New Caledonian Giant Gecko

New Caledonian Giant Gecko

Leach's giant gecko, Leachie

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
SPECIES
Rhacodactylus leachianus
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
20 yrs
WEIGHT
227-340 g
LENGTH
36 cm

The New Caledonian giant gecko is the largest extant gecko in the world and is considered an example of island gigantism. It has a heavy body, loose skin, and a small, stumpy tail. It is variable in color, coming in shades of mottled green, gray, and brown.

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Biogeographical realms

New Caledonian giant geckos are found in moist and montane forests of the southern and eastern portions of the main island of New Caledonia, as well as on several of the smaller islands in the group.

Biome

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

These giant geckos are solitary and live high in tree canopies. They are nocturnal but may come out to bask in the sun during the day. They can make a loud growling noise, and local people call them "the devils in the trees". Like many chameleons, New Caledonian giant geckos can change the color of their skin. This is due to pigment-containing cells called chromatophores. Depending on the amount of sunlight, their skin may be lighter or darker. This is a form of mimicry and can help the gecko blend into their environments. These giant geckos also can climb vertically up glass surfaces. This is due to adhesive pads on their feet called lamellas, which are made up of tiny hairs which increase friction force when applied to surfaces.

Diet and Nutrition

New Caledonian giant geckos are omnivores. Their diet includes insects, spiders, small vertebrates, fruit, nectar, and sap.

Mating Habits

INCUBATION PERIOD
60-90 days
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
2 eggs

Adult females lay 2 soft-shelled eggs at a time, having up to 10 clutches per year. The young hatch after the incubation period of 60 to 90 days and are typically 8.9 to 10.2 centimeters (3.5 to 4 inches) long.

Population

Population threats

New Caledonian giant geckos are threatened by habitat destruction and degradation. They also suffer from poaching and face predation by introduced species such as cats and various rodents. These geckos can also be electrocuted by high-tension power lines when they travel along power lines.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the New Caledonian giant gecko total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.

References

1. New Caledonian Giant Gecko on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhacodactylus_leachianus
2. New Caledonian Giant Gecko on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/176166/7191028

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