Zoo Buddy: Barking Gecko!

Meet Spot, he's a barking gecko at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo in Monroe.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 8:20 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Meet Spot! He’s a barking gecko.

“They’re native to the southern part of Australia...and the reason they’re called barking geckos is because when they’re threatened or during mating season they let out this bark and it’s kind of guttural and high pitched and sounds like a zombie,” explains zookeeper Garrett Cole.

Cole says they typically get to be about four inches long.

“They’ll live about 15 years and their skin is usually a purple-ish, red-brown color - a rusty color - but right now he’s a little bit washed out because he’s getting ready to shed,” says Cole. “This species will typically lay about one to five clutches every year from the same mate and in each of those clutches they’ll lay about two eggs.”

Cole says their scientific name is Underwoodisaurus milii.

“Underwoodisaurus comes from the fact that typically in their native habitat in Australia you would find them under overturned logs, rocks, stuff like that so ‘under wood’. Something that’s a little different between them and most geckos is that their feet don’t have toe pads like your crested and gargoyles so they don’t climb on vertical walls, this species stays solely on the ground and they actually have toes instead of pads.”

Cole says another name for them is “thick-tailed gecko”.

“When they feel threatened they’ll drop that tail to distract the predator to let them get away and then they’ll re-grow it,” explains Cole.

Lisa Taylor, General Curator at the zoo, says their skin is much softer than you might think.

There are plenty of geckos in the reptile building, which is right next to the Louisiana Purchase Exhibit.

The sloths are now on display, too! You can visit them near the splash pad - which is now open for the summer season.

The zoo is open every day of the week between 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.