Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. klauberi

H. laevis, Common Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. laticaudatus, Anderson's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. lemurinus, Dhofar Leaf-Toed Gecko 

H. leschenaultii, Leschenault's Leaf-Toed Gecko 

H. longicephalus, Long-Headed Tropical House Gecko 

H. mabouia, Tropical House Gecko

H. macropholis, Boulenger's Gecko

H. maculatus, Spotted Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. mahendrai

H. marmoratus, Ryukyu Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. matschiei, Togo Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. megalops, Parker's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. mercatorius, Spotted Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. modestus, Moderate Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. muriceus, Guinea Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. newtoni, Newton's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. ophiolepis, Snake-Scaled Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. ophiolepoides, Lanza's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. oxyrhinus, Sharp-Nosed Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. palaichthus, Antilles Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. persicus, Persian Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. platycephalus, Flat-Head Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. porbandarensis

H. prashadi, Bombay Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. puccioni, Zanzibar Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. pumilio, Dwarf Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. reticulatus, Reticulate Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. richardsoni, Richardson's Forest Gecko

H. robustus, Somali Plain Gecko

H. ruspolii, Prince Ruspoli's Gecko

H. scabriceps, Zanzibar Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. sinaitus, Sinai Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. smithi, Smith's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. somalicus, North Somali Plain Gecko

H. squamulatus, Nyika Gecko

H. stejnegeri, Stejneger's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. subtriedrus

H. tanganicus, Dutumi Gecko

H. tasmani, Tasman's Tropical House Gecko

H. taylori, Dakota's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. triedrus, Dakota's Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. tropidolepis, Ogaden Gecko

H. turcicus, Turkish Gecko

H. vietnamensis, Vietnam Leaf-Toed Gecko

H. yerburyi

Scientific Name

Common Name





H. aaronbaueri


Described in 2008: see Reptile Database entry for details.

H. agrius

Country Leaf-Toed Gecko

NE Brazil



H. albituberculatus

Nigeria, N Cameroon, S Benin, S Togo

SVL 6-7½cm?

Described in 2012. Differs from H. angulatus by having carinated tubercles on the back and tail in three different colours: white, beige, and black or dark brown, and being generally larger. The SVL given is the size range attained by a majority of the geckos collected: see Reptile Database entry.

H. albivertebralis

Ghana, Benin, Guinea

Described in 2012: see Reptile Database entry. Scalation details: 16 rows of tubercles on back; diameter of tubercles less than distance between them; pointed tubercles along the dorsal length of the tail; medial subdigital lamellae enlarged. Coloration: overall yellowish to light beige with white vertebral stripe and dark beige wide transverse bands on neck, back and tail.

H. albopunctatus


Somalia, N Kenya, Ethiopia



H. alkiyumi

S Oman

Described in 2012: see Reptile Database entry for details.

H. anamallensis

S India

Considered a species of Dravidogecko by some authorities: see Reptile Database entry for details.

H. angulatus

Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Niger, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda

The status of this species seems a bit confused. Originally considered a species in its own right, it was then considered one or two subspecies of H. brookii, the latter case partly because of occurrence in the Caribbean as well as West Africa. See the Reptile Database entry for the history of its classification.

H. a. angulatus

H. a. leightoni

Venezuela, Colombia

H. aporus


Anno Bono Island (Gulf of Guinea)



H. arnoldi


NW Somalia



H. barbouri

Barbour's Gecko
(Asian House Gecko)

Kenya and Tanzania

SVL 4½ cm, TL 8½ cm

Considered a subspecies of H. squamulatus by EMBL reptile database: however, as SHDA point out, the species differs from H. squamulatus by having only the largest of the enlarged, randomly scattered overlapping scales keeled. See SHDA for further differences. The species is found in the coastal mosaic vegetation zone but within that is most commonly found under piles of debris: Loveridge also reported it as being abundant beneath piles of palm fronds in coconut plantations. Scalation details: enlarged, randomly scattered and overlapping scales of differing sizes on the body; no enlarged tubercles. Subcaudal scales greatly enlarged. More slender and less robust than either H. squamulatus or H. tropidolepis. Coloration: overall greyish with dark crossbars or other markings; dark stripes often run from the nostril through the eye to meet on the back of the head. Ventrally usually uniform whitish. Reproduction: males have 16-23 preanal/femoral pores in a continous row. No other details available.

