Western Banded Gecko

The western banded gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) is a unique looking reptile that inhabits southern Nevada. This terrestrial lizard grows to be a whopping 4-6 inches long, including its tail! This gecko’s skin appears silky thanks to its tiny scales. As its name suggests, this little guy is covered dark bands that obscure an otherwise sandy colored body. The western banded gecko differs from others of its kind. Unlike other geckos, the western banded can actually move its eyelids!

Living in the desert southwest, these small lizards occupy a rather wide range of habitats. They can be found in sagebrush deserts, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and even desert riparian areas. They often take refuge in rocks, crevices, and other hard to access places that provide shelter and safety.

Western banded geckos are highly secretive and only come out at night. Being nocturnal certainly has its advantages — especially if your diet consists of bugs and insects. While spiders are often on this gecko’s menu, it turns out that they have a taste for something a little more “spicy.” Western banded geckos are one of the few reptiles that help control scorpion populations. It turns out that, if you are a western banded gecko, baby scorpions make for a tasty morsel!

If you’re on a night hike one evening, keep a sharp eye out. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get the chance to see this elusive neighbor!

 

Denise Peterson

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