Endemic night geckos

 

The three species of endemic night gecko are all nocturnal as their name describes. They are terrestrial (living on the ground) and all have slender, clawed toes, which help them hold on their mainly rocky habitats. They are very well camouflaged against the rock and leaf litter. They only lay one egg at a time, either under leaf litter or in rocky cavities and crevices where they prefer to hide. Like most lizards the night geckos can lose their tails, which can regrow, but for the night geckos it grows back orange in colour unlike their original tail.

Lesser night gecko Nactus coindemirensis

The lesser night gecko is the smallest of all the reptiles in Mauritius and is now only found on four of the offshore islands. They are patterned with medium to dark brown over a lighter brown, although the colour changes depending upon the colour of the rocks in their habitat. The island populations are threatened by the introduction of the common house gecko and other invasive predators. The lesser night gecko is therefore part of the Mauritius Reptile Recovery Programme to enhance its status.

Durrell’s night gecko Nactus durrelli

These geckos are only found on Round Island, but once existed on mainland Mauritius and possibly some of the other islands. They are larger than the lesser night gecko and have a pattern of dark and light brown chevrons along their back, which extends into black and white bands down the tail. Scales on the back and neck give it a rough appearance.

Serpent Island night gecko Nactus serpensinsula

This night gecko is the largest of the three species in Mauritius and can only be found on Serpent Island. Their colour and pattern is similar to the Durrell’s night gecko, but are generally paler in colour and more grey-brown. Their main predator on Serpent Island is a giant tarantula, which is also only found on Serpent Island. Like the other two night gecko species they are vocal and emit loud and repeated "tchutt" sounds at night.