H. barodanus


Ethiopia, Somalia



H. bavazzanoi

Somali Banded Gecko

SW Somalia and NE Kenya

SVL 4 cm

Known only from two male specimens, hence little known of natural history of the species, although SHDA suggest that it may be associated with riverine gallery habitats. Following details are all based on the two specimens known, so are not conclusive. Scalation details: smooth scales of unequal size; scattered large strongly keeled tubercles in 16-18 roughly regular longitudinal rows (about 14 at midbody); regenerated tails have numerous dorsal keeled tubercles. 3-6 subdigital lamellae under 1st toe, 6-9 (of which first 5 divided) under 4th. Coloration: overall colour bright pink or lemon-yellow, with 4 bands, of which 1 crescent-shaped at back of head, 2 on body and 1 on tail [SOURCE: SHDA].

H. bayonii





H. boavistensis

H. b. boavistensis


Boa Vista Island

H. b. chevalieri

Sal Island, Cabo Verde

H. bouvieri


Cape Verde Islands

TL 65 mm

Description: snout acutely pointed, longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening, once and a half the diameter of the orbit; forehead scarcely concave; ear-opening very small, round. Body and limbs short. Digits moderately dilated, free, with short distal joints; three lamellae under the inner digits, and four or five under the median digits. Scalation details: upper surfaces covered with uniform rather large granules, smallest on the hinder part of the head. Rostral four-sided, not twice as broad as high, with median cleft above nostril pierced between the rostral, the first labial, and three or four nasals ; seven or eight upper and six or seven lower labials ; mental large, triangular, nearly twice as long as the adjacent labials; two rather small chin-shields, followed by smaller ones passing gradually into the minute granules of the gular region. Abdominal scales large, cycloid, imbricate, smooth. Males with two preanal pores. Tail: thick, cylindrical, tapering, covered above with uniform small squarish smooth scales, inferiorly with a median series of transversely dilated plates. Coloration: light brown above, with transverse darker bands on the back and tail; upper lip white; a dark streak on the side of the head, passing through the eye; lower surfaces white. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

H. b. bouvieri





H. b. razoensis


Razo Island



H. bowringi

Oriental Leaf-Toed Gecko

India, S China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan (Ryuku Islands inc. Okinawa)



H. brookii

Brooks' Gecko
(Asian House Gecko)

Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Eritrea and south to Angola and Dem Rep Congo; Indian subcontinent and SE Asia; Caribbean and N South America

6½ cm SVL,15 cm TL

Available as a pet gecko, though not as frequently as H. turcicus. Captive care probably as for H. turcicus. Another wide ranging gecko with a propensity for stowing away. Found on trees, rocks, under stones and on buildings; SHDA also record it from a variety of other locations including holes in earth banks, abandoned termite mounds, and beneath the bark of fallen trees. It is the most common house gecko in West Africa and the only Hemidactylus species on Lake Turkana's Central Island. However, Parker noted that in 1942 that none had been discovered in British Somaliland, which he found “peculiar”. Details: 14-25 dorsal conical tubercles arranged in regular rows; 6-8 rows of long pointed tubercles on tail or its base; 4-6 subdigital lamellae on 1st toe and 5-10 under 4th toe. Coloration: (India) brown or grey with brown spots; (East Africa) variable; may be dull orange, reddish-brown or in areas of laterite soil even bright red; black streak through eye; dorsal pattern three darker saddle-like markings; in both India and Africa it is ventrally whitish. Reproduction: males have 20-46 preanofemoral pores in a continous row. Females are apparently quite good breeders in captivity: eggs take 50 days to incubate at 32 deg. C (Mattison), although Daniel states that in the wild eggs hatch in 39 days. [SOURCE: Daniel, SHDA, Mattison]

H. b. brookii




H. b. angulatus

Africa (Senegal west to Zanzibar and Pemba Island)


Now considered a full species by some authorities: see section on H. angulatus.

H. b. leightoni

Venezuela and Colombia



H. b. parvimaculatus




H. b. subtriedroides




H. citernii


NW Kenya, Somalia


Short-snouted species with non-constricted tail. Scalation details: small dorsal scales intermixed with keeled tubercles. Other: digits have very short distal joints. 

