Active at night, the yellow-bellied house gecko feeds primarily on insects which congregate around sources of light, aided by its extraordinary capability to climb vertical walls and walk on ceilings. This amazing feat is achieved by having specialised toe pads, which are covered in small scales called ‘scansors’. On the underside of the toe, each individual scansor can have up to 150,000 microscopic, highly branched, hair-like structures, known as setae, which form hundreds of saucer-shaped ‘end plates’. This gives the yellow-bellied house gecko an enormous surface area in relation to its body size, enabling it to grip all kinds of surfaces (5) (7) (10). The yellow-bellied gecko has particularly large and sensitive eyes, with pupils which open wide at night to let in maximum amounts of light, giving it excellent vision in the dark. The pupils contract to vertical slits during the day to protect the retina (the light-sensitive part of the eye) from harsh sunlight, while the eyelids of the yellow-bellied house gecko are fused to form a transparent cover, called a spectacle, for additional protection. Any dust or debris in the eye is licked away by the gecko’s extremely mobile tongue (2) (5) (7) (10).
Depending on location, the yellow-bellied house gecko usually mates during March and April, following a brief courtship period. The female lays two eggs which hatch 36 to 39 days after being laid, and the hatchlings grow rapidly, reaching adult size between August and September and breeding the following year (11).