The Marbled Gecko, Christinus marmoratus, can be distinguished by its large finger and toe pads and flat body, often with orange coloured specks on the tail. It has a snout vent length of up to 70 mm.
Marbled GeckoSource: Michael Kearney
The Marbled Gecko is widely distributed throughout western and northern Victoria. It is common in Melbourne, but may have moved here after white settlement due to the transport of granite rocks from its natural habitats. It is an arboreal species and hides under the bark of trees, fallen timber or logs during the day.
Marbled Geckos mate in late summer to early autumn. The females retain sperm until fertilisation, which occurs in the late spring to early summer. They produce one clutch annually, containing two eggs.
Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books.
Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2003. Reptiles of Australia. Princeton University Press.
Hi Ian, unfortunately we cannot confirm an identification without a photograph or specimen, our Herpetologist informs us that the Marbled Gecko is the only native species of gecko in the Melbourne/Werribee region.
Hi Jo, we have asked the Live Exhibits Team and it seems that many reptile keepers house Marbled Geckos in sand and this has always been successful for breeding. The only possible problem with sand is the threat of impaction but this has never been observed by Museum staff and we haven’t heard of a case like this in Marbled Geckos. Remember that one end of the enclosure should be misted about every second or third day.
Will, concerning the possibility of a sighting of a Gippsland Water Dragon close to the Yarra River at Eltham.
In a publication called Melbourne’s Wild Life published by Museum Victoria , and which may be available at your local library, on pp 161 it mentions under Water Dragon that....
“The Eastern(physignathus l. Lesueurii) and the Gippsland Water Dragon (Phyignathus i. Howitti) ...have been introduced into the Melbourne area, and visible populations have become established on the Yarra River, including sightings of Eastern Water Dragons at Studley Park and Gippsland Water Dragons from the Yarra in Warrandyte.”
We would say that your sighting near Eltham would be a distinct possibility.
It is more likely that it fell in from the wall or ceiling and couldn’t climb out of the sink. These geckoes are pretty common in suburban gardens and around houses. They are often seen hiding in door frames, fire wood and under pot plants. This more likely than coming up through the drain.
Hi Sean, Crickets that are being kept as food animals need a good diet, as the health of your geckos can depend in part on the health of the crickets. Some breeders 'gut-load' their crickets with high-protein food a few days before feeding them off, as the extra protein is then passed on to the geckos. Other breeders 'calcium-load' their crickets with calcium powder, but this is most useful for frogs rather than reptiles. Both of these loadings are not essential for your geckos.
A good diet consists of a mix of whatever hard vegetables are available (e.g. carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin), softer vegetables (eg apples) and greens (e.g. lettuce, cabbage, endive) as well as dry dog or cat food. You can vary it over time and each component is not essential for every feed, but a mixture of foods will always be better than one type of food alone.
However, native wildlife cannot be collected from the wild and must be bought from a licenced dealer or a pet shop.
Hope this helps!
Marbled Geckos happily live inside homes around Melbourne and they will readily inhabit multistorey buildings including in the roof space.
There is only one species of Marbled Gecko, called Christinus marmoratus, however they can vary in appearance. Another possibility is that your new lizards are not Marbled Gecko's. You are welcome to send photos to us via our Identification form, and we can determine what you have!
Hi Mere,We forwarded your enquiry to Museum Victoria's Live Exhibits team, the Museum's animal keepers, who provided the following information:
Marbled Geckos are a native species that have adapted well to human habitation. They are equally happy living amongst rocks in the garden or inside the walls of a house, emerging through wall vents at night to pick off insects around the home. The main danger to Marbled Geckos are cats and door jams. You can release the gecko outside the house and it will either remain outside or re-enter the house in its own time. The best time to release it is at night when the gecko is most active, and try to keep the cats away from it for a few hours to give it time to find its own space.
Hi,No - Gecko's are vertebrates, which means that they have a back bone. You can read more about invertebrates on the Australian Museum website.
Any soft fruits such as bananas can be mashed up as food, but as geckos are basically carnivores the provision of insect prey is more important than fruit.
We don't know of any gecko species that has a gestation period longer than a few months, so it appears your individual is able to reproduce parthenogenetically.
Geckos can survive with three legs as long as any wounds heal and don’t become infected. Although Marbled Geckos are common and can be kept without a licence, it’s illegal to take them directly from the wild without a licence to do so. So whilst it’s thoughtful to take it into captivity and look after it, the gecko would be better off in the wild. Alternatively you could take it to a vet if you’re concerned about its health or welfare.