H. curlei


Somalia, Ethiopia

SVL approx 4 cm

Named by H W Parker in 1942: he states that the five specimens that he found were all collected from among stones and rocks. Description: body very depressed; head broad and flat, its maximum width much greater than the distance between the tip of the snout and the posterior border of the eye. Scalation details: nostril pierced between the rostral, first upper labial and 3 nasals, of which the upper is separated from its fellow by a single scale. Rostral much broader than deep, with a median cleft. Snout flat, covered with rounded juxtaposed granules, which are much larger than those on the very flat occiput; 8-10 upper, and 6-8 lower labials; mental triangular, nearly as long as broad; median chin-shields very large, forming a long median suture; a much smaller second pair of chin shields is followed by some enlarged scales bordering the lower labials. Ear opening small, oblique, its distance from the eye equal to the distance between nostril and eye. Body depressed, with a slight, median dorsal furrow, covered above with somewhat irregular, flat, subcircular, sub-imbricate scales and below with cycloid imbricate scales which are nearly twice as large as the dorsals ; the latter are not absolutely uniform in size, but there is no trace of any definitely enlarged scales or tubercles; about 81-93 dorsals and ventrals in a series round the middle of the body. Tail: strongly depressed, with a median furrow, root-shaped and with a distinct basal constriction; it is covered above with imbricating scales arranged in transverse rows and is indefinitely annulate, 5 rows of dorsal scales forming an annulus; beneath there is a series of transversely enlarged subcaudals of which two occur on each annulus; the tip of the tail is regenerated, and this portion is not annulate, but covered above with quincuncially arranged imbricate scales and has transversely enlarged subcaudals. Other: limbs short, the adpressed hindlimb reaching the wrist. Digits well dilated basally and with moderately long terminal phalanges which extend well beyond the lamellar portion; lamellae extending on to the palms and soles, 5 under the inner, 8-9 under the fourth, and 7-9 beneath the fifth toe. Coloration: Yellowish above, heavily blotched and spotted with purplish black. A dark streak from the nostril through the eye and above the ear to the sides of the neck from whence it is continued as a row of spots to the base of the tail; flanks with an indefinite row of spots, and middorsal area with series of rather irregular transverse blotches ; tail with alternately darker and lighter cross-bars; limbs and flanks with scattered, circular, white spots. Lower surface white. Reproduction: males have 4 preanal pores. [SOURCE: Parker]

H. depressus


Sri Lanka

TL 15½ cm

Scalation details: snout covered with granular scales, of which largest in front of orbits; rear part of head with minute granules intermixed with round tubercles; rostal subquadrangular, not twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between rostral, 1st labial and 3-4 nasals; 10-12 supralabials, 8-10 infralabials; mental large, triangular or pentagonal, twice as long as adjacent labials; 4 large chin-shields, of which median pair largest, forming long suture behind point of mental; body covered dorsally with small flat granules intermixed with trihedral tubercles, forming 16-20 very irregular longitudinal rows; largest tubercles about quarter of the diameter of the eye; ventral scales moderate, smooth, rounded, imbricate. Other: head oviform; snout longer than distance between eye and ear-opening; forehead concave; ear-opening oblique, nearly half diameter of eye; skin forms lateral fold on belly from axilla to groin; digits distinctly webbed at base, moderately dilated, inner well developed with curved, scarcely oblique lamellae; 6-7 subdigital lamellae under inner digits, 9-10 under median fingers, 10-11 under median toes; males have 17-18 femoral pores on each side; tail tapering, very depressed anteriorly, flat below, with angular lateral edge; tail covered dorsally with small pointed imbricated scales that are enlarged and raised on the sides to form a strong denticulation, and 6-8 series of spine-like tubercles forming rings; median series of regularly transversely dilated plates ventrally. Coloration: dorsally light brown, marbled or cross-barred with brown; dark brown streak, white-edged above, on side of head, passing through eye; ventrally whitish. Reproduction: no details yet available. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

H. dracaenocolus


Yemen (Socotra Island)


See note in Reptile database entry re origin of the species name.

H. echinus

Hedgehog Leaf-Toed Gecko

Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Zaire, Central African Republic



H. fasciatus

Banded Leaf-Toed Gecko



H. fasciatus is a dark brown in the daytime, but pales to a light-brown/yellow at night. It is sometimes available. Captive care probably as for H. turcicus.

H. flaviviridis


N. Africa to W. India


Sometimes available. Captive care probably as for H. turcicus..

