Western Banded Gecko

Western Banded Gecko


Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, south and western Arizona and southern Nevada; southwestern Utah, southwestern New Mexico, south into Baja California and northern Mexico.


The western banded gecko is found in open arid deserts and desert grassland, in canyons and on hillsides. It is usually associated with rocks or other shelters, but is also is found in sandy arroyos and dunes.


Pale-pink and brown-banded translucent skin distinguishes Western Banded Geckos from all other lizards that live in the same desert surroundings, and their heads and bodies are speckled with light brown. The brown bands are vibrant in young Western Banded Geckos, and then change into blotches, or spots, with age. The tiny scales give its skin a silky texture. Unlike typical geckos, it has prominent eyes with movable lids.

Western Banded Gecko

Active principally at night, western banded geckos can be seen crossing roads during the summer. It has been suggested that their gait and carriage mimics that of the scorpions of the genus Hadrurus that share the same habitat. This gecko often mimics the behavior of a scorpion when disturbed. By waving its tail above its body, it diverts attention of a would-be predator away from its head and body. Its tail has specialized fracture planes that allow it to easily break off. The discarded tail continues to move, allowing the lizard to escape. Although its tail rapidly regrows, the lizard loses a lot of energy to do so.

Like other geckos, these lizards generally avoid the day heat and prefer the cool night air. They seek shelter during the day near or under rocks, burrows, and spaces beneath vegetative debris, and even trash piles if necessary. They frequent rodent burrows as they hunt insects, spiders, small arthropods, and baby scorpions.


Females lay up to three clutches of one to two soft-shelled eggs in the spring and summer. Eggs hatch after six weeks.

Interesting Facts:

The gecko’s tail also stores food and water. The lizard depends on this energy when food is scarce. If the tail is lost just before winter, the gecko may not survive the winter as it will not have replaced its energy reserve.

Did YOU Know?    
Banded geckos help keep down scorpion populations in urban areas by eating lots of baby scorpions.
Western Banded Gecko
Native Utah Animal
Class: reptiles
Order: Gekkonidae
Family: Coleonyx
Genus: Coleonyx
Species: variegatus
Length: Up to 6 inches
Average Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
Wild Diet: beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, and termites
Predators: coyotes, foxes, snakes
USFWS Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building

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