The recreation area’s only truly nocturnal lizard, the Banded Gecko is rarely seen even though it is abundant. It is a small lizard, averaging about five inches long. Half of its length is made up of the tail. The tail is often swollen with fat and has a distinct constriction at its base. The gecko is a light shade of yellow to pink, with highly variable brownish spots and band-like markings. Its skin appears to be almost translucent which, together with its small size and very slender legs, gives the lizard a delicate appearance. Vertical pupils are characteristic of reptiles that are nocturnal. Geckos and their eggs are a main source of food for several species of snakes. Female geckos usually lay two eggs at a time and may produce up to three clutches per year.
Habitat: The gecko is found in all major habitat types within the recreation area, but it seems to prefer rocky areas. It is primarily a ground dweller and takes shelter under rocks and vegetation, or in rock crevices and underground burrows. Diet: Insects and spiders. Adaptations: Strictly nocturnal habits allow it to avoid the desert heat. Geckos have been observed using their tongues to lick droplets of moisture from objects, including their own skin after a rain. The gecko readily sheds its tail as a defense against potential predators. When threatened, it curls and twitches its tail, presumably to divert a predator’s attention away from the head. The tail is then shed from the body and left behind on the ground as the lizard rushes away. This is called Caudal Autonomy. The gecko grows a new, shorter tail. Few adult geckos have their original tail. The gecko stores fat in its tail, whether in the original tail or a regenerated one, and can use this fat to survive when food is scarce.