H. forbesii

Socotra Leaf-Toed Gecko

Socotra, Abd-el-Kuri Island



H. foudaii





H. frenatus

Chit-chat (aka Pacific Gecko, House Gecko)

SE Asia, Indian subcontinent inc. Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean Islands inc. Madagascar, S China, Taiwan, Korea, Okinawa: S. & E. Africa, N. Australia, Mexico, Panama; St Helena

5" (TL 12½ cm, SVL 6 cm)

The occasional availablility of this gecko in the trade belies its global distribution through transportation. Originally from SE Asia, the Chit-Chat is now established throughout most of the coastal tropics in the world. Apart from the normal gecko habitats of tropical rainforest and dry scrubland (where they often inhabit hollow trees), these versatile little geckos can be found in human dwellings and especially around rubbish dumps where they prey on the attendant flies. Laurent in Somalia in 1960 noted that all the specimens were caught were only collected in settlements, where they were comon on the walls of buildings and in pole huts of local villages. Daniel says that this is the most common house gecko in South India. Captive care probably as for H. turcicus: see Walls and Coborn. Details: scalation is granular, but with flat smooth dorsal tubercles in 2-8 roughly regular longitudinal rows; throat has small granular scales. 3-5 subdigital lamellae under 1st toe, 8-10 under 4th toe. Coloration: overall greyish or pinkish brown; head may sometimes be mottled with brown. Dark streak from nostril passes through eye to flank. Ventrally whitish. Reproduction: males have 24-36 preanofemoral pores [SOURCE: Coborn, Daniel, SHDA, Walls].

H. funaiolii

Archer's Post Gecko, Kenya Leaf-Toed Gecko

NC Kenya, S Somalia


Another little-known gecko; only preserved specimens known as of 2002.

H. garnotii

Indo-Pacific Gecko

NE India (Darjeeling, Assam, Sikkim), Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Malysian Peninsula, S China (Hong Kong, Guangdong, Hainan, S Yunnan), Philippines, Indonesia (Sumatra, Nias, Borneo, Java), New Caledonia, Polynesia, Fiji, Western Samoa. Introduced into New Zealand, USA (Hawaii, Florida) and the Bahamas.


This species is distinguished by being parthenogenetic, probably an advantage when radiating across the Pacific as it has done. See the Reptile Database entry for comments. Scalation details: rostral subquadrangular, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between rostral and 3 nasals; 12-13 supralabials, 9-10 infralabials; mental large, triangular, in contact posteriorly with a pair of pentagonal chinshields, followed by a second smaller pair; anterior pair of chinshields in contact with 1st sublabial and with each other medially; posterior pair separated from each other and almost completely or completely from the labials; dorsal surfaces and throat covered with minute granular scales, a little larger on the snout; ventral scales moderate and imbricate. Other: snout obtusely pointed, much longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening; forehead slightly concave; ear-opening small and rounded; slight but distinct fold along flanks and another bordering hind limb posteriorly; digits with very slight webbing, moderately dilated, inner well developed; subdigital lamellae oblique, 6-7 on inner digits, 10-12 on 4th finger, 13-14 on 4th toe; tail depressed, flat ventrally, with sharp denticulated lateral edge; dorsal caudal scales very small and equal; ventral caudal scales larger and imbricate with median series of large, transversely dilated plates. Coloration: dorsally brownish-grey, uniform with more or less distinct brown and whitish spots; ventrally uniform whitish. Reproduction: according to Bartlett and Bartlett, the motions of courtship may still be necessary to stimulate egg production. [SOURCE: Bartlett & Bartlett, Boulenger (listed as H. peruvianus)]

H. giganteus

Giant Leaf-Toed Gecko

India (Badrachalam /Godavari)



H. gracilis

Graceful Leaf-Toed Gecko


SVL 36 mm

Description: head narrow, elongate; snout a little longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening, once and one third or once and two fifths the diameter of the orbit; forehead not concave; ear opening small, roundish. Body and limbs slender, feebly depressed. Digits free, very feebly dilated, inner well developed; the distal joint short; five lamellae under the inner digits, seven under the fourth finger, and nine under the fourth toe. Scalation details: snout with rather large polygonal rugose scales; hinder part of head with small granules. Rostral four-sided, not twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between the rostral and four nasals; nine upper and seven lower labials; mental large, triangular, more than twice as long as the adjacent labials; four large chin-shields, inner pair in contact behind the point of the mental. Body covered above with coarse granules intermixed with oval, subtrihedral, strongly keeled tubercles arranged in about twelve irregular longitudinal series. Abdominal scales large, cycloid, imbricate, smooth. Male with six praeanal pores forming an angular series. Tail: round, but slightly depressed at the base, and not at all further back, tapering, without any enlarged or spinose tubercles whatever. Coloration: Grey above, with subquadrangular black spots arranged in longitudinal series, confluent into lines on the rachis and sides ; a black, above white-edged streak on the side of the head, passing through the eye ; whitish beneath, specimen a with longitudinal grey lines. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

H. granchii

Granchi's Leaf-Toed Gecko

EC Somalia



H. granti

Grant's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Somalia, Yemen (Socotra Island)



H. greefii

? Leaf-Toed Gecko

Sao Thomé



H. haitianus

Antillean House Gecko

Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico


Formerly considered a subspecies of H. brooksi, and more recently synonymised with H. angulatus, but see Comment section in Reptile Database entry.

