New Zealand has more than 110 species of lizard. We have geckos and skinks, and none are found anywhere else in the world.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GECKOS AND SKINKS.
DISTRIBUTION: Geckos are found throughout New Zealand ranging from coastal to high altitudes.
- Geckos have loose velvety skin that looks one size too large, while skinks are smooth-skinned, sleek and shiny with small legs.
- Geckos eyes are large and cannot blink and so clean their eyes with their tongue. Skinks do blink.
- When geckos shed their skin it may come off in one go or in large pieces, whereas skinks rub their skin off in small patches rather than shedding it all at once.
- Geckos are incredibly good climbers and have five specialised toes which have pleats underneath which consist of very fine hairs. These hairs give them the ability to climb even upside down on a ceiling. Skinks have very slender toes and don't have the same toe pads that a gecko has.
BREEDING: New Zealand geckos are unique because they give birth to live young. Normally give birth to twins.
FOOD: They are primarily nocturnal so food consists mainly of night-flying insects such as moths and beetles, occasionally supplemented by nectar and fruit.
VOICE: Geckos are more vocal than skinks and use clicks and squeaks to communicate.
GENERAL: Geckos normally live longer than skinks. Common geckos can live up to 40 years in the wild. The rare harlequin gecko is only found in the south of Stewart Island which makes is the most southern member of the gecko family worldwide.
THREAT: Twenty one species are threatened of which two have been classified as Nationally Critical. One species is now extinct. There are two main threats one is predation and the other is habitat loss.
COMMON SPECIES BY REGION:
Whangarei - Auckland green gecko, forest gecko, Pacific gecko
Auckland - Auckland green gecko, forest gecko
Gisborne - Common gecko
Wanganui - Common gecko
Wellington - Common gecko, forest gecko, Wellington green gecko
Christchurch - Common gecko
Dunedin - Jewelled gecko, "Otago large" gecko