Thailand Wildlife: Tokay Gecko in Ceiling

The other night I was pouring some water and almost jumped as something crawled out of the ceiling above my head.

Awesome… I was looking at a big 11-inch Tokay Gecko (Gecko gekko) that was partly still inside the hole the rain had made… I asked wifey to video as I attempted to catch it.

I’m Afraid of it Because:

  1. A couple different Thais have told me they bite and don’t let go.
  2. Also, I was told they jump on your face if you’re too close.
  3. The only other lizard that looks like this to me is a Gila Monster and they’re actually venomous – and have decent teeth.
  4. I’ve never seen one close-up because they’re always too high to reach.
  5. I’m used to dealing with snakes with big teeth and his head looks just like a viper.

Anyway, here’s the video and some pictures to follow it.

Big Tokay Gecko in Thailand.

Tokay gecko with mouth open, defending self.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

22 thoughts on “Thailand Wildlife: Tokay Gecko in Ceiling”

  1. Hii Where are you? May I know that if you really have that animal because i want to buy it from you. Can you give me a contact number please because i really want t buy it. My contact number is +****0866.

  2. Hi, I also have one Tokey Gecko at my house. it gives out a loud sound during night or everytime i turn off the light. It used to be very shy and run away in the presence of human but after one accident that it accidentally drop from the ceiling and i think it suffer some shock and cannot move i help to nurse it until it gets better. We’ll now i think hes around 11-12 inch long and i can be in quite close range with him (like a feet) and we would just stare at each other. LOL! funny thing is, sometimes i think the color of the eyes, spots and skin can change.. weird..

    1. Hi Jezz,

      WHere are you – in Thailand? I don’t know about changing color – maybe they can. The ones I see seem to always look the same, but, maybe I’m missing something. Thanks for your comment.

      1. Helo Vern,

        I’m in Sabah, Malaysia. The Gecko in my house is different than what you have. Not sure what the exact species for it though since i never found any matching type in internet.

        1. ok the – maybe it can change colors. I’ve seen some cool tokays that were much different than the one i caught. I saw a beautiful one on a mountain once – here in TH. A leopord Tokay maybe? Big head, smaller body – about 9 inches long.

  3. hi vern it is rare to find a tokay gecko in that size and my gf is japanese they think it brings them luck.
    thats why i would like to buy it if you wana sell it

  4. Nice video.

    I like Gecko’s and i’m wondering if you still have some at your house ,
    or maybe still have the one from the video .

    If you find some more , and you don’t want to keep them , let me know.

    I would like to get them from you , if thats ok .

    The bigger the better .


    1. Hi Denny,

      Yours is like the 8th message I got here at the blog about Tokay Gecko’s, and I also got a number of comments on the videos at youtube about them. Everyone want’s them. For what? You guys eating them? Selling them on the black market to people that eat them? Breed them? Fight them? I don’t get it. These things are ALL OVER Thailand. You can’t spit without hitting one. What’s the attraction? Someone offered me over $500 for it. Another guy just wrote and asked if I saw any as big as 16 inches.

      I don’t sell them. I don’t catch them to keep them for long – just take photos and videos – like I do of the snakes – and let them go. Animals aren’t here for us to stick them in a fucking box and forget them until we have to feed them. It’s more than a little bit stupid to me to keep pet reptiles. Not nearly as stupid as having pet birds though.

      Why Denny… why do you want the Tokay?

  5. For a long time we’ve shared our building with what I’d call a barking gecko. I was wrong. What are called barking geckos are from Australia, are smaller, and lack the attitude of ours. Though shy and nocturnal, if threatened, (as I saw today) the Tokay Gecko or “Gecko Gecko” can open wide and snap shut like a wide-mouth version of a gator. See details at Even a sound track, but nothing as loud as we had being so close.

    Ours hung out in the curved notched roofing tile directly outside our bedroom window and easily would awaken us several times a night with its mating call. I caught the right angle 2 nights ago with some ant spray, then today heard it squawk at me as I was walking along the fenced wall between our home and son’s.

    The thing was at ear level on the chain-link fence and startled the hell outta me. Then I watched 3 young men not want to approach it. They ended up making a slip noose on the end of a 10′ length of bamboo. Sure enough, the gekko stood its ground – but that allowed the the noose to set itself – once it was over it’s head. I swear it must not have hinged jaws, it opened up like seeing Kermit on TV

    Once on the noose, it jumped onto the pole and the guys walked to the underside of the hwy bridge over the river. There they had a challenge of how to pin the critter long enough to use another pole to open up and release the noose.

    Our Tokay was about 15″ long and I’d match it (lb-4-lb) against any lizard I’ve ever seen for sheer meanness – once confronted.

    Boon says she liked having it around, except for exactly where it set up home. They are quite the pest controllers.