Marbled Geckos are able to look after themselves as soon as they hatch from the egg. Although this species is common and you can keep them without a licence, it's illegal to collect them from the wild and they must be purchased from a licenced breeder or pet shop. The best option would be to release it into the garden, particularly if it's not feeding in captivity. This species is well adapted to living in suburban areas and will find plenty of food and shelter outside.
How geckos and other lizards do this is complex. Colour pigments, such as melatonin, are located beneath the skin expand or contract. The hypothalamus or pineal gland may trigger the colour change in response to a change in the gecko’s environment. This is a care sheet for the Marbled Gecko.
In general it's not a good idea to mix reptile species, especially those that would not co-exist in the wild. They may have been living together for some time but circumstances within the enclosure may change without you being aware of it (the skink maturing, a gecko slowing due to a subclinical infection, etc). Quite often they live their entire lives without problems, but sometimes problems do occur and this can be the result. The feet won't grow back but the lack of feet shouldn't affect the gecko's ability to catch its food.
Geckos generally like a wide variety of insects such as ants, beetles, roaches, moths, butterflies, mosquitoes, leafhoppers, locusts and crickets. You need to be careful with live crickets and not leave them in the enclosure with the gecko for too long, because they may bite them! They also like mealworms and waxworms – this gives then some fat. It is a good idea to see that they have a calcium supplement, by dusting the insects that you feed them with, or by leaving a dish of calcium powder in their enclosure.
Marbled Geckos (Christinus marmoratus) are common in Melbourne, living in the walls of houses but rarely seen inside the house. They are found throughout the year but tend to slow down or even hibernate (bromate) over winter. The best option is to put it outside, somewhere out of reach of the cats during the day, and it will find its own hiding places.
Hi Aaron - whilst we understand your good intentions, unless you are fully licensed to do so and have the co-operation of research institutions and local government, your suggestion is actually illegal and potentially quite harmful to the animals involved.
Unless you have the appropriate permit to trap and subsequently re-release native wildlife, this activity is not legal. Furthermore, in order to hold or keep any non-wild (that is, captive-bred) lizards of the type you describe may require a permits, and lastly it is also illegal to deliberately release captive-bred animals into the environment.
Because of these reasons, another approach you might prefer to consider would be to encorage native lizards back to your garden. You can get some tips on this website.
Hi Siobhain,Although a licence isn’t required for keeping Marbled Geckos (Christinus marmoratus), it’s still illegal to collect them from the wild, which includes your own backyard. And the law also applies to eggs of native species, including geckos. In general, a female reptile that places eggs in a particularly location has determined it is the optimum location for hatching them, and relocating eggs to an artificial environment may reduce the chances that they hatch. In particular, gecko eggs require very specific conditions to incubate and hatch, and one of those conditions is that the eggs not be moved at all during incubation. So the best option is to leave the eggs where they are and enjoy the wild geckos in your garden once they hatch.
Hi Laura,The crickets you’re feeding the Marbled Gecko (Christinus marmoratus) may be too large for it. In this case the cricket will remain uneaten and, if too large, may turn on the gecko. Try feeding small or pinhead crickets, available from most pet shops. These are the same species of cricket (Acheta domesticus), just younger versions.
Marbled Geckos (Christinus marmoratus) will feed on any small insects, including crickets available from many pet shops. Pinhead crickets are the smallest type and best for young lizards. However, keep in mind that it’s not legal in Victoria to keep wild reptiles obtained from the wild, including on your own property.
Domestic cats tend to hunt at night and geckos only emerge at night, so the geckos are particularly vulnerable to being killed and eaten. The only option to prevent a local massacre of geckos is to keep your cat locked up at night. Most cat owners do this and the cats readily adapt to being kept inside without any problems. It will also help all the other native wildlife that the cat inevitably kills.
Hi Simone - these type of permits you are describing are administered by the Victorian Government DELWP agency, and details can be found here. Our understanding is that you do need a permit to trade in native fauna, a buyer is likely to require a permit to keep it, and it is also illegal to simply trap native fauna and then sell it - there are stringent laws that apply to this, all of which DELWP can advise you of.
Hi Roxanne, yes, that is within the expected range for the Marbled Gecko. They are active on warm evenings, they hunt spiders and insects on the walls of houses near lights. Favourite daytime hiding spots are under loose bark on trees, stacks of bricks or pavers and wooden sleepers, in urban areas. So, to encourage your visitor to stick around, leaving places for it to hide and discouraging predators (like cats) is a good start!
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Hi Gary, Legislation varies from state to state: the Western Australian Museum has an excellent overview of their collection, and the governing laws concer...
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