(Coleonyx Variegatus)

Western Banded Gecko

Western Banded Gecko

The Western Banded Gecko is a medium-sized gecko with soft skin, short limbs, a pointed snout, large eyes, and functional eyelids. Like other Eublepharid geckos, this species has movable eyelids, slender toes that lack villi, and pointed claws. Adults are approximately 6 inches (150 mm) in total length, with females measuring about 2.8 inches (70 mm) snout-vent length, and the smaller males measuring about 2 1/2 inches (63 mm) snout-vent length.

Adults are typically pale-yellow or light-gray in color. Red-brown spots cover the top of the head, and red-brown spots or bands cross the back.

The Western Banded Gecko ranges throughout the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, closely mirroring the combined Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.

This species is usually found in open areas, often near rocks, and may seek shelter under them, or in crevices. It is found from sea-level up to an elevation of 4000 feet.

Behavior: Western Banded Geckos are primarily nocturnal, foraging at night and hiding under a variety of objects such as rocks, stems, and other types of debris during the daytime. They are most active during the spring.

When they run, this species holds its tail curved over its back, and sways from side to side. Its tail breaks off easily -- caudal autonomy  (A defensive feature found in many lizard and salamander species, where the tail vertebrae are easily broken, so that the tail will break off if it is grabbed by a predator. Also called tail separation) is considered a defense mechanism. Other defensive tactics include squeaking, ejecting viscous liquids, and limb extension.

Their diet includes insects and other arthropods. Occasionally, they will eat parts or all of their own skin after shedding. Fat is stored in their tails for times of food scarcity. The Western Banded Gecko is a food source for many predators, such as snakes. Although these geckos are believed to be able to detect the chemical signals left by snakes, giving them the chance to avoid them.

Breeding: Between May and September, these geckos will usually lay two eggs.  

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