    1. Thanks for sharing that Rudy. They are awesome beasts… and I love to have them around. Once you hear them a hundred times or so – the unconscious doesn’t even register the squawk. That is, unless they are right outside your window and you have a big one. That sounds like a big one. There was on in Phuket I first saw – was MASSIVE… 15 inches, yeah, or more – and fat – very wide… unbelievable… I thought it was a wall ornament as I talked to my friend… it was above his head and his back was to it… nope, it moved and I almost fell over backward. The one we have outside the kitchen now is about 12 inches but not fat. Must be a youngster. The Tokays are great with eating the smaller geckos, roaches, mosquitos and other things you don’t want in your house. Don’t hit them with the ant spray!

      Yeah, they stand their ground – they are very defensive… no more so than I’d be if you slipped a noose around my neck, I assure you.

      Again, great story…

      Did you see this page with the videos I took of me catching the one in my kitchen????


    1. Hi Charissa,

      I’m not really into selling wildlife unless there’s a great reason – like research or to make a dying kid smile. There is someone that might want some cobras and if it’s for a good reason I’ll try to find him some. This Tokay is my friend… lol. I love to hear him squawk out in the back of the house at night. It isn’t for sale. It’s mindnumbing that someone would pay $500 for a gecko. Sure it’s cool and all – but, wow. Maybe he dies in transit you know? Must be really fun to ride in a box for 2 days to reach you!

  6. i love the tokays… we had one in our house in lomsak. mama tried to flush it out from behind the cabinet where it lived because it kept waking her up at night. we annoyed it out with a broom and it took off. didn’t come back when we re-arranged the room. i miss the calls. a man told me they are becoming rare because people kill them or catch them to sell off as pets. shame.

  7. are u considered to sell that tokay? if it weight 400 grams or more, i am interested to keep that gecko. i have one in my home weight almost 4.3 grams. her name is greta. i want to buy another one so greta have friend. if you want to sell the gecko, i would buy it vern. next time you’ll catch it manly….. haha…. try to know its weight.
    i dont wanna to buy if its smaller coz greta will eat it….. my greta is a real predator.

    1. Hi Andres,

      No – I’d rather have it on the back of my house where I can look at it as I wish and listen to it making squawks at night than sitting in your aquarium looking at Greta.

  8. Hello Vern… I have his cousin in my Kuti (monks hut) he lives in the ceiling.. he leaves me alone and I leave him alone… he likes to sit above the doorway going into my bathroom, and I always forget about him until I look up and he’s staring in my face about a foot away… yikes… he normally scoots off after hearing me scream.. :-) he’s never been aggresive with me… we just kind of ignore each other… sometimes he travels next door to the other monks kuti, but always comes back… I’m now in Phoenix Arizona for 5 months, he’s probably throwing a few Tokay toga parties… :-)

  9. Vern, they do bite and don’t want to let go. You have to be careful as if they latch on nearly they only way to get one off is by prising its jaws apart.

    I have seen plenty about now, my friend had a huge one, truthfully it was longer than a normal ruler. It used to attack the fish tank trying to gt to the fish and knocked over soda bottles that were holding fighting fish.

    Then one day my mate had laid those really sticky rat traps you can buy, paper that has a thing like superglue on the surface. The trap worked well. It caught the rats but also the Tokay as it moved in for a free feed. It died as after I had tried to prise it off using oils and anything else slippery.

    I have had a great laugh watching the video and your dancing technique when you dropped it.

    Here is a really good link into keeping Tokays,%20Tokay%20Gecko.htm

    Thanks for sharing mate

    1. Yeah, my dancing technique! I knocked food and everything else off the counter. I didn’t know – did i have him in the towel or wtf? I thought maybe he was going to jump out of there and crank down on my eyelids or something. I’ve seen a guy’s video on YouTube that said he was bit by one and it drew blood. I saw another herpetolist site that said that they bite and clamp down too – just like you mention. They recommend a leather glove to handle them with.

      That’s sad about the gecko caught in the sticky trap.

      I’ve seen one that was longer than a ruler too… and thick. It had the squawk like an elephant man – it was VERY loud, loudest I ever heard. It echoed over the neighborhood in Patong where I was staying the first couple months in the country. It was right outside my window. When I heard it the first time I almost needed some toilet paper. It was about 2am and I stumbled in from Soi katoey or some nonsense and laid down… I jumped so hard I’m sure I broke the bed.

      There seem to be a lot more of these in Ubon than anywhere else I’ve been. Maybe a lack of snakes that can crawl up into the roofs easily? No idea… great little beasts though. I have my big acquarium now (glass) and so if he comes down out of the ceiling again I’ll catch him again – more manly style, man up on him and grab him (hand wrapped in a towel) and put him in the glass for a few days to try to get some vids of him eating, and some audio of the squawking.

      Ok man – take care up there…and thanks for the link to keeping Tokays!

  10. I have a few of those hanging around my house. Two were just here laying eggs and protecting the nest. We have an understanding, they stay outside and I leave them in peace. it seems to work out quite well.

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