H. homoeolepis

Arabian Leaf-Toed Gecko

Somalia, Yemen (Socotra Island), Oman



H. intestinalis

Nigerian Leaf-Toed Gecko

Nigeria, Liberia and other parts of W Africa


H. ansorgii is now considered a synonym of this species: see EMBL database listing.

H. isolepis

Uniform-Scaled Gecko, Scaly Leaf-Toed Gecko

N Kenya, N & SW Somalia: poss. SE Sudan; Ethiopia

SVL 4cm, TL 8cm

The EMBL bibliography does not include SHDA, from where these details were mostly taken. The species is found mainly in rocky areas and may be more terrestrial than other members of the genus: diet is mainly terrestrial arthropods, and it is preyed on in turn by terrestrial snakes. Scalation is also rather different from that of most other East African geckos [SHDA]. Details: lacks enlarged tuercles on the dorsum and body; scales are roughly equal size and overlap; 59-81 scales at midbody. 5-7 subdigital lamellae on 1st toe, 6-10 on 4th. Males have preanal pores, both sexes lack femoral pores. Coloration: overall light brown to pinkish; 2 dorsal rows of brown transverse markings often present. Supralabials white. Conspicuous dark line runs from snout to insertion of forelimbs. Ventral surfaces white. Reproduction: males have 4-8 preanal pores in an unbroken row. Females lay a pair of eggs laid under rock.

H. jubensis

Mrioen Leaf-Toed Gecko

Ethiopia, N Somalia



H. kamdemtohami

? Leaf-Toed Gecko

Gabon, Equatorial New Guinea



H. karenorum

Burmese Leaf-Toed Gecko

Burma, NE India


H. klauberi

? Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. laevis

Common Leaf-Toed Gecko



Scalation details: 8-9 ventral scales in length of eye: chin shields not in contact behind symphisial shield.

H. laticaudatus

Andersson's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Ethiopia, Eritrea



H. l. laticaudatus



H. l. fossatii



H. lemurinus

Dhofar Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. leschinaultii

Leschinault's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Oman, Pakistan, S India, Sri Lanka


Closely resembles H. flaviviridis. In parts of India it is a common house gecko and also frequents avenue trees. Scalation details: head dorsally covered with minute granules posteriorly and large ones anteriorly; rostral rectangular, not quite twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between the rostral, 3 nasals and generally the 1st labial; 10-12 supralabials, 8-9 infralabials; mental large, triangular or pentagonal; 2 pairs of chinshields, of which inner largest and in contact behind mental; dorsal surface of body covered with small granules, uniform or intermixed with more or less scattered round tubercles; ventral scales moderate, cycloid and imbricate. Coloration: overall dark grey with wavy dorsal bands; dark band from eye to shoulder; ventrally white. Other: snout longer than distance between eye and ear-opening; forehead concave, supraorbital ridges prominent in full-grown specimens; ear-opening rather large, oval, vertical; body and limbs moderate; slight fold of skin laterally from axilla to groin; digits free, strongly dilated, inner well developed; 6-7 subdigital lamellae on 4th toe; 9-11 under media digits; males have 12-16 femoral pores on each side; tail depressed, flat below, covered dorsally with small smooth scales and 6 longitudinal series of conical tubercles, below with median row of transversely dilated plates. Reproduction: breeding takes place in India April-July. A single female may lay several clutches. Incubation takes approximately 32 days [SOURCE: Boulenger, Daniel]. 

H. longicephalus

Long-Headed Tropical House Gecko

Angola, Cameroon, Lake Tanganyika, N Namibia


H. mabouia

(Moreau's) Tropical House Gecko

S & E. Africa: C. & S. America, Antilles, US (Florida)

