New Zealand has a stunning range of lizards and a number of these species are kept at Orana Wildlife Park. Geckos are a large family of lizards common throughout the warmer regions of the world. They have large eyes covered by transparent scales that are shed along with the skin. Most reptiles are silent but geckos are an exception, with New Zealand geckos chirping or chattering to communicate with their kind. Geckos do not possess eyelids and have to lick their eyes to keep them clean. All of New Zealand’s geckos give birth to live young whereas most gecko species elsewhere in the world lay eggs. Brown Geckos tend to be more terrestrial (than green geckos). They are superbly camouflaged to match the bark and leaf litter on which they live. They have nocturnal tendencies.
Ngarara is the Maori name for reptiles – including tuatara, lizards, and the giant reptiles of Maori tradition. Mokomoko is the Maori name for skinks and geckos. All Ngarara (reptiles) are believed to be descended from Punga, a son of Tangaroa, the sea god. All of Punga’s descendants (including other creatures such as sharks and insects) are said to be repulsive. However, whilst Lizards and Tuatara were often feared and considered to be bringers of bad luck, they are also considered kaitiaki (guardians) (refer www.teara.govt.nz for more information).
Orana Wildlife Park has one of the most comprehensive public collections of native Geckos. The Park currently holds three types of brown geckos: Forest Gecko – Hoplodactylus granulatus Common Gecko – Hoplodactylus maculates Taranaki Goldstripe Gecko – Hoplodactylus chrysosireticus.
Threats & Classification
Forest & Common are classified as Not Threatened (DoC) whereas the Goldstripe is classified as Gradual Decline. New Zealand’s Gecko species are not only threatened due to introduced predators and habitat loss, but are also stolen for sale on the Black Market.
What YOU can do:
Introduced predators like stoats, rats, cats & dogs are the greatest threat to our native animals – so it’s up to you and me to keep them away. Keeping your cats in at night and ensuring our pets are spayed are all simple steps to save our native wildlife.