Asian house gecko

Native to Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, the Asian house gecko is a small lizard with a distinctive 'chuck-chuck-chuck' call. Its colour ranges from beige through to grey, light brown, and iridescent greenish. Originally a tree-dweller, the Asian house gecko has adapted to buildings and urban environments.

First noted in Australia in 1845, the Asian house gecko was only recorded in Queensland around 1983 (in Brisbane). The species probably arrived with international cargo, and multiple incursions of this kind may have occurred in Queensland.

The Asian house gecko is now one of Australia's most abundant urban reptiles, with populations from the Northern Territory and far north Queensland to Coffs Harbour and the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Populations have also been found on Norfolk Island. Asian house geckos can cause declines in native insects and spiders, and compete with native geckos for resources.

The Asian house gecko is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Hemidactylus frenatus

Description

  • Reptile 11–15cm long (including tail).
  • Males are generally longer and heavier than females and have wider jaw.
  • Scales are uniform, with distinctive, slightly enlarged spines scattered over back and in bands around tail.
  • Colour varies from matte grey or light brown to beige or iridescent greenish with whitish underside.

Habitat

  • Most abundant in urban environments, often seen on house walls and windows at night.
  • Also inhabits woodlands, forest fragments, open fields, rocky areas, coconut palm trunks, rotting logs and dense ground covers.
  • Suited to tropical and subtropical areas and absent in cooler climates.

Distribution

  • Abundant in Brisbane and urban areas along Queensland coast.

Life cycle

  • Life expectancy 5 years.
  • Breeding occurs throughout year in tropical areas, but is seasonal in cooler climates (breeding occurs in summer in Brisbane).
  • Sexually mature at 1 year of age.
  • Females are believed to store sperm for up to a year, which may contribute to their invasive success.

Affected animals

  • Native invertebrates

Impacts

Environmental

  • Eats wide range of prey, possibly causing declines in urban populations of some native insects and spiders.
  • Competes with native geckos for resources.

Social

  • Can chew electrical wiring and damage appliances such as air conditioners.
  • Can be general nuisance inside residences.

Natural enemies

  • Cats, snakes, rats, dogs, large spiders, birds, preying mantids and larger lizards.

Legal requirements

  • The Asian house gecko is not a prohibited or restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014. However, by law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control.
  • Local governments must have a biosecurity plan that covers invasive plants and animals in their area. This plan may include actions to be taken on certain species. Some of these actions may be required under local laws. Contact your local government for more information.

Further information