SVL 7cm, TL 15cm

H. mabouia is one of the great colonisers of the genus: originating in C. and S. Africa, specimens found their way to the coast of Brazil and worked their way inland via the river system. In the wild, up to 50 eggs of this species have been uncovered in one spot, as several females seem to use the same place to lay their eggs. Laurent wrote that the specimens he helped to collect from Somalia were almost all taken from the trunks of large trees and that some were observed at heights of over 10m: however, none ventured onto smaller branches. Interestingly some cohabited the trees with Mabuya s. striata and M. planifrons, and in one place with a large Varanus. SHDA note that large populations may occur in East African houses and that some may leave the building to forage outside on trees and in bushes. Furthermore it may be active by day in darkened areas, eg latrines. It is sometimes available as a pet. Captive care probably as for H. turcicus. Details: dorsal and lateral scalation granular; 12-18 transverse rows of weakly keeled tubercles. 5-6 subdigital lamellae under 1st toe, 6-11 beneath 4th toe. Coloration: overall grey, light brown or brown, which may appear tan or pinkish beneath electric light at night [SHDA]. 5 wavy dorsal transverse bands, 10 darker and sharper bands on tail. Reproduction: males have 22-40 preanal and femoral pores in a continuous row [SOURCE: Laurent, SHDA].

H. macropholis

Boulenger's Gecko

Kenya, Somalia, N & E Ethiopia: poss. N Tanzania



H. maculatus

Spotted Leaf-Toed Gecko, Rock Gecko

India (Gujarat southwards), Sri Lanka




Mostly associated with rock formations and caves, but may sometimes be found on buildings and trees. In addition to insects, may prey on other geckos. Details: 9-10 subdigital lamellae on 1st toe, 11-13 on 4th. Coloration: grey-brown overall with dark spots and longitudinal-pointing bands that are more prominent in young individuals; tail is banded (see picture in Daniel).

H. m. maculatus

H. m. hunae

H. mahendrai

? Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. marmoratus

Ryukyu Leaf-Toed Gecko

Okinawa, Ryuku Islands (Japan)



H. matschiei

Togo Leaf-Toed Gecko

Togo, Nigeria



H. megalops

Parker's Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. mercatorius

Spotted Leaf-Toed Gecko

Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Dar-es-Salaam Island, Malawi, Ascension Island



H. modestus

Moderate Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. muriceus

Guinea Leaf-Toed Gecko

Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea, Dem. Rep. Congo, Congo, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Gabon


See notes on distribution and possible confusion with H. intestinalis in the EMBL database entry.

H. newtoni

Newton's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Gabon (Annobon Island)



H. ophiolepis

Snake-Scaled Leaf-Toed Gecko

Ethiopia, N Somalia



H. ophiolepoides

Lanza's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Ethiopia, N Somalia



H. oxyrhinus

Sharpnose Leaf-Toed Gecko

Yemen (Abd-el-Kuri Island in Socotra archipelago)



H. palaichthus

Antilles Leaf-Toed Gecko

Guyana, Venezuela, Surinam, Trinidad, St Lucia, Brazil, Tobago, poss. Colombia


See EMBL database listing for more detailed distribution

H. persicus

Persian Leaf-Toed Gecko

S Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, N Oman, Bahrain, Pakistan, N India



H. platycephalus

Tree Gecko, Flathead Leaf-Toed Gecko

E Kenya, E Tanzania; Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Islands; S Somalia, Mozambique, Malawi, E Zambia, E Zimbabwe: Comoro Islands



H. porbandarensis

? Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. prashadi

Bombay Leaf-Toed Gecko

India (Bombay)

SVL 82 mm, TL 179 mm

Scalation details: body covered with small granular scales intermixed with much larger subtrihedral tubercles. Upper labials 11-12; lower labials 9-11. Fourth toe with ten subdigital lamellae. Male with 17-20 preano-femoral pores separated by three scales. Coloration: brownish grey above with three faint cross-bars on the back. [SOURCE: Murthy]

H. puccioni

Zanzibar Leaf-Toed Gecko

Somalia, Tanzania, Zanzibar



H. pumilio

Pygmy Leaf-Toed Gecko

Somalia, Yemen (Socotra Island)



H. reticulatus

Reticulate Leaf-Toed Gecko

S India

TL 64 mm

Description: head short, oviform, very convex ; snout a little longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening and than the diameter of the orbit; forehead not concave; ear-opening small, roundish. Body and limbs short. Digits short, free, with very short distal joint, moderately dilated; five or six lamellae under the inner digits, seven or eight under the fourth finger, and eight or nine under the fourth toe. Scalation details: snout covered with keeled granules; the rest of the head with smaller granules intermixed with round tubercles. Rostral four-sided, not twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between the rostral, the first labial, and three or four nasals; nine or ten upper and seven to nine lower labials; mental large, triangular or pentagonal ; four chin-shields, inner pair largest and in contact behind the point of the mental. Body covered above with coarse granules intermixed with numerous irregularly arranged, small, round, keeled tubercles. Abdominal scales rather small, cycloid, imbricate, smooth. Male with six to nine preanal pores forming an angular series. Tail: cylindrical, tapering, covered above with small granular scales and rings of six or eight large conical tubercles, inferiorly with uniform small imbricated scales. Coloration: brown above, with a network of darker lines; many of the tubercles whitish ; lower surfaces whitish, the throat sometimes vermiculated with brown. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

