Tokay geckos are one of the fastest reptiles on the planet, reaching speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.
Their long, powerful legs and tail make this impressive feat possible, which helps them maintain balance as they sprint.
While they are not the quickest animal over short distances, their endurance allows them to outrun most predators. In the wild, these speedy lizards often use their speed to escape danger or catch their prey.
However, they are just as adept at running in captivity and make many reptile enthusiasts. Whether you’re admiring them from afar or up close, there’s no doubting that the Tokay gecko is a truly remarkable creature.
Why Do Tokay Geckos Need to Run Fast?
Tokay geckos need to be able to run fast to escape from predators or other geckos. But, running isn’t the only thing they will do to escape.
The first thing a tokay gecko will do when threatened is open its mouth very wide. This attempts to trick whatever scares them into thinking the gecko is bigger. They will also begin to bark to show their discomfort. This bark is where they got their name from!
If whatever scares them continues approaching, the gecko will detach its tail from its body. The bottom will continue to move after being separated. This will distract the predator and allow the gecko to escape. While there are no direct figures on how fast they can run, they are known to be incredibly fast.
In addition to protecting themselves from predators or other geckos, they must be quick to catch their food. Tokay geckos eat invertebrates like worms, moths, and crickets. They will also eat small mammals like birds and mice.
How Are Tokay Geckos So Fast?
One of the reasons tokay geckos are so fast is because of their size. They are the third largest gecko in the world, with a maximum length of 16 inches (40 cm) long. Their size and long, cylindrical body mean they have more power to run faster than other geckos.
But, like other geckos, they can’t sustain these speeds for long. Their bodies are made for short bursts of speed. This speed is usually to catch small, elusive prey. In an emergency, this quickness allows them to get to a place where they can hide.
Why Are They Called “Pitbull Geckos”?
While tokay geckos are often sold as pets, they should not be kept by beginner gecko enthusiasts. This is because they can be very aggressive and will bite when handled. They are not friendly to humans and will do whatever they can to escape, including running.
What Will A Tokay Gecko Do When It Can’t Escape?
Sometimes, speed isn’t enough to get the tokay gecko away from danger. If that is the case, they aren’t afraid to fight to protect themselves. Unfortunately, many gecko handlers end up experiencing this instinct.
Tokay geckos have large jaws and a powerful bite. Usually, this site is used to help catch prey and defend their territory. They are incredibly territorial and will fight any animal that competes with them for food.
In captivity, a tokay gecko may see their owner as a danger. They will squirm, hiss, drop their tail, and bite to escape. Their bite is powerful enough to draw blood, so they are often considered decorative pets. Only an experienced gecko enthusiast should handle this gecko.
Can You Escape A Tokay Gecko?
If you know how to read their body language, you can get away from a tokay gecko before they try to bite you. But, they are swift, so you may be unable to escape in time. If a tokay gecko bites you, the best thing to do is to remain calm.
If you try to pull away from the gecko, it will only bite down harder. Frightening the gecko will also make it bite harder. Try dabbing lukewarm water or a drop of vinegar on its nose. The sensation should cause them to release you. Wearing gloves when handling a tokay gecko may also minimize your injuries.
Tokay geckos are some of the more beautiful geckos in the world. But, they do have some powerful mechanisms to protect themselves. They can run incredibly fast to catch prey and escape danger. But, they also aren’t afraid to defend themselves and their territory.