Pacific Least Gecko – The Endemic Fortune Teller

Due to the isolation of Cocos Island from the mainland, it has evolved to house many unique land animals that can only be found in this offshore ecosystem. And one of this endemic species are lizards.

Pacific Least Gecko (Sphaerodactylus pacificus)

Max. Length: 9 centimeters
Range: 1 – 375 meters (0 – 1,237 feet) above sea level
Frequency: Abundant only in Cocos Island

Photo courtesy from Fabio Hidalgo

Compared to the geckos that we commonly know, the Pacific Least Gecko is relatively small in size reaching only 5 centimeters during adulthood. Belonging to the genus Sphaerodactylus, this particular gecko is quite unique since their eyes are equipped with pupils that are round rather than a vertical one. Aside from the eyes and body size, you can easily identify a Pacific Least Gecko with their feet that has no retractile claws and each foot ends in a round adhesive pad. For an adult male, it has a unique body coloration to easily attract a mating partner where you can see them in their bright orange head with grey brown bodies with bluish lateral spots and a white tail tip. Kidding aside, I just cannot imagine humans turning on a bright orange head when finding a mate. How showy and awkward it can be.

If you are lucky to set foot in Cocos Island, you can find this type of gecko from an elevation of 1 to 375 meters where it thrives on debris near the shoreline up to the wet forest zone usually hiding under the palms of a coconut tree. Although there have been many species introduced in Cocos island during the past decade causing to dominate the local and endemic population, the Pacific Least Gecko has become well adapted to this introduced animals like feral cats and rats where studies shows that its population has continue to grow instead of declining. This is the reason why this type of gecko has been placed in the least concern category for species conservation.

How does a Gecko answer a Question?

Photo courtesy from Fabio Hidalgo

Does it talk and answer you directly? Definitely No. Instead, it answers by way of producing a sound. We all know that geckos produce sounds that demonstrate an individuals dominance or to attract a mate. But legends and folklore believe that a sound of a gecko orchestrates a possible answer to a particular question. But here’s the glitch: Your question should only be answerable by a yes or no and you should only start asking when the gecko is starting to produce sounds.

If you already throw the question and the gecko answers back with a sound, then the answer to your question is yes. But if it is followed by another response, then the answer to your question is a no. Each alternate succeeding sound represents a yes or a no and the last sound before a gecko completely stops cluttering represents a possible answer to your question.

For example, your question is: Does he/she loves me? . . . and let’s assign “toko” as the sound produced by geckos. After you asked the question and you hear a toko, then the answer is yes. But if, and unfortunately, you hear another toko, then the answer is no. Fortunate enough, the gecko sounded again, then the answer is yes. And finally, you hear toko for the last time and the gecko stops clattering, then the possible answer to your question is No. We just hope it is not the real case for you.

But the real challenge here is not about your answered question. The real game is if you can have legal access to set foot on the island as our existence is forbidden except for park rangers. And I am quite sure right now that those park rangers assigned in Cocos Island are already asking questions to the geckos. Lastly, we are not claiming that this belief is true but it is for you to find out.

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IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species:

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CY 2019 Schedule of Liveaboard Trips to Cocos Island

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