H. richardsoni

Richardson's Forest Gecko

W Uganda, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Congo



H. robustus

Somali Plain Gecko

NE Kenya, Somalia, Red Sea Coast, Egypt, Saudi Arabia



H. ruspolii

Prince Ruspoli's Gecko, Farm Leaf-Toed Gecko

Kenya, E Ethiopia, Somalia


Laurent relates finding one under a log in Somalia which was subsequently attacked by an ant colony also disturbed at the same time from the other end of the log: the lizard dropped its tail and escaped. 

H. scabriceps

Zanzibar Leaf-Toed Gecko

India, Sri Lanka



H. sinaitus

Sinai Leaf-Toed Gecko

Sinai Desert, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, N Somalia, Yemen

TL 83 mm, SVL 39 mm

Known for a few decades as H. shugraensis: see EMBL database listing. To be distinguished from IT. turcicus by the following characters : digits very short and with fewer lamellae, viz. five under the inner digits, seven under the fourth finger, and eight under the fourth toe. Rostral not entering the nostril. No enlarged subcaudals. Nine upper and eight lower labials. Dorsal tubercles in fourteen longitudinal series. Four prasanal pores. Grey-brown above, most of the dorsal tubercles white. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

H. smithi

Smith's Leaf-Toed Gecko

N Somalia, Ethiopia


Tail is conical and lacks basal constriction. Scalation: dorsally granular with scattered smooth conical tubercles. Other: scansors extend onto sole of foot.

H. somalicus

Northern Somali Plain Gecko

N Somalia, Ethiopia



H. squamulatus

Nyika Gecko, Tournier's Leaf-Toed Gecko

N Kenya, SC Tanzania

TL 111 mm, SVL 57 mm

Head elongate oviform ; snout much longer than the distance between the eye and the ear-opening, about once and two fifths the diameter of the orbit ; forehead feebly concave ; ear-opening suboval or subtriangular, about one third the diameter of the eye. Body rather elongate ; limbs moderate. Digits moderate, free, inner well developed ; five or six lamellae under the inner digits, seven or eight under the fourth finger, and eight to ten under the fourth toe. Snout covered with large keeled granules ; hinder part of head with minute granules intermixed with small tubercles. Rostral four-sided, nearly twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between the rostral and three or four nasals, the rostral rarely entering the nostril ; nine or ten upper and eight or nine lower labials; mental large, triangular; two pairs of chinshields, median largest and in contact behind the point of the mental. Upper surface of body covered with minute granules intermixed with small trihedral, strongly keeled tubercles arranged in fourteen to eighteen irregular longitudinal series. Abdominal scales small, cycloid imbricate. Males with four to eight prasanal pores, and a strong conical tubercle on each side of the base of the tail. Latter cylindrical, slightly depressed, tapering, covered above with minute scales intermixed with large spine-like tubercles forming six longitudinal rows ; inferiorly with small irregular imbricate scales. Grey-brown above, uniform or with indistinct darker markings; dirty white beneath. [SOURCE: Boulenger]

H. s. squamulatus

N Kenya, SC Tanzania



H. s. barbouri

Kenya (coastal), Tanzania



H. s. floweri

Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia


Range of this subspecies deduced from EMBL database entry: for precision, see Bibliography in their record.

H. stejnegeri

Stejneger's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Taiwan, China, Philippines (Luzon and Panay), Vietnam


Parthenogenetic species.

