Are Tokay Geckos Legal in California? Know The Laws

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

The tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) is a diurnal, arboreal gecko native to Southeast Asia. It is one of the giant geckos in the world, with an average length of 30 cm (11.8 in). It gets its name from the onomatopoeic call it produces when alarmed or annoyed, which sounds like “to-kay.” The tokay gecko is also known as the house lizard or simply tokeh. It is nocturnal during hot weather and more active in the evenings during cooler weather.




Out of all the lizards in the world, the tokay gecko is one of the most popular. They’re large, brightly colored, and have a unique call that can be heard from far away. But are they legal to own as pets in California? Let’s find out.


The requirements for owning a tokay gecko as a pet in California are relatively simple. First and foremost, you must have a valid reptile license from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Secondly, your tokay gecko must be captive-bred; it cannot be taken from the wild. Lastly, you can only have up to two tokay geckos per household.


What exotic pets are ILLEGAL in California?


In California, it is illegal to own any exotic pet. This includes but is not limited to lions, tigers, bears, elephants, monkeys, non-human primates, wolves, alligators, certain venomous snakes, and crocodiles.

The only exceptions to this rule are venomous snakes kept in captivity for scientific or educational purposes and non-venomous reptiles used in circuses or carnivals. Individuals who violate this law may be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.

The rationale behind this law is that exotic animals threaten public safety and animal welfare. In addition, these animals require specialized care that most people are not equipped to provide.

As a result, it is best to leave them in their natural habitat or under the care of trained professionals.


Can you own any geckos in California?


In California, you can legally own any gecko species that originates outside the state.

This includes popular pets such as leopard geckos, African fat-tail geckos, and Tokay geckos

.However, there are a few species of native Californian geckos that are protected under state law and cannot be kept as pets.

These include the San Diego banded gecko, the Riverside fairy duster gecko, and the Santa Catalina Island, spiny-tailed gecko. If you’re unsure about which species of gecko you have, it’s always best to check with your local reptile store or animal shelter.

With a bit of research, you can be sure to find a pet gecko that is legal to own in California.




So there you have it! If you’re looking to add a tokay gecko to your reptile family, you can do so as long as you follow the proper guidelines set forth by California. Be sure to get your reptile license ahead of time, and only purchase captive-bred animals from reputable breeders. And remember, when it comes to tokay geckos, less is more—limit yourself to two individuals per household.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Can You Pick Up Grass Snakes? Tips and Precautions

    Can You Pick Up Grass Snakes? Tips and Precautions

    Yes, you can pick up grass snakes. However, it’s important to handle them gently and with care to avoid causing them any harm.   Is It Safe to Pick Up Grass Snakes?   Grass snakes are non-venomous, harmless snakes commonly found in grassy areas and gardens. They are docile and generally not aggressive towards humans.…

    Read more

  • Can Grass Snakes Hurt Cats? A Clear Answer with Expert Knowledge

    Can Grass Snakes Hurt Cats? A Clear Answer with Expert Knowledge

    Grass snakes are not harmful to cats. They are non-venomous and typically avoid confrontation with larger animals. In fact, they are more likely to flee when encountering a cat. However, it’s always best to supervise your pets when they are outdoors to ensure their safety.   Potential Risks to Cats Bite Risks   Grass snakes…

    Read more