Stump-tailed gecko

Gehyra mutilata

Common name:

Stump-tailed gecko

Scientific name:

Gehyra mutilata

Alternative common names:

Four-clawed gecko, tender-skinned house gecko, sugar lizard, Pacific gecko, butiki. 

Stump-tailed geckos are lizards found in warm climates throughout the world. They are somewhat plump, with delicate skin. The skin is usually coloured a soft purplish/pinkish-grey with golden spots on younger specimens; these spots eventually fade with age.

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Southeast Asia, Burma, Thailand, Indochina and Malaysia.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 1b.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    KwaZulu-Natal.

    How does it spread?

    By naturally rafting on vegetative mats or floating on the water surface, especially at high glacial periods when the sea level is lower and thus the distance between islands is reduced. They also spread when they are inadvertently transported on ships.

    Why is it a problem?

    They are known to eat fruit juice and nectar. They are common and widespread. No known conservation threats.

    What does it look like?

    Juveniles are purplish with pale spots, and almost look like gliders rather than crawlers due to the webbing from their feet to their bodies. Description: Can reach up to 12.5cm long. The distance from the snout to the base of the tail measures up to 6.4cm. The skin appears nearly translucent and colour can vary from pink to pinkish-grey to yellowish-tan. Younger geckos may have dark markings, but adults usually have no patterns other than some small light dots. Some may have a pale line down the centre of the back. The head often has a line of white or yellow dots running back from the eye. Habitat: Stump-tailed geckos live in a wide range of habitats including tropical rainforests, parched deserts and icy mountain peaks. They are not afraid of humans and have expanded their range by stowing away on ships. Breeding: Like most reptiles, the majority of geckos lay eggs. The female lays 4-5 pairs of eggs between May and August, with 2-4 weeks between laying. Gecko egg shells tend to be soft at first, but harden quickly. They have a sticky coating and are often stuck inside cracks or under bark or stones. It is not unusual to discover clumps of eggs stuck together if several females share a site.