H. subtriedrus

? Leaf-Toed Gecko




H. tanganicus

Dutumi Gecko, Tanzania Leaf-Toed Gecko


Max 16cm

H. tasmani

Tasman's Tropical House Gecko, Tasmanian Leaf-Toed Gecko

C & E Zimbabwe

Max 16cm

H. taylori

? Leaf-Toed Gecko


SVL 46 mm, TL 88 mm

Named by Parker in 1942 as Teratolepis taylori. Description: Head once and a half as long as broad, somewhat depressed; snout longer than the distance from the eye to the ear, which is small and subcircular. Limbs short, overlapping when adpressed. Scalation details: scales of the snout juxtaposed, large and polygonal; rostral quadrangular, with a median cleft; nostril pierced between the rostral, first upper labial and three nasals, of which the uppermost forms a suture with its fellow; seven or eight upper and six lower labials; mental large, pentagonal, followed by two large pairs of chin shields, of which the anterior pair form a long median suture; remainder of the lower labials bordered by some enlarged scales. Scales of occiput and nape homogeneous, granular; dorsals smooth, a little larger than the ventrals; about 78 scales around the middle of the body. Digits short, very slightly dilated proximally and with divided lamellae, which grade insensibly into the granular scales of the palms and soles. The numbers under the digits are: fingers 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, and toes 6, 7, 8, 8, 6, counting from the first to the fifth respectively. Distal phalanges of the fingers very short, but those of the toes very much longer and armed with very long, slender claws. Posterior surfaces of femora and tibiae with some enlarged, irregularly arranged tubercles. Tail: conical, with smooth scales similar to those of the body. An angular series of 15 preanal pores and a single conical tubercle on each side of the base of the tail; post-anal bones and sacs present. Coloration: brownish grey above; a light line along the upper lip continuing to the region above the arm. This light stripe is bordered above by a blackish stripe from the nostril, through the eye and above the ear, and beneath by an interrupted black line along the lower labials and backward as a series of small, widely spaced dots to the arm. A short whitish stripe from the eye along the temple; a V-shaped transverse bar on the occiput, followed by a series of six distinct, round or transversely oval, white spots along the vertebral line; tail with a median series of transversely oval spots anteriorly which give place to two alternating dorso-lateral series behind. Hinder side of the hind-limbs with circular white spots. Lower surfaces uniform white. Length from snout to vent 46 mm. [SOURCE: Parker]

H. triedrus

Dakota's Leaf-Toed Gecko, Termite Hill Gecko

Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka



Terrestrial gecko commonly associated with termite hills: widely distributed across its range. Scalation details: snout covered with convex granules which may be keeled; rear part of head with minute granules intermixed with roundish tubercles; rostral subquadrangular, not twice as broad as high, with median cleft above; nostril pierced between rostral, 1st labial and 3-4 nasals; 8-10 supralabials, 7-8 infralabials; mental large, triangular or pentagonal, at least twice as long as adjacent labials; 4 chinshields, of which median pair largest and in contact behind mental; dorsally covered with small flat granular tubercles and large trihedral tubercles, the latter arranged in more or less irregular 16 or 18 (20) rows; ventral scales large, smooth, rounded and imbricate. Other: head large, oviform; snout longer than distance between eye and ear-opening; forehead concave; ear-opening large, suboval, oblique, about half diameter of eye; digits free, moderately dilated, inner well developed; subdigital lamellae slightly oblique, 6-7 under inner digits, 8-10 under median digits; males have 6-8 femoral pores on each side; tail rounded, feebly depressed, tapering, dorsally covered with irregular small, smooth, imbricated scales and rings of large, pointed, keeled tubercles; ventrally with median series of transversely dilated plates. Coloration: overall sandy brown with dark-edged brown-green crossbars from neck to tip of tail (see picture in Daniel). Reproduction: see Daniel for details from Pakistan. [SOURCES: Boulenger, Daniel]

H. t. triedrus

Pakistan and India

H. t. lankae

Sri Lanka

H. tropidolepis

Ogaden Gecko, Mocquard's Leaf-Toed Gecko

Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia


Scalation details: strongly imbricated keeled dorsal scales, some small and some considerably larger: the latter are larger than the interspaces around them. 

H. turcicus

Turkish Gecko (aka Mediterranean Gecko)

Asia Minor, Mediterranean (plus colonies established further afield, including on other continents)


A pink nocturnal gecko that prefers walls, stones and rocks. It may bask for a short time during the day. Males may make clicking noises. These are also quite popular terrarium geckos and can be maintained in colonies. This species is such a "traveller" that it has now spread far beyond its original range and can be found even in the Americas: see the EMBL listing for a full distribution.

H. vietnamensis

Vietnam Leaf-Toed Gecko



Parthenogenetic species. 

H. yerburyi

? Leaf-Toed Gecko

NE Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman



H. y. yerburyi





H. y. pauciporosus






Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa, W Kästle, H H Schleich and K Kabisch, Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany 1996. Outstanding review of N African herpetofauna giving detailed account of each species.

The Book of Indian Reptiles and Amphibians, J C Daniel, Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002.

Geckos: Keeping and Breeding Them in Captivity, Walls and Walls, TFH 1999.

Breeding and Keeping Geckos, Coborn, TFH 1995

Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia Volume 6: Reptiles has some useful colour plates and descriptions of many geckos.


Click here for a caresheet on H. brooksi