The Frog-eyed gecko (Teratoscincus scincus) is a species of lizards from the Teratoscincus genus of the gecko family. Not a very large lizard with a wide and tall head, with large, bulging eyes.
The approximate size of the reptile is 16-20 cm. Its body is rather short and awkward, covered with almost identical large rounded scales, as if superimposed and resembling tiles. On the head, these scales become noticeably smaller and take the form of polygons. Only the scutes near the corners of the mouth are more aesthetic and correct.
The color of the frog-eyed gecko is quite diverse - yellowish or greenish with a gray tinge on top, rusty-red on the upper side and lilac-smoky on the bottom. On the back, there is a pattern of several dark strips or patches that are more chaotic and spots of coffee color and the same dark strips pass on each side and the abdomen is almost white; there is a tint of lemon yellow only on the throat.
The males have dark spots on their hind legs and near the tail, there is a large genital bag. The females are generally more restrained.
The short tail of the frog-eyed gecko is covered with large nail plates and is a fairly fragile part of their body. Lizards easily discard it in case of a predator attack. The scales on the tail are also fragile, easily peeling off with careless touch.
The frog-eyed geckos do not have femoral and preanal pores, which are usually present in some other reptiles. The main distinguishing feature is the glowing ruby light within dark eyes - this feature was immediately noted by the nightlife observers of these lizards.
The average life expectancy of a frog-eyed gecko is about 10 years. It becomes sexually mature at the age of one and a half years.
Distribution and habitat
All kinds of frog-eyed geckos are common in the sultry and desolate areas of Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, in the east of the Arab Emirates, in Qatar and Oman. On the territory of Russia, these reptiles can be found in the south of Kazakhstan - this area is typical for the ordinary gecko. The territories of Mongolia and the border regions of China belong to the area of the Przewalskii geckos. Another species, the Bedriaga gecko, prefers the central Asian countries of the equatorial belt - Iran and Afghanistan. Some other representatives of the genus can also be found in the same places.
All Teratoscincus geckos are not afraid of the desert, but rather gravitate to sandy soils with scanty vegetation and only occasionally wander on the dense clay soils and loess plateaus adjacent to the sand.
Behavior and lifestyle
Teratoscincus geckos are terrestrial lizards, which dig rather deep, reaching meter-deep holes. They are active at night, in the mornings or evenings, when the sun has not yet risen or has already disappeared. These individuals are territorial and prefer not to violate the boundaries of other individual lands. Only in the mating season, two males may encounter in a fight.
Teratoscincus geckos are able to squeak and produce a characteristic crack with the help of scales on the tail, designed to distract the attention of the predator and serving as a warning signal for other reptiles.
They start hibernating in autumn at different times, depending on the surrounding climate in different localities. In March-April the first individuals already emerge from the winter torpor. However, the Teratoscincus gecko carefully prepares for winter. It digs a deep hole in the sand on an inclined path and climbs in, reaching the wet layers of sand and then closes the entrance with the same sand plug. Therefore, the lizard not only hibernates, but also spends the daytime hours there, going out hunting only at night.
The Teratoscincus gecko mainly hunts for insects and their larvae, which are found on the surface of the earth. At night, people can easily catch these reptiles with a lantern, as bright light blinds them and brings them to a state of brief numbness, sufficient to catch them. However, even if the gecko is caught, it still has the opportunity to escape, leaving the enemy only a wriggling and crackling tail.
Zoologists drew attention to the fact that if you place such a tail in an enclosure with other geckos, then they immediately reach a state of panic because of the possible danger it signifies. These reptiles generally easily part with this part of their body and quickly restore it to its original form.
Surprisingly they are able to moult; in nature, they do so in their burrows. However, in the nursery zoologists have managed to see how the Teratoscincus geckos seizes the skin from the torso, tears and eats it. From their extremities, they shed their scales like a glove.
In captivity, Teratoscincus geckos get used to people gradually. Moreover, when they get used, they start boldly taking food offered with tweezers and are even able to climb onto the palm of their hands to warm themselves.
Teratoscincus geckos, like other lizards, feed on various insects and small invertebrates, which they manage to catch. These are, for example, black beetle or May crunches, sometimes an ant or some kind of arachnid may become its food.
In terrariums it is recommended to give the lizards some house and Jamaican field crickets, various cockroaches, own bred or bought flour worms, zoophobas and even small newborn mice - but not very often.
Young animals should be fed in the same way as adult lizards, only in somewhat smaller portions. The feeding regime should be at least once every two days, but better every day.
Of course, do not leave the pet without water, which must also be changed every day. You can occasionally mix the mineral water "Borjomi" to the water and once a month you need to vitaminize the diet of Teratoscincus geckos with various additives and top dressings for reptiles.
It is unlikely the Teratoscincus geckos breeding connoisseurs will find any new information. It is an oviparous species of reptiles. They reach sexual maturity at the age of 1.5 years of life, when the length of the trunk becomes approximately 10 cm.
The nest of the female Teratoscincus geckos is arranged in a complicated hole with several courses, where they hide in the main chamber during the day and lay eggs. And in some cases lizards can share their shelter with other creatures, such as a large ground beetle, dung beetles, or even carcasses and gerbils.
The peak of the breeding season of Teratoscincus geckos occurs in the middle of spring and eggs are laid in the beginning of summer. Female lizards are pregnant for about a month. Different species can lay from 1 to 4 small eggs with a hard calcareous shell. Sometimes people could find common clutches of several females in one nest.
But, one way or another, the warm and dry atmosphere of the burrow leads to the fact that in 2.5-3 months, small geckos appear 5-6 cm in size. First, newborns feed on yolk sacs and then they can be given small insects. Young geckos need calcium, at least every other day. In good conditions the female can have offsprings 2-4 times a year.