That cute little house pet…the gecko!

That cute little house pet Title Pic

That cute little house pet…you know the one…you must have spotted him on your travels in Indonesia.

The first time I met that cute little guy that hangs around people’s houses in tropical areas – known as the ‘gecko’ to us here in Australia, was when I was 5 or 6 years old when travelling in the Northern Territory. I again met these cute little guys when travelling in Cairns and Indonesia as a teenager. But I really became acquainted with the gecko, {cicak in Indonesian} when I lived in Indonesia.

I have always liked the gecko – ever since that first time I saw one at five years of age. Cute, small and fast as they dart around the wall or ceiling searching for their dinner. I mean seriously, these guys can move upwards, backwards, and even run down a tree upside down! And very best of all, they eat all kinds of insects as well as those annoying mosquitos that seem to thrive on my {sweet} blood!

The gecko….cicak…or more formally known as the Asian house gecko is native to large areas of Asia, from India to Indonesia, and now as far as Australia. I read that the Asian house gecko hitched a ride on a cargo container {probably full of beautiful Indonesian carved furniture}…some say they acted as stow-aways on ships bound for Australia {perhaps those cute little guys just wanted to travel the world, as we all do!} and they are now a common house pet in various states and territories in Australia. 

Out of the 5,600 species of lizard on the planet, more than 1,500 belong to the gecko infraorder called Gekkota.    “

And it wasn’t until I lived long-term and travelled vastly through Indonesia that I met the big bro of the cute, little cicak – the tokay gecko {tokek in Indonesian} and funnily enough with a scientific name of; Gekko gecko {go figure!?}.

The one I remember most vividly, although not the biggest I have ever seen, was in Labuan Bajo in Flores I was staying at Gardena Hotel, just near the harbour, and it seemed I wasn’t the only one staying in my bungalow {don’t let your imagination run away with you too much!…hehehe} …this tokek {as featured in the photos} resided in this bungalow also.

And despite the enormous size of him {they grow up to 35cm in length – that’s longer than a ruler folks!} and as he is one of the largest geckoes alive today, his presence didn’t bother me in the slightest. In fact, it was kind of cool having him hanging around for the entire length of my stay; certainly kept me entertained with the novelty and allowed me to practise my photography skills on an awesome and very pretty model, and like I said, I knew I’d be pretty safe from mosquitos with this big guy hanging around 24/7.

Tokay gecko Pic Collage

The Tokay gecko {as they are known in English} can be found from northeast India to the Indo-Australian Archipelago and they have many regional and common names, which all are likely originated from their very loud and low but recognisable calling sound of; “To-Keeeeh!”. I love their big bulging eyes {they look like little shiny rubies, to me!} and their big rounded pads on the end of their toes that allow them to climb smooth and vertical surfaces and even to run across smooth ceilings. But it’s their colours and patterning that are really quite unique and amazing to look at up close and personal.

The well-known call of the tokek is believed by Indonesian’s to be an omen of good luck. In the evenings, throughout the whole of Indonesia, in big cities and in small remote villages, when an Indonesian hears the tokek call out, they will surely count the number of calls. Just as I do when I am in Indonesia, it’s almost like a favourite pastime, in the cool of the quiet evenings, I will always listen out for the call of the tokek and count the number of times he calls out. An odd number means good luck, seven calls means very good luck and nine calls apparently means the best of happiness and success.

And I’ll leave you with this favourite children’s song, I’m sure many of the teachers out there have taught and sung this song a few hundred times! 😉

“cicak-cicak di dinding
diam diam merayap,
datang seekor nyamuk
hap … lalu ditangkap.”

Do you listen out for the call of the tokek in Indonesia? Do you count the number of calls?

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